April 30, 2020
Rollins College (FL)
Sarah Keeling, Ph.D.
Director of Education & Research, NACA
April is Celebrating Diversity Month. We're sure many of you had excellent events planned to help celebrate diversity on your campuses. There are still ways to celebrate diversity, even while we are physically distant. It's important to make sure we recognize the importance of specific traditions in whichever way is most appropriate.
- Host virtual panels with groups such as international, indigenous, etc. students to share about their cultures. Provide students the opportunity to learn about fraternity and sorority life by having an information session led by National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)-affiliated members.
- Host a virtual tour experience. There are countless sites out there. Choose one or let the students decide. Tour together via screen sharing or allow them to tour on their own, then meet or give them a space to reflect and discuss. Provide questions up front to guide their tour:
- How do these sites make you feel?
- Were there any activities/exhibits that particularly impressed you?
- How do you extend these experiences outside of this context?
- Hold a virtual book club. Choose a book written by an author that focuses on a different culture. Be sure the campus library can provide several copies of the book electronically so that students have free access to it or order and ship copies to students.
- Ask students and staff to create a cooking show where they record and share themselves making their favorite cultural dish and offer the recipe.
- Host a watch party and watch a movie that focuses on issues impacting marginalized people. Have a discussion afterward led by a faculty member or student group.
- Finally, make sure to provide space for conversation no matter what the context. While we all recognize we are going through an unprecedented, uncertain time, it is important we allow our students to grieve whatever they are feeling. These could be previous events that were scheduled that they helped plan, general catch-up times with their friends, and just their previous reality. Allow space for talking about feelings of loss and provide paths to moving forward in a positive direction.
Jade Taylor is the assistant director in the Center for Inclusion and Campus Involvement at Rollins College (FL) and a member of the NACA® Diversity Advisory Group.
Sarah Keeling, Ph.D. serves as director of Education & Research for the National Association for Campus Activities and has over 20 years of higher education experience. Her dissertation, "The Influence of the CAS Standards on Academic Advising Programs That Utilize the Standards," received the Southern Association for College Student Affairs' Dissertation of the Year award.
Related Professional Competency: Technology, Cultivating a Sense of Belonging