Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Sweet Briar is committed to promoting equity and understanding through education, cultural awareness and the celebration of differences. We believe that diversity enriches the college experience, prepares our students for a global society and contributes to a more just and equitable world.

Committed to Action

In 2020, President Meredith Woo charged a Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) to develop an action plan related to campus culture, academics and institutional history. The taskforce, comprising faculty, staff and students, met weekly and engaged various campus constituencies to identify issues of concern. The task force’s report revealed prevailing good will, but a need to cultivate a sense of community, heightened cultural sensitivity and a more inclusive environment respectful of varied experiences and individual choice.

We recognize that there is still work to be done, but are proud of the steps we have already taken to show our commitment, such as:

  • Created a standing committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  • Conducted a campus climate study.

    Traditions: Burial Grounds Sunrise Service Traditions: Burial Grounds Sunrise Service

  • Established a bias reporting system.
  • Hired a Multicultural Student Services Manager.
  • Established a Multicultural Center.
  • Created the Multicultural Communities Council.
  • Approved a faculty statement of diversity, equity and inclusion to be included in all syllabi.
  • Integrated the plantation burial ground on campus into the Founders’ Day festivities.

In addition to this list of accomplishments, other steps of the action plan are in process and regularly reviewed by the standing committee. 


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Events

THE SPACE RACE weaves together the stories of Black astronauts seeking to break the bonds of social injustice to reach for the stars, including Guion Bluford, Ed Dwight and Charles Bolden, among many others.

DEI Task Force Meeting

On the eve of Women’s History Month, join us to champion women’s leadership at a lunchtime keynote lecture with Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, a superstar of international human rights law. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda from Zimbabwe is a trained human rights lawyer with extensive experience in conflict resolution and mediation. For some twenty years, she has worked to advance women and children’s human rights, with a special focus on crisis countries and addressing issues of violence against women, peace with justice, property rights, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and HIV. Since 2007, Gumbonzvanda has been the General Secretary of the World YWCA, a global movement of 25 million women and girls in over 120 countries. Prior to this, she served for ten years with the United Nations with UNICEF and UNIFEM and was a member of the UN Civil Society Advisory Group on 1325. She has previously worked with the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association and in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in Zimbabwe. Gumbonzvanda has a master’s degree in private law with specialisation in constitutional property law from the University of South Africa and completed postgraduate work on conflict resolution at Uppsala University, Sweden. She serves on various boards of development organisations including Action Aid International and Save the Children UK and the steering committee for Girls Not Brides. Gumbonzvanda is also on the High-Level Group on HIV Prevention and Sexual health for young people in Eastern and Southern Africa, advisor to the Dutch Government in the planning of the Human Rights Thematic Forum for ICPD+20, and currently serves as Chair of CIVICUS and the NGO Committee on the Status of Women in Geneva.

All are welcome to come and bring your lunch to this gathering in Josey. Dessert will be provided. Ms. Gumbonzvanda will join us from Zimbabwe by video conference.

CareerEco is hosting this teacher diversity virtual career fair.  Learn more and register to attend HERE.  Contact CareerServices@sbc.edu with any questions.

 

Alma Ensemble is a classical chamber ensemble that focuses on performing and commissioning works by female composers. Founded by flutist Sarah Wardle Jones, clarinetist Michelle Smith Johnson, and pianist Erica Sipes, Alma Ensemble is dedicated to championing women in music, connecting with audiences, and promoting music education. Born from a desire of the founding members to create music that is empowering and personally resonant, Alma Ensemble regularly performs chamber music by women composers while exploring performance practices outside the traditional classical paradigm. As part of their mission, Alma Ensemble also actively commissions and programs new works by women composers.

All performances in the Gager Concert Series are FREE and open to the public. Just check in at the guard gate and let them know you are here for this event. SBC also offers campuswide FREE parking. 

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The Janet Lowrey Gager Community Concert Series is made possible by the support of the late Forrest Gager, in memory of his wife, Janet, who served as Sweet Briar’s director of public relations. The series features classical music from around the world performed by Sweet Briar College faculty and students, as well as guest artists.

