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The University of Utah: Center for Student Equity and Belonging


Pamela Bishop: Hello everyone, my name is Pamela Bishop (her) and I am the Director of Marketing and Communications for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).

Today I’m here to talk about some of the changes happening in equity, diversity and inclusion, and I have two special guests with me. We have Tricia Sugiyama (her / her), who is the director of the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs, and we also have Dan Cairo (he / him / her) who is the special assistant to the vice-president for equity, the Diversity and Inclusion responsible for strategy and operations.

And they’re going to talk a little bit about what’s going on in EDI.

Tricia, I understand that there are a lot of changes happening in CESA. Can you tell me a bit what’s going on?

Tricia Sugiyama: Oh Pamela, thank you. I’m so glad you asked. So, in addition to the growth of our team, we are excited to present a new program that will provide support to students and critical areas such as mental health and student leadership, but on top of that we are very happy to ” announce a new look and a new name for our center which will be the Center for Equity and Student Belonging.

Pamela Bishop: Wow, that’s awesome! Thus, the CESA is transformed into a Center for equity and student belonging. Looks like the acronym is CESB. Was it on purpose?

Tricia Sugiyama: It was! It was because we really wanted to honor who we were and look to the future of what we become.

Pamela Bishop: Awesome. So, what motivated this change from CESA to CESB, as we’ll call it?

Tricia Sugiyama: As the University of Utah continues to grow and change, so does our office. Thus, this fall, CESA will experience a jump. Moving from the 1960s Center for Minorities to the 1970s era of the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs, we now look to the future as we align with the new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion division and focus on service to the increasingly diverse student body at U by becoming the Center for Student Equity and Belonging.

Pamela Bishop: So, Dan, tell us. What do you think this means for the students?

Daniel K. Cairo: Thank you. I’m glad you asked that question because all of the work we do is really for the students, isn’t it?

People who knew about CESA, you were lucky if you found out who the center was and then connected with them, but a lot of our students who keep coming to U, don’t know that this space exist.

So what this means for the students… it means that before the first day of school, our goal is to make sure they know who we are. They know how CESB is a place where they can build a community, where they can get support, where they can really develop both their academic skills and their social skills and they can create a belonging here on campus.

But it’s not just that, right? It’s not just about coming in and staying connected with CESB. It’s about how our center, our communities and our partnerships truly support them on their journey through the institution. If you have first generation students, new to the state, or whatever they are, they have a support network at CESB – and not just there, but a support network that allows them to move around the world. campus.

If engineering sounds scary, hey, you don’t have to! We are actually here to support you and be there with you and also nurture your own development. If art scares you, hey, we have some great friends at the College of Fine Arts that you can connect with.

This therefore means that it is a support network that allows students to flourish and achieve academic excellence on campus.

Pamela Bishop: It’s awesome. I’m really excited to hear about all of the changes that are happening. It really seems like we’re evolving, like you said Tricia, trying to grow up and be this type of new century CESA and CESB, and I’m just excited to hear it all! So how can people find out more about the new CESB?

Tricia Sugiyama: We would love it.

So this fall, we’ll invite you all to join us for an open house and to celebrate our new name and new look. In addition, we will unveil a new web page that we can find on diversity.utah.edu, and as always we invite you to stop by our space. Come meet our new staff, discover our new design, and then come see us too! We’re in the Union building on the main level across from ASUU, so stop by because we really want to see you in our space.

Pamela Bishop: Well, thank you very much, Tricia and Dan. It has been really great, and I know the students will be excited to see what happens at the new Center for Equity and Student Belonging. Thank you.


This press release was produced by University of Utah. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.


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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion