I currently have a survey circulating that is available for all current students and alumnae who wish to participate (anonymously). The survey is to help me get a sense of what the student experience was and is like in terms of diversity and inclusion in academic and social settings at Bryn Mawr. Hopefully I can begin to piece together a timeline of what the student experience was like in the past, what it is now, and where we still have to go. For this post, I wanted to reflect a little bit on my experience thus far, and talk about some survey responses I have already received.
To be clear, there are no “right” and “wrong” answers to the questions in this survey. Everyone has their own unique experience at Bryn Mawr, and they are all completely valid. Quite a few responses I have read so far suggest that the word “diversity” is limiting to them, and that is why I have participants provide me with their own definition of the word at the beginning of the survey. Whatever you decide to write about in this survey, I am eager to read. I love that students and alums are challenging the way that we have these important conversations! It means that we are not stuck in one place as a community. All members of the Bryn Mawr community are constantly looking for ways to improve life on campus. That is the reason I fell in love with Bryn Mawr to begin with. Bryn Mawr is not perfect, and I do not expect it to be. What I do know is that this campus is full of intelligent, strong and determined women who have a desire to create change within our Bryn Mawr bubble, as well as the world that surrounds it. This is what sets a Mawrter apart from anyone else. Every day the women on this campus inspire me, and I believe it is why I am so passionate about this internship experience. My fellow intern Lauren said it best; “I hope that there is an institutional commitment to this internship or something like it until we reach a time when we no longer need it.” So, I encourage everyone to fill out the survey, to help us achieve our goals for this internship and our goals for the future of Bryn Mawr.
Throughout the summer, Lauren Footman ’15 and Alexis De La Rosa ’14, the inaugural Pensby Center interns, will blog about their research projects. The Pensby Center (formerly The Office of Intercultural Affairs) implements programs and activities that address issues of diversity, power and privilege, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, country of origin, class, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation and disability, with a goal of improving the campus climate and enhancing community life at Bryn Mawr College.