Maverick Diversity Institute offers new workshops

Minnesota State’s Maverick Diversity Institute is offering workshops to help students explore new skills and, eventually, intercultural collaborations. 

Liz Steinborn-Gourley, the director of the Women’s Center and the coordinator of the Maverick Diversity Institute, said this was inspired by wanting to make Minnesota State “a warm and welcoming place for all students; we recognize that our backgrounds are all different.” 

“The workshop’s goal is to help people reflect on their own beliefs, values, and experiences while holding space and empathy for the experiences of the community they are part of,” said Steinborn-Gourley. “Amalia Sharafkhodjaeva developed it in partnership with the Maverick Diversity Institute and Mavericks Involvement Team. It is a specific student track for the Maverick Diversity Institute.” 

The first of the three-part series took place Tuesday in the CSU, and there were over 40 students in attendance. This event was titled “Curiosity and Empathy,” which Steinborn-Gourley said it was titled because “It takes curiosity and empathy to begin understanding our own and the culture of others.” 

“Trying to understand the experiences of folks who have different identities and lives than we do can be challenging,” said Steinborn-Gourley. “It takes curiosity and empathy to understand that our lived experiences are true for ourselves, but not necessarily for those around us.” 

These three workshops are helping prepare students for Equity 2030, a goal the Minnesota State System put together to help close the educational equity gap at all Minnesota State colleges and universities. It also wants to have the student body at all Minnesota State schools reflect the racial diversity of the State of Minnesota by 2030.  

“The goals also include having staff and faculty that are representative of our students. And we want to close equity gaps so that all students have the same opportunity to be retained and graduated in a timely manner,” said Steinborn-Gourley. “This means addressing policies that hold people back and building programs that lift people up. Students can talk with student government, stay engaged in this series, and reflect on their own organizations and who is and is not around the table.” 

Equity 2030’s core value is to provide all Minnesotans the opportunity to build a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities. The initiative aims to improve graduation rates and other outcomes for students in these categories by addressing inequalities, understanding the basic challenges these students face and providing more resources and student support opportunities.

Steinborn-Gourley said she hopes students got a lot out of this event, and it was “a great turnout, and we’re looking forward to having those students join us again next month.” 

Photo caption: Students attend Minnesota State’s Maverick Diversity Institute workshop which helps students explore new skills and intercultural collaborations. (Davis Jensen/The Reporter)

Write to Lauren Viska to lauren.viska@mnsu.edu

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.