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May 3, 2023: DEIA Cultivation Grants

A bedroom scene set up in a gallery space with the words “You’re Not Gonna Believe Me" on the wall behind.

In their application for a DEIA Cultivation Grant, sophomore student Rami Ramirez requested funding for a creative project intended “to show the values passed down to me by my family and the appreciation I have for that.” Diversity, equity and inclusion are core values at Whitman College and Rami’s project, entitled “You’re Not Gonna Believe Me,” is currently on display in the Fouts Center for Visual Arts (pictured above). Rami’s project was supported by a mini-grant from the Division of Diversity and Inclusion.

The Division’s DEIA Cultivation Grants are designed to support projects, programs and events that advance diversity, equity, inclusion and/or antiracism (DEIA) at the college. Any member of the Whitman community can apply for a DEIA Cultivation Grant. Preference is given to projects that are innovative and enhance (rather than duplicate) existing college practices. Proposals that center the needs of historically marginalized communities, improve the campus racial climate or collaborative applications with co-leads from different constituency groups (e.g. staff and students) are also preferred. Awards are capped at $3,000 and the application is open through the end of May for 2023–2024 projects. Another application submission window will be available early in the fall semester.

Six different mini-grants have been awarded since the program’s launch last year:

  1. Misconceptions of Disability in Outdoor Recreation
    Grant recipients: Outdoor Program (OP) and DISCO
    Grant amount: $2,000
    Grant used to co-sponsor campus visit by Nyles Asher, Outdoor Educator and Environmental Leader for the City of Eugene Riverhouse Outdoor Program in November 2022. The visit, organized by OP staffers Stuart Chapin, Wako Soma and Callay Boire-Shedd in collaboration with Disability and Difference Community (DISCO) representative Sueli Gwiazdowski, involved three different engagements: a training for OP trip leaders on how to deconstruct barriers that individuals with disabilities might encounter on trips, connecting with the DISCO club members for a meal, and a public presentation.
  2. Deepening Our Capacity as White Change Agents
    Grant recipients: Juli Dunn, Mary Raschko, Telara Mcullogh, Bridget Jacobson, Charlotte Scott and Sharon Alker
    Grant amount: $3,000
    Grant used to co-sponsor a two-day professional development and skill-building workshop in January 2023 on recognizing and interrupting the dynamics of white privilege. The session was delivered by Dr. Kathy Obear, DEIA educator and founder of the Center for Transformation and Change.
  3. BHM 365
    Grant recipients: NiQo Bullock and Cassandre Beccai
    Grant amount: $2,600
    Grant used to coordinate a retention and cultural wellness initiative centering the needs and experiences of African, Black and/or Caribbean higher education professionals at Whitman. The program, which runs for a full semester, recognized the need to provide space on campus where Black lives are regularly centered beyond just Black History Month.
  4. Race and the Outdoors
    Grant recipient: Stan Thayne
    Grant amount: $840
    Grant used to co-sponsor campus talk delivered by Dr. Anthony Kwame Harrison, the Edward S. Diggs Professor in Humanities and Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at Virginia Tech on March 2, 2023. Dr. Harrison’s talk, entitled Musical inclusion and the unheard terms of DEI work, touched on the various ways different types of music and sound contribute to people’s feelings of belonging and/or estrangement within social spaces, arguing that sonic environments should be recognized as important dimensions of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work.
  5. You’re Not Gonna Believe Me
    Grant recipient: Rami Ramirez ’25
    Grant amount: $3,000
    Grant used to sponsor art project focused on cultural spaces and representation. Grant recipient used artifacts, furniture, and other curated items to recreate and represent the interior of two southern California bedrooms. The installation includes a depiction of the artist’s own room along with their uncle’s bedroom from the late ’80s and early ’90s. The project seeks “to provide a more holistic view of Chicanos.”
  6. ARMINDA Appropriate Descriptions Effort
    Grant recipients: River Freemont, Libby Miller and Ben Murphy
    Grant amount: $3,000
    Grant used to help defray the cost of securing a consultant to advise the Whitman College Collections Committee in their efforts to provide respectful, accurate and informed descriptions of objects listed in the online institutional repository system (ARMINDA). The need for a consultant is specifically to assist with crafting descriptions for items currently held by the Maxey Museum that come from Tribal Nations across the Pacific Northwest. As the applicants note, “appropriate description is necessary so that relevant tribal communities can locate materials, and in some cases, request to access the objects, restrict the items from public access or request repatriation.”
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