Month: January 2013


Diversity Program of the Month
Where Do I Stand? - Intersectionality Training

School: Southern Illinois University - Carbondale Region: GLACURH
Person in charge: Residence Life Training Committees Nominator: Justin Schuch

Target Population: 150 Time Needed to Organize: 2 Hours
Number of People in Attendance: 150 Date(s) of Program: 1/7/2013, 1/10/2013
Number of People Needed to Organize: 2 Cost of Program: $10.00
On-Campus Population: 5000 Chapter Size: 6

Origin of Program:

“Where Do I Stand” is a diversity education program focusing on developing participant develop understanding of the concept of intersectionality. “Where Do I Stand” is an interactive approach to highlighting the intersection of identities participants may have. This training encompasses two overarching theories of personal development; Intersectionality Theory and Social Identity Theory.

“Where Do I Stand” was developed at Southern Illinois University Carbondale for initial use for Professional and Student staff trainings throughout the month of January. Staff members were encouraged to take program and produce it again throughout the month for floors and student leadership organizations.

Upon sensing a need for training of diverse issues beyond the “usual” training activities, a new, more complex training program and/or activity was sought. Finding none to highlight the intricacies of intersectionality, this program was developed based off of the tenants of the Intersectionality Theory.

Intersectionality is a theory which seeks to examine and highlight the numerous socially and culturally constructed identities a person may have. Intersectionality Theory focuses on a wide array of identities ranging from nationality, sexual orientation, gender, race, disability, and many more, intersectionality theory points to the need for individuals to develop a deeper appreciation of the total person.

Word Count: 200

Please give a short description of the program:

Numerous identities are prepared before the activity begins and placed on the walls around the room. Large sheets of paper which can be covered are required. Identities need to be covered up until revealed throughout the activity. Enough space is needed for “Where Do I Stand” for all participants to move freely around the room. Program facilitators should explain they will be asking participants to move around the room in conjunction with certain identities given. An identity will be posted on the wall, if participants feel they strong identify with the identity, they should move closer to the given identity. The stronger and individual identifies with a given identity, the closer they will stand to the sheet. The description of physical navigation through the activity should is left intentionally vague. Ultimately, the group will spread out and resemble a scatter plot, of sorts. Participants should begin in a tight group in the middle of the room.

Upon revealing an identity, participants should be asked to move closer to the given statement if they identify strongly. The first identity uncovered should aim to encompass everyone in the room (student, person, etc.). The second identity uncovered should be one which is more polarizing to the group, such as “sports fan” or a fan of a given team. This allows for group members to begin navigating the relationship between identities.

A short “debrief” asking one or two participants their view and reasoning for moving around the room at a given time should be acknowledged. This time allows for participants to voice thoughts as identities are being discovered.

Identities should be revealed with the risk progressively growing with each category. Risk level examples are detailed below between low, medium, and high risk. Identity examples can range and be adjusted as needed with participants.

As identities are being revealed, participants should be reminded to keep in mind all past identities which were presented. As the activity progresses, discussing saliency will be needed for participants to navigate which identities are the most important.

Some examples of identities are: Athlete Bilingual Couch Potato Female Mixed Family Native English Speaker Sibling Single Veteran Able Bodied Atheist Conservative Financially Independent Liberal Non-Conformist Overweight Religious Person Separated family Underweight Upper Class Abused Addict “Breadwinner” Feminist Intersex Lesbian Gay Bisexual Queer Low self esteem Lower Class Middle Class Transgendered Unemployed Family

Word Count: 391

Goals of the program:

The goals of “Where Do I Stand” focus on the importance of developing a strong understanding of identities and intersectionality itself. Goals also focus on a need for programming which can be recreated with floor communities and leadership groups.

Goals: - Participant development of understanding of multiple identities and how those identities interact with each other. - Participant development of understanding of diversity beyond one label or type of person. - Creation of a program which could be reconstructed for others - Development of stronger understanding of differences among participants themselves - Enhancement of Diversity Training for Department of Residence Life

Word Count: 102

Positive and lasting effects of the program:

“Where Do I Stand” has had numerous effects on the Department of Residence Life. Being a different kind of training focus and a program which is deliberately more advanced than previous items, it was uncertain how staff members would respond. However, one lasting effect on campus has been a strong understanding of the depth and wealth of knowledge possessed by student staff here at Southern Illinois University. Many student staff members who went through the program began talking about diversity as more than just “LGBT Issues” or “Black and White Issues” and started navigating on a much higher level of processing.

Since the program, conversations of intersectionality have been numerous among both student staff and professional staff members. Instead of seeing a person or resident as just “disabled”, an understanding of all of a person’s potential identities has been created.

Numerous staff members requested to be able to reproduce the program for their floors throughout the month of January. This allowed for community members who were returning for the Spring semester to get to know each other on a deeper level, as well as learn a great amount about new members of the community as well.

Word Count: 197

Short evaluation of the program:

“Where Do I Stand” was a very successful program for many staff members during the month of January here at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The program was created during the first days of the month, and debuted with Hall Directors, Assistant Hall Directors, Assistant Directors, and Coordinators found within Residence Life during the start of the second week of January. Student staff members completed the program later in the week.

The conversations this program gave rise to have easily made the program a large success. With a department exposed to and understanding intersectionality, Southern Illinois University Carbondale has brought a concept foreign to many to life.

The major drawbacks to this program were the space utilized for some groups. A large, empty space is needed for participants to see each other and identities being revealed. Without a space such as this, the essence of navigating numerous identities is very difficult. It was also difficult to engage staff members who were unwilling, or not ready, to process a much more difficult level of diversity training.

Word Count: 175

How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

“Where Do I Stand” is a program which can be very easily created on other campuses, as it does not require any many purchases or budget. Words are written on paper and posted around a room, thus, the budget is very small. Pending on resources, words can be written on basic paper and taped to the wall. The program is very successful by using large post-it presentation paper.

The main need for “Where Do I Stand” is for facilitators to have a deep understanding of intersectionality. Without this, the debriefing conversations can be very difficult for participants. Facilitators can learn about intersectionality by researching the topic online and developing an appreciation for Intersectionality Theory, Social Identity Theory, and the concept of saliency.

Word Count: 123

Date of entry into database: 2013-01-26 19:28:31

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