Clarke University students and employees joined thousands of people from across the state in the 21-Day Equity Challenge. This self-guided, online program was offered through the United Way of Iowa.
By taking part in the challenge, participants received an email each weekday in September with information and resources about topics including implicit bias, childcare, mental health, housing discrimination, generation wealth, and more.
At Clarke, over 35 employees and students signed up for the challenge with the Dubuque United Way. Outside the resources provided by the United Way, members of the Clarke community also led virtual and in-person discussions to process what they’ve learned with one another. Faculty members have also incorporated topics and content into their classroom activities with students, further amplifying the impact of the event.
Jenny Parker, Resource and Metadata Librarian for Clarke, helped bring the 21-Day Equity Challenge to the Clarke campus. She had participated in a similar event with the Iowa Library Association in 2019 and said the lessons learned offered a clear alignment with Clarke’s mission and values.
“The value of exercises like this is that it pushes you to think outside your own experience. How have things like redlining impacted our students, schools, and communities?” Parker said. “During our employee sessions, we are also discussing how to turn some of these topics into action items that advance diversity, equity and inclusion practices at Clarke and in our communities.”
With the completion of the challenge on September 30, Development Officer Angela Ventris, Development Officer Jayme Ironside, and Corporate/Foundation Grants and Research Officer Jessica Schlader organized a recap event to discuss not only what they had learned, but what action steps Clarke University could take as a community to make progress on these important issues.
“I think it was valuable to do this as a group because it gave each of us an outlet to express our feelings about what we were learning. Learning alone could have felt very defeating and might have made me want to give up. However, being able to share as a group and discuss ways to make a difference really kept everyone engaged and motivated to create change,” Ventris said.
The 21 Day Equity Challenge is just one of the many events being championed by the Engagement and Cultural Inclusion Office at Clarke. To learn more about related initiatives and events, visit https://clarke.edu/campus-life/culture-inclusion/.