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Tips for celebrating an inclusive holiday season

The Center for Equity and Student Achievement encourages faculty and staff to recognize MSU Denver’s diverse traditions.

By Amber Mozet, Chandell Bell, Ally Garcia and Brandi Scott

December 10, 2018

Office decorated for holidaysThere is a lot to enjoy this time of year. Our students are successfully finishing the semester, many are graduating, and it’s finally cold enough to wear your favorite winter coat. There are also many holidays being celebrated across our diverse MSU Denver community.  

At the Center for Equity and Student Achievement, our team encourages and models equity and inclusion by validating the identities of our campus community. Using inclusive language this month and throughout the year doesn’t have to be difficult or feel like censorship. 

Here are a few tips from CESA on how you can be considerate of our entire MSU Denver community without a lot of effort:

Decorate your office

Take a look around, and see what holidays or religions are represented and which are not. For many years, TRIO Student Support Services has decorated for Hanukkah, Christmas, Winter Solstice and Kwanzaa and provides a brief description about the history of each. Check out these pictures, or visit SSB 240 to see this year’s decorations. 

Educate yourself

December is packed with holidays. If a colleague shares that they celebrate a tradition you don’t, respectfully ask questions about how they celebrate. Keep in mind, however, that your colleague is not responsible for educating you and that plenty of great info is easily available online. 

A colleague may also tell you that their religion doesn’t celebrate any events in December. You could ask them if they would like to explain more, or follow the advice from the next tip.

Wish someone well

Don’t assume you know what holiday someone celebrates. Instead, ask how they will be spending the winter break. 

Respect a colleague who doesn’t participate

Do not try to talk someone into participating in your holiday-themed event. Invite them, and respect them if they decline.

Talk about your holiday traditions

You can share your traditions with colleagues – just give more context. Let’s say you host a cookie exchange with friends every December. Talk about the various cookies your friends have baked or why the event is meaningful to you. Start a dialogue!

For more tips on expanding inclusion and diversity efforts in your department, contact CESA today.

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