Inclusive Excellence Week Facilitates Discussions about Diversity at PVM
The week of Martin Luther King Jr. Day was filled with a variety of events for the PVM family, organized by the College’s chapter of VOICE (Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment), as part of its third annual Inclusive Excellence Week January 20-23. VOICE is a student-run organization that aims to increase awareness, respect, and sensitivity to diversity among all individuals and communities in the field of veterinary medicine.
The Purdue VOICE chapter established Inclusive Excellence Week as a way to increase community engagement around issues that are central to the organization’s mission. VOICE Chapter President Maya Patterson, a member of the DVM Class of 2023, said Inclusive Excellence Week gives everyone in the College a closer look at diversity and inclusivity. “Our College is one of the most diverse veterinary schools in the country, so it is important that people understand how to be inclusive towards all the people who are different from themselves.”
This year’s Inclusive Excellence Week events began with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Monday, January 20. Several PVM students participated in the University-wide event that honored King’s legacy by deploying Purdue volunteers to help at local community action agencies. The next day, Tuesday, January 21, VOICE and PVM’s Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion coordinated arrangements for a PVM group to see the movie “Just Mercy” at the Lafayette 7 Theater. The movie depicts Bryan Stevenson, a renowned civil rights attorney, fighting to free a wrongly-convicted prisoner on death row. On Wednesday, January 22, Marian Vasser, executive director of diversity and equity at the University of Louisville, gave an invited presentation on the topic of Implicit Bias during a “Lunch and Learn” event. The week’s line-up of activities concluded Thursday, January 23, with a presentation about Intersectionality at a similarly-styled event featuring former president and CEO of the Purdue Alumni Association Ralph Amos.
“We had greater numbers of people at our ‘Lunch and Learn’ events than ever before, so I would definitely say this year’s Inclusive Excellence Week was a success,” said Maya. “I loved Marian Vasser’s session on Implicit Bias and the way Ralph Amos approached the topic of Intersectionality,” Maya commented. “He talked about diversity in a way that helped people realize that everyone is diverse because nobody is the same. It is possible for people who look like everyone else to still feel out of place and it is important to recognize that.”
Even though Inclusive Excellence Week is over, another “Lunch and Learn” program is coming-up next week. On Tuesday, February 4, VOICE and SAVMA Purdue are hosting a “Lunch and Learn” presentation by veterinarian Diarra Blue about Diversity in Veterinary Medicine at 12:30 p.m. in Lynn 1136.
Writer(s): Maya Sanaba, PVM Communications Intern | firstname.lastname@example.org