Santa Clara University

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SCU continues pursuit of multicultural learning with Difficult Dialogue Series

After an eye-opening experience in her multiculturalism class that led her to a great deal of introspection, SCU Counseling Psychology student Daniela Velasquez took a portion of SCU’s mission to heart: “to serve and advocate with underrepresented, underserved, and disenfranchised populations locally and globally.”

Daniela’s first step was joining the Perspectives Committee, where she has participated in SCU’s Difficult Dialogue Series, a program started by the Office for Multicultural Learning (OML) in winter quarter, 2014. The series seeks to increase inclusiveness on campus through faculty and student facilitated discussions in which students, faculty, and other members of the SCU community are invited to both share their experiences and perspectives, and to learn from those of others. Topics so far have covered issues of race, gender, and status as international and first generation students. The program’s purpose is to connect campus, and its leaders in particular, in order to educate, explore, and challenge.  
    
The Perspectives Committee and the OML worked in collaboration with others on campus to bring the highly esteemed Dr. Joseph White, the “godfather” of black psychology to campus for a conversation and lecture. Over 70 attended the event, where Daniela had the privilege of introducing Dr. White.

Daniela has been overwhelmingly impressed by how vocal and passionate students have been. In group discussions on campus, she has assisted in facilitating conversations about feelings of marginalization and discrimination, looking at events on campus, and beyond, such as the recent controversy at SJSU.

Looking to the future, Daniela would like to see current programs expand, because “these are real issues that can’t simply be covered in a classroom,” and when it comes to “cultural competence and awareness, you don’t ever stop learning.” She embodies the spirit of being inclusive at SCU, hoping to see the forum grow and “see marginalized groups get their voice, so they can feel they belong.”
 

 
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