Villanova Celebrates Second Annual Inclusion Week


Inclusion Week celebrates and embraces diversity on campus while providing opportunities for students to learn about different cultures.

Lydia McFarlane, Co-News Editor

This past week on campus, Sept. 19-23, was the University’s second annual Inclusion Week. Inclusion Week celebrates and embraces diversity on campus while providing several opportunities for students to learn about different cultures. Through Inclusion Week, the University spreads awareness of advocacy-based groups on campus. According to the University’s student government website, “The Inclusion Week Initiative aims to create awareness for identity and advocacy-based organizations, identify resource centers on campus, promote diversity and inclusion education in and out of the classroom, and build a comfortable environment on campus for students of different backgrounds.” 

Inclusion is guided by the pillars of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Dr. Terry Nance is the University’s Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Chief Diversity Officer and a professor in the Communication department. 

“Inclusion Week is a powerful statement about what being a diverse and welcoming campus is all about,” Nance said. “This student-run and student-led initiative touches so many areas on campus, offering information, insights and inspiration for the whole campus. Cornel West famously said, ‘Justice is what love looks like in public.’  I would say the same thing about Inclusion Week.” 

There were several information sessions and events throughout the week to raise awareness for advocacy groups on campus as well as celebrate diversity. There were cultural events and performances, an activities fair and to top it off, free merch. The week ended with an Inclusion Week Carnival on Friday, Sept. 23 from 6-8 p.m. at the Oreo. 

In addition to a week full of cultural activities and events, dining services had special menus to celebrate Inclusion Week. Dining Service’s executive chef Chris Wiseley developed and planned the menus for the week. Chef Wiseley said of the menu,

“The talented chefs on our team produced meals as diverse as the week we are celebrating,” Wiseley said. “Many featured selections will be incorporated into the regular menu rotation and offered throughout the year.” 

The menus included South Asian, Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern and African food. The Inclusion Week Committee collaborated with Dining Services to present the Inclusion Week menu to students. Kaitlyn Pinedo, this year’s chair of foods for the committee, helped to select the regions that the menu would represent. Wiseley worked with Chef Nutritionist Gail Mitchell to research recipes and source ingredients to create the variety of dishes represented in the menu.  

“As a team, we enjoyed working with Kaitlyn, and would love the opportunity to work with other University Committees to showcase their uniqueness through food,” Wiseley said. 

Students enjoyed the multicultural food options throughout the week. Junior Jordan Mastrodomenico tried several of the Inclusion Week Menu dishes while getting dinner at St. Mary’s Hall throughout the week. She said, 

“The options were much more varied than they usually are,” she said. “It was good to eat foods that incorporate ingredients that are commonly used in dishes from other cultures.”

Since Inclusion Week is student-driven, many student organizations as well as individual students took the celebration into their own hands. In Bartley Hall, students drew murals on the chalk walls in honor of Inclusion Week. Alice Ke was one of the students who participated in the drawing of the murals. She has done several chalk murals in the past, including ones for #StopAAPIHate, International Education Week and VSB’s 100th year Anniversary. VSB’s Office of DEI reached out to Ke to create an Inclusion Week mural. Ke, along with Zakiya Newton and Dr. Aronte Bennet, collaborated to create an idea for the mural that would celebrate and promote the events of Inclusion Week as well as allow the community to participate in the mural. 

“With the mural we are hoping to recognize and appreciate the things that the community does that makes students feel included while also acknowledging that there will always be room to improve,” Ke said. “With the photo frame on the left hand side that reads, ‘The Future is Inclusive,’ we hope that students will pledge to be a part of the future of an inclusive community at VSB, Villanova and beyond.” 

Inclusion Week was a great celebration of diversity and advocacy at the University. For updates on next year’s Inclusion Week and photos from this year’s, go to Inclusion Week’s Instagram: @novainclusionweek. As SGA has on its website, “Through the power of education and celebration, Inclusion Week is a time to grow individually and as a community.” 

“Inclusion Week to me signifies Villanova’s recognition and celebration of the diverse backgrounds that the student body comes from, alongside all of the student organizations that make these students feel like they have a place on this campus,” Ke said.