Student Life has been interviewing candidates for the interim Director of Wilson, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (WIDE) and hopes to have someone in place within the next several weeks. A national search will follow for a permanent Director.
Counseling has been assertive with efforts towards DEI initiatives for some time. We began with data acquisition from our demographic intake info, which is indicating that we were already providing services to students of color (SOC) at a higher rate than non-SOC. This increased awareness inspired shifts to include developing intentional collaborations and participating in appropriate events and activities. Efforts included forging closer relationships with the WWC WIDE staff and crew, programming and participation with athletic staff and teams, and increased outreach efforts.
In Spring of 2016, Counseling acted quickly to respond to BSU demands to increase diversity among Counseling staff providers, and in short order was able to identify and contract with a POC Professional Counselor. Things have evolved since then, with the previous Professional Counselor provider being replaced by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, but again in response to BSU demands in Summer of 2020, with the support of the WWC Administration, we have facilitated a large increase in the hours of this provider who identifies as a person of color.
With the ongoing cultural shift toward racial justice and equity, along with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that in addition to the general upheaval we are experiencing, People of Color and typically marginalized communities are experiencing disproportionate levels of loss and impact. For this reason, Counseling staff will be meeting regularly and intentionally with the intent to increase awareness and sensitivity around these shifts, and to collaborate to meet the needs. Current plans include staff professional development targeting increased knowledge, awareness, and sensitivity. Programming ideas will be in collaboration with BSU, WIDE, and and Wellness, and we will identify appropriate areas of need,
The office of Spiritual Life and accompanying Minor in Interfaith Leadership have been regular collaborators in DEI work on campus. We have been in conversation with student leaders about hopes for shifts in the dialogue project, and we have given some context for the direction the project took in the past. We are currently working with WPO and our off-campus partner, Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), to make online training available to other crews that explores the intersections of interfaith work with racial justice movements. Matt Hoffman is also writing a grant proposal to IFYC to help support deeper intentionality around a racial justice/antiracist lens in the Introduction to Interfaith Dialogue course. We are working with student crew leaders, some of who are involved with antiracist movements on campus, to sharpen our antiracist focus in our interfaith programming.
This summer the Student Activities Office has been approved by students from WIDE and BSU for continued support with programming, as well as additional funding for new endeavors. Previously Student Activities has co-sponsored events throughout the year and especially during Black History Month including panel discussions, movie nights and screenings, Goombay festival and other off campus trips/events, dances, and receptions. Through written and verbal communication, Student Activities again committed to support events with staffing, publicity, and funding from the Student Activities account. BSU has also been given funding from the Club and Student Organizations budget and, depending on the request and events planned, that fund will also have some funding available.
Center for Student Well-Being
We hear BSU’s request for Guided Meditation for POC and Intercommunal Self-Care Nights and will work with the crew to provide these programs. In addition, please know that we are happy to work with student organizations to create a specifically tailored program to help support student well-being at Warren Wilson College. Please let the Center know how we can support students. The Center for Student Well-Being is always happy to work with any student group for specialized or focused programs. We cover so many focus areas (wellness, substance abuse, relationships, etc.) that it is easy to find something for everyone within the department.