On Monday, January 21 Drew hosted the 2019 Award Luncheon Celebration dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. in conjunction with the annual day of service organized by the Office of Civic Engagement. This event was sponsored by a series of clubs, offices and organizations, such as the Office of the Provost and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).
This is the inaugural event of Dr. Sari Pascoe, Drew’s new Director of the DEI Office. Pascoe was hired late fall 2018, filling a position that has been empty for several years. Her experience includes leading DEI initiatives, programming and services at the University of Oregon, Ithaca College and most recently, Cornell University.
The catered luncheon was held at Crawford Hall for registered students, staff and faculty. The event began with Kiara Pettiway ('20) performing “We Shall Overcome” before leading the attendees in singing the black national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Her performance was followed by opening remarks by Provost Debra Liebowitz.
COURTESY OF DREW UNIVERSITY
During her speech, President Baenninger reflected on Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1964 Speech at Drew before presenting the Social Justice and Equity & Inclusion awards. The DEI Office had an open call for nominations for the awards and received numerous nominations. The awardees were Virginia Leach (C‘20), Dawrell Rich (T ‘20), Professor Raúl Rosales and Stacy Fischer, Director of the Center for Global Education. The 11 Drew students that participated in the AmeriCorps Safer Communities projects received an honorable mention for their efforts to improve police and community relations by promoting greater understanding and communication between them
After a keynote presentation by David E. Jones, a diversity strategist and Director of the Paul Robeson Cultural Center at Rutgers University, State University of New Jersey in New Brunswick, Pascoe led the audience in a 30-minute-long roundtable discussion. At each table there were staff and faculty members, students and members of the administration. The student facilitators led the discussion at each table, helping the attendees reflect on how the keynote presentation had inspired them and discussing in which ways the DEI Office could make Drew a more inclusive place.
After the luncheon, the day of service officially began, with areas designated for pillowcase decorating, stuffing socks for the homeless, a menstrual product drive for women in need, writing letters and packing school supplies for Montclair High School students and knitting essentials for the cold weather.