FEARLESS: Diversity Peer Educators

Fearless Friday celebrates individuals, groups, or events that promote change or challenge injustice.

The Diversity Peer Educators was started in the Fall of 2012 with the vision of starting conversations about and advocating for diversity issues and inclusion on this campus. Right off the bat, twelve students (of all different class years) were trained in how to facilitate those conversations and lead activities that make those conversations a little easier. Now, there are seventeen DPEs fearlessly making change at Gettysburg College.

“We see ourselves as another campus asset. We touch on some of the work of others, but we also touch on differences beyond race,” said Raksmeymony “Rex” Yin ’14. The group sees diversity as common ground. Understanding how our individual, personal lenses influence perceptions brings everyone into the conversation. “Sometimes people feel they can’t relate,” said Laura Koenig ’13. “A white middle class student may think, ‘I have nothing to give to that,’ but we all come from different places, with our own stories and our personal differences.”

At the beginning of the semester (during Diversity Peer Educator week), the DPEs began an initiative to get the word out about their work and get people starting to think about diversity and inclusion in terms of what they can do to make a difference.

A banner crammed with the signatures of students, faculty, staff, and President Riggs demonstrates the breadth of their outreach. The banner reads, “I pledge to contribute to the goal of an inclusive campus community by educating myself and advocating for issues of diversity and inclusion among my peers.”

The public declaration is encouraging to Monae Evans. “Honestly, when we started out, we weren’t sure there could be a difference made. It is really good to see people care about the same things we care about and to have people say, ‘”Keep it going, And we will.”

And a shout-out to all students and faculty presenting at Celebration ’13, best of luck!