EnginTalks is a new series of events created by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Student Advisory Board. The purpose of the series is to allow students to come to together to voice their thoughts on campus climate at the College of Engineering by asking faculty, staff and administrators questions about diversity, equity and inclusion.
EnginTalks: Building Solidarity, which took place on February 13, was our first event of the series. Students grabbed some food from Jerusalem Garden and were asked to write any questions, concerns or thoughts they had regarding DEI on campus on whiteboards. I thought the whiteboards were a nice touch, because they allowed people to remain anonymous if they desired.
After attendees wrote down questions, DEI SAB members greeted them with a warm welcome. A group of CoE faculty and staff were then introduced and took the “hot seat” in anticipation of the Q&A portion of the event. My fellow board member, Sebastian, and I sorted through guests’ questions and prompted faculty and staff with those questions. Some issues attendees brought up included the accessibility of demographics of the CoE, DEI training for staff and faculty and how to make students more aware of resources on campus.
After we asked a few questions, students were encouraged to ask follow up questions live. It was a great way both for faculty and staff to hear honest feedback directly from the voices of students and for informing students of the steps being taken to improve the CoE. I think it really showed the student body that they were important.
As a board member, it was also valuable to hear the viewpoints of my peers. The SAB only started this semester, so we want to make sure our actions reflect what the student body wants. Student concerns and ideas are absolutely essential to the growth of our board.
All in all, I enjoyed my experience at EnginTalks — the food was great and the conversation was interesting. We look forward to our second event of the EnginTalks series coming up soon: A Conversation With Faculty.
We hope to see you there on March 28 at 5:00pm in the Duderstadt Underground!
– Jumanah Colvin