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D.I.S. unifies underrepresented students

by Kristina Livingston - Managing Editor
Tue, Jan 31st 2017 11:00 am
The College at Brockport's Diversity Initiatives subcommittee is a newly formed aspect of President Macpherson's Committee on Diversity and is focused on allowing students who are underrepresented the opportunity to advocate for themselves and their peers in an attempt to spread more knowledge and acceptance throughout campus. 
(Photo taken from Pixabay.com)
The College at Brockport's Diversity Initiatives subcommittee is a newly formed aspect of President Macpherson's Committee on Diversity and is focused on allowing students who are underrepresented the opportunity to advocate for themselves and their peers in an attempt to spread more knowledge and acceptance throughout campus. (Photo taken from Pixabay.com)

 In an effort to restructure diversity and inclusion efforts at The College at Brockport, the newly formed Diversity Initiatives Subcommittee of the president's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion aims to take the next step in encompassing goals of bringing awareness to the campus community. 

According to a statement from student representative Lucky Light, "The over-arching intention of D.I.S. is to become a mini- "United Nations" on campus in order to create the broadest representation."

D.I.S. distinguishes itself from other campus organizations with similar surface goals by populating itself with students of diversified personal experiences. The committee is of the belief that issues of diversity cannot be identified and tackled unless this is done on an assertive rather than passive basis, recognizing that some students with the ability to organize and pursue their individual movements may in turn quiet the efforts of others without purpose to do so. 

According to Committee Chair Barbara Thompson "we need as many people on our committee as we can have to share authentic experiences, so we can get it." 

"It" here meaning the culmination of experiences which have not been taken into consideration in recent years, even as diversity initiatives become normalized. Although the subcommittee operates under a chair position, it promotes itself as being democratic in the way that concerns are addressed and approached. Thompson works to relay the information to the president's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and to the campus at large when possible. 

Any student possesses the potential for membership, per their disclosure of how their social identity affects on-campus or off-campus life. A student member must also be willing to represent those they feel most adequate in speaking for. D.I.S. aims to assemble perspectives from which students can consider.

"The exceptional part [of D.I.S.] is that students' voices are not being subjected and strained through administrative lenses," Light wrote in an email. "[D.I.S.] is charged with being the eyes and ears of student diversity issues and concerns on campus."

D.I.S. is a subcommittee which has taken shape over the span of two years, a reaction to certain constituencies being recognized as absent from local campus conversations. The leadership within the president's Committee for Diversity concluded that lesser-known student voices were not being represented in a manner which accurately portrayed the campus climate and the instrumental students who populate it. 

Light believes the creation of like organizations is needed more than in years past.

"I personally believe this committee to be exceptionally important in this matter especially with recent trends and executive orders in place for the 'protection' of the states," Light wrote.

The ultimate initiative shared by the organizers behind the president's Committee for Diversity's newest subcommittee is to provide a platform wherein students are better able to broaden their sense of community as well as connect with the shared experiences of others. 

"There are others who identify as you do on this campus, you have a community and you are an important part of the larger community here," Thompson wrote in an email.

As the subcommittee progresses, its goals include amplifying voices and spreading information regarding events which promote the celebration of diversity, as well as adding more spokespersons to its roster.

 

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