Month: January 2019
Diversity Program of the Month
Stereotype Fashion Show
||University of Tennessee-Knoxville
|Person in charge:
||Hess Hall RAs (Jan Building Wide)
|Target Population: 965
||Time Needed to Organize: 1 month|
|Number of People in Attendance: 40
||Date(s) of Program: January 24, 2019|
|Number of People Needed to Organize: 5-20
||Cost of Program: $40-$60|
|On-Campus Population: 7186
||Chapter Size: 71|
|Origin of Program:|
The basis of the Stereotype Fashion Show in Hess Hall stems from the Resident
Assistant In-Service Training hosted in January. This educational training session
focused primarily on interacting with residents (and peers/others) and recognizing
their own personal biases in these interactions. The hope of the program was to give
residents a platform for engaging on the topic of diversity and to recognize the great
diversity between residents in Hess Hall.
As the largest residence hall at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, it is commonly
said that "one in seven students will live in Hess Hall" at some point during their time
at UTK. Therefore, the student population is oftentimes very diverse and there is a
large window of opportunity for diversity education and celebration in Hess Hall. This
program is the first of the year that addresses this educational framework for the
students in Hess Hall and has set the expectation, bar, and standard for future
diversity and education programs.
Word Count: 160
|Please give a short description of the program:|
Overview (from program submission form):
Concept of Operations:
RAs will sign up to participate in a mock high-end fashion show highlighting a stereotype with which
they may have experience. For example, Peyton, from a rural background, might dress like a
“redneck”, whereas Bernard might choose an “urban” look. These stereotypes would be self-
selecting, distinctive, and purposefully exaggerated. Residents in the audience will receive
scorecards for each look and will be prompted to write adjectives they associate
with that look. These will be anonymously collected at the end for a debriefing."
--- Description of Program ---
The Stereotype fashion show was an hour and a half long event hosted in the Hess Hall lobby for
students to attend. Marketing efforts included flyers, building intercom announcements, and social
media. The program utilized the skills and help of various RAs to highlight the needs of the programs.
All 20 RAs in the building were responsible for assisting in set-up, the program itself, or breakdown.
The program also had various RAs serve as stereotype models.
The program consisted of a runway through the lobby surrounded by a variety of chairs filled with
Hess Hall residents. There was a photographer (RA John) who was talking live professional photos of
the models walking to their theme song. Other RAs served as food-servers walking around with hors
d'oeuvres and interacting with students.
During the event, Peyton served as the MC and the residents attending the event were asked to write
down their initial thoughts of each participant as they walked down the runway.
Following the presentation, Assistant Hall Director Will Martinez who is a Sociology Graduate Student
focused in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, facilitated a debriefing study using a collective
curriculum focused on implicit bias, stereotypes, and understanding and telling your personal story.
The program proved to be a great success in that numerous students attended and the participation
led to a strong, facilitated debrief session filled with knowledge and student take-aways.
Word Count: 327
|Goals of the program:|
"The purpose of this program is to help Residents and Resident Assistants deal
with the diversity we confront every day and the judgments people make about
each other based on outward dress. This program helps teach people not to judge
a book by its cover. This program seeks to highlight implicit biases that each of us
carries with us in relation to our fellow students and community members at UT." -
Hess Hall January Building Wide Committee, 2019.
Word Count: 79
|Positive and lasting effects of the program:|
Research published in the Journal for student development highlights the long-lasting effects of
diversity education amongst college students. That research showed that when students are engaged in
racial/cultural education throughout their college experiences, they are more likely to have a "positive,
indirect effect on personal growth, purpose in life, recognition of racism, and volunteer work 13 years
after graduation" (Bowman et al,. 2011).
This program, while not a large scale program, was likely one of the first diversity programming
experiences that the students of Hess Hall have had as they are primarily freshman undergraduate
students. Therefore, a stereotype fashion show is able to engage the students in a new conversation and
plant the seeds for continual personal growth and development concerning diversity and inclusion. The
University of Tennessee, Knoxville provides RAs with a basic outline of educational/community building
civility principles. This program addressed many including inclusivity, diversity, dialogue, collegiately,
respect, knowledge, awareness, and response. This program encourages students to be inclusive to
diversity, discuss diversity, build respectful relationships with peers, be aware of changing knowledge
and information while also being an informed active bystander.
This program sets the foundation for continuing conversations in Hess Hall.
Word Count: 196
|Short evaluation of the program:|
Overall, this program was very successful. Students from various buildings as well as Hess Hall were in
attendance and the social media presence/marketing was strong. This program promoted more than just
"free food" and instead served students an education experience with a fun twist that let their RAs be
creative, yet intentional. Professional staff were very impressed with the magnitude of the program and
hope to see similar programs in the future.
The planning committee also did a fantastic job with navigating operational challenges throughout the
planning and implementation of the program initially they had hoped to have Diversity Educators from the
Multicultural Student Life division assist in the debriefing aspect of the program as they knew that there
were possible triggers and difficult conversations to be had in this program. Due to scheduling conflicts,
the Diversity Educators were not able to assist with this program. However, the RAs were able to recruit
AHD Will Martinez as another facilitator which highlighted their dedication to ensuring students were
connected to appropriate resources and quick, critical-thinking skills.
Word Count: 176
|How could this program be adapted to other campuses?|
Every building and campus has different aspects of diversity and inclusion that
they highlight as a forefront of their residential and student experience. Therefore,
this program has various applications across the programming spectrum. The
overall operative objective of the program could be changed to focus on other
aspects of diversity other than stereotypes and allow students to have a safe and
facilitated conversation about a difficult topic. This could be adapted to fit career
services/professional development, community building, etc.
Word Count: 80