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CSUMB launches 'Strength Through Diversity' awareness campaign

Photo: API dance during the Affinity graduation celebration

Graduates perform a traditional dance at a past Affinity Graduaton ceremony for Asian and Pacific Islanders. API is one of many groups at CSUMB that promote inclusive excellence.

September 29, 2021

By Sophia Huang McKenzie

Poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou famously said, “In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” CSU Monterey Bay will launch a year-long awareness campaign in October with the theme “Strength Through Diversity.” 

The campaign aims to build on CSUMB’s ongoing commitment to inclusive excellence and to reaffirm diversity and inclusion as fundamental values of the university. Stories, videos, social media posts, and special events throughout the year will celebrate CSUMB’s diversity and highlight the many identity groups represented by the students, faculty, staff, and alumni that make up the CSUMB community.

“A community that recognizes and celebrates its diversity with all of its richness and complexity, is a community that has created a sense of belonging that everyone can feel connected to and valued within. The ‘Strength Through Diversity’ campaign is a celebration of our diversity, but it is also an acknowledgment of how that diversity makes CSUMB a stronger, richer place,” said Brian Corpening, Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and Sustainability. 

The campaign begins as students, faculty, and staff have returned to campus for the 2021-22 academic year after an 18-month absence because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also follows a string of killings and violence in the United States during the same time period that sparked local, national, and worldwide anti-racism protests and calls for systemic change. 

The President’s Committee on Equity and Inclusion —  an advisory body to CSUMB President Eduardo M. Ochoa comprised of representatives from all university divisions — will coordinate the campaign. The PCEI will coincide its efforts with other campus organizations and entities and with existing national diversity awareness months such as Hispanic Heritage Month in September and October, Native American and American Indian Heritage Month in November, Black History Month in February, Women’s History Month in March, and Asian Pacific Heritage Month in May. 

CSUMB’s Founding Vision Statement declares: “The identity of the university will be framed by substantive commitment to multilingual, multicultural, gender-equitable learning.” That vision continues to inform the university’s mission and goals today, as articulated in the University Strategic Plan for 2019-2024.

Inclusive excellence is the second of four strategic priorities in the plan. It’s described as “more than simply achieving numerical diversity in the makeup of our university community. It entails creating an environment in which all can thrive and unlocking the tremendous potential of our students, faculty, staff, and community.” The campaign aligns with one of the dimensions of inclusive excellence identified in the strategic plan: Institutional Climate and Intergroup Relations.

“I encourage all of us in our Monterey Bay community to not only foster a culture that embraces diversity and inclusion, but to also continually look for ways to leverage that diversity as an asset in improving the education of our students for the changing demands and requirements of global citizenship,” Ochoa said.

For more information about CSUMB’s diversity efforts, visit the Office of Inclusive Excellence and Sustainability online.