It’s hard to connect the dots on how a Tacos & Trivia night relates to a free throw competition in terms of promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. But for Dr. Nkenge Friday, those events plus several others during the week leading up to Homecoming Weekend were perfect examples of how to engage the campus community with a variety of inclusive events — all part of the One Marietta launch.
Friday, who is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, has been working on breathing new life into the College’s approach to diversity and inclusion efforts, which gained steam in late August when about 40 members of the campus community, including with Marietta College President and Professor of Management Dr. William N. Ruud, signed A Declaration on the Rights of Historically-Underserved Students.
During that presentation, Ruud, Friday, Dr. Richard Danford, Vice President of Student Life and Diversity, and West Virginia University at Parkersburg President Dr. Chris Gilmer, founder of the National Institutes for Historically-Underserved Students, discussed approaches to improving inclusivity and understanding on campus and in the community.
“My commitment to you is that we will create processes, structures and systems that will empower students, faculty and staff to lead our College through growth and changes” Ruud says. “Ultimately, we will be a role model for our peers, for our community and even ourselves.”
One Marietta’s launch included events such as Tacos & Trivia, the free throw competition, the President’s Choice Awards talent show, a welcoming meet and greet with alumni arriving to campus for Homecoming, a “Snap and Chat” social, and a Capoeira performance at the Kremer Amphitheatre.
Friday and her office are focused on building up current efforts and also adding opportunities for more involvement by diverse groups. At the start of the semester, the College opened the new Multicultural Center, which is housed in the Arts & Humanities building on Fourth Street. Additionally, her office is working on revitalizing the Charles Sumner Harrison Organization, LGBTQ efforts and activism, Brother 2 Brother, Global Connections, Ambassadors for Inclusive Excellence, and the Council for Inclusive Excellence.
“Our goal is to be highly visible,” Friday says. “Our goal is to make this office a part of what we [as a campus] do.”
- Gi Smith