SMITHFIELD, RI – About 500 students, faculty, and staff participated in a community forum led by diversity educator Derek Greenfield, Ph.D., on Wed., April 24, in the Chace Wellness and Athletic Center.
“It was important to bring all these people together to recognize and embrace our differences and also recognize that we are all one community.”
The second event in a continuing series of conversations on the important topic of diversity and inclusion, this forum, “Confronting Ourselves: Building for Inclusive Excellence in the Bryant University Community,” was created to further strengthen and unify the Bryant community by challenging students, faculty, and staff to examine biases and learn to work together to more effectively achieve “inclusive excellence.” The event was co-sponsored by the Divisions of Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Athletics.
“Sawumbona,” a Zulu greeting that means “I see you,” was offered by Greenfield as a guiding theme of the workshops.
In his opening remarks, Greenfield, a well-known speaker and thought leader dedicated to inclusive excellence and positive change, praised attendees for coming with open minds and courageous hearts to learn and grow from the experience. “Sawumbona,” a Zulu greeting that means “I see you,” was offered by Greenfield as a guiding theme of the workshops.
“If we only hang with people we know, we don’t have the opportunity to learn as much,” said Greenfield. “I hope that you love this place enough to say, ‘I want everyone to love it.’ I want everyone to know they matter.
“You have more in common than you think,” he added.
"I hope that students who attended go out and make that difference and tell others about this positive experience.”
“Dr. Greenfield creates a vulnerable yet safe space. His events bring people together and make people realize that they’re not alone,” said one student who helped organize the event. “He encourages people to go out and make positive change. I hope that students who attended go out and make that difference and tell others about this positive experience.”
“It was important to bring all these people together to recognize and embrace our differences and also recognize that we are all one community,” another student noted.
About the speaker
Derek Greenfield, Ph.D., is a well-known speaker, consultant, and thought leader dedicated to inclusive excellence and positive change. With his dynamic and interactive approach, creative ideas, track record of success, and sense of humor, he is a sought-after presenter around the world.
Prior to his full-time speaking career, Greenfield spent more than 20 years as a college professor and administrator. He most recently served as Chief Diversity Officer at Alcorn State University in Lorman, MS, and was recognized for his leadership and impact in the Huffington Post. During his tenure, Alcorn became the only HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and only school in Mississippi to receive the prestigious Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award twice from Insight into Diversity Magazine.
Reflecting his passion for supporting social justice initiatives, Greenfield serves on Boards of Directors for three non-profit organizations and continues to engage in youth development efforts in the townships of South Africa. He co-founded the Higher Education Leadership Foundation, which builds leadership capacities among aspiring college administrators. Greenfield has received numerous awards and citations, and currently serves as a Kellogg Fellow, participating in a worldwide network of individuals who create and support community engagement and collective action through collaboration and partnership.
Greenfield earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Sociology from Northwestern University, and two doctoral degrees — a Ph.D. from the University of Washington and an Ed.D. from Cape Peninsula University of Technology in South Africa.