This fall, the College Diversity Roundtable released the results of the Campus Climate Survey conducted last spring. The survey assessed students’ perceptions of diversity at UR, and one finding of the survey described a general concern of the level of segregation by racial groups. These findings add weight to the challenges that face the University community. They need to be addressed innovatively in order to remove the stubborn barriers currently dividing students.

CDR has worked for almost a decade to address the same concerns cited in the survey. One area of CDR’s focus is to bring speakers and workshops to UR; however, the survey re-emphasizes the need for CDR to think outside an agenda of lectures. Such methodology only serves as filler for a lack of ideas that actually solve the diversity and segregation issues facing UR.

A community service day with diversity in mind, on the other hand, promises an original way for students of different backgrounds to join together in a good cause. Wilson Day and Be The Change Day have demonstrated that working toward a common goal builds connections in ways that lectures cannot accomplish.

Student groups can co-sponsor, in tandem with CDR, such a day, which would serve to unite the diverse University community. This day would require legitimacy by tying it in with existing campus traditions, such as Winterfest, in order to jumpstart the success of the event. A tradition of this sort, on par with Wilson Day, can work to transcend racial boundaries each year.

In the last year, CDR’s participation and accomplishments have waned and it is therefore in the midst of realigning its mission and image of accessibility. Instead of spending time all year on bringing in speakers, CDR should concentrate on making this day a success and spreading its influence through other creative events. Such endeavors are the best way to forge new connections within UR.

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