[Fresh] interview with Donald Godwin

Kelly Eastland (kelly.eastland@villanova.edu)
Wed, 09 Apr 2003 11:07:45 -0400

Interview with Donald Godwin, Director of Student Life Diversity Initiatives

Fresh@News: Tell me a little about your office?
Dr. 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 services and resources does the office offer?
Dr. 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 Iíve used tools such
as video clips from popular movies, games, and an assortment of other interactive tools
(i.e.ó web sites) to teach about issues of diversity. I try to use a variety of tools
depending on the topic and situation. A major thrust of the office, as you can imagine, is
to provide educational experiences for students to learn about each other and the
differences that so often create tension and the absence of true community.

Fresh@News: What do you want parents to know about your office?
Dr. Godwin: Parents can encourage their son or daughter to get involved in the different
projects of the office. They can get involved in existing projects, or initiate something
new that they may be interested in starting to educate members of the community. Itís one
more place where students can get involved on campus to learn skills such as leadership, but
more importantly itís 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?
Dr. 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 itís a great chance to learn
patience and acceptance of othersí differences.

Fresh@News: What do you like best about working at Villanova?
Dr. 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 Villanovaís values.
There is a good fit between the two. I also think the people who work at Villanova are good
people and have the studentsí best interest in mind. In large part, people walk the talk.

Fresh@News: How can students get involved in your program?
Dr. 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 officeís 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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