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      We're All Widener

      Widener's Values Are Celebrated in Series of International Week and We're All Widener Events

      We’re All Widener Faculty Rally

      Students show support for the “We’re All Widener” campaign at the Nov. 17 ‘faculty supporting students’ rally.

      In 2012, Widener launched the "We're All Widener" campaign to demonstrate an approach and commitment to diversity in which a plurality of viewpoints are valued, explored and seen as opportunities for learning and personal growth.

      On Friday, Nov. 11, Widener University President Julie E. Wollman issued a letter reinforcing this commitment in light of the presidential election results, which affected a diverse campus community in a variety of ways.

      "Now that we have just concluded a hard-fought and close presidential election, all of us have an obligation to double-down on our Widener responsibilities," Wollman wrote. "Our commitments to reciprocal support, value for the thoughts and experiences of others and mutual respect simply must be evident in our everyday life ... through these Widener behaviors we can be a beacon of civility for all of America. We must and will continue to epitomize the respect and civil discourse that are hallmarks of our university. 'We're All Widener.'"

      Than Bui

      We're All Widener Multicultural Fair

      Thanh Bui, a graduate student in the School of Business Administration, serves Vietnamese coffee during the We're All Widener Multicultural Fair. See additional photos of the fair in the gallery below.

      A Celebration of Diversity

      This call to embrace the "We're All Widener" values served as a fitting introduction to the celebration of International Education Week on Main Campus Nov. 14-18. Highlights of the packed calendar of events included an interfaith panel discussion with representatives from Bahia, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Unitarian, Wicca and more; a conversation on racial and ethnic reconciliation led by the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship; and the We're All Widener Multicultural Fair featuring food and drinks from around the world prepared by student groups on campus.

      These events and more provided opportunities to understand diverse backgrounds and viewpoints on campus –something President Wollman stressed in her letter as critical for valuing and respecting each other. "We try to understand how a person's past experiences, differences or similarities have contributed to who they are today," she said. "At Widener, because we value each other, we listen to each other."

      A Show of Support for Students

      The faculty listened to the call to embrace the "We're All Widener" values by organizing a rally on Nov. 17. They aimed to publicly celebrate the rich diversity at Widener and to demonstrate a commitment to creating a campus culture where all are safe and free to participate in an open dialogue.

      Rally

      We're All Widener Faculty Rally

      Pictured from left, Dr. Lori Simmons, professor of psychology, and Dr. Dana Reisboard, associate professor of education, participate in the 'faculty supporting students' rally.

      "We wanted to respond to the reports across the nation of incidents of harassment by creating a positive event on our campus to publicly demonstrate that our faculty support all students," said Dr. Kate Goodrich, associate professor of biology, who helped organize the rally and also spoke. "Faculty expressed an interest in communicating to students who may experience uncertainty or fear of harassment now and in the future that faculty are visible and vocal allies for them."

      Following a few short speeches, the faculty invited the students to dine with them. Diamond Schuler, a junior communication studies major who attended the rally, said that the students' response to the event was favorable largely because they appreciated the transparency of the faculty, many of whom offered up deeply personal stories. "They put themselves on the same level as us," she said. "This makes them more relatable and approachable; students will feel comfortable approaching them, and this is especially important now, because talking may help relieve silent tensions students may currently be experiencing."

      Schuler said that the event helped clarify what "We're All Widener" means to her: "It's knowing that you're never going to be alone here."

      Save the Date

      Coming up, additional opportunities exist to support one another, discuss the post-election climate and promote conversations of understanding and compassion. Join Dr. Jim Vike, associate professor of political science, on Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. in the University Center Webb Room for the discussion "Elections & Policy Mandates: To What Extent Do Presidential Election Outcomes Lead to Substantive Policy Changes?" On Dec. 5, join nationally known peace activist Ken E. Nwadike, otherwise known as the "Free Hugs Guy," for an interactive program designed to promote unity on campus with the reminder that we are all humans in need of love. His talk takes place at 7 p.m. in Alumni Auditorium.

       


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