CREATING A CAMPUS CLIMATE THAT VALUES DIVERSITY
Having our campus community be diverse does not ensure that we function effectively as an inclusive community that values diversity. This requires ongoing attention and deliberate work. Each year the campus holds a series of events that specifically focus attention on the increasing understanding of ways that diversity contributes to and enhances our community. Some of these initiatives and events that have been held since 2006 include:
- Share The Dream Banquet � Held annually in February to celebrate the success of College Now Students. Freshmen students are recognized for completing their academic program successfully and upperclassmen are recognized for their continued success, such as graduation and receipt of scholarships. College Now is an alternative form of admission designed to recruit students who have the ability to perform at the college level but whose academic achievements have been hampered by social or economic obstacles.
- International Student Orientation � The International Student Center holds this yearly event for all incoming international students. It gives an overview of on and off campus life, as well as support during the academic year.
- Pride Alliance Rainbow Recognition Awards � A yearly event sponsored by Pride Alliance. Honoring individuals who promote and foster gay and lesbian awareness and education.
- Students of Color Graduation Banquet � This yearly event continues to honor students of color graduating seniors inviting guest speakers and celebrating with an awards ceremony.
- Sponsored Native American Awareness Month with guest speakers, movies, as well as, a luncheon with Eastern traditional Native foods, and a separate community/campus wide discussion about the celebration of Columbus Day and Native Americans.
- Created a month-long series of events in support of Black History Month that included discussions, workshops, presentations, movies, cultural nights, poetry readings, read-a-thon and reunion, an art exhibit, the Black History Month Ball, and a major presentation by Ms. Mercedes Ramirez-Johnson, a motivational speaker on overcoming adversity. Each activity was promoted throughout the campus and local community with special initiatives to address cross-cultural and diverse relationships (e.g. films with content addressing race & class, presentations on women & racism, presenters from multi-cultural backgrounds).
- Supported Women’s History Month through cultural and gender specific programming with affiliated cultural groups and co-sponsored with the Women’s Resource Center which included among other things the celebration of the 6th Annual Outstanding Women Awards (re-named the Women’s Resource Center’s Outstanding Women Awards) in which two international activist union women from the area were invited as featured speakers.
- Conducted an Inclusion & Discrimination Prevention Workshop with Dr. Mary Childers for all Housing & Residential Life full-time employees as well as another one devoted to Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice for all professional and student residential life staff.
- Conducted a full day interactive workshop with Dr. Jamie Washington on "Diversity, Inclusion & Social Justice" training for all professional and student Residential Life staff.
- Supported an awareness initiative of the Women’s Resource Center about preventing sexual violence, particularly in the first two months of college. This initiative involved a series of UMD Web broadcasts about how to stay safe, and table information and discussions in the campus center.
- Sponsored recently a new initiative entitled “Celebrate Diversity/Make a Difference Week,” to include campus wide initiatives to expand concepts of global and local social justice issues culminating with a concert by an internationally known music band from Nigeria.
- Incorporated in the curriculum of the Children’s Learning Center materials that stress the importance of civility and fair treatment of others; Black History and Women’s History; and of depicting people of color, people with disabilities, and women in non-traditional roles.
- Held a women’s health brown bag series which offered a different talk each month. The workshops were on Anxiety and Depression, Complimentary Medicine and Body Image and Women of Color. One of the speakers invited to the Series was Ms. Judy Norsigian, the Executive Director of Our Bodies, Ourselves.
There are various University of Massachusetts Dartmouth student organizations and clubs that foster inclusion and diversity along with intellectual and emotional growth. They all hold and sponsor different cultural and social events that promote inclusion and diversity on campus. Some of these groups are:
- African Students Association (ASA) � The ASA is affiliated with the National African Students Association and is referred to as the Dartmouth Chapter of the National African Student Association. ASA exists to create a meeting ground for all African students enrolled at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to foster the spirit of unity among African students in keeping with the spirit of the organization for African unity; bring African students together with students of other nationalities, bring African students into direct confrontation with the needs and problems of the continent of Africa and last but not least, to educate the students about the different countries of Africa.
- Asian Student Association - As an Asian Student Association, the purpose is to develop a broad consciousness of Asian American community through a commitment of reclaiming their individuality, values, and characteristics as Asians, and/or Asian Americans.
- Cape Verdean Student Association (CVSA) - The purpose of this association is to introduce the Cape Verdean culture to the UMass Dartmouth community and to provide Cape Verdean students with personal advice in achieving their educational and cultural goals.
- Haitian American Student Association (HASA) - The Haitian American Student Association (HASA) of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth defines itself as a student organization to help every Haitian student who does not know his or her culture well and to show others their culture.
- Hillel - The goals of this group is to stimulate interest and extend the understanding of the Jewish culture. It is a group where Judaism is celebrated through social, educational, and cultural activities.
- Indian Student Organization - The purpose of this organization is to promote friendship between American and Indian Students of this University, to bring together the Indian and American students under exchanged cultural programs and thus improve the mutual understanding between each other, help new students of this university to adjust to its social and academic environment, with emphasis on cultural transition.
- Muslim Student Association - The purpose of the MSA is to: 1) promote and organize religious services for Muslims of UMass Dartmouth and its community; 2) to organize lectures, meetings, and discussions on campus to increase awareness about Islam and its tenets; 3) to increase tolerance and understanding of Islamic views by addressing issues raised by any individual on campus about Islam; and 4) to council members and UMD community on various matters of importance in the light of Islam.
- Pride Alliance - The purpose of this organization is to ease the difficulty in accepting an openness regarding gay, lesbian, transgender and questioning students and queer issues, as well as aiding students in personal acceptance of homosexuality.
- Sista II Sista (Sister to Sister) - A women’s organization of the Frederick Douglass Unity House (FDUH) at University of Massachusetts. Founded to assist women of color in increasing their sense of themselves and their cultures, Sista II Sista focuses on building the bonds of sisterhood through education, service, and advocacy. In addition, the organization is committed to empower women through sharing experiences and providing support during collegiate years. The goal of Sista II Sista is to enlighten, uplift and unify the quality and life of women.
- United Brothers and Sisters - The United Brothers and Sisters of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth defines itself as a student organization established to help ensure the successful representation of matriculation of students of color. The United Brothers and Sisters exist primarily to maintain the academic, political, psychological and social survival of students, faculty and staff of color. The purpose of this organization is to stimulate university interest and understanding of issues affecting people of color.
- United Latino Society � The United Latino Society of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is a student organization, which is committed to promoting the various ethnic and cultural experiences of the diverse Latino community of UMass Dartmouth. Through music, art, food, discussions, and poetry, ULS shares with the UMassD community the rich cultures of the Latino community; thus, contributing to the diminishment of stereotypes, and misconceptions about Latino cultures.