SUNY New Paltz Residence Life wins national award for commitment to diversity
NEW PALTZ -- Diversity has long been a hallmark of residence life at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Throughout the years, the Residence Hall Student Association (RHSA) has shown a strong commitment to awareness and education of residential students concerning diversity issues, and recently was nationally recognized for its commitment to diversity.
On May 25, at the National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH) annual conference at North Carolina State University, the SUNY New Paltz RHSA was presented with the Commitment to Diversity Award, an honor bestowed upon a school that involves a student-directed, year-long and campus-wide Residence Life program. Every college and university in North America is able to submit at the regional level, and the eight regional winners then compete for national recognition.
Through programming, classes, organizations and campaigns, SUNY New Paltz strives to create a diverse environment where students can learn from each other and grow together. The desired outcome is that students will feel comfortable living and learning while they define themselves and their values.
Carrie Davenport, New Paltz's RHSA National Communication Coordinator, and Mary Beth Barna, the RHSA secretary, compiled the information and wrote a 30-page bid that outlined New Paltz's Diversity Mission Statement for Residence Life and the campus.
Included in the bid were: goals for obtaining diversity on campus and a description of the programs implemented on campus with their effects on the student body, and letters of praise and support from Steven G. Poskanzer, president of SUNY New Paltz, and L. David Eaton, vice president of Enrollment Management.
Davenport reflected on the honor, stating how rewarding it is that the efforts of the whole school were recognized, not just an individual person. "Now our program will be sent to schools all around the country with hopes of continuing advancements in diversity," she said.
The following SUNY New Paltz students also worked on the bid and attended the conference: Fitzarnaz Drummond, Shirlindia Lewis, Enlly Paulino, Stephanie Rivieccio, Howard Silverman, Jasmine Vasile, Jasmine Yan; and advisors Rafael Calderon and Nestor Melendez.
The purpose of NACURHs is to design and facilitate programs and informational services that promote the educational goals of residence hall students through discussion groups, seminars and spokespersons. This is done at annual conferences and through an e-mail listserv that each school is connected to.
At a previous NACURH conference, New Paltz learned about the "Tunnel of Oppression," which is a series of vignettes portraying oppression and other social injustices. The "Tunnel of Oppression" has become a staple in the SUNY New Paltz community and is part of the RHSAs commitment to diversity.
Continuing with the success of the "Tunnel of Oppression," the college has implemented other programs such as "Pizza with a Catch," "A Taste of Diversity," "Rainbow Month" and "The Unified Press" to continue promoting diversity.
For more information about SUNY New Paltz's efforts in continuing to promote diversity, visit the RHSA Web site at www.newpaltz.edu/rhsa.
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.