A window into two years of diversity efforts, part two of a three-part series: Diversity Student Alliance back on campus

Jamie Glenn

The Diversity Student Alliance was created to allow student leaders to gather from various groups on campus to collaborate, discuss and promote diversity and inclusion across NMU.

Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion and chair of the alliance Jessica Cruz rebooted the once inactive group in the fall of 2017, after interest in restoring the alliance was brought to her attention.

“The purpose of the alliance is to establish an ongoing dialogue between the student organizations that are interested in diversity promotion and it gives me an opportunity to connect with all of the student organizations related to diversity without having to go to all of the individual meetings.”

Alliance member and junior communications major Madeline Wiles from Gladstone, Michigan discussed the involvement of student leadership within the group.

“I believe the main message was to get active student leaders on campus that are passionate about diversity and inclusion issues, and really we come together to bring awareness and education to others, on and off campus,” Wiles said. “I think the group brings people who normally wouldn’t affiliate with one another [the chance] to come together as a group and be able to help one another,” Wiles said.

Given that the group has been inactive for some time, Wiles is optimistic about the groups potential.

“I think this group has the potential to change other people’s points of views and give a lens to see other diverse issues and to understand each other a little more,” Wiles said. “I’m looking forward to branching out now a group that I will be able to access for Global Citizen Week being able to coordinate with like-minded students who are active and passionate about the same issues that I am.”

Junior criminal justice major Erica Krause, an active attendee for the alliance, discussed the value of communication when collaborating on diversity initiatives on campus.

“I think it’s important to communicate. Rather than going to all of those groups, we’re all just meeting in one space at one time throughout the semester, giving updates, talking about things on campus that can be fixed. I think that there’s always ideas that can be shared,” Krause said. “Society wants all these people to be put in specific boxes, your color, your religion, your sexuality. When you create these diverse groups on campus, they’re still labeled but we’re expanding those boxes, we’re expanding those terms, we’re teaching people that those boxes don’t even have to exist.

“I would suggest keeping up with it and attend the meetings as a diverse group leader because I think there’s a lot of potential to happen with it,” Krause said.