Office of Diversity and Equity

Office of Diversity and Equity

The ideals of the SUNY Geneseo community strive to broaden understanding, heighten awareness, awaken empathy, and foster empowerment of all individuals.

We believe that our differences make us stronger and together, we commit ourselves to sustaining and expanding the diversity of our community and to making equity for all members of our diverse community a measure of our success.

The Office of Diversity and Equity strives to cultivate and uphold an inclusive and diverse campus. We aim to create an environment that educates, empowers, and inspires our students, campus, and community here at SUNY Geneseo.

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Contact Us

Doty 303
Email: ode@geneseo.edu
Student Team email: odestudentteam@geneseo.edu


Calendar of Selected Cultural Holidays

Download printable calendar

Fall 2023
HOLIDAY 2023-24
PARYUSHANA (JAINISM) Is the 'Festival of Forgiveness,' a significant holy event for Jains coming together to reflect on friendship and forgiveness. September 11-18**
ROSH HASHANAH (JUDAISM) Is the Jewish New Year; start of the Ten Days of Penitence. The first two days are observed as full holidays. September 15-17
YOM KIPPUR (JUDAISM) Is the day of Atonement; the most solemn day of the year devoted to fasting, prayer and repentance. September 24-25** There are dietary restrictions
SUKKOT (JUDAISM) Is the first two days of Tabernacles, commemorating the dwelling of Israelites in booths in the wilderness. September 29-October 1
SIMCHAT TORAH (JUDAISM) Is the celebration of the new cycle of annual scriptural readings. October 8
NAVARATRI (HINDUISM) Is the festival representing 'Nine Nights' honoring the Devi, the great Goddess and divine Mother, the all-pervading Shakti. October 15-24
DIWALI (HINDUISM/JAINISM/SIKHISM/ BUDDHISM) Is the 'Festival of Lights', a major festival lasting five days, celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika. November 12
TWIN HOLY BIRTHDAYS (BAHA'I) Is the festival to celebrate the births of two central figures of the Bahá'í faith, 'Báb' on the first day and 'Bahá'u'lláh' on the second day. October 16-17
DAY OF THE COVENANT (BAHA'I) Is the festival commemorating Bahá'u'lláh's appointment of his eldest son, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, as the center of His Covenant. November 26
ASCENSION OF 'ABDU'L-BAHÁ (BAHA'I) This Holy Day marks the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the appointed successor of the Baha'i faith in Haifa. November 27
HANUKKAH (JUDAISM) Is the 'Festival of Lights', celebrating the victory of the Maccabees and rededication of the Ancient temple in Jerusalem. December 7-15
CHRISTMAS (CHRISTIANITY) Is the annual religious and cultural commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The Feast of the Nativity Christmas is celebrated in January. December 25 (Orthodox) January 7
KWANZAA Is the annual celebration of African-American culture culminating in a communal feast called Karamu, held on the 6th day. December 26-January 1
LUNAR NEW YEAR (BUDDHISM) is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. January 22 There are dietary restrictions against meat and hygiene limitations.*
SHIVRATRI (HINDUISM) Is a festival celebrated annually in honor of the god Shiva. The name also refers to the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance. March 8** Prayer may last late into evening*
LENT (CHRISTIANITY) Is the six week period beginning Ash Wednesday leading to Easter Sunday, where some Christians fast or give something up in solemn observance of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Period includes Palm Sunday and Good Friday. February 14-March 28 There are dietary restrictions against meat for some denominations during Ash Wednesday and all Fridays.*
PURIM (JUDAISM) Is the Jewish festival commemorating the saving of the Jewish people and the defeat of Haman as recounted in the Book of Esther. March 23-24
HOLI (HINDUISM) Is a popular ancient festival, signifying the triumph of good over evil, as it celebrates the victory of Lord Vishnu as Narasimha Narayana over Hiranyakashipu. March 25
NAW-RUZ (BAHA'I) Is an ancient Persian festival celebrating the New Year and for Baha'is it marks the end of the annual 19-Day Fast and coincides with the spring equinox. March 20**
RAMADAN (ISLAM) Is the ninth most sacred month in Islamic culture that Muslims observe to mark when Allah sent an angel to Prophet Muhammad to reveal the Quran, the Islamic holy book. March 10-April 9** Medication may also be abstained during this month of fasting*
