BVU Introduces Center for Diversity and Inclusion

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Pictured outside the Center for Diversity and Inclusion

STORM LAKE, IA (02/11/2019) (readMedia)-- On Monday, Feb. 11, BVU celebrated the official opening of the new Center for Diversity and Inclusion on campus with a ribbon cutting with Storm Lake United and an open house in the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business/Siebens Forum.

At the event, President Joshua D. Merchant revealed the five-year plan for the Center including five promising, future-focused goals:

  • Develop and maintain a campus climate and culture in which embracing diversity and inclusion is a core value enacted by all members of the BVU community.
  • Recruit, retain, and develop a diverse BVU community of students.
  • Recruit, retain, and develop a diverse BVU community of faculty, staff, and administration.
  • Develop a culture of accountability and collaboration around diversity initiatives, practices, and policies.
  • Engage University alumni, donors, and other community partners and stakeholders in achieving diversity and inclusion goals.

Each of the five goals includes several objectives in order to reach success by 2023. The Center will provide resources for students to learn about their identity and cultures they are unfamiliar with. Students may use the space to gather for student organizations, study, and utilize the University's multicultural resource library. Faculty and staff may also use the space for events and related programing. Ebony King, director of multicultural engagement, is responsible for enhancing cultural awareness on campus through programs, events, multicultural student organizations, and more. Ken Meissner, director of spiritual life, and several students were available for conversation and questions throughout the afternoon as well.

February also brings many public events hosted by the CDI and student organizations in honor of Black History Month:

• February 11 - "Surviving R. Kelly: Music vs. Morals" a Couch Conversation with the Multicultural Engagement Leadership Team (MELT) & Black Student Union, 7 p.m. in the Skybox

• February 12 - "Black Panther: The Things You Didn't See" hosted by the Black Student Union 7 p.m. in Forum 101

• February 13 - Community service event in collaboration with the Office of Civic Engagement & Black Student Union, TBD

• February 14 - Trap Karaoke hosted by the Black Student Union, 8 p.m. in the Underground

• February 15-17 - Tri-BSU Weekend: Black Student Union Conference

• February 19 - "African American Poetry of Struggle and Identity" Lunch and Learn* presented by Dr. Merrin Guice, 12 p.m. in the CDI

• February 21 - True Black History Museum, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room. Fred Saffold III is the CEO and Founder of The True Black History Museum–A traveling Black History exhibit with artifacts dating from the late 1700s to the 21st century. The museum will start at 9 a.m. Saffold will give a presentation at 1 p.m., hosted by the CDI

• February 26 - "African Cultural Day Open House", 12-5 p.m., hosted by the CDI

• February 28 - "Colorism: Chains of Complexion" Lunch and Learn* presented by Ebony King, 12 p.m. in the CDI

*There will be a light hors d'oeuvres at each "Lunch & Learn". Feel free to bring your own lunch as well.

Pictured L-R in the photo are: Lee Dutfield, marketing and activities director, Storm Lake United; BVU students Allie Hartman, Jordyn Daggs-Olson, and Aubrey Anderson; President Joshua Merchant; Ebony King, director of multicultural engagement; Ken Meissner, director of spiritual life; Ashley Farmer-Hanson, interim vice president of student success and dean of students; and Lori Berglund, interim assistant dean for student life and director of career and personal development.

About Buena Vista University

Since 1891, Buena Vista University has prepared students for lifelong success and blends liberal arts with real-world applications. Our traditional campus on the shores of Storm Lake hosts students in a variety of majors and pre-professional programs, including elementary, secondary, and special education; business and accounting; and biological and chemical sciences. Our 16 degree-completion locations, online, and graduate programs expand student potential with a pace and academic rigor designed for working adults and a variety of class formats that make scheduling even more convenient. With an average scholarship of more than 50 percent off of tuition, BVU is an affordable option for all students. Visit