Grant award helps fund Elon programs on diversity

L’Tanya Richmond (left) and Becca McQueen
Elon University’s Office of Student Life and Multicultural Center were awarded a combined $7,000 for the production of Deep Impact, a diversity educational tool, and for the Safe Zone Project, a program designed to foster a more inclusive environment for gay and lesbian members of the campus community.

Officials received the grant award Oct. 10 at an annual ceremony hosted by the Guilford Green Foundation in downtown Greensboro. Greensboro Mayor Keith Holliday served as the keynote speaker and presented L’Tanya Richmond, director of the Multicultural Center, with the check.

Deep Impact is a multimedia tool consisting of a DVD, a user’s manual and assessment tool meant to “expose students to a number of different situations that represent common problems with gender, race, culture, national origin, ethnicity, religion, social class, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and physical and learning ability,” according to the Multicultural Center web site.

“Deep Impact will provide opportunities for the Elon University community to hear the stories of Elon students who have had diverse and life changing experiences on campus,” Richmond said. “The goal of Deep Impact is to supply students with the awareness and skills needed to deal directly and individually with behavior that reflects intolerance of diversity.”

Safe Zone is a nationally recognized program aimed at identifying people and places on campus that are “safe” for lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgendered community members, said Becca McQueen, assistant director of residence life for Danieley Center. A group of students is assessing the campus climate for LGBT students, researching what other schools are doing, and putting together a proposal for a Safe Zone program at Elon.

The grant from the Guilford Green Foundation will be used to print handouts, manuals, stickers, and other materials used in the proposal of and implementation of Safe Zone trainings, she said.

“Since I started at Elon last summer, there have been conversations amongst various faculty, staff, and students about the need for such a program at Elon,” McQueen said. “With the grant and the students working on assessing the campus climate, it really seems like a possibility now. This will give Elon the opportunity to really show LGBT students, faculty, and staff that this is a supportive and welcoming community.”