The College of William & Mary’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion partnered with Ernst & Young to present its inaugural Student Diversity Symposium last month. During the symposium, students gathered to learn “how to more effectively foster inclusion and diversity in professional communities. The forum featured speakers and workshops, allowing participants to engage in active learning with individuals from the corporate and academic world.”
I believe symposium’s like the one developed by W&M in conjunction with EY is an important way to begin to foster an inclusive environment within academia and the workplace. A few years ago, the Black Lives Matter protests grew from the frustrations of many black students yearning for their voices to be heard within their university. I think that encompassing inclusion early in the education process can help in the transition into the workplace.
Roxie Patton, associate director for the Center for Student Diversity in her presentation during the symposium “emphasized the multiplicity of manifestations of diversity and engaged her participants in strategizing on how to construct inclusivity for all people.” And that’s the key; the involvement of all parties. Everyone should have a voice in improving diversity and inclusion and at the very least be apart of the conversation.