Big 8 Identities workshops offer an introduction to social identities

During the workshops, students will learn about the eight major social identities and have the opportunity to reflect on their own experiences.

Graphic of the Big 8 Identities workshopEight major social identities, often referred to as “the big eight,” are commonly used to describe how a person categorizes themselves and others — ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. To help students recognize and learn more about these eight major social identities, Elon University will host a series of “The Big 8” workshops throughout the fall semester.

“I think the most important thing is to really pause and think of the meaning of each of those identities and the impact they have in your own life,” said Sylvia Muñoz, assistant dean of students and director of the Center for Race, Ethnicity & Diversity Education (CREDE).

During the workshops, students will have the opportunity to learn valuable information about the eight identities, which can serve as a great starting point for further exploration of identity. The workshops can be followed by more research on diversity, inclusion, equity and justice.

Muñoz explains that workshop participants can better understand how these social identities impact personal and social experiences. With that understanding, students can help make others feel welcomed, supported and respected. This will help to create an inclusive environment where everyone on Elon’s campus feels comfortable being themselves.

“It is important to recognize that we don’t have just one identity. We navigate the world holding different identities, some of which make life easier for us and others make it more challenging,” Muñoz said.

The workshops will offer insight into the role of the CREDE as well as the resources and support available through the center and its staff. The CREDE is one of many centers and initiatives that support equity and inclusive excellence. Along with learning about the CREDE, participants will also learn about other identity-based resources on campus during the workshops.

People are influenced all the time and it sometimes affects their sense of identity. An individual’s identity is important, which is why it’s beneficial to learn about the big eight and how they can impact you and those around you. If everyone can take the time to learn about social identities, we can actively create an inclusive learning environment.

“We start introducing the big eight identities and talk about why it is important to examine them. We try to get them engaged in these and make sure they understand that it’s part of their own personal development growth,” said Muñoz. “Where do you sit within these identities?”

“The Big 8” workshops will be offered four times in September, October and November. Registration is open for upcoming workshops.

“The Big 8” workshops for Fall 2023:

Thursday, Sept. 28 | McBride Gathering Space | 12:30 – 2 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 9 | Lakeside 214 | 9:15 – 10:45 a.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 24 | Lakeside 214 | 2:30 – 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 15 | Lakeside 214 | 5:30 – 7 p.m.