During the week of September 27th, CCI held “Diversity and Inclusion Week: Working Together to Build a Better World.” The week-long series of events, including lectures, films, discussion sessions and keynote presentations, focused on making the college’s students, faculty and staff more aware of issues related to diversity and inclusion. Participants gained diversity skills and knowledge, learned about “best practices” from college leaders and experts both inside and outside the university, and dialogued with each other about a variety of diversity and inclusion issues.
The week kicked off with keynote speaker Don Lemon, anchor of CCN Newsroom during weekend prime-time. Lemon urged the audience to be more curious about the people around them and to take full advantage of the opportunity to learn about those who are different from themselves. He reinforced his point by having students from different backgrounds ask questions of each other to illustrate the diversity represented in the audience and how interesting and educational it is to learn about people who come from diverse backgrounds.
Workshops and events during the week included topics such as: Understanding Diversity; Social Media in a Diverse World; Office Space: Who’s in Yours; Communicating News and Information in a Diverse Society; Overcoming Gender and Disability Stereotypes at UT; Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation and Religion: Breaking Down the Barriers at UT; Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner; Politics and Diversity: Promoting Civil Debate; and Diversity in the Classroom.
A Diversity Festival took place late in the week to showcase CCI student groups and to enjoy music, dance performances, games, and arts and crafts. Jondra Darden, president of the CCI Diversity Student Leaders Society said, “It was an outstanding event. It was great to have CCI faculty, administrators and staff there to mingle with students to let them know that they were supportive of the week and the events. Students enjoyed the opportunity to have fun with each other in a diverse environment.”
The week ended with a keynote presentation and workshop from Juliana Oyegun, director of the Diversity and Inclusion Department of The World Bank. Oyegun challenged students and faculty to step outside of themselves to imagine what it would be like to live your life as a different, less privileged person.
“The inaugural CCI Diversity and Inclusion Week provided a great opportunity for our students, faculty, staff and the community to gain new insights into how diverse individuals think about the world,” said Alice Wirth, director of CCI’s Diversity Student Leaders Society. “The more we all learn about the diversity that surrounds us with respect to politics, religion, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, disability, nationality, media and the learning environment, the better equipped we will be to work together to develop solutions to the critical issues we face.”