Diversity Symposium to center on belonging


Layout by Dora Kreitzer ’25, Print Managing Editor.

Maximus Bean, News Co-Editor

The Annual Bucknell University Diversity Symposium will start at 8:15 a.m. and will continue until 5:30 p.m. in the evening this Friday, March 31. 

Associate Dean of Students Denelle Brown, said in an email that the symposium’s theme allows for “broadening and deepening our campus community’s capacity for excellence and inclusion; enriching and engaged learning across all areas of the University; highlighting the expertise and valuing the lived experiences of Bucknell students, staff and faculty.”

The central theme for this year’s symposium is “Belonging at Bucknell: Who we are and who we would like to be.”

The schedule is as follows:

8:15 – 8:52 a.m.: An Inclusion Audit Process with breakfast – Presentation, ELC Walls Lounge.

The Student Learning Support (SLS) team began their audit research process in January 2021. They will be sharing their progress thus far in the audit process as they have reviewed Bucknell systems and culture. Laura Lanwermeyer, associate director of SLS, and Katie Daly, the Assistant Director of SLS will be presenting these findings.

9:00 – 9:52 a.m.: Exploring the Sense of Belonging through Scholarship – Organized Panel Presentation, ELC Center Room by Gulay Guzel, Melissa Intindola, Karen McGrath and Kate Suslava.

Gulay Guzel will explain the power bystanders have to stand against inequity. Melissa Intindola will speak on how employers can make workplaces more inclusive through HR and how it can be applied to Bucknell. Karen McGrath will discuss how finance subjects can be made less intimidating to inexperienced students.

10:00 – 10:52 a.m.: Griot: Telling the Story of Black Bucknell – Organized Panel Presentation, ELC Walls Lounge by Jerra Holdip ’23 and Ninah Jackson ’25, who are student interns for the Griot Institute for the Study of Black Lives and Culture.

The Griot Institute has been conducting research on the Black student experience at Bucknell, as well as interviewing black students and faculty over the past several years. They will be presenting their findings and revealing what role students can play.

11:00 – 11:52 a.m.: How to Help People of Faiths Belong Better at Bucknell: Secular Privilege at a Secular University – ELC Center Room by Paul Siewers, Kelsi Buckley, Sid Jamieson, Manning Matus ’21 and Quintina Smith ’23.

Aiming to bring attention to the occurrences of the Bucknell community erasing religious identities, and referring to differences as political, their discussion is quoted as having the goal of encouraging contrasting cultures and perspectives. 

“The panel grew out of experiences of students and university employees from various religious traditions who felt that Bucknell as a secular university did not make people of traditional faiths feel at home as much as it should,” Professor Siewers said to The Bucknellian. “We have people from various traditions on the panel; one former student will be zooming in from Ethiopia.”

“We hope to discuss how secular privilege at our university involves a modern Enlightenment-centered and Eurocentric view that often is not aware of this bias because it labels itself progressive,” he added “Im glad the university offered this opportunity to discuss these issues; all of us participating hope they will be included in future programs to encourage equity and belonging at Bucknell.”

12:00 – 1:22 p.m.: Lunch with Two Sessions. Food, Faith, Justice: Stories from Baltimore – Organized Panel Presentation, ELC Walls Lounge by Da’Mirah Vinson 26, Cindy Cortez Cu 24, Dora Kreitzer 25 and Kurt Nelson.

Student panelists from the UNIV 192 class “Food, Faith, Justice: Baltimore” will reflect on what they have learned in the class and discuss questions such as “Why are people in Baltimore experiencing food insecurity in 2023?” and “How do we build hopeful, resilient and thoughtful communities of response?”

Life of an ABC in a PWI – Presentation, ELC Walls Lounge by Vivian Kuang 25.

Vivian Kuang 25 will speak on her experiences as an American-Born Chinese (ABC) student and talk about her experiences with self-identity and embracing her cultural heritage.

1:30 – 2:22 p.m.: Campus Sexual Assault: A Coalition Approach – Organized Panel Presentation, ELC Forum by Samantha Hart, Kristin Gibson, Abby Fite, Jamie Grobes, Kalila Beehler and Erica Delsandro.

This panel will speak about campus sexual assault through university offices and departments that engage in education, support, advocacy and information gathering. The goal of this panel is to display the on-campus resources aiding in educating the campus community, supporting victim-survivors, advocating for cultural change and sharing quantitative and qualitative information about the issue’s complexity.

2:30 – 3:22 p.m.: DEI Education Abroad at Bucknell – Important Lessons Learned – Organized Panel Presentation, ELC Forum by Jen Fritz, Trace Coates, Sam Pring 23, Sebastian Guerrero 23, Georgia Lambrakis 23 and Stephen Appiah-Padi.

This panel has been organized to discuss the initiatives being taken at Bucknell to increase DEI within the study abroad programs. Students who have participated in these programs will be speaking on their experiences abroad. The session will offer an opportunity to brainstorm for potential new initiatives in the future. It is also noted that this presentation was co-sponsored by OGOE and the Internationalization Lab Leadership committee.

3:30 – 4:22 p.m.: Belonging at Bucknell as an International – Workshop, ELC Walls Lounge by Jennifer Figueroa, Heather Almer, Donna Ebernstein and Joicy Gu ’23.

Students and professors with the Bucknell Internationalization Lab task force will share data points to raise awareness of the issues faced by international students, faculty and staff and to generate concrete ideas to address moving forward. The session will include a community dialogue, brainstorming and feedback session.

4:30 – 5:22 p.m.: Expression Through Art – Creative Session, ELC Terrace Room by Jailen Anderson 24, Grace Kim 25, Jerimaha McClain 26, Yosief Tewelde 26 and David Randrianarivelo 26.

In this RSVP-required creative session, selected artists will first walk the audience through their work as it relates to their identity and encourage attendees to do the same while they create art of their own. The audience will next be split into groups and conversations with specific artists and DEI board members about art-making through a DEI lens.

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