UMD Summit Takes Aim At Inclusion On Campus

The Commission on Race, Equity and Ethnicity sponsored the event.

DULUTH, Minn. – University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) is doing what it can to create a more inclusive community.

And that was this year’s theme for its 2018 summit on, Equity, Race and Ethnicity.

This summit is about helping people be a part of an environment where everyone feels like they belong.

That’s the Patrick Henry High School choir providing the sounds for the summit, with songs that encourage all to be positive and supportive of one another.

“The goal is to bring awareness to bridge to those unknown areas where people do not know and they simply know what they know, which creates sometime exclusion,” said Accreditation Director Sean Bedard-Parker.

UMD student Shawnia Klug is originally from Fargo, North Dakota.

She says she didn’t know inclusion was a big issue until she got to college, but says if it’s not discussed then people won’t know about it.

“I know UMD is predominantly white and it’s very important that all people feel included in our school and that everyone feels like they have a place at our school,” said Klug.

Administrators say UMD is committed to becoming a completely inclusive university so people don’t have to struggle.

“We’re not going to defer. We’re not going to wait for this. We’re going to be in the front. UMD thinks and believes that diversity is something that’s an expectation.”

Klug is using this summit as a teaching moment.

Discovering new cultures is one of the things she hopes to learn while here.

“If there’s anything that I’m doing that makes people feel offended or not included I want to be aware of that, so I can make people feel more welcome.”

This summit isn’t new to the UMD campus.

It’s been going on for nearly two decades and it’s relevant to have in this day and age.

“To think about where we would be more allies to people, more support for everyone, so that this community actually functions the way we think it should.”

Embracing and accepting individuality can help all people be a little more inclusive.

There were also many workshops for all to attend. One taught students how to welcome someone from another ethnicity.

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