Photo by Collin Cooper
UVU is being recognized for the second year in a row as an Institution Committed to Diversity by Minority Access Incorporated, a nonprofit organization, for its Strategic Inclusion plan.
The award ceremony will be held from Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 at the National Role Models Conference in Washington, DC. Madison Hanks, who currently serves as the president of the Black Student Union, will be accepting the award on behalf of the institution.
The award is an achievement for the plan designed by the Office of Inclusion at UVU.
This is the second year that that UVU is implementing their Strategic Inclusion plan. According to the Strategic Inclusion plan vison and values statement, UVU is dedicated to prepare their students and faculty for success in a society that continues to grow diverse, as well as promoting equality and respect for all students.
“Even though formally we have officially launched the plan over the last two years, we’ve been doing inclusive work for the past dozen years,” said Kyle Reyes, special assistant to the president for inclusion and chief diversity officer at UVU. “We launched the Latino Initiative back in 2007, and now that Latino Initiative has two national recognitions on its own, Excelencia en Educacion, and the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics.”
The Latino Initiative, the Native-American Initiative, the Pacific-Islander Initiative, and the LGBT Student Services are also offered through the university as part of the Strategic Inclusion plan. An African-American Initiative is currently being developed, and Hanks is working closely with faculty on developing the initiative.
“It’s inspired me to work on my own initiative, and so with the help of a ton of faculty, including Kyle, we’ve been working on developing an African-American initiative to help African and African-American students to succeed in and out of the classroom,” said Hanks. “I think for me as black female it’s paved the way for something like this to be made possible.”
The Strategic Inclusion plan does not just focus on race and diversity alone. It also focuses on providing accessible and equitable educational opportunities and resources for all students. The plan is also able to help the 35 percent of people who identify as first-generation college students.
“It’s called the Inclusion plan, it’s not called the diversity plan, and that’s been strategic. Part of this strategy is to say, we value inclusion in terms of making sure everybody feels a sense of belonging and safety on campus,” said Reyes.