UNA Celebrates Diversity Education Week – The Flor-Ala

Goff Justice announces a $20 million expansion of nursing education programs

The University of North Alabama celebrated Diversity Education Week from April 3 to April 7. Diversity Education Week is celebrated nationally each year during the first full week of April. The week’s events were sponsored by the Mitchell-West Center for Social Inclusion and Disability Support Services (DSS). Events were held throughout the week for students to attend and celebrate diversity.

According to the Mitchell West Center for Social Inclusion, “Diversity Education Week is celebrated as part of supporting our commitment to creating welcoming and inclusive campuses. We use the week to promote awareness and understanding of diverse cultures and intersecting identities by building opportunities for connection, community, and engagement.”

Diversity Education Week became an annual celebration at UNA in 2005 through the Office of Diversity and Corporate Equity. It was then taken over by UNA’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Over the past few years, the Mitchell West Center for Social Inclusion has teamed up with DSS to keep the week going.

“For the past three years, our office and the Mitchell West Center for Social Inclusion, along with the DEI office, have led this week’s Keeping Moving initiative,” said Jeremy Martin, Director of Dubai Summer Surprises. “It is very important.”

Martin is very excited to be promoting Diversity Education Week. He works closely with a diverse group of students and strives to make sure that everyone on campus feels welcome.

“Our mission within the university is accessibility and inclusion,” said Martin. “Mitchell-West Center, their mission is inclusivity and making sure everyone feels welcome. There is no better event you can put on other than Diversity Education Week to make sure we highlight inclusion and make sure everyone feels welcome. It’s important for students to see other students as they are.”

Martin believes Diversity Education Week fosters conversations about inclusivity and highlights the importance of diversity education. He wants UNA to continue to highlight diversity and inclusion, and hopes other universities will follow suit.

“[The week] It’s really just to shine a spotlight on all of our students across campus and make sure we’re providing an enriching experience that’s inclusive and accessible to anyone,” said Martin.

The week of April 3 kicked off with an activity held at the Guillot University Center (GUC). Students can come and make sensory items, such as stress balls and other toys. According to Martin, this is always one of the most popular events of the week, as many students enjoy making stress games in preparation for the upcoming finals.

The week continued with a workshop to support non-traditional students on April 3, the Student Identity and Diversity Pledge Committee on April 4, and a Rethinking Simulation on April 6. Free T-shirts and wristbands were distributed at the events.

In the Identity Pledge, students are invited to sign the Inclusive Language Pledge to promote the use of inclusive language across campus. The Re-Think Simulation was an immersive experience to educate students and make them rethink the ways they see diversity and inclusion.

“We are so excited about our diverse student board!” Martin said. “I think we have eight students sitting at the panel. We have students from [the DSS] In the office, VA students, non-traditional students, students who work with the Mitchell West Center and international students. We really tried to feature students from all over campus.”

The panel included UNA students from all walks of life and allowed them to talk about their experiences at the university.

“The purpose of this week is to raise awareness of the diversity that exists on campus and celebrate that in many different areas,” said DSS Assistant Director Megan Simmons. “I think a lot of times we see diversity as one specific thing, but really it can include a diverse group of students.”