“I want our office to be a place in which students can generate ideas for partnership and collaboration. I want students to stop in because they have been pondering this or that thing and want to discuss it more.”
Dr. Renata Williams
“We need to allow ourselves the space to be great!”
Dr. Renata Williams, director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, is known for her thoughtful, timely, and often, “ah-ha moment” comments. She instantly makes you feel seen and heard and it's her passion to do the same with the school's students.
When it comes to her important role in the DEI office and how students interact with the team, she wants students to feel an overwhelming sense of support. “I know that may sound obvious, but I think support in every facet of their Mercersburg experience–from dining to PGAs, to residential and in the classroom spaces, and beyond–is how we want to impact our students,” Williams says.
Williams hopes she and Jamar
Galbreath '05, assistant director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, help the students engage beyond the surface of their interactions. “I want more of our students showing up fully,” says Williams. “That is what success looks like for me.”
Williams, who is in her second year at the school, is confident that student engagement will become more “automatic” in the next five years and that students will view the office, and the work Williams is developing, as a space that supports their holistic experience. “I don't want our office to only be the place when things have gone awry or there is concern,” says Williams. “I want our office to be a place in which students can generate ideas for partnership and collaboration. I want students to stop in because they have been pondering this or that thing and want to discuss it more.”
A quote that inspires Williams' approach to learning is from author Marianne Williamson's book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles.” It reads, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.”
Helping our students feel belonging and allowing them the space to be powerful beyond measure is, in Williams' words–great!