Workshop touts diversity, equity

A new student group aims to promote equity and diversity as an asset in the workplace.

A new student group aims to promote equity and diversity as an asset in the workplace. (Kabeer Sethi / Ryersonian Staff)

Ryerson’s newest student group wants to make a change.

RU a Changemaker hosted its second workshop for students at the Digital Media Zone (DMZ) last Thursday.

The workshop, “Ethical Engagement, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion,” works to recognize and accommodate individuality while discussing key social issues such as inclusive language, social inclusion and workplace equity.

It’s a part of a series of monthly workshops that will highlight social issues and aim to increase student awareness and social skills.

“We want to empower students to make change, whether at Ryerson or in the global community,” said Jessica Machado, a fourth-year biology student and director of RU a Changemaker. “The workshop is meant to provide skills and engage their social consciousness.”

Breakout sessions at the workshop targeted areas such as evolving language in workplaces and overcoming personal biases in group settings to improve leadership. Facilitator Ratna Omidvar, executive director of Ryerson’s Global Diversity and Migration Exchange (GDMX), talked about the gradual decline of terms like “foreign worker” to make workplaces more inclusive.

Machado has been involved with Changemaker since its inception last September and said that the group bases its ideologies on the United Nations’ eight millennium goals that were set in 2000. These goals include implementation of universal primary education, promotion of gender equality, and alleviation of extreme poverty.

Ashoka, the parent branch of Changemaker, targets social entrepreneurs worldwide to bring innovative solutions to social problems. One such solution resulted in Ryerson obtaining an Ashoka chapter.

Machado mentioned Changemaker’s event Suit Up for Success (SUFS) as an example of how the group helps to alleviate the effects of poverty. “They provide suits and professional clothing for students who might not be able to afford it otherwise.”

Initiatives to improve communities are what attracted Marquez Ramsay to be part of the Changemaker team.

“I’ve worked on projects in my community to help youth there,” said Ramsay, a fourth-year child and youth care student. “I think it’s a great opportunity for students to learn from and gives them a chance to make a difference.”

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