MAHAVIRA-JAYANTI (JAINISM/SIKHISM/HINDUISM) Is one of the most important religious festivals in Jainism, celebrating the birth of Mahavir, the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankara of present Avasarpi''. April 21
PASSOVER/PESACH (JUDAISM) Is the deliverance of the Jewish people from Egypt. The first and last two days are observed as full holidays. Includes a April 22-30 There are dietary restrictions
ceremonial meal called the Seder comprising food of symbolic significance, traditions and prayers. against leavened products (bread, pastries, pasta, etc.) during all 8 days of the holiday.*
EASTER/PASCHA (CHRISTIANITY) Is the Christian festival and cultural holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, on the third day of his burial following his crucifixion. March 31 (Orthodox) May 5
RIDVAN (BAHA'I) The festival commemorates the 12 days when Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Baha'i faith, publicly proclaimed His mission as God's messenger for this age. Elections for local, national and international Baha'i institutions are generally held. April 21, 29, and May 2 *1st, 9th and 12th days are celebrated as holy days
EID AL-FITR (ISLAM) Is the "Festival of Breaking the Fast" may be called Lesser Eid or Eid, is celebrated by Muslims worldwide to mark the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan. May 9-10
DECLARATION OF THE BÁB (BAHA'I) This Holy Day commemorates when the Báb, announced that He was the Herald of a new Messenger of God. May 22
ASCENSION OF THE BAHA'U'LLAH (BAHA'I) This Holy Day marks the passing of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Baha'i Faith. May 29
SHAVUOT (JUDAISM) Is the 'Feast of Weeks', which marks the giving of the Law (Torah) at Mt. Sinai, and is often linked with the Confirmation of teenagers. June 11-13 Prayer may last late into evening*
EID AL-ADHA (ISLAM) Is the latter of the two Islamic holidays honoring the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to God's command. Before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son however, Allah provided a lamb to sacrifice instead. June 16-17** May fast the day before holiday*
MARTYRDOM OF THE BÁB (BAHA'I) The Holy Day commemorates the anniversary of the execution of the Báb, Herald of the Bahai Faith, in Persia. July 9
TISHA B'AV (JUDAISM) Is an annual fast day and intense day of mourning on which a number of disasters in Jewish history occurred. August 12-13**
AL-HIJRA (ISLAM) Is the first day of the month of Muharram representing the Islamic New Year. July 7**
SRI KRISHNA JAYANTI (HINDUISM) Is the annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. August 26**
Spring 2024
HOLIDAY 2024-25
PARYUSHANA (JAINISM) Is the 'Festival of Forgiveness,' a significant holy event for Jains coming together to reflect on friendship and forgiveness. August 31-September 7**
ROSH HASHANAH (JUDAISM) Is the Jewish New Year; start of the Ten Days of Penitence. The first two days are observed as full holidays. October 2-4
YOM KIPPUR (JUDAISM) Is the day of Atonement; the most solemn day of the year devoted to fasting, prayer and repentance. October 11-12** There are dietary restrictions
SUKKOT (JUDAISM) Is the first two days of Tabernacles, commemorating the dwelling of Israelites in booths in the wilderness. October 16-18
SIMCHAT TORAH (JUDAISM) Is the celebration of the new cycle of annual scriptural readings. October 24
NAVARATRI (HINDUISM) Is the festival representing 'Nine Nights' honoring the Devi, the great Goddess and divine Mother, the all-pervading Shakti. October 3 -12
DIWALI (HINDUISM/JAINISM/SIKHISM/ BUDDHISM) Is the 'Festival of Lights', a major festival lasting five days, celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika. November 1
TWIN HOLY BIRTHDAYS (BAHA'I) Is the festival to celebrate the births of two central figures of the Bahá'í faith, 'Báb' on the first day and 'Bahá'u'lláh' on the second day. February 26-29
DAY OF THE COVENANT (BAHA'I) Is the festival commemorating Bahá'u'lláh's appointment of his eldest son, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, as the center of His Covenant. November 25
ASCENSION OF 'ABDU'L-BAHÁ (BAHA'I) This Holy Day marks the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the appointed successor of the Baha'i faith in Haifa. November 28
HANUKKAH (JUDAISM) Is the 'Festival of Lights', celebrating the victory of the Maccabees and rededication of the Ancient temple in Jerusalem. December 25-January 2
