The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) program is looking to respond to growing concerns regarding diversity and unheard voices at Oklahoma Christian University. To fill this need, DEI will have a new office next to The Brew and will provide a new outlet for students to grow awareness on campus.
Elise Miller, the diverse initiative assistant, was hired at the start of the spring semester to serve students on campus.
“The purpose of DEI is just to advocate for students of color and other diverse student groups,” Miller said.
DEI is a response to an urgency to highlight organizations like the Black Student Union (BSU) and the Latin American Student Organization (LASO).
“I want to make sure every student who goes through Oklahoma Christian feels like they’re liked and included,” Miller said. “And I hope they see themselves represented with their professors and the other staff who work here.”
Inclusion is a commitment which someone like DJ Walters, the BSU president, is looking forward to using as a tremendous platform for recognition and understanding.
“So many people do not know how to have the uncomfortable conversations, so our goal last semester was to bring those uncomfortable conversations up so we could talk about topics like race, social injustice and equality,” Walters said.
Outlets for ideas are everywhere, and with the student council taking the lead on setting the milestones for the DEI office, there will be more opportunities for representation for Oklahoma Christian students.
“Hopefully we’re able to brainstorm even more ways to promote diversity, equity and inclusion and elevate the BSU and LASO as well as other minority student groups who might pop up,” Miller said.
There is a widespread number of minority students on Oklahoma Christian’s campus and the DEI will create endless opportunities for the ideas of the DEI, the BSU and LASO.
“We just had our BSU movie night last night and you could just see the diversity around the room,” Walters said. “It is not just black or latino students, it is the white students, it is asian students; every race, every ethnicity is coming to our events now.”
Having a special place to administer to the campus the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion will be a great step toward the continual improvement of student life.
“It will change the campus in a positive way because it will be there for students to have a safe space where they can go to talk about their problems and it will be a resource which will be easy to find,” Walters said.
Student leaders will be able to contribute to the DEI program and provide new ways for students to become involved in a more influential way they never could before.
“I just hope I can be a source of hope and light for them, so they know their dreams they want to accomplish are entirely possible and feasible,” Miller said.
Construction for the DEI office is expected to finish in a month and be fully active all around campus for students to become more involved and learn about the experiences of their fellow students.