NiceX: Equity – Diversity on NDSU’s Campus

Creating an atmosphere of change in our community

Have you noticed that on nearly every page of the NDSU website, there is a person of color? Walk around the NDSU campus, however, and this diversity isn’t reflected in our student population.  Frederick Edwards, a graduate assistant at NDSU’s Office of Multicultural Programs, pointed out the need for change during The Nice Center at NDSU’s NiceX: Equity workshop.  

NiceX: Equity facilitated a conversation between faculty and students from Bethune-Cookman University – a private, historically black university located in Florida – and members of the NDSU community. Participants voiced ideas for how we might increase equity and diversity, then The Nice Center encouraged them to pursue their ideas through the Innovation Challenge.

Grass roots conversations like these, leading to achievable action steps, can and will be the building blocks of a better NDSU.
― President Dean Bresciani

How can we build a better NDSU?

The goal of the workshop was to bring students and faculty together to generate ideas on how we might change the atmosphere of NDSU regarding equity. Faculty from both NDSU and Bethune-Cookman identified areas where improvements can be made.

Using Mural, a collaboration website that enables ideation with virtual sticky notes and whiteboards, participants came up with 19 ideas for change in less than an hour. Each idea served as a response to the following questions:

  • How might we create more opportunities for underrepresented students to connect and lead on campus?
  • How might we build programming or frameworks that can be adopted at universities across the country?
  • How might we celebrate and welcome diversity on campus? 
  • How might we increase equity across campus?

Near the end of the three-hour workshop, the 19 ideas had been narrowed down to three action plans. 

Top Three Ideas

  1. Starting a social media account where anonymous stories can be documented, raising awareness of racism and diversity. 
  2. Designating a diverse group of leaders whose only job is to ask and answer questions about diversity and equity.  
  3. Partnering with an HBCU college group to immerse students in diversity, and to allow students to experience a level of culture beyond what we have here at NDSU. 

These three ideas were proposed before several judges, and the third group’s proposal earned the most votes from the panel.   

How The Nice Center is Supporting Change  

Entrepreneurship is not just for those looking to start a large company or become the next Steve Jobs. Before world-changing innovation can happen, we must do the work of empathy and connection. NiceX: Equity provided a space for ideas to be heard and was a stepping stone for positive changes to come.

Our NiceX workshops address challenges in our community and on our campus. Ideas that surface in these collaborations can be developed further through an innovation challenge, which is a national idea competition hosted by The Nice Center at NDSU. Students participating in the NiceX: Equity event were encouraged to pitch their ideas to the Innovation Challenge and were given opportunities to partner with community leaders to develop their ideas into actionable plans.

Posted on October 7th, 2020 by Kennedy Fields in News and Stories