University of Vermont

Diversity Task Force Update – December 2013

First year students (left to right) Brittany LeBeau (ENSC '17) and Jennifer Gil (ENSC '17) participate in the We are Rubenstein campaign.
First year students (left to right) Brittany LeBeau (ENSC '17) and Jennifer Gil (ENSC '17) participate in the We are Rubenstein campaign.

The Diversity Task Force began its work late in the semester but has, nonetheless, had an exciting start to the new academic year. One of the first events the Task Force participated in was the “Environmental Racism” talk by Albert Huang from the Natural Resources Defense Council at Saint Michaels College. A group of students attended the talk and discussed the topic afterward.

In collaboration with the Rubenstein Stewards, we kicked off the “We are Rubenstein” campaign with warm food, information, and fellowship. We are especially excited to carry this campaign forward as it provides an opportunity for individuals to celebrate the diversity within them and between themselves and others in the Rubenstein School.

The Rubenstein School is proud to embody both internal and external diversity, and this campaign represents the School’s celebration of its accomplishments. Look forward to seeing this campaign at future events where photos and forms will be collected from students, faculty, and staff in the Rubenstein School. Eventually, these photos and personal reports will be posted to the website to strengthen our presence and put diversity in the conscious realm.

In partnership with Shelburne Farms, we hosted a Friday breakfast at the ALANA Center. Over lots of good food, students had the opportunity to network with employees from Shelburne Farms.

On December 4th, Doug Lantagne, Chair of the Search Committee for the Rubenstein School’s new Dean, met with us to create a clearer line of communication between the Task Force and the Search Committee. Our goal is to meet with every candidate for the Dean position. Not only are we looking for a Dean who has a background in diversity work, we are also making an attempt to create a more diverse body as a whole. The first step is revising the diversity language in faculty job descriptions as well as in the description of Burlington within advertisements.

The Diversity Task Force will also be collaborating to form a mutually beneficial relationship with an emerging organization similar to our Task Force in the College of Nursing & Health Sciences. Sharing ideas and co-hosting events will strengthen the Task Force as it works toward developing a more diverse school.

There is a lot in store for the Spring semester. We plan to host a movie night, the traditional Multicultural Dinner after Spring Break, and other surprise events. We are excited to explore new opportunities that will enable the growth of the group and serve as a platform for more open conversations about diversity. Look out for more e-mails from us.