Project Description

Virtual Roundtables
NIRSA Ideas in Motion

Director’s Roundtable

Recorded on Tuesday, July 7, 9:00am PT / 12:00pm ET

Facilitated by Pam Watts, with presenters Iisha Voltz, Kevin George, Wendy Motch-Ellis, George Brown, and André Love

Register for this Virtual Roundtable Today

Chat Transcript

00:37:50Stefani Plummer

SO good to see y'all! :)

00:37:59Adam Pruett

Good Morning!! Who did the Waiting Room Workout??!

00:38:02Teri Bladen

I apologize for my disheveled look, just finished my Wait Room workout....

00:38:13Stefani Plummer

@Teri i love that!

00:38:48Greg Jordan

I’m tired from doing the wait room exercises! good to see y’all

00:52:21Teri Bladen

@Iisha "Action must match the message"...Yes!

00:54:17Marc Iturriaga

Speakers are saying a great truth! And true we all know our WHY. The challenge is our system was created to "build it and they will com"e, rather than co-creating opportunities with the people we serve. Unfortunately we are still a structure and process based industry and need to move to "people / students first" focus to help all people belong in our opportunities and programs.

00:56:06Marc Iturriaga

Iisha - great example of "accommodate" rather than prioritize inclusion. We worry about space allocation rather than how that space is utilized for all.

00:57:35Marc Iturriaga

Wendy - how do those students feel like they belong when they are being asked to leave campus?

00:57:50Stacey Hall

Question about women's only swim time...We have an Office of Civil Rights complaint filed against us for offering this. Has anyone else faced this situation?

00:57:51Stefani Plummer

@Marc good thoughts. I feel like this new season has created an opportunity to "start over" and recreate ourselves

00:59:01Kathryn Dunn

Hi Stacey, Loyola University also had this happen.

00:59:12Teri Bladen

@Stacey not your specific situation, but we had to stop promoting Women Only outdoor trips. We simply dropped the "Only", and haven't had push back after that

00:59:30Stefani Plummer

@Stacey we haven't had a formal complaint but we found that our Ladies' Night required a men's event. The uniqueness is that not ALL men wanted a men's night. They didn't want the females out of the facility. So we created a men's health event where the facility stayed open but the vendors focused on men's health information.

00:59:33Kathryn Dunn

Our Title 9 Office said that the student filling the complaint was misusing Title 9/Discrimination as long as we are offering time for males to swim

01:00:08Kathryn Dunn

We do bill ours as "Female Identifying" Swim

01:01:54Erin Patchett (she/her)

Individually, we need to take a hard look at where we get our education and information and perspectives from. And ask/reflect on whether any of it is “hard” to take in because if the learning and unlearning isn’t hard, we may not be growing much. We may be personally checking a box. And yes, be authentic like Kevin has noted! Nobody is perfect at this. We also need to get better at owning and apologizing for mistakes made.

01:03:50Stefani Plummer

@Erin great points. it is hard work...all of it. But we can still do it. I agree with @George WE can change the needle!

01:04:08Kevin George

I will admit that when at college, I was very uncomfortable with Asian Cultural Associations and other EDI groups as I was whitewashed...and color blind. Since I didn't speak the language, eat the cultural foods, I lost all aspects of my Korean heritage and was afraid to explore it....

01:04:20Teri Bladen

We used the EDI resource during our strategic planning last week to dig into deep discussion regarding our Inclusion value. We have committed to living our Inclusion value out loud.

01:04:26Kevin George

All my friends were white.

01:05:10Marc Iturriaga

Great points @Wendy! Self reflection and conversations is important. Coupled with ACTION is even more powerful.

01:06:35Teri Bladen

Nicely stated Wendy!

01:10:29Marc Iturriaga

How are we intentionally embedding and assessing EDI in our job descriptions, strategic plan, budgets, training, hiring practices, etc? Change doesn't happen without intention. It cannot be a project on the side of the desk and taking a backburner to headcounts, registration number and revenue.

01:11:18Stefani Plummer

@Marc --intention!!

01:11:50Teri Bladen


01:11:52Stefani Plummer

@Pam lean in...and don't stop.

01:11:54Marc Iturriaga

Its not Erring if it is a measured and intentional out come.

01:11:54Erin Patchett (she/her)

Organizationally - We have officially broken our full-time staff-focused efforts into 2 groups: space for education (a monthly dialogue on EDI issues) and a space for action (a committee where accountability and action are a stated group norm). This has helped as it both meets people where they are at while also ensuring intentional and well-informed action.

01:12:27Stefani Plummer

@Erin that's such a great structure...

01:12:57Erin Patchett (she/her)

I should add, it also helps us build up our staff competencies so that more people can then be ready to join and take action with the committee efforts.

01:14:16Marc Iturriaga

@Iisha - yes! that is why co-creating our opportunities gives voice to those students to be owners of their experience and not just "accommodating" or "integrating" into the already problematic structure.

