According to the Office of Multicultural Education, “GROW means Growing Relationships through diverse Opportunities to strengthen involvement in an ever-changing World.” Last Wesnesday, Sept. 14, the GROW Annual Kick-off was held in Maas Auditorium. GROW is a campus- wide movement with the goals of strengthening community through diverse relationships, civic responsibility and deepening cultural competency.
Vanessa Greene, the Co-Chair for GROW, explained the mission of the initiative. “Although there are many issues in society that we need to continuously address, we do not want diversity to be seen as a problem or something that needs to be fixed,” Greene said. “Rather, we want diversity to be seen as a dynamic, life- giving force on campus.”
The kick-off this year was attended by more than 100 students, faculty, administrators and staff. It was designed to engage the attendees in the upcoming elections. Christy Statema (Admissions Representative) acted as the Talk Show Host, and President John Knapp and Dr. Ernest Cole (Chair of the English department) were the special guests.
Reactions from students were positive. As Allison LoPrete (’19) explains, “The GROW kick-off event left me eager to participate in bringing more unity in the world and focusing on inclusion on campus. It is motivating to hear that the faculty surrounding me and caring for me at Hope are focused on cultural inclusion, intentional community and building understanding. The enthusiasm of those in the crowd as well as on stage was heartwarming and I look forward to more events like these.”
“From Dr. Ernest Cole to Dr. John Knapp, this event presented the vision of GROW,” Jean Luc Miralda (’17) said. “In a creative and fun manner we were embedded with a story line from the life lived by immigrants and their families seeking citizenship to how President Knapp fell in love with Mrs. Knapp and his recommendations for future voters. This was truly an outstanding event filled with the joy of diversity and inclusion.”
Students are welcome to attend GROW events. Greene clarifies, “Departments all across campus will be sponsoring GROW events throughout the year, so please keep your eyes on the GROW logo for GROW sponsored events.”
GROW events meet a set of standards set by their Advocacy Council to be “high quality, content-driven events that help the campus community grow in their relationships and understanding of all dimensions of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice both in the United States and globally.”
There are six Community Conversations throughout the year. The first will be held on Sept. 28 as part of the Critical Issues Symposium. Titled “The Economics of Jim Crow,” it begins at 4:00 p.m. in the Maas Conference Room. Get involved and make a difference.