In my academic year of 2019-2020, I was promoted to the position of one of seven Community Assistants (CA) in the department of Student Housing and Residence Life (SHRL). One of our responsibilities as a CA is to support our coordinator with their portfolio. My coordinator and I were given the task to manage the Diversity Task Force – a student committee that is dedicated to promoting initiatives of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) on residence.
This was a new challenge for myself. I grew up in an environment where EDI was never a conversation topic, and I was interested in learning more of this field when I first came to Canada. Being a Community Assistant and working closely with a professional staff was an all new experience in general, and the Diversity Task Force was my summer project.
To prepare, I conducted research and became more attentive of the world’s events throughout the summer. I exposed myself to more stories and mediums of equity, diversity, and inclusion, so that I could listen to the perspectives of others and understand the topic better for myself. Additionally, I held conversations with the previous coordinator for Diversity Task Force to gain advice and background knowledge of the committee, as change is a common occurrence in the department.
I adore learning new methods of working, I am always hopeful of change and I enjoy the process to innovate. Overtime, I recognized that the Diversity Task Force remained without change since it began six years ago, and my coordinator and I realised that it was time to rebrand the committee and reconfigure its goals to fit the modern appeal of students.
Thus, began the heavy discussions on a new name. I was passionate about design, and I believe that it is always important to start at the basics, the foundation, the skeleton of any project. Why are we doing this? What do we hope to achieve with this committee? What would the journey look like to accomplish our goals? These questions and answers would factor into the design of a new logo as well. We wanted to rebrand the student group, but we also wanted to keep the good parts that already worked well.
From Diversity Task Force, Equity Outreach Network (EON) was born. We became a group that is dedicated to raising awareness on topics of EDI by leading discussions on being more proactive in our community. Furthermore, we aim to open up ourselves and connect to the larger community at the University of Toronto Mississauga and campus partners that are already working on promoting equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
EON continues to thrive today through monthly pop-up events and bi-weekly discussions to engage students with various topics of EDI. Furthermore, the committee successfully organised its first marquee event in 2019, World Café, to further its mission to promote campus diversity. My coordinator and I were happy with our new direction, and we believe that our new identity will last for eons to come.