This event is partially supported by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sweet Briar College is pleased to welcome Chloé Cooper Jones to campus on March 27, 2023. Cooper Jones is the author of the memoir Easy Beauty which was selected as the Sweet Briar College Common Read for 2023-24.

Cooper Jones, a philosophy professor, was born with sacral agenesis, a rare congenital condition that affects her mobility. She is a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine and a feature writer published in leading newspapers and journals. In 2020, “Fearing for His Life,” her profile of Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the killing of Eric Garner, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in Feature Writing. Cooper Jones received the 2020 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant and the 2021 Howard Foundation Grant from Brown University. Both grants were in support of her 2022 memoir Easy Beauty which describes the author’s experiences—after unexpectedly becoming a mother—as she embarked on a journey across the globe to reclaim the spaces, both physical and emotional, that she’d been denied and denied herself.

Easy Beauty is a powerful, candid, moving account of the author’s journey through life in a body that is different, taking her from memories of childhood to discussions of the aesthetics of beauty, sexuality, body image, motherhood, meditations on how she is seen (or not seen), and on travels ranging from art galleries in Rome, to a Beyoncé concert in Milan, to sites of genocide in Cambodia, and more. Easy Beauty has received laudatory reviews: The New York Times named it a Notable Book of 2022; Vulture called it the “#1 Memoir of 2022;” and it made the Best Books of 2022 lists of the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Time, BuzzFeed, Publishers Weekly, BookList, and the New York Public Library.

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The annual Common Read provides the students, faculty, and staff of Sweet Briar with a shared experience, fosters discussion on a wide range of issues, and introduces us all to new perspectives through literature. Recent Common Read selections include Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s My Monticello, Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey by Homer, Madeline Miller’s Circe, and Elizabeth Kolbert’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work The Sixth Extinction. Copies of Easy Beauty are available to members of the Sweet Briar community. Please contact the Dean’s Office if you still need a copy.

Sweet Briar College is pleased to welcome Chloé Cooper Jones to campus on March 27, 2023. Cooper Jones is the author of the memoir Easy Beauty which was selected as the Sweet Briar College Common Read for 2023-24.

Cooper Jones, a philosophy professor, was born with sacral agenesis, a rare congenital condition that affects her mobility.

She is a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine and a feature writer published in leading newspapers and journals. In 2020, “Fearing for His Life,” her profile of Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the killing of Eric Garner, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in Feature Writing.

Cooper Jones received the 2020 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant and the 2021 Howard Foundation Grant from Brown University. Both grants were in support of her 2022 memoir Easy Beauty which describes the author’s experiences—after unexpectedly becoming a mother—as she embarked on a journey across the globe to reclaim the spaces, both physical and emotional, that she’d been denied and denied herself. Easy Beauty is a powerful, candid, moving account of the author’s journey through life in a body that is different, taking her from memories of childhood to discussions of the aesthetics of beauty, sexuality, body image, motherhood, meditations on how she is seen (or not seen), and on travels ranging from art galleries in Rome, to a Beyoncé concert in Milan, to sites of genocide in Cambodia, and more.

Easy Beauty has received laudatory reviews: The New York Times named it a Notable Book of 2022; Vulture called it the “#1 Memoir of 2022;” and it made the Best Books of 2022 lists of the Washington PostLos Angeles TimesUSA TodayTimeBuzzFeedPublishers WeeklyBookList, and the New York Public Library.

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The annual Common Read provides the students, faculty, and staff of Sweet Briar with a shared experience, fosters discussion on a wide range of issues, and introduces us all to new perspectives through literature. Recent Common Read selections include Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s My Monticello, Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey by Homer, Madeline Miller’s Circe, and Elizabeth Kolbert’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work The Sixth Extinction.

Copies of Easy Beauty are available to members of the Sweet Briar community. Please contact the Dean’s Office if you still need a copy. 

CareerEco is hosting an event open to diverse students and alumni from colleges and universities throughout the U.S.  Learn more and register to attend HERE.  Contact CareerServices@sbc.edu with any questions.