The Olivet College campus is a place where students can be themselves and thrive without judgement. This sentiment directly links to the Olivet College Compact which states, “I am responsible for treating all people with respect.”
“The campus is students’ home away from home, and in some cases, Olivet is their home. We want our students to thrive and reach their fullest potential, and everyone should feel safe in the environment in which they live, learn and play,” said Linda Logan, Ph.D., vice president and chief inclusion officer and professor of sociology and anthropology. “I am pleased to share that each year, based on surveys, our students’ perceptions of feeling safe on campus are consistently ranked high.”
Sophomore Dennis “DJ” Vore serves as an advocate for inclusivity and president of Common Ground, a student-led organization dedicated to raising awareness for the LGBTQIA+ community.
“Acceptance and inclusivity played a huge role when it came to my college decision,” Vore said. “I am a gay male who wears makeup and women’s clothing. The people who I grew up with in my hometown accepted me, but I wondered how it would be to attend a school where I didn’t know anyone. I knew going to Olivet would help increase awareness of people like me, and I would be accepted.”
Olivet’s mission does not just define how it provides a welcoming and inclusive campus; it’s also about why.
In the classroom, Professor of Humanities Kirk Hendershott-Kraetzer, Ph.D., fosters a culture of trust and deters judgment.
“Part of being an effective writing teacher is helping students see that they can trust you to tell you true things without worrying that they will be demeaned or belittled,” Hendershott-Kraetzer said. “If students are constantly on guard about what they reveal about themselves, they’ll never be as successful as they can be.”
“When students can be themselves without fear of judgment, authenticity develops,” Joey Shepherd, academic accommodations coordinator, echoed. “Olivet educates students to become globally thoughtful, accepting individuals. Olivet supports student expression and the ongoing quest for self-awareness and self-acceptance.”
As students learn and grow in an environment of support and acceptance, Logan notes they will also become responsible citizens who confidently spread values of inclusion.
“Olivet College students are our future,” Logan said. “As demonstrated by our numerous successful graduates that are leaders, when we teach them well, they will lead the way. The college experience is a big part in that developmental process because Olivet provides a safe place for students to take chances, explore the unknown, serve others, implement ideas and collaborate with peers. As a result, our students graduate with a good sense of self and community and use it to change the world.”
The Olivet College Compact
“We aim to create a positive and inclusive campus culture celebrating both the individual and cultural differences which make each of us unique and the similarities which bond us together. We recognize the need to seek to understand others as the first step to developing mutual understanding, caring and respect.”