Alfred University strides itself on being a diverse school. We are techqually the first school to have men and women enrolled and attending the same classes. Also in the 1850’s AU enrolled its first African-American and Native American students, becoming the second school to do so in their time. With this strong history relating to diversity, Drawn to Diversity emerged in 2006.
Drawn to Diversity, also known as D2D, was created by the University’s Director of Student Activities, Dan Napolitano. This program aims to “teach history, inspire artists, cultivate dialogue, and fight ignorance using popular art and media forms.” When D2D first started in 2006 Marvel Comics and MTV provided support for the club to explore diversity issues through comic books. D2D put on programs throughout the year that involved colorful stage shows that featured the students dressed in superhero costumes and detailing the history of civil rights. Some examples of the superheroes that were portrayed were The Black Panther, Luke Cage, Green Lantern, and Falcon.
In 2008, Dan Napolitano began to teach his first D2D class, the topic being diversity and advertising. The goal for this class was to explore the history of advertising icons such as Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemima, Chiquita Banana, and other famous advertising creations. The class worked hand in hand with the club taking the research they have gathered and compiled it into a fun power point presentation that ends up captivating audiences of all ages. February of that year D2D made themselves present at the NYC Comic Con hosting a booth and also putting on performances for educators and other alike. At the end of the 2007-2008 school year the Drawn to Diversity class hosted an event in Susan Howell where the students revealed posters that provoked the truth about the history of several advertising icons. They were originally designed to be hanged in Wegman’s supermarkets; sadly Wegman’s declined the offer. Along with unveiling the posters Aleighlia Bundles, Madam CJ Walkers great granddaughter, made a speech at the ceremony.
During the fall semester of the 2008-2009 school year Dan Napolitano decided to take the Drawn to Diversity club and turn it into a class. The D2D club is a community service program. The club is made up of several students who take turns being the Art Force Five. Going to schools and inviting elementary-college students to view their performance.
The focuses of the last two Drawn to Diversity classes have been diversity in toys and diversity in animation. Each semester new students get involved in this growing club/class helping fight ignorance.