Fresno State University Courtyard Residential Life is a featured program.
We are committed to providing individual support for our residents and creating a sense of belonging to students from all backgrounds.
The University Courtyard at Fresno State has always had a high level of commitment to diversity. For the staff and the1100 students living in our community, many opportunities are presented on issues of diversity.
Some highlights of one year of diversity education/awareness focus at Fresno State include:
Updating one of our departmental goals to include socio-economic status, gender identity, learning styles, and life experiences when it comes to diversity
Our Goal: To promote an atmosphere that is conducive to creating an appreciation, understanding, and acceptance of individual differences and lifestyles regardless of socio-economic status, physical abilities, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, gender identity, learning styles, life experiences, or political affiliation.
Enhanced training during the academic year:
Half of our housing professional staff attending the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI). This is a one day diversity training event.
Fall diversity training for residential life staff.
Mid-semester in-service in fall to discuss how we, as a department can engage on the issue of inclusion, diversity, and safety.
Winter training for Residential Life Staff that included:
- Staff cultural museum: staff members put together displays on an aspect of their own culture and we displayed them museum style.
- Half day NCBI workshop.
- First ever “diversity day” trip to San Francisco with stops at the GLBT History Museum, riding the muni, the Museum of the African Diaspora, and the MLK memorial in Yerba Buena Park.
Diversity Committee meetings including 15-20 minutes of training activities including:
- A “walk a mile activity” in which committee members were challenged to be in the meeting with a disability – blindness, hearing loss, inability to speak.
- An “Offensive Words” activity – what are the words out there and how can we build skills to challenge those words
Extra Efforts on the part of the Diversity Program Committee: Fall Semester
- Safe Haven Program – signage for staff to put on their doors promoting a safe environment for our LGBT+ students
- Publishing of the “Diversity Digest” – monthly newsletter covering topics such as National Coming Out Day, World AIDs Day, Eating Disorder Awareness
- Collaboration with the Fresno State United Student Pride (USP) club on campus – Change the World Event
for residents: Jumping the Boom Radio Elf
- Support of the Annual Milk and Cookies Alcohol Awareness Event: Table on the drinking ages around the world
- “I Am” Day in the Dining Hall – asking residents to finish the statement “I Am…” and place the answer on a butcher paper to celebrate who our residents are. This was followed by a snowflake program (and the uniqueness of snowflakes) ending with the diverse movie series movie “Elf”
Extra Efforts on the part of the Diversity Program Committee: Spring Semester
- Diversity Digest Continues. Topics include so far; Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, and Women’s History
- Diverse Movie Series Continues: White Scripts, Black Supermen
- Culture Night coming at the end of February: Collaboration with the dining hall who will be serving cultural food that evening, with campus clubs and organizations performing and speaking, and a cultural museum in the dining hall with displays from staff and residents on various cultures.
- Support of Tunnel of Oppression Program
- Other diversity programs: ◦Expansion of our Tunnel of Oppression program to the entire campus – Collaboration with multiple departments including Center for Women and Culture, Health Center, Wellness Ambassadors, United Student Pride, Services for Students with Disabilities, Student Involvement, Fresno Family First, and Chi Sigma Phi
- Salsa Salsa Program exploring Cuban, Puerto Rican & Columbian dance heritage
- Dia De Los Muertos Program
- The Underground Railroad
- The Immigration Test
- Project Unbreakable (Sexual Assault Survivors)
- Who Are You?
- Open Your Eyes?
- My Room is Hate Free
Uniqueness of outreach efforts
Diversity awareness socials: During our welcome week activities, we had three awareness socials in our community, in partnership with various campus departments and faculty:
- African People’s Social (attendance of 20 including 3 faculty members and two campus staff members who are not from housing)
- Latino Awareness Social (attendance of 60 including 4 faculty members and 6 campus staff members who are not from housing)
- LGBT+ Awareness Social: (attendance of 19 including 2 faculty members and three campus staff members not from housing)
Serving the under-represented populations in our community
- Pumpkinfest – 200 children from the immediate community (primarily consisting of poorer families) come to campus and attend a carnival and trick or treating in the halls
- Bulldog pantry/Feeding Fresno -student created food pantry across the street from us that provides meals to local families throughout the year.
When confronted with a floor wide gender issue (posting of naked female pictures on a women’s wing in retaliation to females posting flowers and pictures of Chris Helmsworth on the men’s wing), male and female residential life staff member put together a program to engage the community in a unique way on gender issues. “Battle of the Sexes” was a great program that encouraged respectful dialogue among residents on gender issues.
Additional innovative approaches to recruitment and retention of under-represented staff
Partnership with renaissance scholars – we work closely with our renaissance scholar program which serves emancipated foster youth. We provide trainings prior to move in for these students, and work to assist in their success. We also recruit these students for staff and have had former foster youth as RAs and RDs.
Recruiting at diversity awareness socials – During the socials at the beginning of the year we talk about how to get involved on campus and encourage these students to apply for residential life positions.
Additional Effective Use of Creative Resources
Collaborations with NCBI, Center for Women and Culture, United Student Pride Club. Tunnel of Oppression is the culmination of our efforts to share resources across departments
How do we know we are effective in our efforts? We assess our residents on a regular basis. With a 30-40% response rate each year, we have an effective means of determining whether there are changes to areas of respect in regards to race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and political views. Our results indicate our communities score highest on race/ethnicity & genders. These numbers slightly improve year to year. Over the past five years, all areas have increased. We have also increased residents perception of the value of interacting with residents who are different than themselves, from a mean of 5.25 in 2009 to 5.8 this past fall semester.