Education regarding injustice and inequality is necessary for hopes of creating a better future for all.
As part of her role as vice president of inclusion and professional development of the MBA Association (MBAA), MBA candidate Jasmine Snead is helping to further emphasize diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
She’s also been working closely in recent months as a graduate assistant with Victor Mullins, diversity officer and associate dean for undergraduate studies, and on various committees to create new opportunities for the greater Maryland Smith community to learn more about DEI and promote allyship with Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).
Snead, founder of Aurora Tights and 2019 Pitch Dingman winner, says that this spring at Maryland Smith, students, faculty, staff and community members can expect the school to build on the events, workshops and virtual experiences launched last year.
There are always important discussions to be had within the DEI space, says Snead, and this semester will offer plenty of exciting opportunities to get involved.
“We're always trying to make sure that the community is continually learning and that we’re meeting people where they are, while also acknowledging that we all can learn more,” she says. “That's something that we're really trying to push within DNI so these initiatives are trying to capture that idea of providing rewarding and engaging educational experiences for us and the whole community.”
Last summer, Snead helped coordinate community events, such as a reflection on the death of George Floyd and other conversations related to police brutality. Through the Diversity and Equity Council, a student-run “grass-roots” committee of Smith student leaders that serves to create sustained growth of diversity, Snead helped launch Smith Speaks. The initiative encourages all faculty, staff, students and alumni to share their personal experiences with power, privilege, microaggressions and systematic oppressions.
Currently, Snead says, a Latinx and Black Student Involvement and Engagement Audit is taking place to determine how Maryland Smith can identify how students are involved in the campus community. But as we observe Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March, people can expect the continuation of previous events like the Smith Reading and Dialogue Series, Women Inspire and Smith Speaks, and look forward to new partnerships with centers from within Maryland Smith, she says.
“We’re excited to work with the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship on an event titled “Being Black in Entrepreneurship,” as well as on creating a directory list of Terps who are business founders,” says Snead. “Whether they're alumni or current students, women-owned businesses or black-owned businesses, having this directory will allow us to connect these founders and utilize them as part of our community.”
Additionally, MBA students can participate in the Movie With a Message Series, a virtual experience in which the MBA community watches critically acclaimed documentaries that promote underrepresented stories and experiences. And alumni can participate in upcoming Smith Alumni Solidarity Series events.
Coming later this year, Snead is most excited for the creation of the first-ever DEI Awards, which offers a new opportunity to recognize those making contributions in the DEI space and that she hopes will become an annual event in the Maryland Smith community.
“We want to take a moment to acknowledge student, faculty or staff leaders throughout the community that have dedicated their efforts toward DEI,” says Snead. “Oftentimes, these people are unsung heroes and it’s important for us to acknowledge the work they’re doing to help inspire others to do the same in the future.”
To learn more about upcoming DEI initiatives and how to get involved, visit the Diversity and Inclusion webpage.