Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Campus Diversity and Inclusion embraces U of R’s HSI designation

Campus Diversity and Inclusion staff members Peter Tupou (left), Karool Graciano Espino ’22 (center), and Monique Stennis encourage students to use their voices and experiences to effect change. (Photo by Coco McKown '04, '10)

The University of Redlands Campus Diversity and Inclusion Center (CDI) has been home to hundreds of students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color (BIPOC) on the Redlands campus since the early 2000s, providing opportunities for open conversations and work-study opportunities. As a safe space on campus, CDI has welcomed students from diverse backgrounds as a home away from home and a place for community engagement among staff, interns, and peers.

Now that the University of Redlands is officially a Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI), CDI is encouraging Hispanic students’ input in decisions about future HIS grants, along with its ongoing emphasis on student recognition and validation.

“Coming to a space that is historically white, and now an HSI, how do we then welcome students in a way that makes them feel like they belong and they're validated in their cultural values are celebrated here?” asks Campus Diversity and Inclusion Center’s Interim Assistant Director Peter Tupou. “It's inviting Hispanic/Latinx students to join the conversation and have agency about who they are individually, but also as a community on campus.”

Karool Graciano Espino ’22, a Race and Ethnic Studies major and first-generation intern, for one, has accepted the invitation to use her voice: “Now that we have been recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution, we would like to see more action and funding to ensure our student’s success, increase opportunities to expand CDI, and cultivate growth for Hispanic students,” she says.

Monique Stennis, Interim Director of Diversity Initiatives, encourages and advocates for student recognition, saying to students. “Trust and believe when you have an issue, a challenge, or a concern, I'm speaking for you,” says Stennis. “I want you to know that you do have a voice and continue using your voice.”

CDI staff, interns, and students will continue the conversation of what it means to be part of an HSI, encouraging others in the Hispanic/Latinx student body to voice their opinions on how the University of Redlands can promote an inclusive academic and cultural environment.

Campus Diversity and Inclusion Center is located on the first floor of Hunsaker Building. Students are invited to attend weekly meetings, called Catching up with CDI, every Thursday at 5 p.m.

Learn more about U of R’s CDI and other diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.