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Adding Voice to VISIONS

The VISIONS + Voices Planning Committee includes (l-r)—Eric Wimbley, director of security; Mia Henry, executive director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership; Jacob Lemon, area coordinator for residence life; Kyle Schultz, circulation supervisor for Upjohn Library; Laura Wilson, associate director for the Kalamazoo College Fund; and Jane Hoinville, prospect research analyst for College advancement.

A committee of six faculty and staff members is offering a three-part multicultural training titled “VISIONS + Voices,” which is open to all Kalamazoo College employees.

The sessions build upon diversity training offered in previous years to faculty and staff through the “VISIONS” program. According to members of the planning committee, attendees felt that program provided helpful resources but lacked a platform for sharing personal experiences. “VISIONS + Voices” augments the original training.

“We felt we could extend some of the conversations we had. We wanted to explore these conversations in more depth,” said Jacob Lemon, residential life area coordinator and member of the “VISIONS + Voices” planning committee.

A Diversity and Inclusion Mini-Grant made the planning committee’s vision a reality.

“We felt it [the grant] was a good fit for the follow-up work we were doing,” said Mia Henry, committee member and executive director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership.

Three supplemental sessions are offered: “Microagressions,” “Monoculture, Pluralism, and Multiculturalism,” and “Marginalization on Campus.”

The first session (microaggressions) took place on April 8. About 40 staff and faculty members attended, just short of the 50 person cap.

The major take-away from the first session was attendees’ openness and willing to develop support groups, according to committee member Kyle Schulz, circulation supervisor for Upjohn Library.

“It’s clear that there is a thirst for faculty and staff to connect with one another and learn,” said Henry.

Two more opportunities remain for interested community members to attend. The session on “Monoculture, Pluralism, and Multiculturalism” will be offered on Thursday, May 7, and the session regarding “Marginalization on Campus” will take place Friday, June 19. Both sessions occur from 8:15- a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership.

Interested faculty and staff may register online.

Text and photo by Matthew Muñoz ’14