Division of Inclusion and Equity celebrating 10 years

By Sarah Hollis | 2/1/18 1:27am

GVL/Luke Holmes - Jesse Bernal, pictured, introduces a keynote speaker during a lecture in the Cook-DeWitt Center Monday, Sept. 26, 2016.

Grand Valley State University's Division of Inclusion and Equity is preparing to celebrate its 10th anniversary on Thursday, Feb. 8. The event will be taking place at 20 Monroe Live in Grand Rapids from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

The Division of Inclusion and Equity is a component that works to ensure that GVSU’s campus supports diversity and that traditionally underrepresented groups are provided with equal opportunities. 

“The Division of Inclusion and Equity supports GVSU in being the model for equity and inclusion among public, comprehensive regional universities in the nation—growing programs and initiatives to align with the current needs of students, faculty, staff and the broader community,” said Jesse Bernal, vice president for inclusion and equity at GVSU, via email. “We ensure access and support for all at Grand Valley. We lead this work with a social justice and intersectional framework, in collaboration with other university divisions and units.”

The 10th anniversary event will include several speakers, as well as the announcement of a new scholarship opportunity. 

“Our goal is to highlight and build awareness around our innovative and pioneering approach to inclusion and equity,” Bernal said. “Attendees can expect to hear from President Haas, myself and other special guests, including Jeanne Arnold, who served as Grand Valley's inaugural vice president for inclusion and equity.

“We are also excited to announce a new scholarship focused on supporting undergraduates who want to go into careers related to inclusion and equity in higher education.”

The event is open to everyone, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners. Bernal also extended an invitation to “those working with us to address the shared interests and needs of both our university and broader community."

“We believe that the values of equity and inclusion make each member of our community better and are fundamental to what it means to be a Laker," Bernal said. "This anniversary celebrates and builds on work done by students, faculty and staff members since Grand Valley welcomed its first class in 1963. When President Haas created the Division of Inclusion and Equity in 2008, GVSU was the first institution of its kind to create such a division and hire a vice president to lead its efforts.

"Our world today requires that universities pay attention to such issues. However, it is our full embrace of diversity, equity and inclusion that enables GVSU to thrive.”

The Division of Inclusion and Equity is comprised of several different units, including the Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity, Campus Interfaith Resources, Disability Support Resources, Gayle R. Davis Center for Women and Gender Equity, Kaufman Interfaith Institute, Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Pathways to College Office, Social Justice Education, Title IX office and Veterans Upward Bound.

Those interested in attending the 10th anniversary celebration must fill out a form available at www.gvsu.edu/administration/cms-form-edit.htm?formId=5E390E15-F745-1ADE-FBF1DC9FEE0D04DC.

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