Community Conversations on Diversity

For Dr. Rachel Myers, director of diversity and inclusion, an unexpected friendship sparked the idea for an initiative to bring the school closer together.
While sweating through HIIT workouts and collaborating at work, Dr. Myers and Ms. Nancy Vaughan, wellness administrator, have formed a friendship over the last five years. Dr. Myers said, “We both grew up in very different neighborhoods, in different states, and under diverse historical circumstances. Yet, we have learned that we share so many similar core values.”
The Community Conversations Series was born when Ms. Vaughan asked Dr. Myers, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could get students to share and listen to one another like we’ve been able to do?”
Dr. Myers introduced the Community Conversations Series in February to promote inclusivity and encourage community members to value each other. Dr. Myers said, “The concept [is for] for members of the community to come and listen, learn, and educate each other about a different topic each meeting, in a space grounded in mutual respect.”
Students and faculty gather in the Faculty Room to discuss identity. Prior to each Conversation, community members submit questions regarding the topic that are answered by participants at the conversation. Myers said, “I don’t think there are many opportunities where all members of the community are invited to engage in these types of conversations.”
There have been three installments thus far, highlighting Black identity, Jewish identity, and Asian identity.
In May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, the Council on Diversity and Inclusion will partner with Bring Change to Mind, a non-profit organization, to hold a Community Conversation focusing on mental health.