Diversity—we all talk about it, but do we embrace it?
This was the theme for a training session organized by Troy’s “Safe Zone for ALL” initiative on Friday, Feb. 26. Students, faculty and staff members were taught how to be inclusive of minority groups on campus and in day-to-day life.
The initiative was started by students hoping to make Troy more inclusive and safer for all minority groups.
Fiona Fonseca, a clinical and mental health counseling graduate student from Spanish Fort, was involved in the initiative’s setup. She described the training session as “talks on different, non-mainstream and non-dominant groups.”
According to Fonseca, this includes “LGBTQ+ population, people of color, people of mental illness, people of spiritualities that are not Christian, veterans and people who are differently-abled.”
Safe Zones were originally LGBTQ+ specific, but the initiative at Troy decided that all minority groups should be included.
Shelby Wood, a junior social science education and Spanish double major from Wewahitchka, Florida, was one of the attendees who said that the session was beneficial.
“I think I can take what I’ve learned in this training, especially with terminology that people will feel more comfortable with,” Wood said. “I can utilize that in my classroom in order to make my students feel more comfortable.
“I can take what I’ve learned here and pass it on to administrators at work. Even now as a student, I’m in class and in different organizations (with different people) and so I can take this and work more closely with them.”
Safe Zone’s main goal is to promote conversations about diversity and acceptance through encouragement on campus and at trainings.
Camri Martin-Bowen, a sophomore nursing major from Wetumpka, said that she took away the importance and benefits of diversity from the training.
“I feel like if people have a better understanding that not everyone is the same and that not everyone is the same as you are, then maybe hate crimes would not necessarily stop, but it will die down,” she said.
The next training session will be a community-based session held on April 16. Safe Zone also has an upcoming Peace Walk during Spring Fling on April 12.
Fonseca said that she hopes that those who are curious come to a training session, learn more and hopefully become more accepting.
More information on Safe Zone or how to get involved can be found on the Troy University Safe Zone for ALL Peace Walk Facebook page or through attending a training session. Questions can be emailed to email@example.com.