On Thursday October 29, Trinity Diversity Connection hosted their first Students of Color meet-and-greet. The event was open to students, staff and faculty of color. The program was started under the Council for the Advancement of Higher Education Standards.
â€œThis is our first one and we want people to tell us where they want this vision to go. We just really wanted the opportunity for that. We havenâ€™t had anything where faculty, staff and students from underrepresented populations come to one place to do anything, to talk about whatâ€™s going on with someone who looks like them,â€ said Soisouda Smith, coordinator of diversity and intercultural relations at Trinity University.
Students, staff and faculty met to open communications among people of color on Trinityâ€™s campus. The group discussed how future meet-ups would be run, as well as addressing the needs of the minority community as a whole.
â€œThis is our first meeting so weâ€™re allowing them to let us know what are they wanting. Stacy and some of our other staff members created these surveys based on who you are. If youâ€™re faculty, how do you want to be involved in this process? If youâ€™re a student, how do you want to be involved? Do you just want to come to things like this meet-and-greet? Do you want a mentor to do some programming?â€ Smith said.
Students are excited that they have the opportunity to meet fellow students and staff members who have similar backgrounds.
â€œI would like to connect with more students and faculty. You can never make too many connections,â€ said Laura Harris, a first year at Trinity.
Staff members are equally excited to reach out to students of underrepresented populations on Trinityâ€™s campus.
â€œI think this is an important opportunity to not only introduce ourselves to each other and build a community, but also, in particular for students, to let them know where there are informal resources to help them navigate some of the issues of race and identity at a majority white school,â€ said Keesha Middlemass, professor of political science at Trinity.
Trinity Diversity Connection and Student Involvement hope that this type of programming will continue into the future in a way that best fits what Trinityâ€™s community members need.
â€œI do foresee it continuing. Maybe itâ€™s not something like a meet-and-greet, maybe itâ€™s a lunch or maybe itâ€™s a dinner or maybe faculty or staff host something at their home. We wonâ€™t know until they let us know,â€ said Smith.