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DEI Symposium: The Ideas and Energy Were Flowing   

The Center for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) in collaboration with PRISM on May 5 presented the fifth DEI Community Symposium with student-led workshops followed by a gallery walk of infographics prepared by the student DEI Interns.  

There had not been a symposium in a few years. COVID, of course, derailed many such gatherings. 

“The senior class this year, whether PRISM presidents or affinity leaders or DEI interns, came to me and said one of their most transformative events was being part of the symposium as freshmen, and their fear was that it would die off,” said Lilian Hutchinson, an associate director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. “So we worked to revive an event that clearly meant so much to them. They did a fantastic job.” 

Lilian said some students also mentioned that “May is such a crazy time of year and kids are exhausted, but this was a moment where their tanks were full again. They knew they could make it through the year because the day recharged them, and I couldn't agree with them more.” 

The goal of the symposium, as stated by the organizers, was “to help engage Loomis with topics normally not addressed while creating a space for community members to talk and share with those with whom they may rarely interact ... to be on the journey together to work toward eliminating discrimination, preventing conflicts, contributing to the greater community cohesion across all walks of life.” 

Lilian has been involved with all five symposiums. 

“Loomis has always been in the forefront of DEI work, not only in the faculty but in the student body,” she said. 

Lilian described the symposiums as “the living mission of Loomis Chaffee.” 


Each workshop was 30 minutes and was delivered twice. Edited descriptions from those provided by the Center for DEI: 

Demystifying the Oxford Study: Misinformation and the Myth of "Preferred" Race — About the societal perception of Asian women as submissive and romantically inclined toward white men, a stereotype often perpetuated by the media and popular culture. The origins of this stereotype and its impact on the perception of Asian women in modern society were explored. Presenters: seniors Jessica Luo and Angela Ye. Affinity Group: Pan Asian Student Alliance 

The Death of Nex Benedict — About the controversy surrounding their death and the subsequent rise in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes/legislation and the effect on mental health in LGBTQ+ community. Presenters: junior Victoria Kenton and senior Mina Ruffle. Organization: SPECTRUM 

Cultures and Traditions of the Omaha Nation — About the Indigenous traditions of the Omaha Nation, specifically the Omaha tribe. The presenter showed her ribbon dress, some instruments, and beaded work, explaining the significance each piece has for the Omaha Nation. Attendees were invited to demystify native through cultural material history of the Omaha Nation. Presenter: junior Sydney Hallowell. Affinity Group: Omaha Nation 

Reframe the Feed: Confronting Toxic Trends and Microaggressions in Media — About social media feeds with hateful content that can harm various communities — intentional or not. A discussion of the effects of trends and behaviors online relating to harmful beauty standards, microaggressions, stereotypes, and more. Presenters: junior Christine Wu, sophomore Charlotte Preuss, and sophomore Cookie Danchaivijitr. Organization: Student Council 

Headwraps from around the world: Hijab, Niqab, Chador, Burqua, Turban, Tichel, Gele/Dhuku, Kufiya — Attendees were invited to learn about the cultural and religious head wraps and robes throughout the world and the cultural importance of head wraps while learning respectful ways to ask questions and learning to respect unfamiliar cultures. Presenters: seniors Tahmir Murphy, Serena Koita, Jaleen Kairys, and Isabella Delach. Affinity Groups: Sister Circle, Muslim Student Union, and MultiX 

DEI Symposium workshop

One of the many workshops held May 5 in Founders during the DEI Symposium.

Congolese Crisis, Western Saharan Independence Struggle, Sudanese Humanitarian Crisis & Civil War — About the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the country's current humanitarian crisis, which has claimed more than five million lives and displaced more than six million people over the last 40-plus years. The workshop examined the colonial and post-colonial history of the DRC and suggested solutions and ways to help. Presenters: junior Kika Ebie, senior Chichi Oreh, senior Chelsea Ndzana-Zogo, and sophomore Malado Landoure. Affinity Group: Pan Africanism 

Exploring the Cultural Significance and Diversity of Black and African Hair: Histories, Styles, and Contemporary Perspectives — From intricate braids to majestic afros, Black and African hair is a canvas of cultural expression, resilience, and beauty. This workshop delved into the rich tapestry of hairstyles, tracing their historical roots, celebrating their diversity, and examining their significance in today's society. Presenters: sophomores Aster Conway-Reppert, Mariam Ali, and Malado Landoure. Affinity Groups: PRISM, DEI Interns, and Sister Circle 

Representation of South Asian Identities in Media — From Aladdin to Bridgerton, the workshop dissected the role that the media has played in shaping the perception of South Asian identity in the West. Presenters: sophomore Aditi Bhor, junior Farmaan Pannu, and senior Anuva Kolli. Affinity Group or Organization: PRISM and South Asian Society 

The Over-Sexualization of Black Women in the Music Industry — About the way Black women are sexualized in music videos and on album covers and how this can shape a person's view about Black women. Presenters: sophomore Jaden Williams, sophomore Joseph Hurd, freshman Tomorrow Chestnut, and sophomore Temi Ogundare. Affinity Groups or Organizations: DEI Interns, Sister Circle, and Brothers in Unity 

Gallery Walk of Infographics 

  • The effects of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and LGBTQ+ suicide rates
  • Microaggressions and harmful trends on social media
  • Different types of headwraps in Islam
  • Congolese Crisis, Western Saharan Independence Struggle, Sudanese Humanitarian Crisis & Civil War
  • Traditions and Cultures of Indigenous People of the American Plains
  • Demystifying the Oxford Study: Misinformation and the Myth of "Preferred" Race
  • Pronoun usage: Dos and Don’ts
  • What is LGBT “+”
  • African American v. Black
  • Words to Become a Better Ally
  • Being Called Out: Initial Reaction and How to Apologize
  • Microaggressions – some visible examples
  • South and East Asian Culture, Social Issues, and Stereotypes
  • Latino/a/e, Hispanic, Latine/x 





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