JEDI Conference 2023: Belonging@UMass

With its large and diverse population of students, faculty, and staff, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to building a community where every individual feels a sense of belonging.

To kick off the new academic year, hundreds of members of the UMass community came together to participate in the second annual Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) conference. JEDI featured a series of educational workshops, talks, panels, and networking events dedicated to Belonging@UMass. Chancellor Javier Reyes joined Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Nefertiti Walker in a lunchtime fireside chat where they discussed his vision on DEI work at UMass and his personal story of finding belonging.

JEDI Sessions & Resource Materials

We encourage you to use the resources provided by workshop leaders in your work and in your journey furthering your JEDI knowledge.

Designing Environments for Belonging and Wellbeing
Betsy Cracco, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Campus Life and Wellbeing

Practical Approaches for Deeply Inclusive Education via Student Driven Learning  
Scott Auerbach, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering & UMass ICONS; Erica Light, Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies

To the IRB, and Beyond! Considerations for an Ethical and Equitable Human Subjects Review 
Virginia McLaurin, Research Compliance

Disability Culture and Identity: Leveraging Your Role in Creating More Inclusive Work and Learning Environments
Rachel Adams, Disability Services; Michele L. Cooke, Earth, Geographic and Climate Sciences, Peter Dutilloy, Libraries

Supporting Survivors and Neurodivergent Populations
Jules Purnell & Rita Curley, Equal Opportunity & Access Office

Improving Classroom Climate: Taking Action for Positive Change 
Penn Pritchard, Office of Equity and Inclusion; Kirsten Helmer, Center for Teaching & Learning

Putting the “J” in JEDI: Transformative Justice and Your Life at UMass
Isabel Espinal, W.E.B. Du Bois Library; Lynnette Arnold, Anthropology; Stephen Fernandez, College of Engineering; Joshua Kaiser, Sociology; Annie Sollinger, W.E.B. Du Bois Library; Patrick Waite, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, Selena Lacayo, Sabrina Lacayo, and Gina Magin, Prison Abolition Collective; Prisha Dayal, CEPA

Equitable Collaboration Practices for Faculty 
UMass Advance - Laurel Smith-Doerr, Sociology & Jennifer Normanly, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Introduction to Screen Readers  
Marcie Savoie, Information Technology


Initiatives will continue throughout the entire year, with a goal of affirming UMass’s values of equity, inclusion, and belonging, and creating a strong unified sense of community. If you would like to submit an upcoming event or initiative that supports the Belonging@UMass (apart from the JEDI September 13 conference), please complete this form  and OEI will be in touch to help support you.

Contemplative Pedagogy Group

Contemplative Pedagogy (CP) is an approach to education that uses contemplative practices, attention to the full student experience, and an interest in transformative learning to create more meaningful course environments. Join them for sessions such as "Being Present for Our Students and Ourselves" (Sep. 29), Crafting Community Through Contemplative Practices" (Nov 29), and more. CP also offers online resources and individual consultations.

National Hispanic Heritage Month
September 15 - October 15

While we celebrate Latinx communities beyond this month, Hispanic Heritage Month provides us with an opportunity to put an extra spotlight on the contributions, history, and culture of the community. We hope you will join in celebrating and learning with us. For resources and a list of fantastic campus events, visit our Hispanic Heritage Month webpage.

Bi/Pan/Queer Collective's Weekly Social Gatherings
Tuesdays, 7:00 - 8:00 pm | Crampton Hall, Stonewall Center

BPQC is a weekly social group for bisexual, pansexual, queer, and sexually fluid students. It meets every Tuesday at the Stonewall Center.

Contemplative Meet & Greet 
Wednesday, September 13th from 4:00 – 5:00pm | Du Bois Library 2601 (26th floor) 

Mix and mingle with others on campus who practice, teach or promote contemplation in various settings. Just curious? You are welcome too! Click here for a digital flyer. 

Send Silence Packing 
Tuesday, September 19th from 9:00am – 4:00pm | Goodell Lawn 

This powerful program is an all-day display of 100 backpacks, all of which contain personal stories, photos, and messages from the perspectives of loss survivors or those who have struggled with crisis and ideation. Rooted in a dynamic story-sharing format displayed through mixed mediums, Send Silence Packing (SSP) is an immersive experience that illustrates the stories and centers the voices of youth as they guide us through their mental health journeys to end the silence surrounding suicide. Now entering its 15th year on the road, SSP has connected more than one million visitors in over 350 communities with resources and tools for skills and support. The exhibit serves as a mobilizing force to change the way we think, talk, and feel about mental health, and (perhaps most importantly), how we show up for the people around us. In addition to the labyrinth of backpacks on display, there will be Resource Tent providing educational mental health materials, literature, and handouts to promote help-seeking behaviors and skills building, a Hope Wall where participants are encouraged to write uplifting messages and reflect on what was learned and gained from the exhibit, and a Behind the Backpacks tent with a projector and headphones provided for participants to engage in an immersive audio storytelling experience, featuring 15 personal stories.  

Berk Party

Thursday, September 21, 9:00pm – midnight |. Berkshire DC

Latinos Unidos invites you to represent your flag with pride at this Flag Party in Berk Dining Hall.

CHC Latin Dance Party

Friday, September 22, 3:00 - 5:00pm. | CHCRC Concourse (outside Roots Café)

Don’t miss this outdoor party across from Roots Café.  Take this opportunity to treat yourself to a cultural celebration regardless of cultural affinity.   Food, music, dance and crafts are fun ways to support learning about ourselves and others.  The popular sounds of bachata, merengue and salsa will even help you release tension from a week of work.  Bring a friend or a colleague along to share the experience!

Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center Open House
September 27, 5:00 - 7:00 pm. |. YKCC Room, Bartlett Hall

As we begin the new semester, try your hand at lantern painting, have a slice of pizza, some finger foods, a cool glass of boba, and participate in outdoor activities. 

Queer & Trans People of Color Kickoff Dinner
Thursday September 28, 5:30 - 7:00pm  |  Crampton Hall, Stonewall Center

Open to UMass and other 5-college QTPOC students and supporters.

CLACLS Fall Reception Dinner
Thursday, September 28, 6:00–8:30pm  |  Amherst Room, Campus Center

Get to know your Latin American Caribbean and Latinx community through this Latinx speed-friending activity. Did you know we have 45 tenured faculty, 2053 undergraduate students, 282 staff, and 505 graduate students that identify as Hispanic/Latinx? Our Latinx community on campus is very diverse and rich. Let’s come together to make meaningful and lasting connections.

February 17th-18th, 2024 | Integrative Learning Center 

Hack(H)er413 is the first women and non-binary students empowering hackathon in Western Massachusetts. During this hackathon, students can form teams, code a project and win prizes. They can also attend our 10+ workshops, talks and interacts with 5-10 employers who will be tabling at our event. The hackathon is completely free.