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Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Receives National Award

Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Receives National Award

OU's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office #WeAre TOGETHER campaign image

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Oklahoma has received a Bronze Excellence Award for Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice for its #WeAre campaign, which was designed to bring the OU community together to grapple with difficult topics and life events impacting students, faculty and staff. The #WeAre webinar series promoted civil dialogue, community engagement, and helped to foster a sense of belonging across the OU campuses and beyond.  

The notification of receiving this award came in late February, and the official presentation will occur this week during the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators annual conference. This award recognizes excellence in promoting inclusion, global and diverse college and university communities, and environments.

“The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is excited to be a recipient of this award,” said Dr. Belinda Higgs Hyppolite, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. “Receiving this national recognition shows the impact of our work on the OU community as we continue together to create a community of care that leads to a sense of belonging and emotional support for all.”

Launched in the spring of 2020, the #WeAre webinar series was created to educate students, faculty and staff about the intersectionality of social injustices through civil dialogue in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest. Through a series of 12 one-hour webinars, attendees learned about the cycle of systems of oppression, the cumulative effect of social injustices, and the acknowledgement and labeling of emotions that guide one’s actions.

Content for the series was developed by several offices across campus, including International Student Services, the Gender and Equality Center, Veteran Student Services, DACA and Undocumented Services, Multicultural Programs and Services, the Accessibility and Disability Resource Center, the University Counseling Center, and the OU Police Department.

Overall, the webinars received positive feedback from the more than 3,000 faculty, staff and students who attended during 2020. Participants shared that they felt validated as a person in the safe spaces of the #WeAre webinars and that they could label their emotions, share current experiences, and grapple with the pandemic, the protests and the social injustices that have taken place in Oklahoma and beyond.

Article Published:  Wednesday, March 24, 2021