Diversity Office Hosts Summit on Poverty and Equity

Staff, faculty, and community members are invited to the second annual summit, Oct. 18.

The second annual IDE Summit is set for Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Hanover Inn. Sponsored by the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, the daylong summit is a professional development opportunity for staff, faculty, and members of the local community interested in issues of diversity and inclusivity.

The theme of this year’s summit is “Poverty and Equity.” The program features workshops and panels on topics including how financial stress impacts cognitive development, what low-income students need to thrive in academic environments like Dartmouth, and what local nonprofits are doing to fight poverty in the Upper Valley.

Why focus on poverty and equity? Summit organizer Theodosia Cook, director of Institutional Diversity and Equity, says poverty has direct and indirect impacts on the Dartmouth community.

“This past year, we have had staff and faculty share challenges that they’ve encountered living in the Upper Valley, such as child care and housing, that impact their financial well-being,” she says. “I hope the summit helps us begin to think about how poverty may be impacting the people we work with in our offices, across the hall, and throughout campus.”

In a change from last year, this year’s summit is open to the general public as well as staff and faculty—a move that recognizes how the College and the Upper Valley community are connected.

“When we recruit employees to Dartmouth, they live in the community. Their entire experience affects their decision to stay,” Cook says. “We want to create a more inclusive community where we collaborate and learn from each other while building genuine partnerships.”

Cook says programs such as paid time for employees to volunteer with local United Way-affiliated nonprofits have brought many of the community’s challenges home to staff and faculty.

“That program has taught us a lot about our community and the challenges we face as community members,” Cook says. “We hope the summit helps to shed light on the issues our staff, faculty, students, and community members are encountering financially, so we can begin to think about solutions.”

The annual IDE summit aims to further the goals of the Inclusive Excellence Initiative, Dartmouth’s institutional commitment to fostering a culture of inclusion.

“The Inclusive Excellence Initiative encourages all of us—from departments across the institution—to help foster a culture of inclusion on campus. Learning about social issues like poverty and equity is a way to help us better connect and understand one another, and develop practices, programs, policies, and partnerships that better meet our institution’s and community’s needs,” Cook says.

“Each of us has a role to play in creating a culture of inclusion at Dartmouth. I hope managers and supervisors support employees attending this event.”

For the full program and to register, visit the summit website.

Hannah Silverstein can be reached at [email protected].