As the autumnal light surrounds us, we collectively struggle to make sense of the current issues of our time – always thinking about what Anselmians can do.Our October bulletin spotlights David Chairez ’22 who shares insights on what the college does well and how we can improve. In this issue Diversity Assistant Chloe Peng ’23 introduces us to mentor/mentee pairings from the college’s beloved Transitions Program. Finally, written by Diversity Assistant Anna Raley ’24 this month’s “Did You Know?” section is on Mental Health. Anna discusses a national trend and how Saint A’s is responding. “Cultural Competency” also called “Cultural Humility” plays a role in addressing health and wellness. Let’s all expand our knowledge and deepen our empathy on this important issue. Don’t miss a sample of upcoming events. Save the dates! Read on!
-- Dr. Ande Diaz
Spotlight on David Chairez ’22: Politics and Peace & Justice Studies Double Major
Resident Assistant, Admissions Ambassador, President of MSC, Transitions Program Mentor, Hilltop Academy Student Leader, Unity Retreat Leader
Q: Where’s home for you?
Home is back in Southern California. I am from the city of Azusa, which is about 30 minutes outside of Los Angeles.
Q: What are some things you think Saint A’s is doing well in fostering a diverse and inclusive community?
I think one thing that Saint A’s is doing well in fostering a diverse and inclusive community is having more conversations about topics that were not really discussed before on campus. It is now much more common for faculty, staff, and students to talk about different elements of diversity and inclusion inside and outside of the classroom. More people have been encouraged to make their voices heard about these topics and to take the necessary action to fulfill our school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Q: What do you think we could do better to promote diversity and inclusion?
I think that there is always room for growth and improvement, and I think that building a better bridge between the students and college administration can help better promote diversity and inclusion. With both sides having more effective communication with each other, I believe we can find solutions to the problems we recognize are present when trying to fulfill our commitment to diversity and inclusion. I am hopeful that in the near future, there will be more opportunities for all students to work alongside the college administration in making decisions that effect this area of interest.
Q: How can you personally help make Saint A’s more welcoming to everyone?
I can help by showing how our campus can help anyone achieve their academic and professional goals. I have had great experiences with many different organizations that have helped me feel a part of campus and have success inside and outside of the classroom. By highlighting these experiences to others, I can showcase how Saint A’s will welcome everyone into our community and push them to become the best version of themselves.
Run by the Father Jonathan Center for Intercultural Learning and Inclusion, the Transitions Program is designed to strengthen the academic, social and cultural experiences of first-year students through peer relationships. It is particularly relevant for students from traditionally underrepresented (commuter, first-generation, & multicultural) groups, but students from ALL backgrounds are encouraged to participate. Below is a sample of the Transition mentor/mentee pairings:
Jacob Infante & Levin Rudler
Question: Jacob, what is the biggest difference you have found between the two of you?
“I was expecting to have a mentee who was in the Business field, however Levin is a nursing major. I anticipated I would not be able to help him much with things directly related to nursing, but I knew there will always be other Transitions mentors in the nursing field also available for him”
Question: Levin, what is the biggest similarity between you and you mentor?
“We both love frisbee!”
Question: What made you decide to join the Transitions program?
Levin - “My sister, who graduated from Saint Anselm College in 2021, told me about Transitions. She regrets not taking part in the program.”
Jacob - “I wanted to give back to the program that gave me the most when I was freshman mentee.”
Question: What have you gained from the Transitions Program?
Levin - “A running start to the college by the time orientation came along.”
Jacob - “I have become more confident and have improved my leadership abilities. The Transitions program helped me meet a lot of people, including many upperclassmen.”
Question: What have you given back to the Transitions Program?
Levin - “I think my biggest contribution is I cooked at the very first Transition barbecue!”
Jacob - “I have been able to help first-year students and serve as a resource to them.”
Brandon Rose & Zay Wright
Question: Zay, what is the biggest difference you have found between you and your mentee?
“I didn’t expect Brandon to be so involved, both in the Intercultural Center as well as in the program (Transitions).”
Question: Brandon, what is the biggest similarity between you and your mentor?
