Oct 12, 2021 3:37 PM

KSUnite promotes belonging and inclusion

Posted Oct 12, 2021 3:37 PM

By Scott Edger
Little Apple Post

Kansas State University advances its commitment to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging this week with Indigenous People Day Conference yesterday followed today by KSUnite. 

KSUnite is a recognition the programs, events, and activities across the diversity continuum at the school. Today marks the fifth annual KSUnite and features presentations from Minnijean Brown-Trickey, a key figure in the civil rights movement and member of the Little Rock Nine, who, after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, integrated Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957, and Caleb Stephens, a Lawrence social worker and connector of communities through vulnerability and mental wellness.  

The event is sponsored by the K-State Office of the President and overseen by Dr. Be Stoney, the school’s interim chief diversity and inclusion officer. 

Stoney, a longtime K-State College of Education faculty member sees KSUnite  as an opportunity to expand cultural understanding. It comes down to facilitating an environment where everyone has access to and is included.  

Stoney wants the event to enlighten people about what the proponents are trying to accomplish with diversity. She said that when people hear the word diversity, they normally think about race.  

“Diversity is so much more than race,” she said. “It’s religion, it’s sexual orientation, it’s gender identity. When we think about diversity, we really need to look at the intersectionality of who we are. 

“When we narrow the focus to just race, we are not really acknowledging our full identities,” she said. 

According to Stoney, inclusion and belonging are crucial ingredients to a, open, diverse environment because everyone needs a sense that they and their identity are valued. People who are made to feel that their identity is wrong can rapidly start to feel unsafe and like they don’t belong.  

“It’s important to learn from diverse people so we better understand how to grow and learn from others,” she said.  

This year's KSUnite event is themed "Our Lens, Our Focus, Our K-State," and takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 12, starting atv11 a.m. The event is a hybrid in-person/digital format. 

This year's KSUnite event, themed "Our Lens, Our Focus, Our K-State," will take place today starting at 11 a.m., and will be run a hybrid in-person/digital format. Zoom link to the Welcome and Plenary Sessions Passcode: 517833