More than 30 students and faculty attended a recent Diversity Committee meeting, which featured input from new Diversity Consultant Robyn Teplitzky.
Robyn is a familiar face around campus as a past parent and former administrator. She, along with current administrator Suzanne Hamlin-Smith, formed the school’s premier Diversity Committee in 2006.
The committee’s current advisors are faculty members Yasmin Haque and Krysi Crimley, and membership draws from such clubs as East/West, Gay/Straight Alliance, Amnesty International, and Chinese Immersion.
According to Robyn, the goal of the Diversity Committee is to provide a safe place for students and faculty to discuss and share issues of difference in order to create a respectful and cohesive community.
“It is critical for a school to have a Diversity Committee and to participate in diversity education so that all students know they are safe regardless of their culture, religion, political views, or sexual orientation,” maintained Robyn.
Hamden Hall is part of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools’ Student Diversity Leadership Conference, she added.
For the 2018-2019 school year, the Diversity Committee will plan and coordinate activities and events by theme each month. Movies, guest lecturers, assemblies, and more will be planned. The committee’s first program was October 1 when students and faculty took to social media to declare their support of: One Day Against Hate.
In November, the theme is Mix It Up and an actual day (during the first week of the month) will be designated when students and faculty mix it up with one another. Hamden Hall has participated in the past in Mix It Up Day, which is an international campaign that encourages students to identify, question, and cross social boundaries during lunch.
Other themes include traditions for December, a Chinese celebration in January, Black History Month in February, Women's History Month in March, and more. According to Robyn, committee members also noted interest in hosting a pot-luck dinner, conducting a gender identity assembly, and initiating a “Represent Your Flag” program, which would utilize the flags that the Admissions Office displays in honor of each country from which our international students hail.
In the end, it’s all about respecting and valuing each student for their worth, abilities, learning styles, life experiences, and more.
“Our Diversity Committee allows our Hamden Hall community to celebrate difference and to be accepting to everyone,” said Robyn.