CHRISTMAS (CHRISTIANITY) Is the annual religious and cultural commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The Feast of the Nativity Christmas is celebrated in January. December 25 (Orthodox) January 7
KWANZAA Is the annual celebration of African-American culture culminating in a communal feast called Karamu, held on the 6th day. December 26-January 1
LUNAR NEW YEAR (BUDDHISM) is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. February 24 There are dietary restrictions against meat and hygiene limitations.*
SHIVRATRI (HINDUISM) Is a festival celebrated annually in honor of the god Shiva. The name also refers to the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance. February 26** Prayer may last late into evening*
LENT (CHRISTIANITY) Is the six week period beginning Ash Wednesday leading to Easter Sunday, where some Christians fast or give something up in solemn observance of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Period includes Palm Sunday and Good Friday. March 5-April 17 There are dietary restrictions against meat for some denominations during Ash Wednesday and all Fridays.*
PURIM (JUDAISM) Is the Jewish festival commemorating the saving of the Jewish people and the defeat of Haman as recounted in the Book of Esther. March 13-14
HOLI (HINDUISM) Is a popular ancient festival, signifying the triumph of good over evil, as it celebrates the victory of Lord Vishnu as Narasimha Narayana over Hiranyakashipu. March 14
NAW-RUZ (BAHA'I) Is an ancient Persian festival celebrating the New Year and for Baha'is it marks the end of the annual 19-Day Fast and coincides with the spring equinox. March 21 **
RAMADAN (ISLAM) Is the ninth most sacred month in Islamic culture that Muslims observe to mark when Allah sent an angel to Prophet Muhammad to reveal the Quran, the Islamic holy book. February 28-March 30** Medication may also be abstained during this month of fasting*
MAHAVIRA-JAYANTI (JAINISM/SIKHISM/HINDUISM) Is one of the most important religious festivals in Jainism, celebrating the birth of Mahavir, the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankara of present Avasarpi''. April 10
PASSOVER/PESACH (JUDAISM) Is the deliverance of the Jewish people from Egypt. The first and last two days are observed as full holidays. Includes a April 12-20 There are dietary restrictions
ceremonial meal called the Seder comprising food of symbolic significance, traditions and prayers. against leavened products (bread, pastries, pasta, etc.) during all 8 days of the holiday.*
EASTER/PASCHA (CHRISTIANITY) Is the Christian festival and cultural holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, on the third day of his burial following his crucifixion. April 20 (Orthodox) April 20
RIDVAN (BAHA'I) The festival commemorates the 12 days when Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Baha'i faith, publicly proclaimed His mission as God's messenger for this age. Elections for local, national and international Baha'i institutions are generally held. April 20, 28, and May 1 *1st, 9th and 12th days are celebrated as holy days
EID AL-FITR (ISLAM) Is the "Festival of Breaking the Fast" may be called Lesser Eid or Eid, is celebrated by Muslims worldwide to mark the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan. March 29-30
DECLARATION OF THE BÁB (BAHA'I) This Holy Day commemorates when the Báb, announced that He was the Herald of a new Messenger of God. May 23
ASCENSION OF THE BAHA'U'LLAH (BAHA'I) This Holy Day marks the passing of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Baha'i Faith. May 28
SHAVUOT (JUDAISM) Is the 'Feast of Weeks', which marks the giving of the Law (Torah) at Mt. Sinai, and is often linked with the Confirmation of teenagers. June 1-3 Prayer may last late into evening*
EID AL-ADHA (ISLAM) Is the latter of the two Islamic holidays honoring the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to God's command. Before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son however, Allah provided a lamb to sacrifice instead. June 6-7** May fast the day before holiday*
MARTYRDOM OF THE BÁB (BAHA'I) The Holy Day commemorates the anniversary of the execution of the Báb, Herald of the Bahai Faith, in Persia. July 9
TISHA B'AV (JUDAISM) Is an annual fast day and intense day of mourning on which a number of disasters in Jewish history occurred. August 2-3**
AL-HIJRA (ISLAM) Is the first day of the month of Muharram representing the Islamic New Year. June 26**
SRI KRISHNA JAYANTI (HINDUISM) Is the annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. August 16**

