Diversity and Multicultural Programs (State-Operated)
Tolerance Week, Fashion Institute of Technology
This Tolerance Week program was very effective in meeting our objectives. Each activity provided an opportunity to focus on specific areas of our objectives. For example, Maxine Maxwell’s performance provided an excellent venue for people to reflect upon their own history, their own biases, and learn how others have overcome hatred. The town hall meeting was especially effective in understanding tolerance and learning what individuals can do to help society and FIT be more tolerant of others and stop injustices. Our club forum, “Diversity through Art and Music,” provided a unique way to celebrate the diversity of FIT and the individual spirit of our students. The entire week of activities involved minimal financial cost, with the exception of Maxine Maxwell’s professional performance (paid for by student government). Most of the labor/coordination for the activities was provided by student leaders and the collaborative nature of the week allowed everyone to participate without overwhelming any one group.
The group most impacted by this program was the student leaders. They spent hours debating the best activities to reach people and help them learn about tolerance. Several weeks were devoted to learning about genocide and injustices to help them present information for the town hall meeting. In order to prepare, the students worked with faculty from various liberal art areas, met with the dean’s office regularly and even learned new skills to improve their power point slide show. The impact of the week certainly spans well beyond the dedicated group of student leaders. Students were reached in their classes, in the cafeteria, through clubs, and even a movie night. Faculty and staff were also encouraged to participate and attended all of the events through out the week.
This program was designed to be a campus-wide collaboration. Almost all areas of the campus were reached. Starting with a competition among several classes to a movie night for students an effort was made to reach different populations of the campus. The Dean of Art and Design’s Office and staff was instrumental in coordinating the Town Hall Meeting, various student service areas were involved in the week of events including the Counseling Center, FIT-Able (Disability Services), and Student Life. Each event planned was overseen by the Department of Student Life and lead by student leaders from student ambassadors, student government, and campus clubs. The Campus Wide Committee on Diversity, campus deans, residence hall staff, and student government all promoted the events and encouraged participation.
Tolerance week at FIT has become a part of our campus traditions. The effectiveness of the program can be best seen by the continued collaboration and efforts of so many people through out our campus community. We received feedback from participants that our 2007 program was very effective and well received by all. Over 200 people signed pledges and added messages to our Wall of Tolerance. One person stated of Ms. Maxwell’s performance “it was the most moving performance I have ever seen.” Feedback from the Town Hall meeting was so positive, that we will be repeating this format for other events in the future.