How to Incorporate Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion into Your Daily Life

By: Shannon Humphrey

 

What is EDI?

Everywhere we go we are hearing more and more about EDI initiatives, committees, and events but what is EDI?

EDI stands for EQUITY, DIVERSITY, and INCLUSION. Ultimately, equity is the goal, diversity is the fact, and inclusion is the action. Equity comes first in the acronym because it is the guiding principle and end goal.

Where do I start?

Start with you! It is common to think an equitable, diverse, and inclusive models of behavior has to do with others but EDI has quite a lot to do with ourselves. Before you can actively practice and integrate EDI in everyday life, you first must understand who you are and how you exist in the world. It is important that we start with ourselves.

For some this understanding of self might seem like an entirely overwhelming concept that is difficult to navigate. Consider how you would label yourself on the diagram below as a starting point.

The more comprehensive your understanding of self, the closer you get to your most authentic self.  It is much easier to practice EDI when you start from a place where you are unapologetically comfortable as your most authentic self. Only once you understand how you exist in the world can you truly understand how others exist in the world. That is the most difficult part of practicing EDI in everyday life. EDI is so much more than simply coming up with and implementing a model of behaviour, it is also a journey of self discovery that takes us in unexpected directions and down paths we never thought possible.

This journey of self-discovery and understanding is called our intersectional identity. Intersectionality is an analytical framework for understanding how aspects of a person’s social and political identities combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege. The term was conceptualized and coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in a paper in 1989 and is illustrated by the diagram below.

 

Ok, I know myself. Now what?

The next step is seeking to understand. Once you have figured out how you exist in the world, now it is time to consider how those around you and others exist in the world. At this stage you must practice hearing, seeing, and validating others. However, before you can do this you must understand what each element of EDI means individually.

Look no further, here are some definitions:

Equity – The fair and respectful treatment of all humans recognizing an obligation to provide safe spaces and barrier free environments. Equity involves the reduction of disparities and ensures that everyone has barrier free access to opportunity, resources, and supports that fit their needs. Equity goes beyond simply acknowledging the existence of inequalities and recognizes that those inequalities are deeply rooted in historical and contemporary injustices. Equity accounts for the fact that not everyone is made equal and accounts for differences. For those of you who are visual learners, here is a picture that explains equity.

Diversity – Acknowledges the existence differences between individuals. The goal of diversity must be to recognize, value, and celebrate those differences rather than trying to eliminate them.

Inclusion – A set of measures that can be integrated into everyday life that ensure all people feel safe, welcome, and valued as their most authentic self. Inclusion is about creating safe spaces for diversity to thrive. In other words, the means of recognizing, valuing, and celebrating difference.

EDI – Most simply put, EDI is a journey of growth toward humanity. It aims to challenge and destigmatize stereotypes and unconscious biases to ultimately eradicate prejudice, discrimination, and marginalization to make the world a better and more equitable place for all. Equity is the goal, diversity is the is the fact, and inclusion is the action.

See, Hear, Validate

How can you practice EDI in your daily life? My guess is that you already are in one way or another.

Since the goal is to seek to understand, this can be as simple as a conversation. If you are sharing your experiences with others and explaining how you exist in the world while listening and learning about how they exist in the world, you are already seeking to understand and thus practicing EDI. In the grand scheme of things, a conversation should be relatively simple and come naturally. Just remember this stage is all about hearing, seeing, and validating others. However, it is also about being visible to be seen, using your voice to be heard, and validating your own identity and feelings. Yes, psychology students, I am referring to achieving self actualization on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is an excellent example of where critical thought through an EDI lens comes into play to shed light on some local history that indicates there is more to the story. Did you know that Maslow spent six weeks living at Siksika, a Blackfoot Reserve in Alberta in the summer of 1938? His time there conceivably challenged his early hypotheses and shaped his theories that influenced the framework for the hierarchy of needs. While Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs focuses on the individual, the Blackfoot way of life offers an alternative framework that focuses on the community. Self-Actualization as a word or phrase does not exist in the Siksika language, but The Blackfoot word niita’pitapi, meaning “someone who is completely developed, or who has arrived,” is used in reference to a community who leaves no one behind and is engrained in the cultural teachings of the Siksika Nation. Moral of the story? Part of practicing EDI in your everyday life is applying critical thought to history and the narratives that are given to us from only one perspective. What about the other sides or versions of the story?

