15:17 PM

Ohio State student governments launch diversity campaign

Events and opportunities will shine a spotlight on diversity and inclusion

A new campaign led by the student government organizations of The Ohio State University looks to aim a spotlight on diversity and inclusion.

The Council of Graduate Students, Inter-Professional Council and Undergraduate Student Government are starting 2020 with a new phase of a shared diversity campaign. Part of the campaign began last week with a photo shoot of students supporting the university’s history of diversity and inclusion.

Dozens of students lined up at the Ohio Union to have their photos taken in T-shirts that include the names of Ohio State faculty or alumni who have led the way to make the university more inclusive. Some of those celebrated include Distinguished University Professor Frederick Luis Aldama, Black Student Union leader John S. Evans and Ohio State law school graduate Yvette McGee Brown, the first African American female justice to serve on the Ohio Supreme Court.

“[The T-shirts] are about highlighting these students and community members who have minoritized identities and saying that it is good to act with their intentions, because they’re all groundbreaking in their own ways,” said Andrea Davis, an education studies graduate student and chair of the organizations’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee. “They are all trying to make, or they tried to make, the campus more accessible and equitable.”

The photos from the event will be on display in the Ohio Union and other campus buildings from March 16 to 31 and on all CABS buses starting Feb. 23. The diversity campaign will also include a student-led video. These events continue a focus on diversity and inclusion that started last year.

The campaign builds upon work started autumn 2019, when CGS launched its Diversity Dialogue Series, IPC created its first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Committee and appointed a student chair, and USG prepared its Embrace the Difference campaign. The three organizations also established the first-ever cross-governmental Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which is being co-chaired by representatives from each of the three student government administrations.

“One thing about a university with such a wide audience of people here at Ohio State is that no matter where you go every day, you’re going to engage with someone from a different background or identity from yourself,” said DaVonti' Haynes, Council of Graduate Students treasurer. “So [the campaign] is really about helping students, faculty and staff understand why it’s important to be a partner, to be a part of a diverse community, and really to get them to think about some of the benefits that we get by being engaged and involved in such a diverse community on a daily basis.”

This semester, the student government organizations will partner on more events to spread the message. They include:

  • The inaugural Buckeye Chat is an evening of conversations designed to help students, faculty and staff develop new relationships and ways of thinking and collaborating through understanding of Ohio State’s diverse campus community needs.
  • The Buckeye Diversity Dialogue Series provides opportunities for graduate students, faculty, staff and community leaders to have intentional conversations about relevant issues of equity, diversity, social justice and much more. The conversations are designed to be an informal gathering, over lunch, to allow participants to learn from and educate one another.
  • USG, the Office of Student Life Multicultural Center and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion are planning a Diversity Summit to discuss the building partnerships with different communities at Ohio State and generating action items to promote diversity and inclusion on campus.

“I think currently, about one out of every four or every five students identifies as being part of a minority community at Ohio State, for undergrads at least. So we wanted to make it feel like this is a place where they’re able to say, ‘Yes, I’m part of a diverse community. I am here, part of this community and I care about other people,’” Davis said. “I think it’s especially important as we are in a new decade and we want everyone to feel like they’re part of something.”

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