“Working together, sharing a common vision, there is no question we can do even greater things for our community and have an even greater impact on the quality of life in our community. And that’s really what this celebration is all about.”
That was the message from Darrell Bazzell, vice chancellor for administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, at a July event when the Wisconsin Alumni Association invited community leaders to the Monona Terrace to share their thoughts on the continued need for a focus on diversity.
The Celebration of Campus and Community Connections highlighted initiatives already underway, on and off campus, to boost diversity and inclusivity at UW-Madison, and allowed attendees to network and further their missions.
“We know that if you don’t help young people and their parents get the skills they need, and give them the opportunity to provide for themselves, not only will we have people that are not able to succeed and survive, we have people who are hopeless,” Kaleem Caire '00, a recipient of WAA's Forward under 40 award, and president of the Urban League of Madison, said of the motivating factors behind conversations like these.
“Badger alumni are the perfect embodiment of this partnership,” said WAA President and CEO Paula Bonner MS‘78.“They received their education at UW-Madison, and keep those close ties as they now make contributions to the community through their lives and work.”
Attendees expressed their excitement about opportunities for new partnerships as well. Fabiola Hamdan MS’97, who works for Dane County Human Services, pointed out that while many people realize how much the campus has to offer the community, the community has a lot to offer the campus as well.
Dr. Rupa Shevde, director of education and outreach for the Morgridge Institute for Research, says when you have a campus located in such a broad and diverse community, leaders should feel obligated to empower underserved students. For example, she works closely with the Office of Admissions, which helps her recruit for the future.
“We should always have support for the next generation of scientists," said Shevde, noting that as a scientist, she is unfamiliar with the admissions system, but can provide job shadowing and networking opportunities. “This event was great — I already have two meetings booked! It is so important to build a bigger network and bring together people who are passionate about the same cause.”