Creating a Shift in Campus Culture
What we recognize and convey:
- Black lives matter.
- BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, & People of Color) deserve equity in the classroom and throughout the campus community.
- We recognize the performative, the substantive, and the differences between. Being performative is short term and well-intended, but being substantive creates real and lasting change. We are focused on substantive change.
- Creating change takes time, now is a crucial time in continuing to work on the needed change to create a more accepting campus community. The work that we have done, will continue to do and commit to moving forward will have a lasting and monumental impact on our campus community.
- IDEAS Center and other spaces designed to be intentional in support of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, & People of Color) and other historically marginalized students are also spaces for our white student body to learn about and engage in conversations around issues of social justice and anti-racist work.
- Creating an inclusive campus is not the sole responsibility of BIPOC students. It is the work of an entire campus community.
What we have done:
- Facilitated educational programs in collaboration with athletic departments to bring awareness of the harm inflicted through microaggressions, unawareness of white supremacy, and privilege through raising cultural humility, and how to be a better ally.
- Collaboration with the Student Life Coordinator for Leadership and Involvement and students to develop training for fraternity and sorority life on privilege and racism to create a more inclusive environment for all fraternity and sorority life members.
- Began instruction of module courses (LS 190 Fall – Student Success as a Student of Color, LS 190 Spring – Cultural Competency) intentionally designed for BIPOC to engage in conversation in a brave environment where they can discuss the challenges of attending a predominantly white institution.
- Provided opportunities for students to have an influence on how the IDEAS center functions and how to continue to improve the work the center does through student employment, leadership development of our Culture, Identity, & Leadership Coalition (CILC) organizations, and engagement with students that frequent the space.
- Created a monthly newsletter highlighting our Culture, Identity and Leadership Coalition organizations as well as the workshops, etc. that are being sponsored by the center to share with faculty and staff to increase the awareness of our under-resourced student populations.
What we will continue to do:
- Advocate for BIPOC and other under-resourced student populations at Allegheny College, and continue to provide comprehensive support, guidance, and a space in which students feel they can come to share.
- Educate students who do not understand white supremacy, microaggressions, unconscious bias, and provide the information to become better allies within the Allegheny College community.
- Be an open resource during tabling events across campus.
- Keep under-resourced students at the center of our thinking and convey their needs in intentional ways when working directly with/alongside campus partners.
What we will do moving forward: Encourage, educate, and empower the campus community on anti-racist work, social activism, allyship, and cultural awareness.
- Expand our educational opportunities to other departments and functional areas to increase the work that has already been done with athletics.
- Group study course on Racism and Violence in the United States POLSC 591.
- Have available spaces for students to share in conversation regarding anti-racism, social justice, and activism. Encourage students to utilize these spaces both virtually and in person.
- Create interactive and engaging opportunities for students to think critically about identity, social movements and how historically marginalized people have been impacted by systemic racism both within our campus community and globally.
- Cultural Heritage Month Events in collaboration with student organizations to increase awareness of the diversity on campus.
Call to action/Ways to get involved
- Student Advisory Committee
- Share your idea, suggestion, feedback with the IDEAS Center
- Become an IDEAS Center Volunteer
- Facilitate/Co-facilitate a Talkback Tuesday
- Join a CILC Organization
- Join a Meadville community organization (check out bulletin board in center for contact info)
IDEAS Center is the social/emotional brave space providing support and validation of the experiences of under-resourced student populations. The center also provides a gathering place for dialogue and support surrounding the concerns of inclusion, diversity, equity, access and social justice.
Through authentic interactions that promote self-awareness, the IDEAS Center provides a space that encourages, educates, and empowers under-resourced student populations. With intentional outreach, we strive to achieve a greater sense of community by increasing support, providing mentorship and encouraging all students to expand their cultural experiences through engagement with the center. We consistently prioritize the work of encouraging, educating and empowering under-resourced students while diversifying our center to be a welcoming and inclusive space for our campus community.
The IDEAS Center strives to engage students in meaningful opportunities and conversation recognizing the importance of the impact of personal culture and how culture can influence our community. As a student-driven advocacy center, we provide educational opportunities to students through collaboration with campus partners and student organizations on issues of inclusion, diversity, equity, access and social justice and support the ideals of unity and community within the campus and the greater Meadville community. We support, provide mentorship, and encourage students to expand their cultural experiences through engagement with the center. Our center is a welcoming and inclusive space for our campus community.
As a center, we commit to:
- Being an intermediary for students in identifying best resources to meet their needs socially, academically, emotionally, and financially.
- Offer resources for those students that may be facing essential barriers to success including food insecurity, providing basic necessities, etc.
- Provide leadership development and programmatic support to the Culture, Identity, and Leadership Coalition.
- Through programming, support students in meaningful ways to promote their overall well-being.
Students that have a greater sense of belonging have a higher likelihood of retaining and persisting to graduation. By providing these intentional services, we will increase retention rates through supportive interventions and campus collaborations.