[Fresh] Interview with Donald Godwin

Kelly Eastland (kelly.eastland@villanova.edu)
Wed, 30 Jan 2002 14:25:06 -0500

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Interview with Donald Godwin, Director of Student Life Diversity
Initiatives

Fresh@News: Tell me a little about your office?
Mr. Godwin: The Office of Student Life Diversity Initiatives is charged
with promoting and facilitating cross cultural awareness by offering
learning resources and structured learning experiences to students. In
addition the office provides support to students and organizations.

Fresh@News: What are some of the projects that you're working on?
Mr.Godwin: There are two organizations that were created in the office
to teach about diversity on campus. One of those is VIDEO (Villanova
Infusing Diversity Education Opportunities). Through VIDEO, students
have been working with the office to create a television program that
will be broadcast over the VUTV. The name of the show is titled, The
Gap; the title meaning: the gaps that exist between people. The show
helps people try to close the gaps between each other by engaging in
dialogue. On The Gap each show will have a different topic. The two
shows that have been produced so far are titled, "What is Diversity?"
and the "The Explosion of Black America." The other organization is
VINE (Villanovans Infusing, Nurturing, and Educating for Diversity).
VINE is designed to teach about diversity through our student newspaper,
The Villanovan. The goal is have the general student body reading a
column by students about diversity. Essentially, the goal of both VIDEO
and VINE is to have students educating other students regarding issues
of diversity.

Fresh@News: Earlier, you talked about providing resources for diversity
education. Who do you provide the resources to and what kind of
resources do you offer?
Mr. Godwin: I provide resources to students, the faculty and the
staff. These resources are made available in a number of ways. Either
I can present a workshop for a class or a student group, or simply
provide resources for a facilitator to use with a student group. Most
of the resources are very interactive and engaging. For example I've
used tools such as video clips from popular movies, games, and an
assortment of other interactive tools (i.e.- web sites) to teach about
issues of diversity. I try to use a variety of tools depending on the
topic and situation.

Fresh@News: What do you want parents to know about your office?
Mr. Godwin: Parents can encourage their son or daughter to get involved
in the different projects of the office. It's one more place where
students can get involved on campus to learn skills such as leadership,
but more importantly it's for a good cause. That cause being to make
Villanova a more welcoming, more caring and more Just community for all
members within the Villanova community. The office is really trying to
help eliminate and eradicate racism, sexism, heterosexism, among others.

Fresh@News: Do you have any tips for parents?
Mr. Godwin: Part of the college experience is to have students get to
know themselves, others and the world around them a little better.
Students do this by reaching out to others and interacting with people
who are similar and different from themselves. I would encourage your
son or daughter to meet people who are different from them. College is
one of the first opportunities where students will live with others who
are different from them. Often this will occur within the roommate
relationship. So it's a great chance to learn patience and acceptance
of others' differences.

Fresh@News: What do you like best about working at Villanova?
Mr. Godwin: Villanova is a community built on good values, Christian
values, and good principles. Secondly, I really like our student
population. I feel that we have good students who come in with good
values, which are often aligned with Villanova's values. There is a
good fit between the two. I also think the people who work at Villanova
are good people and have the students' best interest in mind. In large
part, people walk the talk.

Fresh@News: How can students get involved in your program?
Mr. Godwin: Students can send me an email, call, or stop by the office
in Dougherty 108. Students are always welcomed to stop by, so that I can
learn how their interests, talents, and skills can help to promote the
office's initiatives.

Fresh@News: If someone feels as if they have been discriminated against
what kinds of things can your office do to help them?
Each problem is often a different kind of problem. The first step is
coming to my office and reporting the problem. From there we can work
together, generating solutions to solve the problem. Sometimes students
are able to go off and deal with it on their own. At other times, the
problems are much more systemic and require action by my office. The
bottom line is that all students should know that they will be
supported.

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