In the summer of 2015, the President of St. Bonaventure University stood up a committee to plan and implement a year-long programming initiative to address race and ethnicity. The resulting work came to be known as the #RaceMatters Campaign.
#RaceMatters programing focused on race and ethnicity in its inaugural year, hosting between 15-20 programs per semester. The committee utilized both existing and new structures of sustained programming. Methods of delivery were varied, and included guest speakers, documentaries with discussions, and dialogues.
Examples of IDEAL Campaign Programs:
- Civil Dialogues about being LGBTQ on campus, the confederate flag, white privilege, Islamophobia, free speech vs. political correctness, Black Lives Matter
- Documentaries about wide ranging issues hosted by Student Government Association
- Panel discussions
- Guest keynote speakers, including Whitney Dow, Neal Johnson, Johnathan Kozol, along with other speakers in which the IDEAL Campaign collaborated in promoting speakers such as Winona LaDuke, Marc Lamont Hill, and Anthony Ray Hinton.
An assessment conducted in spring 2016 along with informal conversations with students helped the committee articulate the strengths of and opportunities for improvement for #RaceMatters. Our students found #RaceMatters events to be educational, and stated they would be more likely to engage in difficult conversations in the future because of the campaign.
The formal and informal assessment also helped the committee determine it was necessary to expand programming beyond race into other areas of diversity in order to meet the needs of our students. The campaign evolved into what is now known as the IDEAL campaign. IDEAL stands for Inclusion, Dignity, Equity, Action and Love. Programs within the IDEAL campaign, which is currently in its second year (third if counting #RaceMatters), have highlighted issues ranging from race and ethnicity, to diversity of religion, gender, class, sexual orientation and more.
One of the core values of St. Bonaventure is a strong belief in the goodness of life and the God-given worth of every individual. As we work every year to broaden the diversity of our campus community, nothing is more important than the work of our IDEAL campaign, which is working to foster an atmosphere of inclusion to make all students feel welcome here.