Fairfield University Hosts 36th Annual Meeting of the AJCU Conference on Diversity and Equity

By Angel Garcia, Assistant Director, Office of Residential Living at Georgetown University

Participants at the 2017 AJCU Conference on Diversity and Equity at Fairfield University (Photo courtesy of DJ Todd, Marquette University)

The AJCU Conference on Diversity and Equity (CDE) celebrated 36 years of excellence, leadership and walking in solidarity with marginalized populations during its annual meeting at Fairfield University from June 13th to 16th. Will Johnson, Associate Dean of Students at Fairfield and CDE’s Treasurer, led the host committee in setting the agenda for this year's meeting. An engaged and well-rounded group of attendees, purposeful and diverse sessions, alongside remarkable and thought-provoking speakers made our time at Fairfield an inspirational and rejuvenating experience.
 
“Where Do We Go From Here: Creating an Intersectional Vision for Radical Social Change” was chosen as the theme of this year's meeting. With 17 of the 28 U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities represented, seventy-one participants walked away inspired to challenge inequities that are plaguing our institutions and communities, which are currently being exacerbated by the current political and social climates across our nation. Eight concurrent and three plenary sessions brought to light new topics of conversation and new approaches to fostering dialogue and historical context to continue understanding current challenges. Attendees included leaders of academic success centers, chief student affairs officers, deans, department chairs, faculty, chief diversity and inclusion officers and campus ministry directors; this diverse group provided a foundation for comprehensive discussions and possible solutions to take back to their home institutions.

Fifteen high-quality workshops were presented by our attendees and guests, covering a variety of topics that appealed to all corners of our campuses. Workshops topics touched on creating sustainable systems for social change, deepening our conversations and understanding of Jesuit values, staying true to our mission, keeping stakeholders and each other accountable, the importance of fundraising initiatives with a lens of inclusion, supporting students in their journey for activism and volunteerism, and the crude reality of immigration reform and its impact on our students and communities.
 
Highlights of the meeting included three featured speakers, Dr. Raymond Reyes (Gonzaga University), Dr. Yohuru Williams (Fairfield University) and Dr. Tanya Williams (co-lead facilitator for the LeaderShape Institute), as well as a panel of three chief diversity and inclusion officers: Rosemary Kilkenny (Georgetown University), Monica Nixon (Saint Joseph's University) and Amit Taneja (College of the Holy Cross).
 
Please save the date for the 37th annual meeting of the AJCU Conference on Diversity and Equity, to be held at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI from June 24-27, 2018!