Student Affairs Wants to Talk About Race with Book Clubs

November 23, 2020
Colleen Vandenboom

Following the death of George Floyd, in a summer filled with racial tension, the Division of Student Affairs sought out ways to process the national events, while actively working to become anti-racist. As a group of educators, we know that creating a culture of caring and inclusion, starts with us, so we felt compelled to do more. Fortunately, organizing events and conversations is not new to the SA team, we do it all the time for our students. However in the summer of 2020, we decided the programs should focus on educating and developing us. The professional development committee put a call out to the division to partake in book clubs, affinity circles and film discussions. The response was overwhelming.  In the end over 36 staff members signed-up for weekly guided book clubs. Each week a group of 5-8 staff members would come together to discuss Oluo's words and lessons (So You Want to Talk about Race (2018), while also reflecting on the daily context we were living in.  As a result of participation in the book clubs, SA staff grew in their ability to engage in difficult and necessary conversations, and also built relationships across the division.