Students across campus are using their positions in student organizations to make Ohio University more inclusive. In a recent panel held by the Diversity and Inclusion team of the Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre, various panel members described their experiences and efforts across campus.
Andrew Pueschel, director of diversity and internships at the Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre, conducted the panel, asking an array of questions to the students to inspire conversation.
Vincent Eguakun, director of the diversity and inclusion at the Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre, felt compelled to make changes using his platform. So far he has created the team and held two workshops regarding diversity and inclusion. Eguakun felt empowered to make a change since he found his voice during the 2020 Black Lives Matter movements.
“I always hear that quote that you can say anything you want but if you don’t do it, then it doesn’t mean anything,” Eguakun said. “That’s all I thought about. I have to make sure I do something meaningful for the role.”
An organization actually taking initiative and following through in regards to diversity and inclusion, or D&I, was a common topic discussed in the panel.
Ian Radwancky, Emerging Leaders president, decided to make a change in his organization. Radwancky was unhappy with the diversity in the organization, so he partnered with his D&I director to make Emerging Leaders more aware of how to be an ally. Radwancky said the organization partnered with Unified Sisters to educate the group on allyship and D&I practices.
“There’s also some very small things that make a bigger impact than people think,” Radwancky said. “Just listen … when someone of color comes to you with issues, don’t try to solve their problems. Just be there and listen … give support where you can.”
Radwancky said he is happy with the initiative Emerging Leaders has taken to be more diverse and inclusive but he believes there is definitely a lot more the organization can do.
Panelists were from different ethnic backgrounds, races, gender identities and sexual orientations. Using the panel as a platform, Alina Taylor, president and founder of OHIO Pride Professionals, was able to reflect and describe personal experiences at OU.
Taylor saw a need for a professional development group in the LGBTQ+ community and decided to make one.
“We wanted to stick out between providing professional development resources to the LGBT community and being also that advocate for answering those questions,” Taylor said.
Taylor, along with Radwancky and Eguakun all saw a need to make diversity, inclusion and allyship more seen on campus. Allyship plays an important role in all student lives, and they all had something to say about it.
“Allyship is something I love talking about because I think it's really meaningful,” Taylor said. “At least it means a lot to me when someone actually reaches out and says, ‘Hey how can I be better,’ not just like in general, like a good human being, like ‘How can I be better towards someone in your situation?’”
Eguakun said it’s important to make sure to hold everyone accountable for their words even when it’s uncomfortable, including oneself.
“Holding yourself accountable, just making sure you’re consistent and you’re not just picking and choosing when you want to care,” Eguakun said.
Radwancky describes being an ally as listening and being supportive. He said it can be simple things like supporting fundraisers for multicultural groups or reposting things on your story.
If one would like to support or join a multicultural group on campus more information can be found on OU’s website.
“It’s things that take a few seconds to do but it carries a lot of weight and there’s a lot of impact,” Radwancky said.