As students we have options that we can take in our course load. One of the best ways to practice EDI in your every day life is to learn about it. Take courses that interest you! Take courses that provide content and context on the things you want to learn more about. Use your time here to your advantage and learn about whatever you want to learn about. That is what your options are for. This is a great way to learn more about intersectional aspects of identity and the things that influence EDI. Your instructors are a great resource as are your librarians, your student services, and of course your SA.

The Simple Things

Are you still feeling overwhelmed and like there is a lot to learn? No problem! This is the part where you are required to practice a little bit of self compassion and self empathy. Give yourself a break and allow room for error. We don’t get good at things overnight, we must practice, grow, and continue learning. The point of practice is to make room for troubleshooting and strive for improvement. Always remember that it is the fact that you are trying that really matters. If you mess it up, that is okay, no one is expecting perfection. While it is important to own it when we do mess up, it is equally as important to learn from it and ultimately move forward a more aware and a better more informed version of yourself. Your efforts are appreciated, valued, and important!

Vice President External Candidate Profile

We have officially entered Election Campaign Week here at Red Deer Polytechnic and we have one candidate running uncontested for the position of Vice President External.  Voting for the Students’ Association By-Election opens at 9am on Tuesday, October 26 and closes at 4pm on Thursday, October 28.

Brenan Fuiten

I would like to acknowledge that the Students Association operates on Treaty 7, Treaty 6, and Métis ancestral lands, which are home to many Indigenous peoples. I have been a part of the RDP community for a number of years, and have had four different majors during that time, proving that you don’t need to have a clear and defined path as soon as you enter post-secondary schooling. I’m in my 4th year of my BA Psychology program through the University of Calgary. One of the main advantages that I can offer to students is that by being a long term student at RDP I have a great understanding of what resources, opportunities, and programs are available to student members, in addition to the struggles that they face as part of their education. This means that a large part of what I will be doing at the Students Association will be to help advocate for student’s mental health resources and letting students know that there are various learning supports available to them. While making sure to advocate for the Polytechnic students’ voice in the province and nationally. Over the past few years you might have found me helping students in the library as a peer tutor at the Writing Skills Centre, visiting classrooms and helping organize the Agora Undergraduate Conference, editing papers for the Agora Journal, and being the student voice on the School Council. If you see me on campus I’m more than willing to stop and chat, especially if it ends up being an issue that affects your education. 

Why Joining a Student Group is Life Changing

By: Jessica Walker

Think back to your first day at Red Deer Polytechnic, how did you feel? I would venture to say that you felt intimidated, alone, and were wondering how you would make friends. We’ve all been there. Getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people is so daunting.

Naturally, you will meet people in your program but what if you want to meet outside the classroom? What if you don’t have much in common with the people in your program aside from being in the same program?

What if I told you I have the secret to meet students outside your program, would you believe me?

Well, you better believe me because I have the secret! Join a student group – hold the applause! Yep, it’s that simple. At Red Deer Polytechnic, we have a wide variety of student groups on campus, and they vary from interest based to program-based groups. Some groups with as little as 10 members and some with upward of 200. There really is something for everybody and if you don’t find a group that fits your interests, consider founding one!

I’m sure you’re wondering how this could be life changing…well it’s because you are joining a group with other students who have similar interests and values as you. You will spend an abundance of time with these individuals and will create lifelong bonds. You and these other students will share a unique experience, and no one can take that away from you. Aside from friendships, being a member or Executive of a student group will help develop your leadership skills, expand your resume, and provide many networking opportunities. As far as I can tell, there are no negative aspects of joining a student group!!

