Jan. 21, 2014 by saltemuscull
Last November I hosted the first “All Diversity and Identity Groups Priorities Meeting.” Over cookies and refreshments, roughly thirty student leaders came to share their experience and brainstorm ways to collaborate. We had representatives from student groups ranging from Invisible Men to Shakti, Open House, Rho Ep, WSDR, and the Bayit.
First we heard from Chief Diversity Officer Antonio Farias. The crux of his remarks revolved around administrative transparency and advocacy. He affirmed that under his leadership the Diversity Office will collaborate, communicate, and hold itself responsible. Dean Farias reminded us that our work as student leaders is our legacy at Wes and that we must work together to make the changes we wish to see on campus.
Jumping off of his remarks, we launched into discussion. As a group we talked about what prevents us from working together, what about our school makes it difficult to do diversity and identity group work and where do we need more support from the administration. We grappled with shared issues of event attendance, gaps in communication, outreach, lack of space, and time constraints.
We transitioned into pre-assigned small group discussions. Each revolved around a different theme such as “creating a network and increasing presence” or “creating safe spaces while sharing cultural/group issues with others.” The groups made a list of shared goals, challenges, and places to collaborate. Out of the discussion each small group had a concrete list of ways to work together to overcome the obstacles they have faced. These ideas included hosting more meetings such as this one, creating a Gender Resource Center (talk to Nina Gurak to help!), reviving the UOC, and hosting more joint events.
The event was a great success and given the positive feedback I expect a higher attendance at the next meeting. For those who weren’t able to attend, here is a copy of our meeting notes. Stay tuned for more information, but tentatively the next meeting is scheduled for the first few weeks after Spring Break. Special thank you to Dean Renee Johnson-Thornton, Samira Siddique, Alton Wang, Lily Herman and LaNell Williams for their help with the event. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions for the spring meeting. Thanks!
Kate Cullen ’16
Dwight Greene Intern for Diversity and Community Engagement