October 19, 2011


Diversity Task Force
October 17, 2011

I.                    Academic Development Day
a.       Seven students participated on a panel where they shared their classroom experiences at Stonehill. After the student panel faculty were divided into smaller groups to work on an exercise.
b.       Feedback:
                                                               i.      Longer time to process the conversations.
                                                              ii.      Some of the faculty stated that the panel was incredibly moving and shocking. Their response indicates that the faculty are interested in this topic and want to learn more about diversity and our students experiences. Some faculty showed disappointment after hearing these stories and were sad to know that these students face these situations.
                                                            iii.      Some faculty discussed revisiting the non-discrimination clause and the exclusion of sexual orientation.
                                                            iv.      Some of the students stated that it felt good to have an opportunity to do something they have been talking about for so long and to be well received by faculty. It meant a lot to the students for their panel to be included in Academic Development Day.
II.                  Purpose of Diversity Task Force
a.       Our role is to create a set of recommendations and carry out the Enhancing Diversity section in the Strategic Plan.
b.       We must then decide if we want to bring forth the conversation about the non-discrimination clause.
III.               Purpose of Diversity Statement
a.       Why diversity?
                                                               i.      Represents the larger society outside of the school.
                                                              ii.      The students need exposure to life outside of the Stonehill bubble.
                                                            iii.      Upon graduation and entrance to the work-world students will need to be prepared to work in a diverse workforce.
                                                            iv.      Collection of perspectives needed to contribute to the conversation. We need to have the bodies present to bring forth these perspectives.
                                                             v.      Two themes:
1.       Learning outcome: If we have diversity at Stonehill this will increase the student’s knowledge.
2.       Practical outcome: We need to incorporate diversity education because our students need to be prepared for life after Stonehill.
                                                            vi.      Learning outcome for faculty and staff not solely the students.
b.       Committee Goals
                                                               i.      What are our high level goals for this committee?
1.       Recruitment and retention of our ALANA students
2.       Learning Outcome- Appreciate and be inclusive of diversity at Stonehill
3.       Get them to a point where they feel capable to engage in a diverse world upon graduation from Stonehill College.
II.                  Subcommittee Updates
a.       Enrollment
                                                               i.      Next meeting the sub-committee will bring Brian’s forecast for future ALANA enrollment trends.
b.       Curriculum           
                                                               i.      Anne will meet with Provost Conboy and get more clarification regarding the role of the committee she has called.
                                                              ii.      Anne will email the chairs and get their feedback.
III.  Timeline
a.     Goal for December 2011 recommendations
a.       Committee reports due by October 31, 2011.
b.     Use next Spring 2012 to test the assumptions
c.     Present preliminary suggestions to Trustees at January 2012 meeting
d.     May/June 2012 Trustee meeting with final recommendations
IV. HERC Meeting
V.   Anything in the plan that needs clarification
VI.  Town Hall Meeting (Student Government Association) November 1, 2011 5:30 pm Commons A


Last semester, I attended my brother’s ordination ceremony in Lanham, Maryland. Specifically, he was ordained as a deacon into the Restoration Praise Center Seventh-Day Adventist church (http://www.rpcsda.org/). To say that this experience was life-changing would be an understatement. In many ways, I felt as though a passion kept dormant inside of me for years had finally been re-awakened. I was unexpectedly hit with a range of emotions including pride, satisfaction, happiness, joy, inspiration, tranquility, and a deep sense of longing all at once. However, beyond all of these emotions came a sincere appreciation for my family and the role my faith and spirituality continues to play in keeping us together.               

I was raised in the Seventh Day Adventist church. Among others, the belief in the Bible as the only creed, belief in the Trinity: God, Son, and the Holy Spirit, and an observance of the seventh day (Saturday) as the Sabbath, distinguish the Adventist church from other Protestant denominations. Prior to coming to the U.S., my maternal grandfather was an SDA preacher in the West Indies for many years. He, along with my grandmother, was the foundation for which we realized and practiced our faith as a family. Perhaps, the most impactful practice in my household was the fellowship we would share every Saturday after church. It often consisted of my mom and aunts singing around the piano as the rest of us played a Bible trivia game on the couch until dinner was ready. It was a time for my family and I to dwell in the “presence of the Lord,” which was alive and evident in each one of us. However, outside of connecting with family, enjoying nature, and learning about the Bible I wasn’t aware of what my role as a Christian was. 