To learn more about the student groups on campus or how to establish one, check out our website! If you have questions about groups or need a little guidance, contact me – Jessica – at same@rdpolytech.ca or 403-356-4972.

See you around!

10 Things Every Student Should Know

By: Shannon Humphrey

 

As a student who has been here for longer than the average bear, I feel I have a certain responsibility to share some tips and tricks that I wish someone would have shared with me to make my time here easier.

  1. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be

Now I know this is our favorite task and struggling alone to navigate a system we aren’t yet familiar with seems like the “normal” thing to do but stop that right now! It doesn’t have to be this hard. One of the best things you can do for yourself to ensure the best possible educational experience is to know your resources and then actually use them. Which brings me to my next point.

  1. You are not alone

There are a ton of resources both on and off campus to help support you throughout your time here. Make sure you know the available resources and use them to their fullest extent. Had I discovered these resources and supports earlier in my academic journey, my time here would have been a lot easier, and come to think of it, likely a lot shorter as well. For me the resources I wish I would have discovered earlier are Counselling Services, Accessibility Services, and my Student Health and Dental benefits. Here are some of the resources that are valuable resources you should be utilizing:

 

·       Counselling

·       My Wellness

·       Accessibility Services

·       Student Connect Centre

·       Academic Advising

·       Learning Strategies

·       Peer Tutoring

 

 

·       Student Food Bank

·       Math Centre

·       Writing Centre

·       Academic Upgrading Tutor Centre

·       Red Deer Polytechnic Website

·       Students’ Association Website

·       LibGuides

 

 

  1. You will always have options

“No education is bad education, and no time spent learning is wasted”

Someone once said to me, “no education is bad education, and no time spent learning is wasted.” This is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. This statement could not be more accurate. Academic credits not only transfer internally across programs but also externally across schools. In my academic journey, I spent 1 year at University of Lethbridge (U of L), and then 7 years at Red Deer College. Every single class I have ever taken still appears on my transcript and those classes I took at U of L, despite not finishing my program, fulfill several class requirements in my business degree and justice studies diploma. Many of my classes also act as pre-requisites allowing me to take higher level classes that are more specified and that I find much more engaging. While some of those classes may not fill any program requirements currently, they did in the past and remain of my transcript. These junior level credits have opened all sorts of doors to more interesting senior levels credits. So, even if you get into your program and decide that it’s not for you, it doesn’t mean you need to drop out of school. You will always have options no matter where life takes you. You can find out more information about your credits on your Loop account and checking your Grad Tracker, or by visiting Transfer Alberta.

  1. Academic Planning is important!

It is in your best interest to understand how to academic plan. This will ultimately allow you more autonomy in the long run and enable you to choose your own adventure! Academic planning can be complicated and confusing at first, but it’s worth it. Here are a few things you need to know:

  • Know where to find your academic advisor. They will be your greatest ally when it comes to academic planning. They can help you understand the academic planning process and what courses you need to take to fulfill your program requirements.
  • Know where to find a program Planning Guide and your Grad Tracker. This helps you track what you have completed, what you still need to complete, and outlines your options. It gives you a real time overview of your progress and help guide you.
  • Know what pre-requisites and anti-requisites are:
    • Pre-requisites are courses required to be completed before you are eligible to take another course. For example, you must take PSYC 260 before taking any other PSYC courses.
    • Anti-requisites are courses that are the same in the nature and fulfill the same requirements. More simply put, it courses are anti-requisites then it is useless to take them both because the content will be similar and only one will count toward your program. Make sure you are in the correct one for your program. In some cases, one may be a “higher level” course to fulfill a university transfer requirement, while the other will not fulfill the university transfer requirement.
  • Know the difference between junior and senior level courses:
    • In general, junior level courses are intro level courses and often act a pre-requisite to something else. Usually, these courses are taken in your first few years but can be taken at any time throughout your academic journey. These courses are usually your 100-200 level courses (“college”) or 1000-2000 (“university”) level courses. These often transfer from 100 to 1000 and 200 to 2000 level courses when transferring from a college to a university or vice versa.
  • Take courses that actually interest you. Don’t take courses just because they fit into your schedule. You will always be more successful in a course if you find the content interesting. Set yourself up for success. Yes, sometimes this means hitting refresh at midnight until the new courses come available for registration. I promise it’s worth it.
  • Play to your strengths. Your academic journey is not limited to just your program.

