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.
“This 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 haven’t had anything where faculty, staff and students from underrepresented populations come to one place to do anything, to talk about what’s going on with someone who looks like them,” 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 Trinity’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.
“This is our first meeting so we’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 you’re faculty, how do you want to be involved in this process? If you’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?” Smith said.
Students are excited that they have the opportunity to meet fellow students and staff members who have similar backgrounds.
“I would like to connect with more students and faculty. You can never make too many connections,” said Laura Harris, a first year at Trinity.
Staff members are equally excited to reach out to students of underrepresented populations on Trinity’s campus.
“I 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,” 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 Trinity’s community members need.
“I do foresee it continuing. Maybe it’s not something like a meet-and-greet, maybe it’s a lunch or maybe it’s a dinner or maybe faculty or staff host something at their home. We won’t know until they let us know,” said Smith.