Since its beginnings last year, The Office of Diversity has been dedicated to increasing and supporting the diversities of Concordia College. “Diversity is a priority for this college,” said Edward Antonio, Chief Diversity Officer. so he and his office continuously strive to support the college’s commitment to accepting all people. With a vision in mind of a future in which all of Concordia appreciates all differences, they have a mission to bring necessary education to students, faculty, and staff.
As the leader for the Office of Diversity, Antonio spends his time working with people all across campus. As well as being a member of the president’s cabinet, he works on projects that help the Concordia community to grow in their understanding of diversity and how it functions in day-to-day life. He runs trainings for faculty and staff, writes college policy, and works with the National Alumni Board on their diversity initiative. Even making appearances in classes, Antonio wears many hats to better the environment for diversity at Concordia.
For many people, the term diversity refers simply to race. For the Office of Diversity, it means much more. Everyone is unique, so everyone is diverse in different ways, not just in race. The Office of Diversity recognizes that there are many types of differences: ethnic, racial, sexual, ideological, and ability.
Though Antonio and the Office of Diversity have taken many steps to increasing and supporting all these differences on Concordia’s campus in ways such as offering scholarships and events for discussion, they have big plans for the upcoming semester.
Next semester Antonio will be running Brown Bag Lunches on whiteness.
“This is not about accusing anybody of being white. They are for exploring identity,” he said.
Antonio recognizes that the identity of Concordia has historically been predominantly white and that this it is important to talk about.
“I want people to be comfortable talking about themselves and their own identities,” Antonio said. “Each one of us is different in complex kinds of ways and if we are going to appreciate that we better start with ourselves.” All students are invited to come, learn, and be a part of the conversation.
Concordia will see events from The Office of Diversity during Black History month in February and Women’s History month in March. Workshops on microaggression, advising, and mentoring across cultures are also currently in the works. Antonio is excited for another initiative, a relocation of the King Intercultural Center, to happen in the spring. The center will be moved from Park Region Hall to the Wall Lounge. Next year, the Office of Diversity also hopes to conduct a campus-wide climate survey to collect information on the environment of diversity in the Concordia community.
Even though the Office of Diversity is still a relatively new addition to Concordia’s campus, it is already taking initiative to make great changes. As the new year rolls in, make sure to watch for more information about events by the Office of Diversity and how you can be involved.