While I was doing my Justice Studies Diploma, I took a KNSS course that helped me get my NCCP Coaching Certification. This KNSS class both filled an open option in my diploma and served as a means of getting a coaching certification that I otherwise would have had to pay out of pocket for and would have had to take anyway in my role as a head coach. Use your time here to your advantage and pursue those extra little things that will help you out in your personal life and future endeavours whether they are career related or not.

Knowing your learning style will help you learn faster and retain what you learn. You can discover your learning style by taking either of these quizzes:

https://www.how-to-study.com/learning-style-assessment/quiz-item.asphttp://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles.shtml

Once you have taken a few courses, identify the instructors that work for your learning style and those that do not. Knowing how you learn and what is effective in helping you retain knowledge will set you up for success.

  • Never take an F – the better option is to WD.
    • WD stands for withdraw. Withdrawals do not impact your GPA and show up on your transcript as WD.
    • Students withdraw from a course after the last day to add or drop a course and before or on the last day of scheduled classes, as indicated in the Academic Schedule. A grade of WD is assigned to the course on the student’s transcript.
    • The last day to withdraw from courses is on the last day of scheduled classes as indicated in the Academic Schedule or in the course outline for courses with alternative academic terms.
    • Late Drop or Withdrawal: Students who miss the deadline to drop or withdraw from courses as a result of illness, domestic affliction, religious practices, or other compelling reasons may request the Registrar to consider approval of a late drop or withdrawal.
  • Retaking courses does not always boost your GPA so make sure you speak with your advisor before doing so.

5. Accessibility Services are available to EVERYONE!

Accessibility Services advocates for an accessible learning environment for all students. This includes working with an Accessibility Coordinator, Learning Strategist, and/or Technology Strategist. Red Deer Polytechnic has a legal obligation to ensure that students with documented disabilities have equal access to post-secondary education through accommodations. Accommodations and resources are determined on an individual basis and are designed to provide students with equal access to the educational process by reducing barriers.

Prospective and current students with documented disabilities affecting mobility, learning, or physical or mental health can register to access resources and accommodations needed to achieve their learning outcomes. Examples of eligible disabilities include:

 

·       Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

·       Autism Spectrum Disorders

·       Chronic Health Condition

·       Deaf/Hard of Hearing

·       Learning disabilities

 

·       Mental Health disabilities

·       Neurological conditions

·       Physical disabilities

·       Visually impaired

·       A disability can be permanent or temporary, due to accident or illness.

 

 

  1. Taking notes is an art.

Personally, I know that bringing a device to class is distracting so I use paper and pens. I find that using different colour pens helps me. Follow these links to assist with your note taking:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAhRf3U50lM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUndnWBR0A0

  1. There are no weird questions, just weird people.

Dare to be different and ask weird questions. If you have a question, chances are so does everyone else. Ask those questions and be engaged in class. It also helps to sit front and centre. If you sit at the front of the classroom, it is much harder to get distracted by things that are not class related. It is also easier to engage in the classroom discussion and hold yourself accountable for asking questions and contributing to the conversation.

  1. As a student, you have student rights and responsibilities.

You should know what they are. In a later blog, we will take a deep dive into this. Your rights and responsibilities can be found here: https://rdc.ab.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/documents/Student%20Rights%20and%20Responsibilities%20Policy_2016.pdf

  1. This is a safe space to be your most authentic self.

Your time as a student will be chalked full of personal growth and experiences. It is important to remember that you will not be the same person you are now when you leave. During your time here you have a right to feel not only safe but celebrated and free to be your most authentic self.

