University receives diversity award

UVM is a recipient of the annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award from INSIGHT into Diversity, a diversity-based publication.

The award recognizes colleges and universities that are “truly committed to diversity and inclusion,” said Holly Mendelson, owner and publisher of INSIGHT into Diversity.

“We [INSIGHT into Diversity] really felt that there was no recognition for colleges and universities for the work that they were doing on campuses,” Mendelson said.

Recipients of the award are selected based on their commitment to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus through initiatives, programs and outreach, according to their website.

“I believe that the [Higher Education Excellence in Diversity] award is the result of decades of diversity work,” said Lacretia Flash, senior adviser to the Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at UVM.

“Our engagement and promotion of diversity is deeply embedded within how we do business here and within our systems and structures,” Flash said.

These systems and structures range from the ALANA Center to the LGBTQ Center as well as the SGA’s Committee on Diversity, Equity and Environmental Ethics, the Inter-Residence Association and sponsored events like Equity Week and the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.

UVM is also dedicated to teaching its students about diversity through strategic diversity goals. One way that UVM aims to meet these goals is by requiring all undergraduate students to complete six credits worth of diversity classes.

Junior Dylan Letendre, chair of the Committee on Diversity, Equity and Environmental Ethic, said he wants to see improvements on the diversity requirements.

“We are looking at ways to improve the diversity requirement and to make it more applicable to students and more effective,” Letendre said.

“Our goal should be that when students leave UVM they are on the path to becoming global citizens that value diversity, social justice and inclusion,” he said.

“I think it is great, but I don’t think we should be fooled into believing that we have arrived,” Letendre said. “The award showcases our diversity efforts but it should also energize us to do even better.”