BLOG: My Experience Thus Far with IDEAA
Feature Series: HoyasForShe Reflections
I am a female Afro-Caribbean student. In today’s society, the stigma of being a minority, whether female or a different ethnicity, has hindered many potentially great opportunities for individuals in their careers and/or personal life. Therefore, I applied for the HoyasForShe Fellowship at the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action (IDEAA) because I believed in the mission statement of the office: "To promote a deep understanding and appreciation among the diverse members of the university community to result in justice and equality everywhere."
Being the only graduate student in the HoyasForShe program means, to me, that I have to set an example not only for the fellows in the undergraduate program but for my colleagues in my master’s program as well. Being in the hospitality industry, I knew I had a lot more to learn regarding diversity and inclusion in a work environment. Since I have been here, I have learned a lot about the HeForShe Champions and how these leaders take action for gender equality in their countries and organizations.
As a fellow, I was asked to get more involved in the graduate student community to help inform students of all of the offices and initiatives—such as such as the Georgetown Women’s Alliance, Gender Justice Initiative, and IDEAA— that can be utilized during their years at Georgetown's School of Continuing Studies (SCS). This was more challenging than I expected because unlike me, other graduate students have full-time jobs. They don’t have a lot of time on their hands to visit these offices, between going to work, getting to class on time, and finally completing projects and assignments. It was hard for me to get their attention and even harder for me to keep their attention.
Many students in SCS, including those in my Global Hospitality Leadership program, have never been to Georgetown's main campus. My main issue was making my colleagues aware of the resources that are available to them. My solution was to inform Dr. Erin Tucker, my professor in Ethics and Leadership, to encourage students to take advantage of the resources and organizations that Georgetown has to offer.
Going into the spring semester, I spoke with Rosemary Kilkenny, vice president, diversity, equity & inclusion and chief diversity officer at Georgetown, about a future project that I can work on to bring students, faculty, and staff together.
March 8th celebrates International Woman's Day. Unfortunately, the event wasn’t a focal point for many students last year because it fell during a spring break. International Woman's Day will fall on another spring break in 2020. However, with the help of other fellows, I believe we can organize an unforgettable event to celebrate the day. In this process, I will apply for the HoyasForShe Student Fund to make this on-campus event possible.
This post was prepared by Cherrish Wilson (G'20) as part of the HoyasForShe Student Fellowship.