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Student Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives - Grant Winners Announced

26 April 2024

The Diversity & Inclusion Office offers Grassroots Initiative Grants - small grants for student initiatives that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion at the UG in an innovative way.

In 2024, three initiatives were awarded the grant. Read more about the winning grant projects below!

Neurodiversity Celebration Week

Project organizers: Neurodiversity Working Group (Alice Haywood, Aoife O’Mahony, Dagmar Boer, Elise Benard,Sam Skultety, and Vera Schroten) 

The Neurodiversity Working Group at Campus Fryslan organized Neurodiversity Celebration Week from 20-22 March 2024. Several events were held to raise awareness about neurodiversity. They wrote:

“Our event, held the whole week except Monday, brought discussions and events that can raise awareness and mainly bring space to talk about still "taboo" topics. We are aware that on our campus, there are people who are neurodiverse. Some are diagnosed, some are not; therefore, this was a great way to show support and how people live with neurodiversity. On Tuesday, we started with a movie, "Temple Grandin," which is a biographical movie about a famous woman with autism, and it shows how hard but also colorful life with autism can be. At this event, there were approximately 15 people, including some staff members and students; we used the money for snacks and the movie. Also, during this movie, people could draw and do some creative drawings, so we also spent some money on pencils and coloring books.

On Wednesday, we had an online- guest lecture/talk with a researcher from Penn State University, Stephen Foster, about how parents perceive their children with neurodiversity. He talked about the research he did on this topic and answered many questions from the audience. At this event, there were around 20 people from our Faculty, and we used the money for snacks and we will use the money to pay for his lecture. On Thursday, we had "stage fright," which was something like open mic, when people could express themself; there were around 20 performances, from slam poetry to singing, and many of these performances were poems or "stand up" or monologues of people with experiences of neurodiversity, on this event attended around 50 people, and it was a really successful event, we spent money on this event for snacks. On the last day of this successful week, we had just talked at the pub with people who wanted to join our group, or just wanted to chat about this topic; we also received much feedback that this week was helpful for some people to understand this, or it was just great support or way to express yourself freely. Also, this event convinced some students to join our working group and work on later events like discussions or art events, which can help raise awareness of neurodiversity. Our campus always tries to open space for inclusivity, so we really appreciate this opportunity from the university because it is always great to have Faculty as a safe space for people who are afraid but feel free at campus, and the university should also be "shelter" for students to just freely express themself.”

Student standing in front of an audience at a microphone
Student Elise Benard performs during “Stage Fright," an evening regarding experiences of neurodiversity
LGBT+ Community at the UG

Project organizers: Ganymedes Board XV

On the evening of 28 May 2024, Ganymedes, an LGBT+ student association, will organize a workshop activity regarding the LGBT+ community in Groningen. The event will include a presentation on the queer history of the UG, followed by discussions rounds on topics such as safe spaces at the UG, the role of the UG in LGBT+ advocacy, the role of the university in creating a more inclusive environment, and more. They wrote:

“We would like to spread more awareness about the different topics discussed to the LGBT+ community and outside of the community in student circles. This to foster more understanding of certain topics which are not talked about as frequent as we would hope to, either because people are too scared to talk about it or have never really stood still at these thoughts. With this understanding we hope to foster a more inclusive environment at the RUG, where everyone can be the person who they are/want to become.”

Culture and Language Events

Project organizers: Café de las Lenguas

Café de las Lenguas hosts regular events where people can practice their language abilities in an informal setting. They will hold three thematic language evenings, during which they will highlight one language and culture, potentially invite speakers, organize music accompaniment, and serve foods and drinks of that culture. The three events will be held on 25 April (focusing on the Netherlands), one in May (focusing on Brazil) and one in June (focusing on India). They wrote:

“Both of our goals: our regular language café events, and our new project, strive to achieve the goal of minority representation and facilitate integration. 

We have noticed that by organising special events, several language learners who normally come to the language café to practice speaking languages became interested and joined in on the presentations and activities. They often realised that there were many aspects that they learned thanks to the event, and we would like to make these events even more complete, such as by including local snacks and drinks from these countries. We also aim to explain and clarify certain misconceptions about cultures, especially where cultural differences are often mixed up and should be respected, such as differences between Brazil and Portugal.

From our Spanish evening, we discovered that people enjoy guessing the meanings of idioms used in different languages, and we believe that this fosters - in a playful way - an acknowledgement of different cultures, and how we may have different perspectives and ways to explain and look at things depending on where we come from. People also discovered that they have similar words or expressions in their own languages, which showed them how languages - and communities - evolved over time and borrowed from each other.”

The Grassroots Initiative Grants will be next available in 2025. This will be announced in December 2024.

Last modified:26 April 2024 2.49 p.m.
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