Learn about Vernā Myers, and watch her talk to learn How to Build Authentic Relationships Across Difference.
Help students, faculty, and staff improve communication across differences and create positive relationships with others in the UMass community.
We come from diverse backgrounds and experiences that lead to varying levels of comfort and ability to interact thoughtfully across difference. Poor interactions can be very harmful, and worries about being misinterpreted can make interactions stressful. These concerns can keep individuals from engaging with others who don’t share their background or lead to miscommunication when they do.
Book discussion groups will be spaces to help individuals develop skills and unpack challenges to respectful community by enabling participants to practice thoughtful interaction across difference with the book as a guide. What If I Say The Wrong Thing? is a highly rated, short, easily digestible handbook of thought-provoking tips on how to be, and how to help others become, more culturally effective. Author Vernā Myers explores the pitfalls of engaging across difference and offers solutions in powerful but accessible ways. All participants will receive a free copy of the book, attend small group meetings, and have access to an online forum to interact as they read, sharing resources, as well as posing and answering questions. Groups will start meeting after October 18, and a learning community celebration dinner will be held in December for all participants.
At the end of the Learning Community activities, we believe that each participant will experience:
Reduced stress when interacting with others
Increased cultural awareness and respect for differences
Increased sense of belonging
Increased leadership capacity