Unite Holds Informational Event to Raise Awareness of Importance of Inclusion on Campus

|
From left, Ben Edwards, M1; Peter Duden, M1; Maggie Joyce, Office of Equity and Diversity; and Nikki Dyer, Student Academic Support Services, offered information at the recent Unite event.
From left, Ben Edwards, M1; Peter Duden, M1; Maggie Joyce, Office of Equity and Diversity; and NaKeshi “Nikki” Dyer, Student Academic Support Services, offered information at the recent Unite event.

Unite, a student organization concerned with improving the visibility, strength and support of the LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) community on campus, held an information event in the lobby of the 920 Madison Building recently.

Unite joined with Student Academic Support Services (SASS) and the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) to put the event on. While volunteers from Unite provided resources and information about the group, OED and SASS staff offered information about local LGBTQI resources and ways to be an ally.

Unite meets at noon on Thursdays in the conference room across from the SASS office in the General Education Building. Interested students, faculty and staff from all the colleges at UTHSC are welcome to join.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OED and SASS offered Safe Zone training in March. The workshop was an open, nonjudgmental and safe forum geared toward helping people of all backgrounds understand how to create a supportive safe zone for LGBTQI individuals. Safe Zone training will probably be offered again in June.

NaKeshi “Nikki” Dyer, MS, NCC, educational specialist with SASS, helped connect Unite with OED for the informational event and future collaborations. “In my position, I am fortunate to work with many students from various colleges around campus. Our goal is to help students reach their academic goals,” she said. “Students may encounter challenges in their academic performance that are not related to their academic ability, but to personal issues. Sometimes this includes relational difficulties with significant others, gender identity and gender expression concerns. I am glad that we have an active student group like Unite on our campus. It is a great community of support for many students here.”

“Higher education institutions realize an advantage through diversity and inclusive practices as it relates to who participates through engagement and performance,” said Michael Alston, EdD, assistant vice chancellor for Equity and Diversity at UTHSC. “The student group UNITE is demonstrating that engagement and performance in the academic setting is open to all students.”

For more information about Unite, contact Colby Passaro at rpassaro@uthsc.edu.