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Our students are fostering an environment of greater belonging and inclusion—at Adelphi and beyond. Our community recently launched three meaningful examples of student-centered initiatives: the Equitable Adelphi Action Team, the Indigenous Peoples Awareness Coalition (IPAC) and InQUEERies.

Colleges across the nation are paying increasing attention to student voices in effort to be more responsive to the needs and concerns of members of the campus community.

Adelphi is not only listening to students—it is actively recruiting student-led groups to serve as partners in raising awareness and promoting diversity.

In doing that, the University is helping develop student leaders and introducing new ways that students can learn from one another.

Here are three ways Adelphi is bringing student leaders to the table on campus life.

InQUEERies lets LGBTQIA+ students tell their stories

Kenneth Dionisio

Kennie Dionisio

When Kennie Dionisio, a sophomore majoring in computer science, became the public relations manager of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), a student organization at Adelphi, he decided he wanted to make LGBTQIA+ students more visible. “We needed to put voices behind the queer community,” he said. “You never know what somebody else is going through unless they tell you.”

So in February 2021, Dionisio launched InQUEERies, a web series that runs on the GSA’s Instagram account, adelphigsa. In each episode, a student looks into a camera and talks for two and half minutes about their experience at Adelphi. Inspired by the wildly successful Humans of New York photoblog, InQUEERies has an intimate, confessional feel to it.

“When I came to Adelphi, it was the first time I really felt like I was in a place where I could be proud to be myself and I could find other people who were like me,” Julianne Farrell, a junior majoring in mathematics, said in one episode.

“I’ve made friends here at Adelphi who have uplifted me because of my queer identity,” Mylo Fisherman, the president of GSA and a junior majoring in psychology in the University’s accelerated Scholar Teacher Education Program, said in another episode.

Adelphi’s administration took notice of Dionisio’s project. Soon after the first couple of InQUEERies episodes aired, the Office of Admissions partnered with Dionisio to produce a series of special episodes for Pride Month. Admissions also began promoting InQUEERies to prospective students.

“It’s so gratifying that the University reached out to me,” Dionisio said.

Dionisio has aired 10 episodes of InQUEERies, and more are in production for the new season. He’s also working on a podcast version of InQUEERies that will have an expanded, 30-minute format.

He hopes InQUEERies will help the Adelphi community better understand LGBTQIA+ students. “A lot of people have preconceived notions about us,” Dionisio says. “By showcasing the experiences and accomplishments of the queer community, we are raising awareness to the diversity we possess.”

Student group brings a Native American worldview to campus

Olivia Maybee, a senior majoring in art who is an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation, wanted better representation of Native American issues on campus. So in 2020, she and Sophia Powless ’20, a member of the Onandaga Nation, started the Indigenous People’s Awareness Coalition (IPAC).

Adelphi took notice of this student initiative and asked for IPAC’s guidance in enhancing inclusion on campus. Kathryn Krasinski, assistant professor of anthropology, invited Maybee and IPAC to consult on recognizing Indigenous People’s Day at Adelphi

IPAC also worked with Adelphi leadership to host the first-ever Native American Heritage Month celebration on campus in November 2020. The group set up a Native American Art and Culture panel and staged a number of educational programs, including a well-attended virtual event, “Origins of Lacrosse,” which explored the Native American roots of the modern sport.

Maybee and IPAC are working with Adelphi administrators to plan events for this year’s Native American Heritage Month, too. They’re also working with the Department of Art and Art History to produce a Native American component for the Fall Arts Festival in October. They plan to invite contemporary and traditional Native American artists to speak on a panel and do a virtual exhibition of their work.

“Hosting these events made me feel seen and accepted,” Maybee said. “Native, Indigenous and Aboriginal peoples make up a small percentage in any space we are in, so it was comforting to have students and staff willing to learn right from us and work with us as allies.”

Student advisory group works to combat racism

Formed in 2020 by the Division of Student Affairs, the Equitable Adelphi Action Team is a student-centered council that gives the University strategies for combating racism and offers advice on ways to improve student life on campus.

There are currently 20 students on the team who meet monthly to come up with plans to highlight diversity, equality and inclusion. One of the group’s first accomplishments has been creating the “Commit to Creating Equitable Adelphi” pledge. Called the Diversity Pledge for short, it’s a document students sign to commit to do their part to make Adelphi a safe and affirming place for people of all identities.

The Diversity Pledge encourages students to speak up when they witness inequality on campus. The Pledge was rolled out to first-year students at Orientation this summer. The Equitable Adelphi Action Team also worked to get the leaders of all student organizations to take equality training classes.

Izabelle Pinzon, a senior majoring in communication sciences and disorders and minoring in both psychology and child and family studies, jumped at the chance to be on the Equitable Adelphi Action Team as soon as she heard about its creation. “I’m an Asian student attending a predominantly white institution and going into a field that is predominantly white,” she said. “I’ve experienced imposter syndrome and microaggressions, but Equitable Adelphi is a place where I can comfortably express my feelings of vulnerability while working with others for change within the community.”

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