“We both share the same sense of humor. “
Question: Zay, what have you gained from the Transitions Program?
“I found a sense of belonging on this campus through the program”
Question: Brandon, what have you given to Transitions?
“I contributed my positive energy to the program”
Korah Olivier & Mackenzie Mendoza
Question: Korah, what is the biggest difference you have found between you and your mentee?
“I didn’t expect Mackenzie to be so good at setting boundaries as a freshman. This is something I am still working on”
Question: Mackenzie, what is the biggest similarity between you and your mentor?
“I would say our major, and we both care about our friends very much”
Question: Korah, what made you decide to join the Transitions Program?
“When I joined Transitions, I received a lot of guidance and help from not only from my mentor, but other mentors as well. This is something I continue to be very thankful for. I wish to continue this nice tradition and to be there for whomever needs it.”
Question: What have you gained from the program?
Korah- “I have become a better listener, and more empathetic.”
Mackenzie- “I have adjusted to college faster because of the program. I have also gained a lot of good friends! “
Question: Korah, what have you given to Transitions?
I’ve contributed my laughter and humor to the program.”
Mental Health and Racial Stigma
Conversations regarding mental health have gradually surfaced in modern conversation as society has recognized the impact of mental illness and the stigma that still shrouds it. October 10th is World Mental Health Day, which is centered around the initiative to raise awareness and mobilize support for the stigmatized subject of mental health issues. As a result, many are deterred from seeking proper care or recognizing that mental health is an issue for many individuals. The importance of prevention and wellness with regards to any mental illness is vital, however, in addition to prevalent discrimination in general, race and ethnicity play a role into how mental health support is obtained and achieved.
Regardless of ethnicity, mental health challenges are commonly presented with prejudices. However, due to cultural sigma and persistent inaccessibility in receiving mental health services; racial and ethnic minorities often experience societal-based struggles in their own mental illness acknowledgment. One’s culture, beliefs, race, and ethnicity affect how aspects of mental health conditions are perceived and experienced. In a systematically racialized society, there are prevalent disparities in accessing mental health care and treatment. This can be seen through fewer professionals within the community, and fewer professionals who share a similar identity or even who speak the same language. The most recent National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report depicts that, racial and ethnic minorities still have less access to mental health services than white individuals. In addition, racial minority groups are more likely to delay seeking treatment which can worsen the effects of the illness.
Because of the known disparities in the health industry, cultural competency is necessary to address the discrimination and bias associated with an individual’s cultural identity. As the mental health system continues to progress, there is a necessity to recognize that this progression should also include an understanding of the influence of cultural differences in the search for mental illness support.
The Saint Anselm campus provides support for all students suffering from any form of mental health related issue through Counseling Services, and within the Mental Health Committee and Active Minds; both student clubs centered around the health and wellbeing of Saint Anselm students. To make an appointment with Counseling Services, please call 603-641-7028. In the event of an after-hours emergency, please call (603) 641-7000 and ask for the counselor on call.
Diversity & Inclusion Innovation Fund (DIIF)
We want to hear from you! Do you have a collaborative project to develop diversity and inclusion on our campus? Apply and your project could be awarded up to $2,500! We support ideas from faculty, staff, monastic and student community members. Final Info Session on October 14. See details/links in the upcoming events that follow. Deadline for applying for Spring 2022 DIIF funds is Friday, October 22nd, 12:00 p.m.
Looking Ahead - SAVE THE DATE!
Movie- “I’m No Longer Here”
"I'm No Longer Here" focuses on modern teenagers in the northern Mexico City of Monterrey who are obsessed with the bouncing beat of traditional cumbia music, slowed-down and done their own way. They call their crew the Terkos, go by nicknames like Chaparra and Sweatshirt, and spend their days wandering the streets, singing, dancing, and talking trash about the other groups in town.
The Father Jonathan Center for Intercultural Learning and Inclusion, Modern Languages Department & Multicultural Student Coalition
Wed, 10/13, 4:00 p.m., Gadbois 102
Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Fund Info Sessions
Do you have a collaborative project to develop diversity and inclusion on our campus? Apply and your project could be awarded up to $2,500! We support ideas from faculty, staff, monastic and student community members.