Please note, students may not be able to participate in activities on the days marked with two asterisks (**) due to fasting or cultural celebrations. Faculty and staff should consider having an open dialogue with students about the holidays they celebrate.

Buddhists may practice fasting during times of the full moon and on other holidays, which may include only having one meal. Mormons may honor the first Sunday of every month as a day to fast.


Periodic DEI Updates

Jan. '24 Updates

Diversity Summit Keynote Announced; Volunteers Needed!

The Diversity Summit is February 27; this year’s theme is “Taking Action: Advancing Equity at Geneseo.” Our keynote speaker is Dr. Estela Bensimon from the University of Southern California, whose talk is entitled, “Tools to Transform Racialized Institutions of Higher Education.” In addition, SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion/Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Ricardo Nazario y Colón will lead a featured session. A full Diversity Summit schedule will be available by early February. From serving as a session room host to greeting attendees at the information table, our volunteers are integral to making the Diversity Summit successful. Sign up by Tuesday, February 13, to volunteer!

Where Do We Go From Here? Assessing Our Equity Readiness

“Where Do We Go From Here: Assessing for Equity,” formerly known as Assesstivus, will take place over three days, February 5–7. Gavin Henning, professor of higher education at New England College, will deliver the keynote address on Monday, February 5 at 2:30 p.m. in the Doty Recital Hall. Henning’s talk, “Leveraging Assessment to Advance Equity,” will be followed by a workshop in the Tower Room. For more details see the website

Black History Month 2024

Black History Month provides a dedicated time to recognize and celebrate African Americans' invaluable contributions and achievements throughout history. It serves as a reminder of the need for inclusivity, understanding, and continued efforts to highlight the richness of African culture and its global impact. The month offers a variety of lectures, performances, and activities such as moderated conversation with Angela Davis, Step Afrika, and Douglass Day. A complete list of Black History Month events can be found on the events calendar

Black History Month Community Wellness Event

Throughout February, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Office of Student Volunteerism and Community Engagement, and Office of Residence Life are coordinating a hygiene item drive in honor of Black History Month and the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so that we can work with student volunteers to build wellness bags to give back to underserved communities in our region. The two organizations that will receive these bags are MOCHA Center, a sexual health and wellness clinic for LGBTQ+ Men of Color in Rochester, and Baden Street Settlement, a community and social services center located in the Upper Falls neighborhood in Rochester. The campus community will raise donations of personal hygiene items, and student volunteers will pack the wellness bags on February 29 at an event at the Multicultural Center.

New Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs for LGBTQ+ Life Appointed

Genevieve Labe will join Geneseo in March as the next assistant director of multicultural affairs for LGBTQ+ Life. They are coming to us from Indiana University, where they served as the assistant director of sexual and reproductive health. In this role, they have led a wide range of training on topics related to gender and sexuality, developed deeply intersectional LGBTQ+-inclusive curricula, chaired the gender-affirming care/PrEP financial assistance program, and advanced the Gender Affirming Care Team. During this time, they also served as the founding advisor of the Queer Student Union (QSU) where they were an engaged supporter of student leaders, including supporting QSU students navigating bias-related incidents on campus. I hope you will join me in welcoming Genevieve to our Geneseo community.

Given the interim period up until Genevieve’s start, I am grateful to Hope Martin, director of student volunteerism and community engagement, for her willingness to also serve as interim coordinator of LGBTQ+ life. 

Dec. '23 Updates

Diversity Summit Proposal Deadline Is This Friday

The Diversity Summit is February 27, 2024; this year’s theme is “Taking Action: Advancing Equity at Geneseo.” The deadline to submit session proposals is Friday, December 15. Sessions may vary in length and format, and creative collaborations across campus are welcomed and encouraged. Programming examples include presentations, discussions, activities, performances, and exhibitions. Based on the summit’s growth during the past few years, the organizers are hoping to double the number of concurrent sessions this year. Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.

Campus Safety and Support Resources

Geneseo’s foremost imperative is ensuring our campus is a safe and supportive place where all students feel secure and can thrive. There is no place at SUNY Geneseo for hatred, racism, antisemitism, islamophobia, bias of any kind, or actions that jeopardize the safety of campus community members.

