Hollins has long been dedicated to fostering a campus community that encourages and values diversity and inclusivity.
Working to abolish prejudice never ends and Hollins is committed to promoting racial and cultural understanding. Most notably:
- Over the years, our Student Government Association, Black Student Alliance, SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Alliance), Better Together (Spiritual and Religious Life), ACCENT (Association of Countries, Cultures, Events, and National Traditions), Asian Student Alliance, Unión de Estudiantes Latinx, and other student clubs and organizations, along with faculty and staff, have developed a variety of activities and implemented programs that support diversity and inclusivity. Examples include the Diversity Monologue Troupe, a team of student leaders that promotes understanding of the university’s rich diversity while helping to broaden perspectives on the various stereotypes common in society, and Face2Face, where students engage in cultural identity exercises with the goal of improved mutual understanding.
- Cultural and Community Engagement (CCE) was created 16 years ago to support an inclusive community, promote acceptance, and celebrate difference. It includes the Early Transition Program, which is designed to assist new students from underrepresented groups, and the International Student Orientation Program, which focuses on helping international students adjust to living and studying at Hollins and in the United States. CCE also conducts Safe Haven workshops for those who want to serve as advocates for Hollins’ LBGTQ community.
To complement these efforts, the following steps have been taken or are under way:
- We have held listening sessions with students; conducted training sessions for faculty to help them lead classroom discussions where every student can feel respected; and provided workshops for student affairs staff and student leaders.
- A series of insight conversations have occurred where students can share perspectives and build capacity for critical dialogue. As a result of these conversations, we facilitated mixed group conversations exploring the use of social media.
- Our New Student Orientation added a program for incoming first-year students that is devoted to cultural competency and inclusivity.
- Students, faculty, staff, and Roanoke community leaders serve on the The Hollins University Working Group on Slavery and Its Contemporary Legacies. Chaired by Associate Professor and Director of International Studies Jon Bohland, the committee seeks to gain a deeper understanding of Hollins’ history and make recommendations on how best to recognize and honor the mid-19th century enslaved and others whose work ensured Hollins’ survival during its early years. The committee’s work is the basis of Hollins’ membership in Universities Studying Slavery; in Spring 2018, Hollins hosted the biannual meeting of this group.
Recent activities and initiatives
The Rev. Dr. Chelsea Brooke Yarborough believes that any celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. is not complete without recognizing the women who were essential in creating his legacy. She shared her hope of expanding the King narrative during her webinar, “Activism and the Women Who Made King,” presented as part of Hollins’ observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“A Shared Pursuit of Equity and Justice”
Hollins is among the inaugural 55 institutions of higher learning from across the country that have formed the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA), a collaboration whose goal is championing diversity and inclusion initiatives.
“A Place of Care, a Desire to Belong, a Need to be Seen and Appreciated for Their Experiences, Both Good and Bad”
More than 550 students, faculty, staff, alumnae/i, and trustees joined together to explore themes of race and racial justice during Hollins’ first annual Leading Equity, Diversity and Justice Day, featuring sessions presented by members of the university community and guest speakers.
“What It Means to Have Courage and Have a Voice and Step Up”
Michelle Alexander, acclaimed author of the bestselling book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, joined in dialogue with Hollins President Mary Dana Hinton to discuss racial unrest in the U.S. and social activism both on and off-campus.
“The Hollins Community Stands With Our International Students”
President Mary Dana Hinton released this statement announcing Hollins’ opposition to changes made by ICE to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program that impacted the experience and opportunities for international students in colleges and universities across the U.S.
“All of Us Must Do the Work. All of Us Must Begin Now”
In a message to the campus community prior to taking office as Hollins’ 13th president, Mary Dana Hinton asked “that we commit ourselves now to working collaboratively, to being vulnerable to and with one another, to learning and leading, and to privileging hope over fear.”
During the month of March, Hollins community members came together for a series of conversations regarding kindness. In honor of our commitment to be kind to ourselves and one another, some of the participants recently gathered around the Rock, which was painted to remind our community to spread kindness.