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Stormtrooper strikes against prejudice

ACTIVITIES organised as part of Equality and Diversity Week has been going down a storm at Sunderland College.

<p>Students were out in force to strike back against prejudice and inequality during a week-long activity programme involving everyone from a Star Wars Stormtrooper to puppy dogs.</p>
<p>The replica Star Wars character joined forces with a guide dog and puppies to tour the college as part of a road-show of activities to promote equality and diversity to students and staff.</p>
<p>Joe Leggett, director of learning support at Sunderland College, said: “The week aims to raise awareness of groups who suffer from stereotyping and prejudice and to celebrate the diversity within the college and wider community.”</p>
<p>Charities and organisations involved included The Guide Dogs, Amnesty International, Age UK, Washington Mind, Young Asian Voices, Friends of the Drop In for Asylum Seekers, Sunderland Arch and We’Ar Out, a Sunderland-based gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organisation which promotes health and wellbeing.</p>
<p>Level two hairdressing student, Charlotte Lauren, 17, said: “It”s been very interesting because we”ve learned about different cultures, foods and got henna tattoos. It’s even made me understand the importance of buying Fairtrade food.”</p>
<p>Other activities have included talks from the charities and local 88-year-old author and poet, Ken Hall who learned computer skills at the college, as well as an international food buffet, specially prepared by catering students and staff to create a celebratory feel.</p>
<p>Mr Leggett said: “Equality and Diversity Week has been really successful over the previous years in raising awareness of various groups and demonstrating how staff and students can challenge stereotypes.</p>
<p>“It’s a fantastic way to celebrate the region in which we all live and work – and showcase the work being done by charities and the community.</p>
<p>“Our students really enjoy the week, making the most of the opportunity to get involved, learn about the important issues surrounding equality, have their say and make a difference.</p>
<p>“One of the most popular activities with the students has involved the guide dogs and puppies and their handlers who showed the students how they are trained.”</p>

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