This summer, Southern received a $50,000 grant from Lumina Foundation to fund a multi-pronged project addressing racial justice and equity on campus. Project components include recording and sharing oral histories, inviting nationally recognized speakers to Southern, funding creative student-led programs, and researching the impact of all these efforts on employee and student attitudes.
“Southern has an opportunity to be a model of a large institution that weaves racial reconciliation into its DNA, even though trying to achieve this goal can be challenging,” said Kristie Wilder, J.D., dean of the School of Social Work and co-director of the project.
From a pool of 312 nation-wide applicants, Southern was one of 19 colleges and universities selected to receive funding from Lumina’s Fund for Racial Justice and Equity.
“These campuses have shown a willingness to address racial disparities at a systemic level,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “They recognize that achieving equitable results is about more than promoting diversity — it’s about whether the institution fosters a climate in which every student feels welcome, and has the same opportunity to earn a degree or certificate of value, regardless of race or ethnicity.”
In these efforts, Wilder and the other co-directors — Stephanie Guster, M.S.W., assistant professor of social work, and Rachel Williams-Smith, Ph.D., dean of the School of Journalism and Communication — have the full support of Southern’s administration.
“Each individual student on our diverse campus is infinitely valuable in God’s eyes, and we want them to feel that love here — to feel safe, valued, and at home,” said David Smith, Ph.D., president of Southern. “This project will be another piece in our ongoing efforts to foster that kind of environment on our campus.”
Southern Adventist University | August 2018