SDI: Cultivating inclusivity for tomorrow

Posted by
On December 20, 2023

Diversity House

The Diversity House. Photo by Tom Wagner/Missouri S&T.

As the university prepares for a new semester, strategic diversity initiatives (SDI) is getting ready to hit the ground running in 2024. Their programs include a vital food pantry, employee resource groups (ERGs), workshops, and a clothes exchange catering to both students and employees.

As we navigate the post-COVID era, SDI’s commitment to holistic student well-being and diversity remains steadfast. Under the new leadership of William Smith, director of strategic diversity, SDI plans to increase engagement from even the smallest of student groups.

Within their organizational footprint, SDI has several programs to assist the S&T community. Its largest resource is the food pantry, designed to help Miners who are unsure where their next meal will come from. The pantry now includes essential non-food items, such as hygiene products.  

Another major resource is the clothing exchange and boutique, stocked with new and gently used clothing, shoes and accessories. Students in need can schedule an appointment to bring in their freshly laundered clothing to trade for something new. The clothing exchange and boutique are always looking for donations of new or like-new items that are in style for teens and young adults.

The 2023 Celebration of Nations parade. Photo by Michael Pierce/Missouri S&T.

To help S&T employees tackle tough conversations, SDI introduced a workshop series based on the book Crucial Conversations by Al Switzler, Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson and Ron McMillan. The workshop enrollment quickly maxed out and attendees gained insight by discussing skills the book highlighted, like how to be persuasive instead of abrasive or silent.

Complementing these efforts are the new employee resource groups (ERGs) introduced as part of strategic diversity initiatives. Following a survey of S&T employees, two groups have been established for women professionals and professionals over 40. These ERGs serve as inclusive platforms, fostering networking opportunities and promoting professional development. Emphasizing inclusivity, the groups extend a warm invitation to all members of the S&T community to join and contribute to their collective growth.

SDI is also using surveys to check in with students to reduce loneliness, depression and discrimination on campus. Groups at higher risk include American Indian students, the Jewish community and the LGBTQ+ community. SDI also orchestrates field trips for students to cultural events like the annual Harvest Moon Intertribal Pow Wow. In August, SDI co-sponsored hosting the Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery as they created a mandala sand painting in the Havener Center. The SDI team manages the popular Celebration of Nations, an event that brings together the vibrant cultures and countries of our community.

All of SDI’s programs emphasize a commitment to fostering an inclusive environment for both students and employees. Your support is key in amplifying the positive impact of these initiatives. Join us in spreading the word about the resources SDI offers, and together, we can champion a campus culture where every individual, regardless of background, feels valued and included. 

Drepung Loseling Monastery
Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery create a mandala through a process of sand painting using traditional techniques and tools. Photo by Michael Pierce/Missouri S&T.

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Posted by

On December 20, 2023. Posted in Announcements, Other