Student Life, working together with a number of campus partners, has established programs and measures that are helping to create a safer, more inclusive community for students.
Programs include a required orientation that brings first-year students into the Saint Mary’s community and introduces them to diversity concepts.Taking place duringWeekend ofWelcome and before the start of classes, this program makes clear that the College values diversity and expects its diverse student body to share and respect each others’ unique identities and perspectives.
Plays by the InteractiveTheatreTroupe (IT) are incorporated into a number of programs, including Weekend of Welcome. In fall 2012 the group presented Grey zones, an interactive performance which brought to life various situations on campus that require making the right decisions, such as peer pressure and alcohol consumption.
This year, Student Life is rolling out the student equivalent of A Campus of Difference, the faculty and staff program designed to create inclusive community and to help individuals understand and respect one another.The Intercultural Center is in the process of recruiting, training and hiring a team of student facilitators called Intercultural Development (ID) Leaders to facilitate diversity dialogues and community- building activities in first-year residence halls.
The Bias Incident ResponseTeam continues to support individuals who are the target of bias and communicate to the community that such behavior is unacceptable on campus. BIRT’s members include the dean of students, officers of Public Safety, the director of the Intercultural Center, a Christian Brother, numerous staff, a few faculty, and two student representatives.There are currently 17 members on BIRT, which is an independent and campus-wide group composed of students, staff and faculty who have received specialized training in the prevention of and response to bias incidents and hate crimes.
These initiatives get students involved in discussions and facilitation of difficult dialogues. Observing upper class students as models serves a critical role in creating inclusion for first-year students. New students also learn to be more than bystanders in their community when someone is being undermined, pressured or needs support.