New theme, programs come to the Danieley Neighborhood

With fond reflections of the past, and with collaborative re-imaginations of the future, the Danieley Neighborhood excitedly announces its new theme for the year ahead.

For the first time in nine years, the Danieley Center Neighborhood’s theme is shifting toward diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work, with focuses on the complexities of personal identity development, on difference as a celebrated hallmark of the human condition, and on what it means to live in a multitudinous, social community of 738 residents.

“The Danieley Difference”

We call our new theme “The Danieley Difference” because we want our residents not only to grow in their understanding of self and others in regards to difference and identity while here, but we also want them to be inspired to use what they learn to make The Danieley Difference, or a continued legacy of DEI praxis in their future communities and in their future work as global leaders.

Danieley’s neighborhood theme, which guides its curricular programming, has remained largely unchanged since 2013. Its traditional focus on civic engagement and leadership is not lost in this new iteration, however. Civic engagement and leadership are crucial elements under the umbrella of DEI work, and students will continue to engage with these concepts through a DEI lens.

A Top-Down Vision

Our shift to DEI work is not made in isolation or without purpose. Our work is a magnification or funneling of the broader charge from Elon University’s institutional plans.

Elon’s strategic plan for 2030, Boldly Elon, explicitly aligns the innovative work Elon is currently doing and planning to do with its commitment to building and fostering more diverse, equitable and inclusive communities. Danieley believes that communities that celebrate and engage with difference directly create communities that foster personal well-being, as stated in Theme 2 of the plan – thrive.

The Division of Student Life models and adapts its work from Boldly Elon. Of Student Life’s Themes and Areas of Focus for 2020-2025, Danieley’s theme aligns itself most saliently with Theme 3: Inclusive Excellence, Theme 4: Wellness and Well-Being, Theme 5: Vibrant Residential Campus and Theme 6: Civic Engagement.

Residence Life, a subsidiary of Student Life, embodies a unique positioning as an academic and residential bridge for students, which lends our work in Danieley to creating curricular pedagogies that complement students’ classroom learning. Based on Residence Life’s Sophomore Community Development Model, and based on a thematic and programmatic benchmark of both first-year and also other sophomore neighborhood communities at Elon, our team in Danieley observed an opportunity to reposition its focus on students’ identity development, both on a personal level but also at group and community levels.

Innovative Programming

Our philosophy toward DEI praxis in a Residence Life programmatic lens is to invite students to DEI development in a fun, dialectical environment in which students co-generate learning. Our belief is that “shaming” others into DEI learning is quite detrimental to students and to the community, and learning is most impactful when knowledge is openly shared and processed in a vulnerable and courageous environment.

In the year ahead, we plan to program around the Big 8 Identities, as they provide a helpful framework for foundational reflection about identity. We also plan to challenge students to think of identity in terms and language that go beyond the Big 8. Below is a shortlist of some of our favorite programs we have planned for students this year:

  • Danieley Coffee, where we gather every Friday morning, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to socialize, foster social support networks, and connect with campus and community partners in informal learning.
  • U.S. Citizenship Trivia, where we test students’ knowledge on the U.S. citizenship naturalization process, challenge myths and misconceptions about immigration, and learn about related current events affecting people worldwide.
  • Stonewall Splatter Art, where we learn about the 1969 Stonewall Riots and channel our own anger or stress into cathartic displays of art by throwing our “bricks” (sponges soaked in paint) at canvases.
  • Music Bingo, where we specifically celebrate black musical artists during Black History Month and test students’ knowledge of music and pop culture in a beloved cultural game, Bingo.
  • DIY Astrology Birth Charts, where we create artistic renderings of our birth charts, learn about astrology (is it pseudoscience, fact, or both?!), and learn about others’ zodiacal identities in a fun way.
  • Second Chance Prom, where we invite students to celebrate the end of the year in a high-school throwback! Born from the desire to give students whose proms were impacted by COVID-19 a second chance, we extend our prom to those who dream of other second chances at prom– those who could not afford prom wear during high school but now can, those who are queer but were not “out” or were not comfortable or safe going with someone they loved in high school, those who were caretakers at home during high school, those who needed to work a nightshift to help at home during high school, and many others.

What Else is New?

  • To better align ourselves with Elon, Student Life and Residence Life, we created new mission, vision and DEI statements.
  • To better represent the beautiful, natural environment of Danieley, we created a new neighborhood logo.
  • We welcome Paula DiBiasio, who served as faculty in residence for Danieley in 2021-2022, to the faculty director role! We also welcome Aly Weaver, who is our new graduate apprentice through the Master of Higher Education program! Lastly, we welcome Joy Robertson, who is joining us as our new program assistant!

To Learn More

To learn more about Danieley and our plans for the year ahead, please visit our website to view our neighborhood plan and other information. For more detailed inquiries, please contact Community Director Tanner Gill or Faculty Director Paula DiBiasio.