University Stewards train for new academic year

University+Stewards

University Stewards

Andrew Atkins

The University Stewards at Kent State welcomed several new members and discuss what they hope to accomplish moving forward.

The University Stewards program welcomed several new team members to the initiative during its Sept. 14 training.

Associate Vice President within the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Dana Lawless-Andric said the focus of the training was to establish a common foundation for the University Stewards rooted in “cultural competency, self awareness, and how we approach work across differences.”

The expansion of the program came after a pilot test last year, according to Special Assistant to the Associate Vice President within the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Avery Danage. Stewards worked with some students to see how the interactions would work.

“Moving into the fall, we’re ready for everybody to really know (about the program),” Danage said.

A social media campaign and pop-up events on campus are planned for the stewards, Danage said. Lawless-Andric said that information was focused on first year students through Destination Kent State.

“We want folks to be able to see stewards and see it as a direct connection,” Danage said.

Director for special projects and initiatives within the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and returning steward Shana Lee said that some issues she’s been able to help with have been financial.

Lee said that she’s been able to help students struggling with finances by connecting them with the resources they need and helping them pay down their bills.

Another returning steward and director of Kent State’s LGBTQ Student Center, Ken Ditlevson, said that he’s been able to help students with issues like racial slurs and being teased about their sexual orientations.

“When those kinds of things happen, they’re really debilitating to the person it happens to,” Ditlevson said.

The focus is on connecting students to the resources they need.

“I don’t do everything for them, but I make sure they’re at the right place. I let them have their own voice,” Ditlevson said.

Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jennifer Kulics said the program is about the student experience.

“We don’t tolerate students, we value and respect them,” Kulics said.

Kulics also discussed the partnership between the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Division of Student Affairs.

“We talk about projects, student needs, and trends,” Kulics said. “We work together to make sure our programs align with our core values, our mission and vision and our university level initiatives. Having that framework really helps us begin the conversations of how to support students.”

Andrew Atkins is an administration reporter, contact him at [email protected]