Students kicked off the 4th annual RECESS conference with a southern-style meal and a motivational speaker Friday night in the LSC ballroom. This year’s theme was “It’s time for recess.” The event was sponsored by Student Services, the Dean of Students Office, Student Government Association and Multicultural and International Student Services. RECESS, which stands for Religion Ethnicity Cultural Education Sexuality Social Issues, stressed the importance of diversity in today’s society. “With this program, our goal was to engage and educate students in the different cultures and lifestyles in the world,” said Nancy Vazquez, coordinator for the RECESS weekend and student ambassador of MISS. Students from SHSU, Texas A&M and Texas Southern University participated in the event. “RECESS has grown each year and this is our biggest attendance yet,” Vazquez said. The motivational speaker, Stan Peterson, spoke for over an hour about the importance of acceptance and diversity in any culture. He discussed the cultural repercussions of the events on Sept. 11, 2001, and how it affected his friends of middle-eastern descent. “We tend to lose focus in our society,” Peterson said. “We forget that the world is much bigger than us.” Peterson mentioned several events in his life in which he had to accept things he could not change. “You don’t always have to like what you’re accepting. But we have to accept things even more when we don’t like them,” Peterson said. Students participated in an all-day event Saturday that featured work stations and speakers for a variety of topics. By the end of the weekend, students had completed the requirements necessary for the Multicultural Awareness Certification. The MAC award is unique to SHSU and students will receive an award in a private ceremony at the end of the semester. The RECESS conference was the first of its kind to target college students’ concerns and issues regarding diversity when it began at SHSU in 2005.