The Intercultural Facilitator Program at Loyola Marymount University has again been awarded national recognition for its efforts to establish authentic, thoughtful student engagement focused on sensitive topics around diversity and social justice.
In early December, the National Association for Campus Activities honored the Intercultural Facilitator Program (IF) with the George Luis Sedano Award for Outstanding Multicultural Program. The award is given to the school with the best program with a diversity or intercultural cultural theme.
“I am excited about their numerous national awards because it means the great work the IFs are doing on campus is being highlighted as a best practice to other colleges and universities,” says Henry Ward, director of Intercultural Advancement for Ethnic and Intercultural Services. “This is a great program and LMU is leading the way.”
The award is another in a long list of honors the program has recently received including the Bronze Award in the 2015-16 NASPA Excellence Awards, Diversity and Inclusion Award from Association for Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities in May 2016, the JASPA Community Impact Award in August 2015 as well as JASPA’s 2014 Ignatian Medal for Outstanding Commitment to Diversity and Social Justice.
“The IFs do not do this work for recognition or to win awards,” adds Ward, who received JASPA’s 2016 Outstanding Commitment to Diversity and Social Justice Award. “They are a committed group of students who have a passion for social justice and are dedicated to living the mission of this university.”
The IFs have facilitated some of LMU’s most sensitive campus-wide discussions, according to Ward, and 2016 was no exception with the “Day of Dialogue” event. The Day of Dialogue, which took place on September 22, consisted of back-to-back programs centered on race, “The National Dialogue on Race” and “To Protect and Serve.”
The IFs have designated “The National Dialogue on Race” (pictured at top) as one of the program’s signature events and have led the on-campus discussions for the past three years, according to Ward.
In response to the recent killing of unarmed black men by police, “To Protect and Serve,” brought together members of the LMU community and members of the Los Angeles Police Department to share perspectives, dispel myths and create a common humanity. The collaborative program between the IFs, LAPD and LMU’s Public Safety aimed to allow students the opportunity to candidly question law enforcement on police policy, tactics, training and racial profiling.
In addition to special events, every first-year student at LMU participates in an IF workshop entitled “Becoming a Global Citizen” with the goal of demystifying the term “interculturalism” and establishing diversity as a core value of the institution. The exercises are interactive but intentionally designed to establish an environment that promotes honest discussions of complex cultural issues. The workshops take place as part of both the June and August orientation programs. LMU students receive at least three hours of intercultural training as part of the new student boarding process.
Top photograph by Rachel Haik