Oct. 12 & 13 2023 Schedule

Oct. 12 and Oct. 13: Unity in Diversity Days

The second and third days of our Unity in Diversity event are on Thursday, Oct. 12, and Friday, Oct. 13, and are available to Merrimack faculty, staff, students and community members. Please review the schedules below.

Looking for the Oct. 11 Schedule?
Speaker Bios

Schedule for Day Two - Oct. 12

8:30-9:45 a.m. – Hey, Community Engagement – What’s Your Sitch!? Pitch Competition

Speaker: Peter Rojas, Kirstie Dobbs, and Civic and Community Engagment Advisory Council
Location: Stevens Auditorium

Join the Civic and Community Engagement Advisory Council for an interactive pitch competition! Students involved with community-based projects/programs will perform a 3-minute pitch to recruit students in the audience to join their project. 

The audience will judge the pitches for the following awards:  Most Creative, Most Humorous, Most Unique, Most Environmental, and Most Heartwarming. What better way to find out about the wonderful work students are doing in the community with the opportunity for you to join them on their mission.

A core commitment of the Warrior identity is to serve others and give back to the community. To support our Warriors, Merrimack College has over 30+ programs engaging community partners at the local, national, and global levels. These programs include youth development and education, food justice and insecurity, environmental sustainability, community building, and the health sciences. This pitch competition hosts students who have participated in these programs to raise awareness about opportunities on campus for students to join them in making a difference in the world. 

The pitch competition is moderated by Assistant Professor of Practice Dr. Kirstie Lynn Dobbs, a global expert on youth empowerment and civic and community engagement. 

10-11:15 a.m. – Early Developing Communication Skills: Human Universals and Cultural-linguistic Specificity 

Speaker: Rachel Aghara
Location: Arcidi A

Participants will learn about language universals and cultural-linguistic specificity in communication development. They will be introduced to research-based evidence indicating that human attentional and learning strategies are used by both monolingual and multilingual learners and best-practice strategies to monitor the growth of early communication skills in all language learners.

10-11:15 a.m. – Conversations With Warriors: Expanding Perspectives One Story at a Time

Speaker: Andrea Wamboldt
Location: Crowe Executive Room

Conversations with Warriors is a week-long event designed to connect first year students through real conversations about important issues. Hosted by the First Year Experience (FYE) program, the McQuade Library, and The Unity House, the purpose of this event is to create spaces for open dialogue without judgment while challenging perceptions and stereotypes. In a welcoming environment, students will engage in conversations with “storytellers” to learn about their personal experiences that range across a variety of topics. “Storytellers” are brave individuals who are willing to share their life-stories about prejudice, stereotypes, and other major life challenges with students, in the hope of expanding perspectives and working to end intolerance.

Noon-1:15 p.m. – Fostering Resilience and Healing Through Inclusive Practices to Support Anti-Bias Work in Schools  

Moderator: Max Beland, Student Government Association President 
Speaker: Aliali Silverio Belkus, Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Central Catholic High School & Central Catholic High School students 
Location: Arcidi A

Conversations around anti-bias work in schools can be challenging emotionally.  Yet, they remain an essential part of creating more welcoming and inclusive environments.  For many marginalized people, these conversations happen naturally and frequently due to social experiences.  For others whose experiences and identities are not challenged by social norms, these conversations can feel uncomfortable and targeted.  The challenge then becomes facilitating anti-bias work while supporting personal growth and community building for all participants.  This workshop’s goal is to share the healing power of empathy and dialogue that is possible when dialogue is accompanied by cultural humility and acknowledgment of privilege.  Student presenters will share how being conscious of inclusive practices in this work can result in resilient school communities that foster healing and allyship.

2-3:15 p.m. – Global Education and Diversity: Opportunities & Challenges  

Speaker: Simona Sharoni, Cyndy Carlson, Tahir Hameed, Dan Herda, and Zi Yan
Location: Crowe Executive Room

The speakers will discuss the synergy between global education initiatives (study abroad and more) and DEI goals and ways to address some of the challenges in making global engagement more accessible and affordable for students from historically underrepresented groups.

3:30-5 p.m. – Food Justice Summit 

Presented by the Food Justice Research and Action Cluster – Eleanor Shonkoff, Cynthia Carlson, Christopher Stuetzle, Elaine Ward and Thavery Hay
Location: Crowe Hall Executive Room

The Merrimack College Food Justice Summit connects college students, community food security champions, academics, and policy makers in an effort to understand the root causes of food insecurity and envision ways our work together realizes systemic change that eliminates hunger and increases access to healthy, nutritious food for all.

4-5:15 p.m. – A Discussion on Decolonizing Wellness: Building Body Trust in a Eurocentric Environment  

Speaker: Elizabeth Natale, Sarah Dionne, Mary Cannon
Location: Arcidi A

The Discussion will focus on exclusivity, individualism, consumerism, and white supremacy and its intersection with wellness culture. There will also be an exploration of the historical and colonial factors that have shaped Western views of wellness. The emphasis will be on the diversity of cultural practices and perspectives on wellness and the audience will be encouraged to think critically by identifying and questioning Eurocentric norms and biases in healthcare and wellness.

Schedule for Day Three - Oct. 13

3-6:30 p.m. – Unity in Diversity Days Celebration Gathering

Location: Cascia Lawn

On Friday, Oct. 13 join the Merrimack Community for a Unity in Diversity Days Celebration Gathering with food trucks from Pablo’s and Wildfire and featuring ethnic cuisines from Latin, European and Asian traditions. This event is in collaborative with the Office of Intercultural Initiatives, the Office of Counseling and Wellness Education and Merrimack Dining. The event will also include novelties, music and games. 

About the Event

Unity in Diversity Days, a two-day program, now in its sixth semester, was launched by the President’s Initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). The program features a diverse group of community scholars, leaders, artists and advocates, designed to broaden and deepen our understanding of systemic inequalities and intersecting identities. A diverse lineup of speakers will share knowledge and strategies, designed to enhance our awareness and understanding, inspiring us to nurture spaces of belonging and communities rooted in accountability and intersectional justice.

This campus-wide programming is sponsored by the President’s initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in collaboration with the Office of the Provost, the Office of Intercultural Initiatives, and the Office of Counseling and Wellness Education. 

Who Should Attend

All events are in person and are free and open to the public, with the exception of a few that take place during closed Merrimack classes. 

Event Details

This campus-wide programming is sponsored by the President’s initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in collaboration with the Office of the Provost.