To help inspire people to become “agents of change,” Cornell’s Greek community will gather next Saturday to learn about and tackle the importance of diversity and inclusion at the first Greek Diversity Summit, according to Maya Cutforth ’20, vice president of citizenship, diversity and inclusion for the Panhellenic Council.
“Well, I think we’ve seen just based off recent events on campus there is a sentiment that students in Greek life … we do experience a lot of privilege but at the same time we want to learn a lot about diversity and inclusion,” Cutforth said.
The Greek Diversity Summit, which is open to all students in the Greek community, will become an annual event in which members of the Greek community can “discuss diversity and inclusion and learn how to take action,” Cutforth told The Sun.
The three vice presidents of citizenship, diversity, and inclusion from the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council and the Multicultural Greek and Fraternal Council planned the summit with help from each chapter’s diversity chair.
“The summit came about this year because our positions are new,” Cutforth said. “This is the first time we have such a position on any of the Tri-Council executive boards.”
This year’s summit will open with a keynote address by Yusuf Abdul-Qadir, the director of the Central New York Civil Liberties Union, who will be sharing his journey into activism. Attendees also have a chance to talk about different social identities such as sexuality, gender, race and socioeconomic status in smaller breakout sessions.
“I think the passion has been there, but there just hasn’t been a specific day on which we can all discuss diversity and inclusion and how to take action,” Cutforth said. “So we really wanted to create a summit where we can talk about different social identities, which is why we have breakout sessions, but also to inspire students in greek life to take action and become agents of change.”
The summit will close with a career panel where students can learn about the challenges and rewards that come with working in social activism. One of the panelists, Akhil Kang grad, is a Cornell Ph.D. student in anthropology involved in queer activism in India.
“I would like to see people develop skills and knowledge on how to dialogue about different issues and develop an awareness they might not have before,” Cutforth said. “I hope this summit can inspire students in Greek life to take action and become agents of change on campus.”
The summit will take place on Nov. 3 in Warren Hall. Events begin at 10 a.m., and interested students can register here.