Diversity and inclusion efforts by Purdue students to continue over the summer

May 6, 2013

While the spring semester is over for Purdue students, some will be on campus this summer, working on diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Organizers say the effort is designed to foster an open dialogue on such things as race, gender equality and religious tolerance. But graduate student Tyrell Connor says no one wants it to be a case of pointing fingers at certain people or groups.

“One of my main messages is stop associating these difficult conversations with negativity,” he says. “I think we have to start rethinking that kind of dialogue and saying – yes, these kind of conversation can be uncomfortable to have, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad conversations or they’re negative or the world is going to end. A lot of positive things can come from these difficult conversations.”

Connor says ideas to accomplish the goal include creating programs for incoming freshman and having a diversity week in the fall with workshops for students and staff.

A march organized by the Anti-Racism Coalition and some members meeting with President Mitch Daniels, along with the investigation of a hate-crime all occurred within a week.

Graduate student Kadari Taylor-Watson hopes students who go home for the summer reflect on the campus climate and how they might improve it.

“Grow as a person. Take a leap of faith and talk to someone you’d never talk to before. Don’t have all these stereotypical conversations about people of color or people in the LGBT community without engaging in that dialogue,” she says. “And you can only do that by talking to people.”