University appoints director of diversity and inclusion

Category:  News
Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 at 3:55 PM

On Nov. 28, Pertrina Marrero was appointed as Edinboro University’s first director of diversity and inclusion. According to Interim Dean of Students and Campus Life, Dr. Mary Beth Mercatoris, this new role was created in order to “support our commitment to ensuring a safe, inclusive environment for everyone here at Edinboro, and especially for you, our students.”

Marrero obtained her undergraduate degree in communications and media studies from Penn State Behrend, and then earned her master’s degree from Edinboro University in college student personnel. She previously served as the director of multicultural student services at Mercyhurst University.

Marrero said of her time at Mercyhurst University: “The programs that we’ll be doing here (Edinboro), along with some of the workshops and conversations at large, are all part of what I learned. When you are collaborative, you get a bunch of voices that come together that want to talk about those issues. I learned that when you collaborate with people, it’s part of allying and they will understand where you’re coming from, and you can help each other and that’s ultimately what I want to do here.”

This month, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion is partnering with Ghering Health and Wellness Center and talking about HPV, in addition to partnering with different student groups and administrative offices to bring different programs for Black History Month.

When asked why people should celebrate their backgrounds and diversity, Marrero said: “Why wouldn’t we? Why wouldn’t we celebrate that we’re women, or that we’re men, or celebrate that we are whatever? I think celebration is a time for people to get an understanding as well as an appreciation.”

Marrero emphasized that in order to make the campus more diverse and inclusive, everyone on campus has to work together. “I feel like inclusion is everyone’s job. It shouldn’t be me just having the party all by myself, it should be me having the party and everybody participating in the party,” she said. “It’s just a wider understanding of how each person interacts and touches different lives and brings those lives into what we’re doing.”

In order to help students explore their backgrounds and identities, Marrero simply talks to students and asks them about their interests, in order to understand them better.

She said, “Everything that is diverse about you is who you are, and bringing out those favorite things, those human things that are you, helps me to navigate your true identity.”

“Ultimately, we can only find out more when we’re talking to people literally on a surface level and then gaining a rapport to ask them the deeper questions.”

She believes in order to overcome racism and discrimination, it is important that people have open discussions about race.

“This thing called ‘race’ we have to talk about. No matter where we are, no matter how someone identifies themselves is key and optimal in understanding what they will and won’t accept,” she said.

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion will be working to promote diversity and inclusion on campus in conjunction with various other groups and organizations, including: the Office of Social Equity, the LGBTQIA Commission, the Women’s Commission, Diversity Council, the Multicultural Resource Center, and multicultural student organizations.

Dakota Palmer can be reached at eupnews. 

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