University faculty, staff and students spoke about the value of a rich and varied campus community Sept. 13 at the Diversity Days kickoff celebration, which marks the start of a month of inclusion and acceptance-related activities on campus.
Beginning with a dance by undergraduate student Adriana Glover, the event sought to show and tell why inclusion and acceptance at UGA are integral parts of the learning experience.
“Our theme this year is ‘Embracing Diversity: Strengthening the Root.’ It refers to our continuing metaphor that diversity is a living and breathing part of this university. Like a plant, our ideas of inclusion and acceptance must be planted and tended-even as they blossom all around us, ” said Cheryl Dozier, associate provost for institutional diversity and chief diversity officer. “That is why we’re here today: To remind ourselves of what our collective values are. Each year, our campus population grows more and more diverse. That’s why it’s especially important that today, at the beginning of a new school year, we come together to celebrate all the people of our campus who bring with them new opportunities for inclusion and acceptance.”
As with previous years, the event included the Office of Institutional Diversity Embracing Diversity Awards, which recognize individuals and groups who have extended themselves beyond their assigned job responsibilities to promote diversity and inclusion on campus. Award recipients were Karen Kalivoda, director of the Disability Resource Center in the Division of Student Affairs; Kecia Thomas, a professor of psychology and senior adviser to the dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; the Graduate and Professional Scholars organization and the Office of Diversity and High School Outreach in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
The program also included remarks by Jere Morehead, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; Uttiyo Raychaudhuri, associate director of study-abroad in the South Pacific and the Caribbean; Sergio Quesada, senior academic professional in the department of anthropology; and Camille Essucy, director of public relations for Lambda Alliance. All events included in Diversity Days can be found on the university’s master calendar (www.uga.edu/mastercalendar.)