If you need assistance or someone to speak with, please do not hesitate to reach out to the following resources:

Counseling Services located in the Lauderdale Health Center

Office of Diversity and Equity 

Geneseo Pathways, a confidential peer-to-peer support program for students

Bias-Related Incident Form, the process for reporting any incidents either experienced or witnessed that may be rooted in bias 

University Police Department, 585-245-5222

The Multicultural Center in Blake A, open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day

LGBTQ+ Lounge in Union, open during regular Union hours

 

Save the Dates: Black History Month 2024

Black History Month provides a dedicated time to recognize and celebrate the invaluable contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout history. It serves as a reminder of the need for inclusivity, understanding, and continued efforts to highlight the richness of African culture and its impact around the globe. 

Kicking off the month will be a moderated conversation with Angela Davis on Friday, February 9, at Wadsworth Auditorium from 2 to 3 p.m., with a reception immediately following in the Multicultural Center. A complete list of Black History Month events can be found on the events calendar

Note: Help us keep track of campus events affiliated with Black History Month! When completing the Event Information Form for your scheduled on-campus event, please make sure to use the “comments” field to identify it for Black History Month.

Have DEIB-related News to Share?

We invite faculty, staff, and students to submit DEIB initiatives and programs for consideration for inclusion in upcoming monthly DEIB updates. To submit your update, fill out the form.

Nov. '23 Updates

Diversity Summit

The Diversity Summit is February 27, 2024; this year’s theme is “Taking Action: Advancing Equity at Geneseo.” The deadline to submit session proposals is Friday, December 15. Sessions may vary in length and format, and creative collaborations across campus are welcomed and encouraged. Programming examples include presentations, discussions, activities, performances, and exhibitions. Based on the growth over the past few years, the organizers are hoping to double the number of concurrent sessions this year. Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.

Cultivating Community

The Cultivating Community dialogue series will continue on Thursday, November 30, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. in the College Union ballroom. The topic is “Cultivating Community and a New Energy: Nourishing Ourselves and Our Environment One Conversation at a Time,” and it’s being hosted in collaboration with members of the Sustainability Commission. For more information and to register, see the website.

Real World Geneseo  

We are now accepting applications for this year's Real World Geneseo program. Now in its 15th year, participation in Real World Geneseo is available to all students and has two parts: a three-day retreat in Rochester from January 18-21 and a full semester course in the spring. Explore issues related to power, privilege, social class, gender, ethnicity and race, sexual orientation, religious differences, age, and physical/mental ability in this high-impact learning experience. Workshops, exercises, presentations, and discussions allow participants to examine how these issues affect their academic and co-curricular lives on campus and beyond, and to explore their own values and beliefs. Students who want to participate must register for both the January retreat and the spring semester class (XLRN 201.01). Applications will be considered on a rolling basis and seats are limited. Please apply early for consideration.

Feedback Opportunity Reminder

All are invited to provide feedback on a draft document that articulates the conceptual foundations of our college vision, including definition of terms such as equity and enumeration of four core commitment areas. Once finalized, this shared language and focus will serve as an important catalyst for specific actions that support movement toward this vision. To engage with this opportunity, please share your comments in this Google form by Friday, December 1.

Have DEIB-related News to Share?

We invite faculty, staff, and students to submit DEIB initiatives and programs for consideration for inclusion in upcoming monthly DEIB updates. To submit your update, fill out the form.

 

Oct. '23 Updates

New Living-Learning Communities Open 

SUNY Geneseo is offering several new Living-Learning Communities for Fall 2023. The LLCs connect housing and academics into intentional communities that align with student interests and help them develop a sense of belonging. New spaces include Kuumba House, Gaming, and Sensory Retreat. For more about these and other LLCs, read the news story.

Welcoming New Senate DEI Advisor

As announced at College Senate on October 17, Amy Masters will serve as the new Senate DEI Advisor for the Fall 2023 semester. I am grateful for her willingness to lead and look forward to fruitful collaborations.

Racial Healing Circle Initiative

This past summer, a team participated in AAC&U’s Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Virtual Institute. As a next step, the participating team is organizing a full-day Racial Healing Circle facilitation training on October 24. A group of about 20 participants from various areas of the campus will participate in a Racial Healing Circle and a Circle facilitation training, and engage in preliminary conversations about how to roll out this methodology at Geneseo. Thank you to those who are participating. I look forward to the expansion of this effort. 

