Month: January 2019


Diversity Program of the Month
Stereotype Fashion Show

School: University of Tennessee-Knoxville Region: SAACURH
Person in charge: Hess Hall RAs (Jan Building Wide) Nominator: Jennifer Schablik

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

Date of entry into database: 2019-01-29 12:07:47

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