The Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is launching two new series: an “Inclusive Belonging Spotlight Series” and “DEI Munch & Learns.” These aim to create development opportunities and share resources around DEI topics for faculty, staff, students and the campus community.
“The idea behind these two series is to create development opportunities and resources around DEI topics for faculty and staff, but anyone can attend. Students, alumni, community members, guests – they’re open to all,” said Sloan Gonzales, Director of DEI Education and Outreach.
The Inclusive Belonging Spotlight Series is a monthly focus on a campus community member and the work they are doing to create inclusive belonging at UCCS, like services for undocumented students or DEI efforts within the various departments. Most will take place on the first Friday of each month over coffee and pastries, with the option to attend either in person or virtually.
Gonzales established this series to better highlight divisions and groups on campus after discovering how many were making efforts, often unseen, to incorporate DEI into their work.
“When I first came into this role, I went on a ‘listening & learning tour’ of campus and met with anyone I could and asked them ‘tell me what DEI means to you. What do you want for campus? What are you currently doing with DEI efforts?'” explained Gonzales. “I learned there were pockets all over our campus with people doing phenomenal DEI work that no one knew about, like weaving DEI into sustainability efforts or teaching a very unique class. There were all these little pockets and I wanted to create something that elevated those individuals and departments.”
The DEI Munch & Learn series focuses on the core heritage and identity-centric months celebrated at UCCS, with a minimum of one heritage or identity highlighted monthly, starting with National Latinx Heritage Month. This series has three core aspects within each session: an expert in the topic speaking about the heritage or identity’s history and why it’s celebrated, a corresponding food experience and significant resource sharing, like this Latinx Heritage Month resource guide that has several options and mediums for learning and participating.
“For those that may not be able to attend events or actively participate, I wanted to create a more passive way for people to connect and engage with Heritage Month, so we are launching new Heritage Month resource pages,” said Gonzales. “These feature everything from podcasts, films, poems and articles to local businesses and organizations that you can connect with, all on the UCCS website.”
The next Inclusive Belonging Spotlight Series event is Oct. 13 and features speaker Konrad Schlarbaum, Director of the Sustainability Office, and the next DEI Munch & Learn takes place on Sept. 22 and features Julie Torres, Assistant Professor in Women’s and Ethnic Studies, speaking on Latinx Heritage Month.
“The Inclusive Belonging Spotlight Series and Heritage Month: DEI Munch & Learns were developed to center our diverse campus communities’ voices and lived experiences and empower agency and social responsibility in fostering a greater culture of belonging. We are overjoyed to see the positive impact of bringing our campus together and creating authentic spaces that celebrate diverse cultures and promote global learning and engagement,” said Rame Hanna, Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
“Thank you to Sloan Gonzalez, Director of DEI Education and Outreach, and our incredible community partners for helping make these programs a reality at UCCS,” added Hanna.
About the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion aspires to strengthen DEI innovation, impacts, and practices as integral components of inclusive and academic excellence. The Division is committed to fostering an inclusive learning and work environment where all at UCCS feel a sense of belonging and can thrive. The DEI Division promotes the principles of inclusive excellence, multicultural education, and social justice that both enhance the University’s service to the public and contribute directly to the work environment and the quality of learning for all who participate. Additionally, the Division seeks to elevate the impact UCCS has as a regional and national leader in preparing students for success in a diverse global society and workforce. Learn more about the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion online.