The word deacon is derived from the Greek word diakonos which means “servant,” “minister,” or “messenger.” During his sermon, Pastor Graham stated that God chooses people who are “of Him and of the people.” The imperfectness and humanity of those God calls is integral to His purpose. Combined with the commitment of one’s self to God, one can be “molded” and used to be witnesses unto others. Without that sense of humanity, people often portray themselves and religion as untouchable and exclusive. For a long time I thought that I would never be “holy” or “Godly” enough to become a servant of God. However, my perspective gradually changed as the service went on.

I could literally see myself up there as I watched twenty black males, of all ages, process down the aisle. Watching the tears streaming down the faces of my family, church congregation, and even Pastor Graham caused me to feel a heightened sense of connectedness like I never had before. For the first time, I felt as though church was an extension of my family rather than a routine. I feel honored to have witnessed my brother’s spiritual journey as it has truly set the foundation for which to pursue my own. I have come to the realization that we can all be “messengers” of God whether we are affiliated with a particular religion or not. God’s message is love. Therefore, by inviting God into our lives and allowing Him to work through us, we can share the gift of love to all we encounter.


October 12, 2011


Anyone who has ever had a conversation with me knows about the love I have for my family. I come from a large family,  where my maternal grandmother had ten children who live in Connecticut, Texas, Canada, and  in their homeland, El Salvador. When I accepted my current position at Stonehill, I accepted the fact that I would move to a different state away from the larger bunch of my family in CT. 

My first semester here I struggled with the idea of being away from them. Being alone was a new feeling, completely different from living in a 3 family house with cousins running up and down  from apartment to apartment and family gatherings every weekend. The silence and emptiness in my apartment was too much at times and I found myself making the 3 hour drive to CT on the weekends. In the end the drive was always worth it because I had the opportunity to spend time with my Godson and nephew, cook with my mother, and go to church with my entire family, among other things. As I enjoyed the company of my family this weekend I realized how blessed I am to have an amazing family. More importantly I recognized how blessed I am to have found a second family here at Stonehill.

As I enter my second year here I can identify individuals who truly care for me, who collectively have become my second family. I have been blessed to be surrounded by individuals who encompass the true meaning of family. Individuals who serve as a Foundation to keep you  grounded, individuals who Appreciate, Motivate, Inspire, Love, and simply accept You for who you are. This past week I was constantly reminded of how these individuals have an impact on me. At times I am sure that they do not recognize how a simple hello, smile, or conversation can turn my day around. For these moments I will be forever grateful and it is my only hope that I can return the gift of family they have given me. 


October 4, 2011


In my two months working with the Office of Intercultural Affairs, I have had the opportunity to meet so many new students.

This past summer, the College invited four students from India to study here at Stonehill. They all graduated from Holy Cross High School, a school sponsored by the same religious organization as Stonehill.

I grew up surrounded by people who had very American sounding names – Michael, John, James, Janice, Cathy. Even in our own office, the professionals have names I have heard at least one time in my life.

When I first met the students from India, I realized they had names I had never heard of before. I admit, I struggled with understanding and remembering these unique names. Because I did not want to insult them by mispronouncing their names, I just referred to them as the “students from India”. It didn’t occur to me that lumping them together could also be insulting. 

The first few weeks of the semester have flown by and we have all come to know each other better. I have come to know them beyond just their names. Karuna shared with me the beautiful and graceful dances of her homeland. Each state has a native dance and dress.  The best of the dancers in each state compete and if they are chosen they are invited to perform both nationally and internationally.   Karuna also told me about her home in the “Eight Sisters” North East region of India.  The land is a beautiful lush green paradise, with waterfalls flowing from the mountains.

Neeraj is quite competitive and is always looking for an opponent to play him in his newly learned game of ping pong in O’Hara Hall.  

Prithak has shown his leadership skills and his humor brightens up the office whenever he is present.  Prithak shared his vocal skills during the singing of Happy Birthday to Alphonse this month.
Alphonse appreciates the beauty of plants and is willing to lend a hand whenever asked.  Even the rain does not keep him away from his volunteer work at My Brother’s Keeper.

I have shared stories of my sons’ Stonehill experiences as well as other family pictures and stories.  We have come to know each other over these past few weeks as people and as individuals.   Karuna, Neeraj, Prithak and Alphonse accept that I sometimes mispronounce their names.  I may even call them by the wrong name (which I blame on my age).  In my effort to learn their names I have come to recognize who they are as individuals and  feel so blessed to be working in an environment which allows me the privilege of knowing these students.