01:15:18Erin Patchett (she/her)

@Iisha, great idea for keeping that connection

01:15:42Wendy Motch-Ellis

Here’s a resource that starts examine white culture -

01:19:44Wendy Windsor

@Wendy Yes, love the 3 L's: Lean In, Learn, & Listen.

01:20:01Marc Iturriaga

As important as education is, we all know that a person can be educated on the importance of eating healthy, moving more, sitting less, take care of yourself etc but it often does not translate into change of behavior and action. When we realise that it is not an individual journey for most, and we are able to facilitate and help navigate that experience for our students we will start to see change.

01:21:00Erin Patchett (she/her)

@Wendy - yes!

01:21:21Marc Iturriaga

And that journey is different for all - as Wendy illustrates there is so much intersectionality amongst our culture - so the more we focus on the person and do the best we can to change the system to fit the people rather than find ways to stick the person into the system, the more we can move the needle on inclusion.

01:22:26Erin Patchett (she/her)

@Wendy - yes, yes, and yes. Important points for us white folx to consider.

01:27:27Marc Iturriaga

Can a panelist share a recent initiative or action in their department they took to address EDI concerns that they feel pushed the needle further towards inclusion?

01:27:57Pam Watts

@Marc - thanks for question - I'll weave it in

01:29:48Wendy Windsor

Amazing conversation. We need more of this!

01:30:43George Brown

Bringing more intentionality to mental health provisions and support within our facilities where BIPOC students feel more comfortable seeking those services with our counseling center embedded in our rec areas. The % of BIPOC students accessing these resources has increased and placed our role in a better campus wide light

01:30:55Teri Bladen

@Wendy W., Yes!

01:31:49Erin Patchett (she/her)

@Kevin's example is a great reminder that we really need to check in on our staff when things happen on and near campus.

01:32:15Jessica Ward

I have to leave for another meeting. Thank you to everyone for sharing!

01:32:53Stefani Plummer

@Kevin...great reminder to check in with our team.

01:34:08Marc Iturriaga

@Kevin - great points - but they do have experience that we do not put down in a job description or quantify as "best candidate"

01:34:21Erin Patchett (she/her)

@Kevin - we have so many rules that are problematic in their original purpose as well as in how they are selectively enforced. deeply evaluating policies is a great organizational action to take.

01:34:42Pam Watts

To save the chat, click the three dots in the lower right hand corner of the chat box.

01:34:55Christopher Gottlick

Thanks Pam and the entire panel! I appreciate everyone taking the time today.

01:36:03Erin Patchett (she/her)

I would like to second (or third) the value of having this roundtable. Pam, thanks for hosting and to the panelists, for their time. I've got a kiddo that is waiting to play. =)

01:36:32leslie whitmer

Thankyou to all the panel members! Some eye opening dialogue. leslie embry Riddle

01:36:35Adam Pruett

Amazing conversation

01:36:47Adam Pruett

Looking forward to more items for action!

01:37:02Kevin George

Multiple identities are important - person of color, first generation, sexual identity...all those are intersection where campus rec needs to look at how to be inclusive

01:37:16Stefani Plummer

SUCH a great conversation...let's keep it going.

01:38:11Pam Watts

All - we will continue to schedule these roundtable conversations. We are also working on a variety of education content - trying to meet the needs of members while not replicating what may already be available to you and your staff through your campus resources. Please continue to email me with your ideas and requests for how NIRSA can support your learning and resource needs.

01:39:03Kevin George

Again the Covid-19 has shown the disparities of health & well-being for our people of color, so being mindful of reopening and what that means for underrepresented populations you serve

01:39:16NIRSA Smartboard

Please continue to check Ideas in Motion page for Caucus and forum sessions too to continue conversation (please share with staff). In particular, BIPOC Caucus, Latinx Caucus, Student Perspective Caucus, and White Ally 201 Caucus are now open for registration:

01:39:17Marc Iturriaga

Thank you so much for your experience and leadership panelists and Pam for moving the needle towards inclusion. Excellent conversation!

01:39:27Teri Bladen

Thanks Pam and panelists, this has been fantastic.

01:39:36Kevin George

You all can be vulnerable and authentic on your journey..

01:39:48Kevin George

To share with your teams/staff/patrons

01:39:54Kevin George

It's powerful

01:39:57Anthony (U of Central Arkansas)

Thank you. Great information. Be safe, wash your hands, wear your mask.

01:40:00Yvette Kell

Thank you everyone, great information and conversation!

01:40:08Michael Thomas

Thank you for this roundtable!

01:40:25Rhonda Powers

Great information and conversation. Thank you for sharing!

01:40:26Iisha Voltz

Thank you for the opportunity

If you have an idea or would like to facilitate an upcoming caucus or forum please email