Your 2022 Hope College Culture Champions!

On Friday, April 29 The Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of Disability and Accessibility Resources and Culture and Inclusive Excellence co-hosted Hope College’s annual Diversity Awards Presentation. Within this awards ceremony, the Culture Action Team honored 10 staff and faculty members with the Culture Champion Award. Reading through each peer-nomination form, we were overwhelmed by all of the people who are actively working to make Hope a place of belonging, understanding, and grace. Read on for this year’s 10 Culture Champions and a few words from each of their nominations.

Kelly Bublitz: “When one of Kelly’s guys are sick he will reach out to them… make them soup and drop it off for their family. Kelly always makes new folks feel welcome by… engaging with them, talking about them and who they are.”

Reagan Chesnut: “Reagan’s presentation to us reminded me of the champion she is for making the world accessible to everyone. I worked with Reagan at HSRT as well and in my time working with her she was always the person who made sure we were finding ways to make theatre accessible for those who could not afford it, those who have never had the chance to experience theatre, and those who needed some accommodations to enjoy the productions. She created sensory packs for those with autism, adhd, and different abilities.”

Laura Clarke: “She goes way beyond her job title to help others around her! She makes work interesting and fun. She loves the students here at Hope and has dedicated her life to serving them!” 

Marissa Doshi: “She was instrumental in broadening the general education revision to attend to issues of equity and inclusion. She…[works] hard to include and recognize the excellence of adjunct instructors, creating a culture of belonging that crosses Hope’s tenure-line/adjunct stratification.”

Pedro Martinez: With a kind disposition and positive attitude, Pedro is approachable, friendly and thoughtful.  He is an amazing listener and speaks up for others when their voices are not heard. Both professionally and personally, Pedro has a passion for leading discussions and taking action when it comes to multicultural recruitment and retention

Pablo Peschiera: “Through his work as chair, he gathered an ad-hoc committee to evaluate the literature curriculum. Pablo was intent on diversity, equity, and inclusion both in the way he assembled the ad-hoc committee (inclusion of variously ranked faculty, multiple genders and ethnicities represented, etc.) and in the way he addressed the curricular needs for our students (the students are requesting greater diversity in literary authors and works, and we should intentionally include better representation of race, ethnicity, ability, etc. in our curriculum).”

Kim Swartout: “She is always an advocate and ally, looking out for others to feel included. Passionate about supporting others and making sure we are being equitable for everyone on our campus.”

Rodrigo Serrão: “I immediately thought of Rodrigo when I was reading about this award because of a recent program he has put in place with.. CDI…  “Casual Conversations about Race.”  These conversations took place bi-weekly in the Keppel House. Rodrigo would organize a reading/podcast/movie or speaker for the assigned day. Students gather with him to have informal conversations informed by the material.

Bonnie VanderWal: “Her warmth, sense-of-humor, and willingness to tell the truth set the stage for people to begin to see things in new ways.  External candidates for CAPS Director complimented the DEI statement on CAPS’ web page (that was her initiative and work). Within the CAPS staff, Bonnie works to make sure that our honest conversations are more honest.”

Deb VanDuinen: “Deb helped relieve some of the tensions among the faculty by being transparent and working toward more consistency. Building a culture of trust is at the very heart of what Deb did as Faculty Moderator. Deb regularly fought for equity across campus whether related to salaries, resources, release time, expectations, etc.”

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