Diversity Summit 2024

Taking Action: Advancing Equity at Geneseo

The SUNY Geneseo Diversity Summit will take place on February 27, 2024. It is a full day of diversity-focused sessions hosted by members of the College community. There are no classes that day, and the Summit is free to attend.

Visit the Diversity Summit page of the Geneseo Events Calendar for the full list of Summit sessions.  

The Summit is a full day of sessions hosted by members of our community, concluding with a keynote address to the campus. Sessions may vary in length and format, including presentations, discussions, art activities, performances, and more. Each session is unique in its topic while centered around this year’s theme. The sessions are created and hosted by students, staff, and other community members looking to share their perspectives and have meaningful conversations. To save a session to your agenda, view the session and then click "add to calendar" (coming soon!).

Diversity Summit Program and Schedule is available now! 

Web version: Diversity Summit Program 2024  

PDF Downloadable version: Diversity Summit Program 2024

Be Part of the Diversity Summit!

Volunteer at the Diversity Summit! Behind the scenes, there are plenty of opportunities to help the day run smoothly. From serving as a session room host to greeting attendees at the information table, our volunteers are integral in making the Diversity Summit a success. Sign up by Tuesday, February 20, to be a volunteer! 

Community Art Project

Inclusivity and Representation in the Performing Arts

Season Selection Committee, Theatre & Dance and Music & Musical Theatre Departments 
Joan Floriano, Rosalind Isquith, Don Kot, Rajendra Maharaj, Olaocha Nwabara, Scott Scaffidi
10:00 a.m. - 2:15 p.m.
Bailey Atrium

Join the Season Selection Committee, Theatre & Dance and Music & Musical Theatre Department colleagues in developing a community art project and in conversation about inclusivity and representation in the performing arts. Faculty and students from Theatre & Dance, Music & Musical Theatre and beyond are gathering, in community, around this topic and would love input and participation from the wider Geneseo community. We are thinking deeply about what it means to be included as an artist, and what diverse representation means to those viewing, receiving, absorbing the art. Beyond thinking, the goal is to create a sustainable culture of encouraging diverse perspectives and talents in the performing arts at Geneseo.

Inclusivity and Representation in the Performing Arts Town Hall
12:20 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Bailey 101

Bring your ideas, your ears, your voices, your words, and your creativity to our daylong community art project, and town hall discussion during the Summit Break.

Tools to Transform Racialized Institutions 
of Higher Education

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Estela Bensimon

2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
College Union Ballroom


There is a lot of talk about institutional change and transformation, purportedly to improve educational outcomes for racially minoritized students. However, the “change strategies” that are proposed to achieve transformation are, mostly, race neutral and unlikely to have the power to undo/decenter whiteness in the structures, practices, policies, and cultural norms of colleges and universities.  

In this talk Bensimon puts forth a perspective on transformation that is premised on the idea of academic organizations as racialized entities. Institutions of higher education are extremely adept at “sensing disturbances” to the status quo and will seek to maintain homeostasis. The status quo/homeostasis is “whiteness,” “privilege,” “hierarchy” and “power asymmetries.” Drawing on the work of the USC Center for Urban Education, which Bensimon founded and directed for over 20 years, she will demonstrate tools to decenter “whiteness” in everyday practices. For more information on these tools, she invites you to preview them on the Center for Urban Education website.

Dr. Estela Bensimon Bio

Dr. Estela Mara Bensimon holds the prestigious title University Professor Emerita at the University of Southern California, awarded very selectively by the President based on multi-disciplinary interests and significant accomplishments in several disciplines.   She founded the Center for Urban Education at USC, and in 2023, the Center was recognized with the Association for the Study of Higher Education Presidential Medal. She now leads Bensimon & Associates, a consulting firm that provides services with a focus on racial equity to colleges, universities, and philanthropic organizations. Bensimon is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and a Fellow of the American Education Research Association.  

Dr. Bensimon has published extensively about equity, organizational learning, practitioner inquiry and change; and her articles have appeared in journals such as the Review of Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, Liberal Education, and Harvard Educational Review. Her most recent book is From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Expanding Practitioner Knowledge for Racial Justice in Higher Education, co-authored with Tia Brown McNair and Lindsey Malcom-Piqueux.  Her work has been supported by national foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Lumina Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, and the College Futures Foundation.

In 2023, Bensimon received the Council for the Study of Community Colleges Inaugural Presidential Citation of Excellence. Since 2020, Bensimon was awarded the Stan Jones Legacy Award by Complete College America, ASHE’s Howard Bowen Award and the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education which celebrates innovation, inspiration, and impact in education.  She serves on the boards of the Campaign for College Opportunity and Complete College America.

The keynote recording will be available on this site about a week after the Diversity Summit.

Featured Workshop

Understanding and Navigating Cultural Dynamics in the Workplace
Dr. Ricardo Nazario y Colón

SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion/ Chief Diversity Officer
11:20 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.
Bailey 101

Dr. Ricardo Nazario y Colón Bio

Dr. Nazario y Colón is SUNY's senior vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion and chief diversity officer. He was born in the South Bronx, New York, and raised in the highlands of Puerto Rico. He is an accomplished administrator with over 30 years of experience in various industries including higher education, business, the U.S. Military, and state government. He was the inaugural chief diversity officer at Western Carolina University, a role he held for seven years.

Dr. Nazario y Colón's research interest focuses on African American faculty and staff retention, Black culture centers, and multiracial identity development. His current board involvement includes the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, past president of the Appalachian Studies Association, Appalachian Regional Commission's Leadership Institute, and the University Press of Kentucky Appalachian Futures: Black, Native, and Queer Voice advisory board. His other board experiences include former Chair of Governor Cooper's Advisory Council on Hispanic Latino Affairs, the Fort Bragg Renaming Commission, the Kentucky Native American Commission, the NASPA Latinx Knowledge Community state representative for Kentucky and North Carolina, and the University of North Carolina System Racial Equity Task Force. 

He is a published poet with numerous publications in journals and anthologies. He has authored two full and one chapbook, The Moor of the Bronx, Finishing Line Press 2023, Of Jíbaros and Hillbillies, Plain View Press 2011, and The Recital, Winged City Press 2011. Dr. Nazario y Colón's research interests are Black culture centers, multiracial identity experience, and student leadership development. His doctoral research focused on African American faculty and staff retention. He is a former U.S. Marine and division one cross country athlete, a DeWitt Clinton high school graduate, a life member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets. 

Dr. Nazario y Colón earned a Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from Western Carolina University, a master's degree in Secondary Education from Pace University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature and Latin American Studies from the University of Kentucky.

Accessibility Statement 

If you require accommodations for equal access to this event, please contact the Office of Accessibility Services via email at access@geneseo.edu, or call 585-245-5112 at least one week prior to this event.

Event Parking 

We are grateful to the University Police Department for providing on campus parking for Diversity Summit attendants. There will be no ticketing in campus parking lots with the exception of handicapped parking spaces, load zones, and reserved lots O, LL, W, and G on February 27, 2024 for the duration of Summit events.

What happens after the Diversity Summit?

We will be sharing a google form that gathers feedback on this year’s summit. This allows us to hear ideas related to the focus of next year’s Diversity Summit. If you're interested in browsing the content of past Diversity Summits, visit the Summit archive. Any questions can be directed to the Diversity Summit Committee (diversitysummit@geneseo.edu).

The Diversity Summit Planning Committee includes representatives from the Office of Diversity & Equity, the President’s Commission on Diversity and Community, Division of Student & Campus Life, and members of our campus community.