100 Commitments to serve new marketing role as information hub for students

Madeleine Winer

100 Commitments, a diversity initiative from the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, is getting revamped to serve as an information hub for diversity events on campus.

Carmen Roberts, chair of 100 Commitments, said the program’s new focus will be marketing diversity events on campus that support diversity groups. He said along with the new focus, the program will undergo a name change and be remodeled to better serve students’ needs.

“The way I like to put it is that we are the front door to diversity,” Roberts said. “You just come through us to get your information about where you want to go and what activities you want to participate in.”

The 100 Commitments initiative began during President Lester Lefton’s 2010 “Year of Yes” speech in which he called for a more welcoming, inclusive atmosphere for students, faculty and staff.

Under the old initiative, Roberts said, students, faculty and staff registered online and answered a series of questions about their involvement at Kent State. Members were asked to download a commitment card to keep track of their participation progress. Participants attempted to complete at least 50 percent of the 100 Commitments, according to the program’s website.

“No more keeping track of scorecards,” Roberts said. “I think that 100 Commitments was trying to help out with too many things and trying to put on big events that this committee needed refocus. With the name, even, you don’t know it’s diversity connected.”

Sylvia Dillard Johnson, co-chair of the program, said the name 100 Commitments proved a problem this year as the committee tried to recruit freshman during Destination Kent State.

“It’s was too intimidating for people,” she said. “You are not required to do 100 activities. We just want people to be open to learning about people who may be different from them and unite in their differences.”

Johnson said the committee plans to change the program’s name sometime this year while still keeping 100 Commitments as the subtitle. Roberts said he is open to student suggestions for what the new name of the program should be.

Roberts said the program will market diversity events through a monthly email students, faculty and staff can receive by signing up on the committee’s restructured website. The 100 Commitments committee, he said, will also use social media to spread the word about diversity events.

Elsa Barletta Gonzalez, administrator for 100 Commitments’ Facebook, which will be available soon, said she hopes to create an interactive experience for students to get more involved.

“Everybody is on Facebook or Twitter or both now, so we have to adapt to the times and make it more relevant to students,” Barletta said. “We want more student involvement and to create more awareness. If we have a specific place where all this information is given to them, then they can know what’s going on and be more appealing for them.”

Roberts is seeking students to join the 100 Commitments committee, which he said should be student-driven and diversity-minded. He said they can gain professional experience with marketing the events and working with Kent State faculty and staff.

“I want students from all walks of life to know that we’re going to be highlighting events for their certain areas,” Roberts said. “It doesn’t matter what background you come from. Communication is the biggest thing on campus. We are just one united campus.”

Contact Madeleine Winer at [email protected].