From the president: ‘Vision 2020’ celebrates diversity

To our returning students, welcome back to campus. To our new students, welcome home.

I hope that you all are settling in and enjoying the start of the new semester.

On Jan. 23, the Castleton community gathered for “Vision 2020,” the kick-off event of the CU/See Me Initiative. I’m so grateful that we have opportunities like this to come together and celebrate all of the wonderful things happening here at Castleton University and the people that make it possible.

Earlier this year, a dedicated group of faculty, staff, and administrators initiated an important conversation about identity and diversity. The CU/See Me Initiative was created from these meetings, with the hope of opening the door for more conversations about diversity-related issues and to help everyone on our campus begin to develop the language and confidence necessary to talk freely about their own identities.

I want to recognize the CU/See Me Programming Committee for their dedication to this effort. They are Victoria Angis, associate dean of students; Amy Bremel, coordinator of advocacy, activism, and non-violence education; Sherrill Blodget, Music Department chair and director of choral activities; Sam Davis-Boyd, assistant professor in the Media and Communication Department; Charlotte Gerstein, librarian; Peter Kimmel, dean of the College of Health and Sciences; Cathy Kozlik, dean of the College of Business; Marisa Valent, Soundings and Fine Arts Center manager; and Trish van der Spuy, professor and History program coordinator.

Thank you to the students, faculty, and staff who so bravely shared their personal stories surrounding their identity – including Jack Culpo, Wangchen “Snow” Tsering,

Jared Goodrich, Bryce Diggs, Mauwa and Senga Felekeni, and Jonathan Spiro – as well as the jazz ensemble, chamber singers, and chorale for their beautiful performances. 

Castleton is, and always will be, committed to fostering a safe and inclusive environment for all – regardless of the color of your skin, where you come from, your socioeconomic status, your age, your pronouns, your religion, or who you love.

“Vision 2020” was a celebration of the diversity of our students, faculty, and staff in all of its forms – whether that’s race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, or gender identity. It provided an opportunity to reflect on the idea of invisible identity, or the notion that how you see someone on the surface may not reflect how they regard themselves. Indeed, we are all more diverse than we appear to be.

American Educator Stephen Covey once said that strength lies in differences, not in similarities. I couldn’t agree more.

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