Amid efforts to foster diversity and inclusivity at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate Student Assembly partnered with the Office of Graduate Student Development and Diversity to launch a listening campaign later this semester.
The GSA leadership and the OGSDD will collect student input regarding what diversity should look like in graduate education. Last spring, Lucylle Armentano GRD ’21 ran on a campaign platform advancing diversity initiatives — a vision which is coming to fruition early in her tenure as president of the GSA.
Last year’s GSA president Stepehn Gaughran GRD ’21 said the diversity initiative was among Armentano’s top priorities for the year and that she has always championed diversity within the GSA and the graduate school at large. Gaughran said the listening campaign — which will require participation from all assembly members — is the first of its kind in recent years, as representatives typically work on projects in small groups.
“The goal this semester is to try and gather as many perspectives as possible on how to define diversity in graduate education,” Armentano said. “Some departments really want to highlight [their diversity] programming.”
The listening campaign is one of many programs Armentano hopes to launch this semester. The campaign will require GSA leadership to talk to their respective departments to develop definitions of diversity.
Many departments within the GSA already have existing diversity initiatives, and she hopes these units can share their programs with other disciplines in GSAS. In an effort to gather as many definitions as possible, the assembly has distributed posters with tear-out sheets in each department office. Students can take the slips and write down their thoughts on how to foster diversity. They can then turn these slips into boxes at the McDougal Graduate Student Center or Warner House.
Gaughran said that one of the GSA’s strengths has been its ability to work across departments.
“This was one of Lucy’s top priorities for this year, creating this diversity initiative happening within the GSA,” Gaughran said. “Diversity in general being a top priority for the GSA and the grad school. She wanted the body doing something, making progress. She wanted to see the GSA work on this project together, normally on the GSA, a small group or committee would work on a project.”
Armentano confirmed that the partnership with the OGSDD will host a town hall meeting with graduate school Dean Lynn Cooley and OGSDD Director Michelle Nearon in the beginning of December. Nearon and assistant dean Denzil Streete, who also works in the OGSDD, could not be reached for comment.
The GSA meets on alternating Wednesdays in the Watson Center.
John Besche | firstname.lastname@example.org .