By Hailey Hensley
Rider recently unveiled a new Inclusive Excellence Plan at a launch event on Oct. 10 in the Cavalla room in the Bart Luedeke Center.
President Dell’Omo provided opening remarks at the event where a full room of students, faculty and staff waited expectantly for the new plan to be revealed.
Vice President for Student Affairs Leanna Fenneberg spoke at length about the plan and, in an interview with The Rider News, she clarified exactly what the plan means for current and future members of the university community.
“Ultimately, if the plan is effective, all Rider University stakeholders will see and feel the institutional commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion at our core. That’s the kind of transformational change we’re trying to impact,” she said. “There will be many symbolic and systemic indicators along the way that signal the university’s commitment and progress on the plan.”
Fenneberg also took the time to list some specific, tangible goals of the plan such as establishing a new office for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, hosting specific events for students with shared identities, creating a student navigation office and evaluating the cost of a Rider education to ensure the university is making it as affordable as possible.
Senior musical theater major Ryan Lloyd expressed his support for Rider’s new plan.
“I think it’s good that they’re making an effort to be more inclusive on campus,” said Lloyd.
According to Fenneberg, around 350 people attended the launch event, with 330 people attending on the Lawrenceville campus and an additional 20 attending on the Princeton campus.
Fenneberg stressed that student involvement is also essential in the plan serving its purpose.
“Five students are current members of the President’s Council on Inclusion. But, you don’t have to be on the Council to be engaged with the work of the plan. We encourage all members of our community to review the full plan online at [rider.edu/inclusive-excellence-plan,]discuss the plan with others, engage in multicultural student organizations, prompt their student organizations to host inclusion-focused programs, attend inclusion-focused events on campus and share feedback with members of the Council,” said Fenneberg.
She said that Rider has a longstanding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, but the new plan takes it to another level.
She said, “The development of the Inclusive Excellence Plan celebrates these values and proclaims our institutional commitment to these in a way that never been done before, and celebrates these values as a strength of our campus.”