A Campus of Difference. . .Finding Common Ground
History of the Campus of Difference Initiative
In April, 1996, UMM began a three year collaboration with the
Anti-Defamation League's A WORLD OF
established in 1985 to combat prejudice and foster inter group
understanding and communication. As we begin our second year, it is
important to acknowledge the accomplishments and activities of our last
- The program's introduction in the fall of 1996 launched a campus-wide
initiative asking students, faculty, and staff to take action in
a campus community where each student can receive the full benefit of the
University of Minnesota, Morris experience. Resident
Advisors,Orientation Group Leaders, Student Affairs staff, the
Administrative Committee,faculty, and staff were briefed and invited to
join in the effort to help members of a diversse community "find common
- On the first Friday of classes, the Diversity Jam idea
UMM student Malinda Miller was implemented. Participants made pledges to
take action on diversity issues and to work to "Find Common Ground" in
the year ahead. Approximately 225 people attended, with many requests that
the program continue. A total of six Diversity Jams were held during the
- The program targeted first year students through Orientation (85%
participation rate) and Residence Life (90% of first year students live
on campus). Orientation sessions included revisions of the Your
Reality and College Challenges sessions - 450 students were
impacted. Residence Life programs included use of exercises from
the Campus of Difference program during the first floor meetings - 550
students were impacted.
- A four hour Campus of Difference Cultural Awareness workshop was
for resident advisors, orientation group leaders, students, staff, and
faculty. By the end of 1996-97, 211 people had participated in the
workshops. Evaluation comments were positive and included:
"I really appreciated the opportunity to participate in this
seminar. It opened my eyes to areas I should explore more in depth. .
.for my personal growth."
"I thought that the night turned out pretty good. I especially
thought that the brainstorming of actions we can take really made me
think of what I've done in the past and what I can do in the future.
There were some really good ideas presented."
"I have to say that I am very overwhelmed by this program right now.
I feel a bit mind-boggled. Coming from a non-racial, non-anything but
white community, I feel as though this has opened my eyes."
- A Diversity Peer Educators group was created with 18 students
and 7 staff collaborators participating in a 14 hour "Training the
Trainers" program facilitated by the Campus of Difference staff October
10-12. Diversity Peer Educators facilitated programs
for each residence
hall living community during November; 19 programs were presented with
201 students participating. Evaluation comments were positive and included:
I learned that. . ."different people know different things;
to break down stereotypes; stereotypes are wrong; to be open-minded; I
don't know as much as I thought about diversity; it's not necessary to
know all ethnic stereotype things now - I just have to make an effort;
how Asians, Hispanics and Jews have been left out of history,
entertainment; to educate myself; everyone is diverse; listening is at
times the most important thing you can do; the Minority Center is for
everyone; we are taught non-diverse things."
Action steps I hope to take. . .""become a DPE next year; see
more foreign films; keep talking; pay attention to people who are making
a difference; keep following ropes; meet others who are not similar to
me; attend more diversity events; be open-minded; try to understand
people for who they are, and confront bigotry and racism; get more
residents involved; lead by example; accept and embrace all
personalities; promote campus unity by celebrating commonality; cut
homophobia big time; go to Diversity Jams!"
- A list of courses with multicultural
emphasis, which had been started earlier by Fred Peterson, was updated
with the help of the Dean, the Division Chairs, and faculty and
publicized prior to Fall Quarter registration so students could learn
about the many diverse courses which already existed. This list will
continue to be updated each year and made available to students and advisors.
Please email questions and comments to
Page URL: http://www.morris.umn.edu/committees/difference/history.html
1997 by the Regents of the University of Minnesota
Last Modification: December 29, 1997
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and
Background graphic courtesy of