Mosopefoluwa Ladapo, Student Body President at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), attended the White House Convening on Diversity and Inclusion. Here, he shares his hopes for his student community on this topic.
Diversity and inclusion is essential to understanding the large-scale picture of the world that we live in. Trying to understand diversity and inclusion gives an advantage to any leader in their approach. Given my own background, I want to know more about myself because I believe it will help me improve the lives of those around me.
This semester, our student government prioritized increasing student participation in our student government internally and externally. Our goal is to increase the number of tangible initiatives around diversity and inclusion. Through the efforts of our Director of Initiatives, we are hoping to accomplish this in the upcoming semester. We plan on increasing our cultural competence and cultural literacy by engaging with different cultures and populations on campus.
I am inspired by the efforts of our former President Niki DaSilva. During her term as a student senator, she increased spending on cultural dinners. By putting money behind these dinners, our student government showcased their commitment to diversity and inclusion on campus by helping to create environments were members of these communities could come together and celebrate their heritage. We carry on this tradition with pride.
My hope for the IUPUI campus is for members of our community to stand up for each other and be allies both behind closed doors and in the public. While it may be difficult to take a public stance given the potential political impact, we must value what our communities want to hear. Remaining neutral when these individuals are in pain cannot be an option.
My biggest take away from the White House summit on diversity and inclusion is that many people are struggling, there are many allies fighting for equality, and there are people always asking the intelligent questions to push for more inclusion. I am encouraged that the future is full of advocates for equality and equity. To other student leaders interested in diversity and inclusion, I want you to know that there are things in your life that make you unique, an individual and a diverse person. Tap into that rich diversity inside of you, use it to observe and celebrate diversity around your campus.