  1. Your voice matters.

We are here for you. As your elected representatives, it is our job to be the voice of the students. We encourage you to come share your experiences with us, good or bad. We encourage you to get involved in things like student groups, Student Council, Academic Council, School Council, or one of the many committees that exist. We need strong student voices at every level of decision making throughout the institution and student leadership to advocate for what matters to us most.

Welcome to Red Deer Polytechnic

By: Savannah Snow, SARDP President

Hello everyone!

I hope your summer went well and was full of opportunities to get out of the house! It’s time for us all to shake the Covid cobwebs and get back to the grind. I am so excited to welcome everyone back to campus whether your classes are still online, in a blended model, or are fully in person. Everyone is welcome to come to campus and use the space built just for you and your purposes! I’d like to make special mention of The Loft: It opened during Covid and as a result, has not seen much traffic. There are plenty of tables and comfy chairs to accommodate whatever you might need from the space – somewhere to study, somewhere to work on group projects, or somewhere just to relax and wait for your next commitment. It is conveniently located at the top of the stairs in the SA building – stop by when you get a chance!

I have been very busy with my boots (stilettos?) on the ground since May 1st. I am currently in the works to hash out a preferred vendor program for student technology needs. Included in the proposal is discounts for laptops, mics, webcams, accessories, etc., as well as an extended service warranty both for the equipment purchased and cable replacements. We are hoping to land an agreement before we get too far into the semester!

SARDP has also been very involved in ASEC this year! ASEC (Alberta Students’ Executive Council) is the students’ provincial lobby group. Their job is to identify which problem areas the students want to focus on and then advocate for those needs. We hosted their Goals conference this month which went quite well! The priorities identified are posted publicly on their website. They currently have a Board position open in our sector, and I will be putting forth a nomination form! Wish me luck!

Speaking of elections, we have entered Election Season!! There are three key elections happening in the next few months. First, is the flash Federal Election just called! Make sure you research your candidates to make the most informed decision. Second is the Municipal Election for City Council. There is quite a wide offering of candidates so make sure nobody flies under your radar! We will be hosting forums for both of these elections. The third is our by-election to fill our vacant VP External position. Nominations opened at 9am on September 2, 2021. You can download a nomination package from our website or stop by our office to pick one up!

I’m excited for people to be back on campus, in our halls, and in our offices. This year is going to be eventful and busy! I’m always down for busy! My team and I appreciate all of you – the reason why we exist. Don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or anyone else in our office if there’s anything you can help with, or if you just need someone to chat with while you sip a delicious coffee from The Lift! Welcome back, everybody!!


Academia Top Ten Feature

On Tuesday, March 3o Academic Top Ten featured a story about the Students’ Association of Red Deer College’s Collective Day of Action and we are excited to share that article with you. View the article here.

 

General Election Candidate Profiles

We have official entered Election Week here at Red Deer College and we are excited to share the candidates with you! Due to COVID-19, we are sharing the candidate profiles on our website and social media accounts to create awareness. To learn more about each candidates platform, join us at 7pm on Thursday, March 11 on Zoom for candidate speeches and Q&A’s. To receive the Zoom link by email, contact Chief Returning Office, Martin Cruz, at elections.sardc@gmail.com or follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the details!

VOTE ON YOUR LOOP ACCOUNT
MARCH 16-18, 2o21

 

President Candidates

 

Savannah Houg

Hello all! My name is Savannah Houg and I am running for Student Association’s President 2021/2022. I am in my third year of the collaborative Mount Royal University Bachelor’s of Business Administration with a major in General Management and a minor in Economics and Finance. I am also studying Project Management and hope to get my certification by summertime. I was born here in Red Deer, but familial circumstances landed me in foster care and I was later adopted into a family from Fort McMurray and we ended moving to Texas in 2010. I came back to Canada in 2016 and began classes at Red Deer College in 2018. 

Continue reading Savannah’s profile here.

 

Vice President External Candidates

*Profiles have been shared in alphabetical order by last name*

 

Logan Garbanewski

Hi, my name is Logan Garbanewski, but I like to go by Logan Beauchamp. I am running for the position of Vice-President External because I want to represent you and all your needs and interests in a productive and thorough manner to all external organizations and government bodies. 