ECHC Definitions Effort

I am grateful for the extensive engagement by members of the campus community in the spring semester’s focus groups on the ECHC concept. Utilizing that feedback, Chief Diversity Officer robbie routenberg and Special Assistant to the Provost Joe Cope are guiding the next step, stewarding the creation of draft definitions of equity, equity-centered, and equity-centered honors experience. They will invite engagement from the campus on those draft definitions later this semester. We hope to achieve a shared understanding of our ECHC vision and enable individuals and units to contribute to our progress.

November—Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, a time dedicated to honoring the rich traditions, histories, and contributions of Native American communities that have shaped the diverse fabric of our nation. Throughout November, we encourage everyone to engage in educational and cultural activities to deepen our understanding of Native American heritage.

For example, on Monday, November 14, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Multicultural Center, Mishuana Goeman, Tonawanda Band of Seneca, will present her latest publication, Mark My Words: Native Women Mapping Our Nations, followed by an opportunity for Q&A. 

 

Sept. '23 Updates

Join the Commission on Diversity and Community

Joining the Commission on Diversity and Community is a meaningful way to contribute to diversity, equity, belonging, and antiracism efforts on campus. This Commission is composed of students, staff, and faculty who develop, coordinate, and help advise regarding programs and key initiatives that help move the campus forward. Complete this form by October 6 to express an interest.

Indigenous Peoples Day Programming and Hispanic Heritage Month 

In acknowledgement of Indigenous Peoples Day and the contributions of the Haudenosaunee and all Indigenous peoples, Multicultural Affairs and Student Association are collaborating to provide a trip to Ganondagan’s Seneca Arts and Cultural Center on Saturday, October 7, from 10:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. This off-campus experience will provide students the opportunity to delve into the Haudenosaunee’s remarkable contributions to art, culture, and society. Students will embark on a tour of an authentic bark longhouse and discover more about this culture. Admission, transportation, and lunch are provided at no cost to students. Interested students can click here to register and learn more about this important opportunity.

Several events are being planned for Hispanic Heritage Month. For a complete list, visit the events calendar.

New Director of Multicultural Affairs Named

Clifton Harcum is our new director of multicultural affairs. As director, Harcum will provide vision and leadership to the range of programs and initiatives aimed to support the retention and success of BIPOC and other underrepresented students, as well as provide student support and follow-through in the aftermath of bias-related incidents. As a part of the Office of Diversity and Equity, he will collaborate with other ODE staff to shape the integration of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging ideals on campus. For more about Harcum, read the news story.

Office of Diversity and Equity Staffing Update

With Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs for LGBTQ+ Life Charlotte Wade’s recent departure, the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) has been developing a plan for interim staffing. The core responsibilities of that position will be distributed across two individuals, Noelia Ruiz and Tim Snider, who will each serve in a part-time capacity. Ruiz and Snider also serve Residence Life and have contributed immensely to LGBTQ+ life on campus. I am thrilled that they are willing to support ODE while we commence a national search for Wade’s successor. 

Cultivating Community Returns 

Now in its 7th year, the Cultivating Community dialogues resume on Wednesday, September 27, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. The topic is “Cultivating Community and a New Energy: Nourishing Ourselves and Our Environment One Conversation at a Time,” and it’s being hosted in collaboration with members of the Sustainability Commission. For more information and to register, see the website.

Calendar of Cultural Observances Available

Did you know that the Office of Diversity and Equity maintains a calendar of selected cultural holidays? You can download a printable calendar, which includes information through 2025.

Multicultural Dinners Return

The popular multicultural dinners and events have returned for the 2023-24 academic year. Some have already been scheduled, while many more will be added to the calendar as we head into the spring semester. All are invited to attend.

Ballroom Lounge Now Open

A new collaboration and rehearsal space is now open in the MacVittie College Union. The former Kinetic Gallery has been transformed into the Ballroom Lounge for students. The space, a reservable conference room, also will continue to showcase student art. 

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April '23 Updates

New Learning Community Focuses on Global Citizenship

The Global Citizenship Pedagogy Community (GCPC) had its first meeting on April 5. Developed by the Global Studies Cluster and the Teaching Learning Center, the GCPC is aimed at bringing faculty and student-facing staff together to consider the way we practice global citizenship amongst each other, and outwards to students, our Geneseo community, and beyond. Those who are well versed in Global Studies content, as well as those learning to globalize their curriculum towards Geneseo’s blossoming vision, are invited to engage with the GCPC. The first cohort will meet periodically throughout the 2023-24 academic year to build community around current courses and student engagement/projects, and collectively determine desired outcomes based on personal and community goals. 

Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Awards

The President’s Commission on Diversity and Community is soliciting nominations for the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Awards. The awards recognize students, student organizations, faculty, staff, and alums who have evidenced an extraordinary commitment to enhancing SUNY Geneseo's environment of mutual respect for all people and points of view. The award process enables us to share success stories as a community and celebrate the leadership and vision of our members and programs as we strive to foster a supportive and welcoming climate for everyone. Nomination deadline is Monday, May 1.

“Local” DEIB Efforts

This monthly update is frequently focused on College-wide diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts but we know many divisions and offices engage in their own work throughout the academic year. Below are just a few examples:

Enrollment Management is leading an effort to promote first-generation students on campus. By hosting events specifically to celebrate first-generation students, the department is providing a way for them to engage with each other, as well as with faculty and staff who also identify as first generation.

Academic Affairs is offering professional development for faculty in response to the Student Campus Climate Survey findings. The topics so far have focused on classroom engagement between faculty and students. The division is also continuing to recruit new faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds.

College Advancement is reviewing the ways in which it engages with alumni, particularly as it relates to events. The team is ensuring that the College connects with all alums; one way in which this is being accomplished is through the establishment of affinity groups.

We invite faculty, staff, and students to submit DEIB initiatives and programs for consideration for inclusion in upcoming monthly DEIB updates. Send your information to ode@geneseo.edu.

March '23 Updates

Employee Opinion Survey Underway

The Employee Opinion Survey is open until April 5. Faculty and staff should have received a link in their email from ModernThink. Please note that this survey is NOT the Employee Campus Climate Survey as first communicated on January 31. While we had intended to adapt it as the climate survey, upon further reflection and in response to specific feedback from colleagues, we pivoted to separating the two surveys, as each survey has a distinct and different purpose. We anticipate that information gleaned from this opinion survey, largely a human resource instrument, may help inform the development of our Employee Campus Climate Survey, to be administered at a later date.

Campus Engagement Opportunities

We are offering a series of engagement opportunities for individuals across campus to participate in facilitated dialogues about our equity-centered public honors college vision. We have a variety of dates, times, and locations available for faculty, staff, and students to opt in to these discussions, and we hope you all will take advantage of this opportunity to connect with others around our vision. Click here to sign up for one of the sessions.

Additional Accessibility for Commencement 

The Commencement Committee made the decision that in addition to having captioning both as part of the ceremonies and the livestream (instituted last year), we now will have American Sign Language interpreters present at commencement each year regardless of whether that service is requested.

Diversity Summit Evaluation 

The Diversity Summit planning committee is asking attendees to share feedback about their experience with the event and the impact that it has had on them. The committee also is soliciting ideas about themes and speakers for next year’s Summit. The results from this survey will play a key role in shaping the growth of this important program. Thank you in advance for your feedback.

Feb. '23 Updates

Diversity Summit is Tuesday!

The Diversity Summit is February 28; this year’s theme is Campus Climate: Learn, Engage, Take Action, and the keynote speaker is Emmanuel Kulu Jr., an African historian and author of Cameroonian descent (Zulu/Bantu tribe). Kulu began his professional creative career in 2015 with screenwriting and acting for films such as The Rize & Fall of Tephlon Ent, Bug Love, and The First Purge. You can view all the speakers and sessions here

Sybrina Fulton Webinar Culminated Black History Month 

On February 24, the Office of Multicultural Affairs hosted Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, for a Black History Month webinar. Fulton has become a role model to many by turning her grief into advocacy. As a mother, she inspires audiences to continuously educate their children about civil rights and to help them feel accepted as part of an ever-changing society. It was an honor to host Sybrina Fulton during Black History Month. Special thanks to the Student Association for sponsoring the lecture. I also commend Geneseo student, Awa Traore, for the wonderful facilitation of this important event!

Save the Dates for Commencement Recognition Celebrations!

