Breahna Lesemann –
Since we are almost half way through the year, Tonya Daniel is not completely new to the IC campus, but we can still give her a warm welcome. She has taken up the position as Director of Diversity and Inclusion and can be found in Caine next across from The Grill.
Before she came to IC, Daniel worked at Illinois Wesleyan as the Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs, and also worked for a non-profit organization that provided services for those in need. The organization partnered with communities in all faiths to bring change to the local community. Daniel said, “That interfaith work that centered around social issues is why I am passionate about justice and equity.”
Another thing Daniel is passionate about is tennis. She loves both watching and playing, so it’s possible that she might be found at one of IC’s matches. She is also a fan science fiction movies and television shows, from The Walking Dead to a superhero or fantasy movie. She loves watching the journey of the hero’s and heroine’s unfold. She encourages students to stop by, so maybe you could strike up a conversation about the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer or the latest Walking Dead episode.
If you aren’t a fan of science fiction, you could talk to Daniel about the plans she would like to implement here at IC. She says her goal is to enhance the current programs in place and make improvements where they are needed. To find where the improvements are needed, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) will use a campus-wide climate study to gain insight and use those benchmarks to measure their progress.
There will also be new programs implemented. ODI will be establishing a Student Ambassador program in which students will represent ODI at different functions that take place here on campus, acting as liaisons. Daniel said, “This program is really exciting to me to implement because it will allow students the opportunity to develop their leadership, communication, and group dynamic skills.”
If you are interested in this program be sure to talk to Daniel about it. She is sure to give you more details on the program if you ask.
ODI will also maintain a library where books, videos, and magazines related to diversity will be available to the campus community.
Next semester, ODI will be sponsoring a week of events to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as participation in the Midwest Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Ally College Conference (MBLGTACC), which is a three day conference held annually at different college each year. There will also be an international students’ luncheon and diversity educational workshops.
Daniel has also thought about changing the name of Room 29 (the Multicultural Room) across from The Grill. She wants the name to be more inviting because the name is now is a bit bland. Sometime soon she should be having a poll to pick a new name. If you have any suggestions for a name stop by her office and pitch your idea.
Be sure to give Tonya Daniel a warm welcome to our campus!
Breahna Lesemann, from Bath, Illinois, is a sophomore majoring in English Education with a minor in Theatre at Illinois College. Breahna is a writer for the The Rambler and a member of the IC concert choir.