KSU community commits to inclusive excellence

Lydia Coutré

Students, faculty and staff are being asked to help meet President Lester Lefton’s charge for “inclusive excellence” by participating in 100 Commitments.

Vice President of the division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Alfreda Brown will announce the beginning of the diversity initiative at 1 p.m. on Monday in front of the M.A.C. Center during the kick off for R U KSU?!, which will be from noon to 3 p.m.

“We come from all walks of life, but the thing that brings us all together is we’re students or faculty or staff at Kent State University,” said Geraldine Hayes-Nelson, assistant vice president for Pipeline Initiative and Diversity Programming Development.


All Inclusive: Sept. 27 – Oct. 2, 2010

Ability Awareness: Oct. 3 – Oct. 16, 2010

The Diversity of Sexual and Gender Expression: Oct. 17 – Oct. 30, 2010

Veterans, Current and Aspiring Service Members: Oct. 31 – Nov. 13, 2010

Socio-Economic Status: Nov. 14 – Nov. 27, 2010

The Diversity of American Culture: Jan. 24 – Feb. 5, 2011

Generational and Age Differences: Feb. 6 – Feb. 19, 2011

Gender – Women’s Issues and Non-traditional Gender Roles: Feb. 20 – March 4, 2011

Religion and Spirituality: March 6 – March 19, 2011

People from Other Nations: March 27 – April 9, 2011

All Inclusive: April 10 – April 15, 2011

100 Commitments is a yearlong initiative covering 10 categories of diversity. Each category has two weeks devoted to it. During those two weeks, students, faculty and staff who are registered are to try to do as many of the 10 commitments as they can. These 10 commitments are the same for every category. They simply encompass a different topic.

The first category is entitled “All-Inclusive: Exploring the Diversity of Kent State University” and is split into two weeks in order for it to begin and end the yearlong program.

“We don’t expect everybody to be able to do all of (the commitments) or even come close to doing all of them,” said Michele Davis, 100 Commitments committee chair.

Hayes-Nelson is one of the heads of the 100 Commitments committee along with Brown.

“If everybody working together did one or two nice things, it would so much improve and make our climate here at Kent State more open,” Hayes-Nelson said.

Davis said the ideal goal would be seeing 40,000 people register for 100 Commitments, but realistically they are hoping for 10,000 students, faculty and staff to register. The first 8,000 will receive a wristband.

“Monday at the kick-off we are going to have a registration table and that’s where we’re going to get — I know — the majority of the registrants,” Davis said.

People can register at kent.edu/100commitments at any time for the rest of the year.


Watch a movie

Read an article/book

Visit a local attraction

Go to or take part in an activity

Engage in conversation

Volunteer your services for a few hours

Visit a website

Write a local, state or federal representative

Create an activity for you and your friends

Attend a forum/start a dialogue

Under the sixth goal of Lefton’s strategic plan, the university calls for a “focus on inclusive excellence.” Brown took this goal to the University Diversity Action Council. Last year at UDAC’s retreat, Special Assistant to the President Ronald Fowler made a pledge that stated the group needed to create a commitment for the university “to show our part of inclusive excellence at Kent State University,” Davis said.

“We wanted to do 100 Commitments to show the tie into the centennial and also to be able to show that we are about being inclusive excellence at Kent State, not just talking about inclusive excellence,” Davis said.

After each category, there will be a forum for students to share their experiences and talk about what they’ve learned or done for that category.

“This is the time to be able to talk about those questions so that there is more of an understanding and more of a respect for one another because one thing that comes along with knowledge is respect,” Davis said.

Participants are encouraged to fill out a “commitment card” of what they did for each category. The card can be found under the Calendar and Resource Library tab on their website.

The card prompts participants to list their affiliation with a college, campus, division or organization.

“At the end of 100 Commitments, we will give (the group) certificates for recognizing them for their commitment to inclusive excellence at Kent State University,” Davis said.

In an effort to help people fulfill their commitments, Davis said they invite people to send them information on events or activities they are holding that would fit one of the categories. Students, faculty and staff can send this information to [email protected].

“If they have something linked to 100 Commitments then they can bring it to us, and they’ll basically get free PR to be able to do that,” Davis said.

“And at the same time it gives more faculty, staff and students… extra ways to be able to do their commitments.”

Contact Lydia Coutré at [email protected].