Juniata is very well known for expressing a great need for a wide amount of diversity on campus. Along with this, they also try to promote accepting one another, no matter ethnicity, religion, or anything that may make us “different.” Recently, these notions have created an even bigger expansion for the students and faculty: the Beyond Tolerance program. Luke Thompson, the Juniata Associate for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, tells us even more about this series.
Q: What are the main goals of the Beyond Tolerance events?
A: Beyond Tolerance is a series of lectures and workshops that sparks the dialogue on challenging issues relevant to our past, present, and future. People who attend walk out not just with a sense of what to do and what to say, but also with a greater understanding of what multiculturalism and diversity really means. You can’t truly show compassion until you’ve walked a mile in someone’s shoes, and Beyond Tolerance is the closest thing to it.
Q: How do you find speakers to bring to campus, and what is the criterion to be a Beyond Tolerance speaker?
A: I’ve been a part of the selection process for Beyond Tolerance for the past two years. We at the Office of Diversity & Inclusion work closely with the Diversity Committee: a team of students, staff, and faculty committed to enhancing diversity on campus to generate a list of top suggestions. Anyone is welcome to suggest a speaker, and we welcome anyone who has ideas for us. We hope to hear about speakers that members of the Juniata community have seen in person so that we can get a candid review. I had seen Matt Glowacki speak before and suggested him – and you might remember him a Beyond Tolerance speaker in 2011. He hosted one of our most well attended sessions. Our speakers come in with a set of professional insight and personal experiences to add something truly unique to the dialogue in our community. We’ve seen record attendance in the past few years, and that’s why we started the P.E.A.C.E. Certificate program – so that Juniata students, staff, and faculty can have their commitment be formally recognized and appreciated.
Q: How do you advertise and bring new people?
A: We hope to include everyone in the conversation by selecting a Beyond Tolerance series that’s relevant to our campus climate and that meets the needs of the community. The session with Dr. Linda Karges-Bone speaks not only to the incredible passion for social justice among Juniata students but also to the academic interests that belie them. We advertise through posters, the Arch, and Facebook, but I think that what draws people in the most is that Beyond Tolerance has developed a reputation for being uniquely helpful and engaging.
Q: How has working with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion/Beyond Tolerance program changed you?
A: Working for the Office of Diversity & Inclusion has been the best job I’ve had – and it’s been a unique opportunity, too. Not only do the goals of the ODI (and Campus Ministry, which we work alongside in the Unity House) speak to my personal ethical framework, but they also match the professional values that will help me to be an effective social worker.
- Nikki Halstead ’15, Juniata Online Journalist