Since the creation of the office of Diversity and Inclusion in 2017, Alli Roman, the director for Diversity and Inclusion, has spearheaded new initiatives to promote campus diversity and to increase the visibility of Trinity’s cultural groups.
This semester, Roman is excited for two new initiatives. The first, Flashback Fridays, began on Sept. 7. The sessions intend to improve inclusion and introduce the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s new location to the student body. The office is located within the offices of Student Involvement, where the bookstore used to be located.
Flashback Fridays are times for students to socialize with one another, and the meetings provide a space for students to authentically express their identities. The themed parties will have games, music and snacks and will create a casual environment for students.
“Again, I think because the space is so new, we really want to make sure that people know that they can come and use the space — that they don’t necessarily, even outside of Flashback Fridays, they don’t have to have a reason to come here more than just wanting to be there. Based on conversations with students, they really just want that space to be able to bring their full identity and doing regular things,” Roman said.
Flashback Fridays will be every Friday in the Diversity and Inclusion office from 1–3 p.m.
The second initiative, the Student Advisory Board, promotes conversations about diversity among students and offers a chance for collaboration between student organizations.
The Student Advisory Board is made up of about 15 student leaders from various culture groups on campus and student representatives from PRIDE, Student Programming Board, Greek life and the Student Government Association (SGA). Meetings will typically be held once a month for an hour and a half.
Roman wanted feedback from students on the issues she should be tackling in her role, so this board helps her stay connected with student concerns.
“The initial purpose of the advisory board was to have that really direct communication from students with various cultural backgrounds and identities and so the easiest way to do that was through connecting with the already existing cultural organizations,” Roman said.
Junior Taylor Volzer, SGA secretary and one of the student representatives on the advisory board, hopes that the board will bring an opportunity to promote communication between students and SGA.
“We are the Student Government Association, and this is a fantastic way to find out the needs of the students and then figure out what we can do for that. So if that’s being a resource or simply sharing information or letting our senators know if there are issues on campus that we are able to address. Just to help facilitate that communication,” Volzer said.
Additionally, the Student Advisory Board serves as a time for organizations, specifically Trinity Diversity Connection (TDC), to collaborate together on events or projects.
“Serving as the advisor of TDC, they talked about wanting to be connected more with cultural organizations, so that was something else that was also really important, and so I figured, let me help create that space,” Roman said. “I think sometimes we might over-program a lot of really great ideas or programs might conflict with one another, so instead of having one large or two large programs, we end up having these silos.”
Although TDC can’t fund events for other organizations, they will provide monetary support if it benefits diversity or diverse conversations on campus. Kezia Nyarko, junior and TDC president, spoke about the intentional division in TDC’s budget.
“Trinity Diversity Connection used to be the SGA for all the cultural groups basically. The group is no longer an umbrella for cultural organizations. Instead, what we do is we collaborate with other organizations,” Nyarko said. “Our budget kind of anticipates the fact that we’re going to be collaborating with a bunch of other organizations, so there’s a section of our budget dedicated to collaborations and sponsorships.”
The Student Advisory Board also affords an opportunity for students to discuss important issues concerning diversity on campus. Manveena Singh, junior and co-chair for Student Advisory Board, feels it’s important to talk about the experiences of students from diverse backgrounds.
“I do want to see things change, and I do think Trinity wants to do better, so I think there needs to be that accountability. Sometimes I don’t really feel like diversity is supported by the administration,” Singh said. “What are we doing for those students? What are we doing to make those students feel at home on campus?”