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A year of diversity initiatives at Illinois State

Over the past year, Illinois State continued its ongoing work toward diversity and inclusion with initiatives, programs, and events as well as highlighting the work of underrepresented groups.

Speakers inspired

Sonia Manzano speaks with a Muppet.

Manzano, shown above with Rosita — a bilingual Muppet from Mexico on Sesame Street. Image from Sesame Workshop.

Speakers throughout the 2017-2018 year sparked conversation. Speakers included social activist Beverly Gooden talking domestic violence, and beloved Sesame Street star and children’s book author Sonia Manzano headlining the Fall Latino Cultural Dinner. Black History Month featured Professor of Critical Race Theory Adrienne Dixson, who examined race, protest, and educational equality.

Independent Spirit Award-winning actress and author Gabourey Sidibe highlighted the Women’s History Cultural Dinner, and Dancing with the Stars winner Nyle DiMarco addressed access for the deaf community.

headshot of Nyle DiMarco

Nyle DiMarco

Janaya Khan, international ambassador for the #BlackLivesMatter Network, led the annual Women’s and Gender Studies Symposium, and Professor Aurora Chang addressed the experiences of undocumented students.

The LGBTQ Institute’s QUEERtalks series explored ideas including Arab queer cosmic utopias. And the African American Studies Program and Department of History co-sponsored a panel on “Black Politics in the Age of Trump.”

Initiatives supported

Christa Platt, standing outside the Diversity Advocacy Office in the Bone Student Center of Illinois State University

Christa Platt

Diversity Advocacy welcomed new director Christa Platt and new location in the Bone Student Center, while continuing popular programs such as Lunch ’n Learn, dedicated to discussions on diversity; and the Sister Circles workshop, which examined financial education and literacy.

Latin American and Latino Studies generated conversation with Conversando Entre Nosotros: LALS Brown Bag Series Lecture, and the Dean of Students sponsored Safe Zone trainings to help build allies for the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) University community.

Students pose in front of Voices of Discovery logo

Students celebrate their participation in Voices of Discovery.

Student Counseling Services kicked off a new group program specifically designed to provide support for students of color, and once again offered the Voices of Discovery program, which fosters meaningful interaction between students from different backgrounds.

Health Promotion & Wellness offered a new Consent & Respect online course designed to increase awareness and understanding of sexual violence. And the Career Center sponsored a career series addresssing diverse needs of international students.

A new Cultural Resources webpage from Human Resources launched to provide prospective faculty from diverse backgrounds a peek into life in Bloomington-Normal. The campus held open forums to gather input on a proposed Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in U.S. Society graduation requirement, suggested by the Climate Task Force.

Illinois State worked to create spaces to bridge divides and challenge people to become better allies with the Culturally Responsive Campus Community Conference. The Conference in the fall of 2017 focused on “Diversity and Inclusion in an Ever-Changing Political Environment.”

Academics enlightened

Part of an image from the You are Not Alone exhibit at Rachel Cooper Gallery at Illinois State University.

Students in Professor of Criminal Justice Shelly Clevenger’s class shared insights working to break the cycle of sex offenses, while a graphic design course taught by Professor Archana Shekara resulted in the exhibit You Are Not Alone, encouraging students to overcome social and emotional barriers. Lee Ann Hale’s communication class worked with the Student Government Association to create a video highlighting the journey of students working through mental health challenges.

A group hug with a mom, daughter, son, and grandma

The Netflix reboot of One Day at a Time provides a multidimensional look at a Latino family

Assistant Professor of Psychology Brea Banks shared her research into the impact of microaggressions on an individual’s ability to learn. And Rocío Rivadeneyra, a scholar studying Latina/os and gender in the media, suggests pop culture still has a way to go. And Professor of Music Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum kicked off a Women in Music course to examine disturbers of tradition.

The Special Education Assistive Technology (SEAT) Center works to keep special education teacher candidates in-the-know with innovative technology lessons in the classroom.

Spotlights shined

Sarah Aguilar standing by the Reggie bust in Hovey Hall.

Sarah Aguilar

The Identity newsletter delved into people and programs on campus who aim to enrich the University through diversity. Stories explored the diversity goals of incoming Student Trustee Sarah Aguilar; offered a look into the LinC program, which offers insights on navigating the first year of college; and shed light on the School of Teaching and Learning’s drive to enable current teachers and teacher assistants to earn endorsements to teach English learners.

Twenty students gathered together and smiling for a photo

Students in the Indian Students Association at Illinois State University.

After the student body elected the most diverse Student Government Association in its history, senators sat down and discussed the changes and challenges they have witnessed.

Readers learned more about student groups such as the Black Actors League employing art to view the world through an underrepresented lens. The Indian Student Association celebrates the vast and rich culture of India. And the Department of Agriculture formed a new student organization, Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences.

Events celebrated

Drag performer with plumed costume on stage.

Drag performer Sharon ShareAlike at the ISU Pride annual Charity Drag Show.

Beloved alum Sharon ShareAlike shared the stage with fellow drag queen Naomi Smalls to celebrate the 20th anniversary Charity Drag Show. And the LGBT/Queer Studies and Services Institute helped students celebrate Queertober with a documentary screening, the annual Pride bonfire, and Pride History Night.

Annual events brought camaraderie and understanding to campus, including performances of The Vagina Monologues, the rally for Take Back the Night, the annual Charles Morris STEM Social to encourage underrepresented student to consider STEM careers, the Black and Latinx Summit, and the Black Heritage Ball.

Ita Adebayo poses with his Kente cloth

Graduating student Ita Adebayo poses with his Kente cloth that he was bestowed during Umoja.

Milner Library captured the lives of English language learners in an exhibit, and the new Schroeder Hall Gallery featured exhibits, such as Professor Livia Stone’s work in Oaxaca and Mexico City.

The Commitment to Diversity Awards recognized those who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing diversity. And the graduation recognition ceremonies honored the achievements of seniors.

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