Seminole State College has recently developed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force to address needs and goals of the campus. The task force is led by President Lana Reynolds and includes many faculty, staff and students.
Student Support Services and STEM Student Support Services, two federal grant programs hosted by SSC, recently sponsored a week of diversity, equity and inclusion events to support goals of the task force and the grant programs. Damon Cravens, STEM Student Support Services Advisor, led the charge. Three events were presented for students, faculty and staff to attend.
“The goals of the week are to create conversation, educate and help students have a four-year experience at a two-year college. If the students can see it, they can be it. It is imperative they begin to see themselves taking part in events, organizations and purposes bigger than themselves,” said Cravens.
The first event was a general overview of diversity, equity and inclusion. It was presented by Cravens. Discussion ensued as to how the SSC campus can become more inclusive of all persons on campus.
The second event was a panel discussion, featuring LGBTQIA+ students, faculty and staff and allies. Members of the panel included faculty/staff members: Dr. Deanna Miles, Damon Cravens and Janna Wilson-Byrd. The panel was moderated by Sarah Ledford, SSS Advisor. Panel members covered three main topics: Audience members were given the opportunity to ask questions of all panelists.
To wrap up the week, Eric Rollerson, graduate student at The University of Oklahoma and author of “Right Pieces, Wrong Puzzle,” presented over “Minority Equity and Inclusion on Campus.” Mr. Rollerson presented ideas to move beyond just creating diversity.
“Creating diversity is shallow marketing and does not create equity or inclusion. Diversity brings people to the table. Equity removes the barriers that cause restriction. Finally, inclusion empowers the voices of the diverse people at the table,” Rollerson said.
“SSS / STEM SSS are two federal grants serving first-generation, economically disadvantaged, and disabled students. Our programs serve a diverse population and we hope for them to experience and offer inclusion. As academic grants emphasizing graduation and transfer, we need to assist students in preparing to attend a university not only academically, but socially, culturally, mentally, etc. We are excited to offer new empowering experiences for our program participants. We plan to offer more awareness events in the future,” Janna Wilson-Byrd, SSS / STEM SSS Director said.
The Seminole State College SSS Project is 100% federally funded in the amount of $294,725 annually. The Seminole State College STEM SSS Project is 100% federally funded in the amount of $261,888 annually.
For more information about SSS/STEM SSS, please contact Janna Wilson-Byrd at 405-382-9642 or visit www.sscok.edu/sss.
For more information about the student organization P.R.I.D.E. at SSC, please contact Kimi Durr at email@example.com.