Your needs as a student are important. It’s important that we have someone who can convey those needs in a timely and professional manner. I have a passion for political science and public service, I spend much of my free time reading and learning more about the political climate of our city, our province, our country, and our world. I know Post-Secondary will be a major driver in bringing our economy back to its feet.

Continue reading Logan’s profile here.

 

Kareen Lambert

Thank you so much for taking the time to ‘meet’ me. I’m Kareen Lambert, and I am running for the position of Vice President External (VPX). This is my first year attending Red Deer College in the Social Work Diploma program. I was drawn to social work, and to Red Deer College, through my extensive work and volunteering in diversity, inclusion, and advocacy. I have been involved with a wide variety of community organizations and coalitions in Red Deer, collaborating with and advocating to all levels of government in various capacities. Some of the highlights of my community involvement have been with the Red Feather Women, the Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance, the Red Deer Welcoming & Inclusive Community Network, the Trans & Nonbinary Aid Society, the Central Alberta Pride Society, the Red Deer Local Immigration Partnership, and the Lifelong Learning Council of Red Deer. My personal life, my career life, and my student life are all proudly centred around ensuring people are as supported as possible. Taking on the role of VPX would be no different; support, care, and connectedness are always at the core of what I do. 

Continue reading Kareen’s profile here.

 

Vice President Academic Candidates

 

Shannon Humphrey

Tansi! I am Shannon Humphrey; it has been an honour to serve as your Vice President Academic (VPA) for the past year. I am seeking re-election for a second term serving in this vital role.  I am in the second year of my Justice Studies Diploma and hold a Bachelor of Business Administration. I am a lifelong learner honing my passion for advocacy. In my eight years at RDC, I’ve been involved in numerous advocacy efforts, both on campus and in the community. I believe it is extremely important to have a strong student voice in the room at every level of decision-making throughout Red Deer College (RDC) to ensure students are heard and your best interests are upheld. I want to continue to be that voice for the students and continue to represent you on multiple committees and working groups throughout the college. 

Continue reading Shannon’s profile here.

 

Student Council Candidates

*Profiles have been shared in alphabetical order by last name*

 

Brenan Fuiten

Brenan has been a part of the RDC community for a number of years, and has had four different majors in that time, proving that you don’t need to have a clear and defined path as soon as you enter post-secondary schooling. Brenan is in their 4th year of their BA Psychology program through the collaborative with the University of Calgary. One of the main advantages that Brenan can offer to students is that by being a long term student at RDC they have a greater understanding of what resources, opportunities, and programs are available to student members, in addition to the struggles that they face as part of their education.

Continue reading Brenan’s profile here.

Brittney Trimming

Hi there! My name is Brittney, and I am a third-year student studying in Occupational and Physical Therapist Assistant! When I am not on campus, you may find me participating in activities or clubs either on-campus or off-campus. I have a strong passion for being an advocate for the deaf or hard of hearing community and disabilities! It is not just that I advocate for; I also support mental health, background, gender, and sexuality. It will be my third term running for the student council. I do believe I have so many experiences of being such a strong advocate.

Continue reading Brittney’s profile here.

Notice to Membership: Proposed Bylaw Amendments

NOTICE TO THE MEMBERSHIP

Students’ Association of Red Deer College – Proposed Bylaw Amendments

 

As per Article 13 of the Association Bylaws, notice of Bylaw changes must be submitted to the Membership 21 days prior to Council’s final vote. The Association’s Bylaw Amendment Review Committee submitted the following proposed changes to Council on January 25, 2021, for review and consideration. Council will be discussing these changes on February 8, 2021; conducting a final vote on February 22, 2021. If you have any questions about the proposed changes, please contact Brittany Lausen, SARDC President at saprez@rdc.ab.ca. If you would like to attend our Council meetings on February 8th and/or February 22nd, please email Brittany to make arrangements.

View the the proposed bylaw amendments here.