By: Meghan Harms —
For my project, what I intend to focus on is the issue of diversity, equity, and inclusion within sororities. When I talked to my consultant, we discussed including the Black sororities on this campus as well, because they have just as a right to a seat at the table. DEI has become a new and crucial topic that has been integrated into Greek life, specifically sororities. It’s important to showcase that sororities are diverse, regardless of where you look. DEI is a topic that should be discussed everywhere within the sphere of college and sororities which is why it interests me. Especially because it’s still fairly new, we still have a lot to learn about integrating DEI on college campuses with sororities.
This is also a topic that’s personal to me, being in a sorority on a college campus where one of its main founding principles was diversity. But DEI is critical not just in Greek life on college campuses, but in the field of business because companies have been trying to focus on creating a more, diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for prospective employees. DEI matters on college campuses just as much in the real world, and there’s an up-and-coming demand for it within the job field, as stated above.
- Having discussed with my consultant and receiving a better idea of the scope, the form my project will take will be a website or social media page. In order to fill this site with content, I plan on interviewing members within my sorority about what DEI means to them within our chapter as well as members in the Black sororities on campus for their perspectives in their respective chapters.
- These videos will be posted on this website to tell a story about the importance of DEI in sororities on a college campus and the impact that it continues to have. I’ve been thinking that these interviews can be on video and if they’re not comfortable with being on camera, it could also be anonymous through a written questionnaire if needed be. Some examples of the form this project will take are the Start Talking SJU website and/or Instagram page.
- I also may take photographs and do some graphic design work if the need calls for it. My project will be similar to the basic outline of an online campaign to discuss important issues, however, it will be different in the sense that there will only be one topic instead of multiple subjects that display a range of diverse concerns. It will be solely focused on DEI in sororities on a college campus and the value of it being integrated into them as well as the discussion of the possibility of it changing how people perceive sororities.
- My primary audience for this project is college students, especially those who are incoming. Young adults entering college already have their heads filled with all these ideas of what college is like, especially regarding Greek life because of what they see on social media from other schools who do things a lot different and are not representative of sororities across college campuses as a whole.
- Placing a significant focus on diversity, equity and inclusion will show that there’s more to them than the stereotypes out there and that DEI is a crucial part of these chapters and it continues to positively shape them and its members.
- I’m thinking secondary audiences is the general public, especially anyone interested in the topic of DEI since it is fairly new and it takes an effect on every part of life. It could show how DEI is already planting its seeds within sororities on a college campus and its preparing these members for the real world outside of college for when they have to find a job, since businesses are already searching for ways to diversify their teams and gain a better grasp of what equity and inclusion are and that they’re just as crucial to solidifying an all-encompassing world open to people of all identities.
- This is why this subject matters, and it’s definitely needed right now with the increasing demand of understanding DEI and that it is rooted everywhere we participate. Everyone regardless of how they identify deserves to be seen and heard, and focusing on sororities on a college campus is a good start, especially because we have members of various backgrounds joining and it’s an opportunity to hear their own stories.
- The prior experience with the form of the project that I have is from Civic Media last semester through learning how to use a camera and interviewing for our Start Talking SJU campaign.
- I also used Adobe Premiere to edit the videos for this campaign so I believe I’m qualified to conduct a videography project.
- Other experience is from COM200 and COM372, the first with creating our own website from WordPress which is here, and the second we coded our own websites from scratch. Here is the link to my other website.
- To save time, I’d probably use a WordPress domain and design the website from there with all the features that are available to utilize.
- COM202 gave me experience with graphic design and being in Digital Photography this semester, I’m learning how to take better photographs with a DSLR camera and how to use Lightroom Classic which is especially proven useful for big projects.
- How I think this will challenge me in new ways is the process of creating this site and ensuring that it looks appropriate enough when designing, because there are so many WordPress themes, and some of them can be complicated to deal with depending on the content you want to display on the website.
- Other challenges are finding people to interview because not everyone is comfortable being in front of a camera or this may not be a topic they feel at ease discussing.
- It may also be tough carrying around all the necessary camera equipment to set up in whatever setting I can find to conduct the interview, especially with mask protocols. It can be annoying because it’s not ideal to interview someone about a topic like this and they have to wear a mask as facial expressions and hearing them properly is pretty much the entire point of having them sit in front of a camera in the first place. But those are my main frustrations.
My educational experience in the COM department is reflected in this project through everything I’ve done in prior classes over the past three semesters.
- Learning about ethics through various methods of communication, mostly with technology, is a crucial concept to take away. The principles of DEI are causing these ethics in communication to be evaluated since so many people’s lives are shown mostly online now.
- I learned how basic skills to design a website through WordPress and how to use it, which will be useful.
- Some ideas we discussed throughout these classes were about extractive storytelling, which is a concept that can be incorporated into this project, as its whole purpose is to tell a story my prospective interviewees will convey and to be careful about how it’s portrayed, as the reading emphasized healthy storytelling.
- Other educational experiences are the programs I’ve used, such as Adobe Premiere, to edit videos and I know how to use a camera for video-recording and setting up a proper interview space.
- If I explore possible graphic design work to supplement the website/social media page, I know how to use Photoshop and Illustrator.
The research I know I’ll have to prepare to conduct will be surveys sent out to a diverse demographic of college students in order to get their thoughts on sororities on campus and the concept of the integration of DEI. This survey would be sent out to people in a sorority and to other college students and members of other sorority chapters who may go to other schools. I’ll also have to do some other more broad research about DEI and its immersion into college campuses and other places outside of just college. Link to a recent article where someone details the DEI efforts in their own sorority’s chapter. Another link to a Youtube video about the benefits of DEI.
Potential Obstacles and Resources
- The obstacles I foresee as a possibility are finding people to participate, either in a video interview or a survey – though the survey would probably be an anonymous questionnaire if they’re not comfortable being on camera.
- Another obstacle is figuring out how the webpage and how it should look in accordance with the project plans and the time constraints with creating this website.
- Time constraints if I want to add graphic design supplements.
- For resources, since I already own a camera and a tripod, I’d need the mic and a small light to attach to it for the interview.
To create a timeline, I have a general concept right now, which will eventually become more detailed as I work everything out.
- I’m thinking what I need to start with is registering the domain/the social media page that will be used to display the project and designing said webpage. — Starting next week
- Research on the topic — Next week
- Next, I need to create a survey to get a general feel at first for people’s understanding of the topic, which I will be doing in the coming weeks. — Next week
- I would then need to draft possible questions for the interview portion of the project. — Week of 20th
- Find prospective interviewees from my sorority and a Black sorority on our campus — TBD
- Take photographs, record interviews, and edit the videos — TBD
- Possible(?) graphic design work for the site, depending on time constraints — TBD
- Upload everything onto the webpage — Late April early May
- Present project — end of semester