by Sasha Gibson
Welcome! We are so excited to see the Gonzaga community grow with all of your diverse experiences and perspectives. At GU, our mission states we “foster a mature commitment to dignity of the human person, social justice, diversity, intercultural competence, global engagement, solidarity with the poor and vulnerable, and care for the planet.” A commitment to social justice, or the belief in and active work of creating communities that benefit and serve all members in equitable ways, is vital to who we are as Zags.
In college you are meeting new people, exploring your new home, and setting yourself up for success. It is also an opportunity to introduce yourself to many different schools of thought. You may find GU to be a more diverse place than you have ever seen before – or you may find it to be less. Regardless of your starting point, know that your time at Gonzaga is an opportunity to take the next step in your journey as an informed, compassionate global citizen.
For me, college provided an avenue to pursue my studies inside the classroom and apply my learning in engagement outside the classroom. As you explore race, gender, ethics, and global issues in your core and major classes, I encourage you to consider how you can apply what you learn to campus, and beyond. Oftentimes people believe that they won’t have anything to contribute to events focused on multiculturalism if they are white; or that they can’t join a conversation about LGBTQ issues if they don’t identify as LGBTQ. Events surrounding diversity, inclusion, and cultural engagement are for everyone – so let me be the first to invite you to one of the many opportunities you will find on campus!
The Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Community, & Equity is located on the 2nd floor of Hemmingson and has a lounge and library open to all students. Our office includes the Lincoln LGBTQ+ Resource Center and the Unity Multicultural Education Center (UMEC); you are more than welcome to come and pay us a visit anytime! Our professional staff, work studies, and returning Zags are always happy to see new faces around. We also offer chances to:
- Sign up to participate in the Intergroup Dialogue Program (a 10-week dinner and deeper dive into race or gender)
- Submit to perform a piece in our annual spring Diversity Monologues
- Ask our Common Ground Peer Educators to present to your class, floor, or club.
- Join UMEC for a film screening, speaker series, and more
- Fill your plate at the LGBTQ+ Center’s monthly “Out to Lunch with Allies” series
- Follow us on social media for more great events
Also know that the chances don’t stop with the centers. Consider taking advantage of any of the following:
- Attend one of GU’s cultural club meetings
- Talk to your RA about joining Advocates for Social Justice
- Check out some of the social justice programming offered through GSBA
- Take a class or attend a lecture outside your comfort zone
One of the wonderful things about GU is this list touches on only a few of the many ways you can continue your social justice journey. You have your entire time here to explore what gets you fired up. From all of us in the DICE area, welcome and we can’t wait to see you around campus!
Sasha Gibson is a Program Manager for Social Justice and Outreach in UMEC, a part of the Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Engagement (DICE) Area.
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