George Mason University’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and well-being came in the form of a capacity crowd at Dewberry Hall in the Johnson Center on April 13.
Three hundred seventy-five people attended the “Diversity, Inclusion and Well-Being Summit,” including a diverse group of students, staff, faculty, alumni, parents and community members.
The purpose of the daylong dialogue was to find ways to make Mason more welcoming and a place more likely to inspire its members to be successful.
Rose Pascarell, Mason’s vice president for University Life, and Julian Williams, Mason’s vice president for Compliance, Diversity and Ethics, said they were thrilled with the enthusiasm and creative energy they witnessed from the attendees. The next step will be to take what they’ve learned and put that information into action, they said.
“People are very committed to talking about this community, strengthening our efforts around diversity, inclusion and well-being and looking at these issues and all the ways they intersect,” Pascarell said.
Seeking to formulate a vision and the best plan of action, the summit encouraged participants to learn about one another while sharing their own individual experiences in the hopes of facilitating a better culture of diversity, inclusion and well-being.
The day’s sessions included time for participants to articulate the strengths they currently see at Mason and the future they envisioned, brainstorming opportunities and discussions about ways to transform their ideas into action. Chief on most wish lists were better understanding between different student groups and a more diverse faculty that more accurately represents the most diverse student body in the Commonwealth.
Mason graduate Merone Hailemeskel said she was pleased to see her alma mater taking steps to making Mason a more inclusive place.
“There are always things we can work on and improve,” she said.
Williams said the day exceeded his expectations because so many within the community were willing to give up a gorgeous Friday afternoon to help make Mason a better place. Interest was so high that a waiting list was started two weeks prior to the summit.
“This is sort of who we are as an institution,” Williams said. “I think it speaks to what we do well here.”