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How to create diversity and inclusion awareness on campus

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Contents

Introduction

In today's environment, having diversity is an essential part to every organization's growth and success. More and more organization are globalizing their presence to expand their horizons to even greater depths. With movements like this, more people from different parts of world will be introduced into a new society where they would be a minority and vice versa. Creating a diversified movement is one of the most challenging things to accomplish, especially for larger organzitions. A diversified movement will not only provide a great consortium of people, it will gather the uniqueness in our traits and innovative mindsets to the table where we can start to create new ideas and solutions to make this world a better place to live. A diverse community has lasting effects on the institution, society, economy, politics and so on. While a diversified movement is a great challenge, it is also a great opportunity.  

Goal

The purpose of this page is to provide information and possible guidance to foster a better understanding of the importance of having diversity around us. While there is no step by step process to start such movement, it is important that each individual understands and recognizes the important of having a diversitied community around them. To have a successful movement, the effort needs to start at the personal level. We need to think about what is our belief and what would we do if we find ourselves in a diversified group. This guide is to provide some aspects of such thoughts with examples of on-campus events to illustrate the idea.

Support/Connecting with existing resources

There are many resources to support this kind of effort. For example, one of our campuses has an Office of Diversity, Cross Cultural Center, Black Alliance Association, International Student Office, and so on, whose mission is aligned with our purpose to promote diversity. Most institutional organizations have resources and systems in place ready to support its students to achieve such movement. In addtion to the offices themselves, there are frequent events organized by studetns, administrators, faculties, and staffs to promote awareness toward diversity and inclusion of everyone. A few examples are given in the sample events on campus located below. 

Do's and Dont's

DO

  • Listen and believe.
  • Establish trust.
  • Make a code of conduct.  A community of rules, that helps establish order. 
  • Set the scene.
  • Make everyone equals. 
  • Think before you say or do something that might hurt others
  • Be mindful when it comes to discussing senstive topics
  • Tread carefully if you have to point out someone's race, gender, belief, culture, orientation, and more


DON'T

  • Make the topic "scary" for others to talk about.
  • Put all the work on the margalized group. 
  • Intimidate your peers.
  • Proclaim yourself as an ally.  

Activities

Students

  • Speak out - Too often, we quietly ignore discrimination because we assume that we're not part of the problem. If you see discrimination, use your voice and don't be afraid to challenge it. By speaking out, keeping your calm, you serve as a role model and encourage others to do the same.
  • Student organizations - Join a student organization that fosters diversity and inclusion. If you feel that your campus is underserved by student organizations, consider starting one! Many campuses provide funding for student organizations. Get a faculty sponsor on board by talking to professors after class, write a short charter, and you can create your own club that can live on after you graduate.
  • Workshop - A workshop is an event where audience participation is encouraged and developed through a variety of hands-on activities and group exercises. These events can be as short as one hour. You should develop a clear agenda for your workshop before hand, and talk to faculty to see how you can promote your event. Check this workshop plan from UT Austin for more ideas.

Faculty

Harvard University provides this advice for faculty to accomodate and promote diversity in classrooms:

  • Assign work from scholars of a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds
  • When group work is desired, promote groups that balance gender and ethnicity
  • At the beginning of semesters, let all students know their voice is valuable
  • Ask whether you call on students of color as often as other students, and give the same weight to their views

Key Takeaways

Trust must be established for any conversation to really begin.  

To the people that aren't necessarily being effected by the problem:  you can be outraged about something, even if it doesn't effect you.  

Listen and believe.  One of the most powerful things that any one person can do is listen to whomever is sharing their story, and believe that they are telling the absolute truth.  

It is possible to amplify a voice without putting the ones being marginalized on the spot.  

Don't be afraid to be apologetic.

The level of commitment to have diversity and inclusion is high.  It is a commitment made every day, and must be constantly upheld.  There are no specific 'days' to ending prejudice, and the effort put forth is for everyone. 

Examples from Our Campuses

The Tunnel of Oppression - an annual theatrical production at Boise State University that gets peole out of their comfort zone by putting them in the shoes of the oppressed. 3 minute video.

The Institute for STEM and Diversity - an organization that fosters inclusiveness in STEM by advocating for underrepresented students in classrooms, strengthening collaborative opportunities for diversity with university partners, and conducting STEM education research.

The McNair Scholars Program - this two year program prepares first generation, low-income, and underrepresented students for graduate school by funding independent research, building support networks within a cohort, sponsoring conference travel, and providing fee waivers for graudate school applications.

Diversity and Inclusion Plan - a guide from Brooklyn College on mindsets and actions for administrators, students, and faculty

Sam and Marilyn Fox Atlas Week at Saint Louis University - to increase awareness of the global issues that confront us today in an effort not only to promote discussion, but also to inspire and inform action