Commencement recognition celebrations are important occasions for our campus community to support our graduates. All are welcome at the following events. Lavender Graduation Celebration for LGBTQ+ graduating students will be on May 16, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Doty Recital Hall. Be on the lookout to RSVP. Sankofa Graduation Celebration for students of color will be on May 18 at 2:30 p.m. in MacVittie College Union Ballroom. The Interfaith Center will host a Shabbat Shalom and lehitraot to our Jewish graduates on Friday, May 19, at 5:30 p.m. at the Interfaith Center followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Equity-Minded Search Practices Expanded

We hosted the first session of Equity-Minded Search Practices (EMSP) 3.0 this past week, building on the strong record of EMSP 1.0 and 2.0 sessions, a series that started in Jan 2018. Since issues affecting equitable practices are evolving, individuals interested in serving on search committees are required to attend the session every two years. To ensure our search committees reflect participation from across the campus, we urge faculty and staff members to be preemptive and register for a session.

Cabinet Meets with ACE Leaders

On February 17, members of the Cabinet met with leaders of the Alliance for Community Enrichment (ACE) organizations in a new format for the traditional Multicultural Leaders Reception event held each semester. ACE aims to promote and encourage the growth of a diverse environment for all students in the Geneseo community. I appreciate the dialogue design and co-facilitation of Abigail George and Alexander Ruiz, who were wonderful partners in the planning of this important event. One theme that emerged from the discussion was students’ desire to have faculty and staff support their events, particularly the upcoming multicultural dinners and events. Please consider attending a few of these terrific events to learn more about our students, their experiences, and their cultural backgrounds.

Jan. '23 Updates

Black History Month Events

In celebration of Black History Month, on February 22, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom, Kodjo Adabra, associate professor of francophone studies, will present his new book, “The Power of an Untamed Mindset,” followed by a Q and A and book signing. Other events are planned for Black History Month, as well. For a complete list, visit the events calendar.

Cultivating Community

This spring, the Cultivating Community Series will lean into the College’s value of creativity and our newly claimed vision as community members consider what it means to be equity-centered at Geneseo. Please join us in the College Union Ballroom on Tuesday, February 7, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. to consider the question: What does equity-centeredness look like, sound like, or feel like to you? Participants will be challenged to imagine how others’ artistically expressed visions of equity-centeredness can be transformed into climate-bettering practices. Those who are comfortable and interested in drawing, doodling, dancing, describing, or expressing in some other form their visions of equity-centeredness will be welcome to do so. Register here.

Diversity Summit

The Diversity Summit is February 28; this year’s theme is Campus Climate: Learn, Engage, Take Action, and the keynote speaker is Emmanuel Kulu Jr., an African historian and author of Cameroonian descent (Zulu/Bantu tribe). Kulu began his professional creative career in 2015 with screenwriting and acting for films such as The Rize & Fall of Tephlon Ent, Bug Love, and The First Purge. You can view all the speakers and sessions here. In addition, students, faculty, and staff are all welcome to participate in “The Hair Monologues." Applications are due February 9. For more information, contact Charlotte Wade at cwade@geneseo.edu

Supporting Departmental and Unit DEIB Plans

A new subcommittee of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Community has been established to support departments and other units in making progress towards their stated DEIB goals. This subcommittee will be gathering information about individual units’ aspirations/structures and developing resources that aim to both foster interdepartmental connectivity and provide support for initiatives. Please complete this Google form by February 8, to indicate your interest in joining this subcommittee.

Multicultural Graduation Celebration Dates Announced

Lavender Graduation and Sankofa Celebrations have been scheduled for 2023. Going forward, Lavender Graduation Celebration will fall on the Tuesday of Commencement Week in Doty Recital Hall. Sankofa Graduation Celebration will fall on the Thursday of Commencement Week in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom. 

2023 Geneseo Employee Climate Survey

Soon after Spring Break, we will launch the 2023 Geneseo Employee Climate Survey. The information gathered in this survey will provide insight about the overall climate for employees at Geneseo in ways that can affirm positives and promote action to address concerns. I encourage you to look for more communications about this opportunity as the date approaches and to participate in the survey. Without your candid feedback, we cannot learn and grow.

Seneca Nation Acquires Part of Historic Homeland 

As you are aware, SUNY Geneseo sits on land that is part of the historic homeland of the Seneca Nation of Indians and the Tonawanda Seneca Nation. The Big Tree Treaty, which created the original Seneca reservations, was signed on land adjacent to our campus. Of local interest, earlier this month the Seneca Nation acquired Canawaugus land in nearby Caledonia.