To help combat the issues that underlie underrepresentation in STEM, as well as improve the overall inclusivity of and wellness within our own academic environment, graduate students within the UC Berkeley College of Chemistry recently launched a new diversity, equity, wellness, and inclusion (DEWI) initiative!
DEWI is a grassroots effort created by graduate students for graduate students, with the intention of working alongside the Department of Chemistry administration to increase representation of minority groups, promote equity and inclusion within our academic community, reduce the stigmas surrounding mental health, and begin to induce positive change within our Department’s academic culture from the bottom up!
Over the past year, we have:
- designed and administered an academic climate survey to assess the issues affecting diversity and inclusivity within our community;
- hosted a reformatted town hall in which groups of faculty and students brainstormed practical solutions to the issues raised in the climate survey data;
- begun working with faculty and administration to (1) change faculty hiring practices within the chemistry department, (2) diversify graduate student orientation and recruitment, (3) modify graduate student social events to make them more inclusive, (4) highlight mental health awareness, and (4) founded a focus group series to provide a safe, accessible space for faculty, staff and students to openly discuss DEWI issues.
We recently concluded a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to support this DEWI initiative—check out our crowdfunding site for details on how we will spend our funds. Thank you to everyone who supported this effort, and continues to do so!
We are excited to continue to making the Department of Chemistry a more diverse, welcoming and inclusive space for all graduate students, staff and faculty!