The Diversity Peer Educators program hosted group members, students and housing officials to celebrate the final ceremony for its 40th year anniversary Tuesday night.
DPE promotes social justice issues, protection and inclusion for all students within the residence halls and assist in finding resolutions to bias incidents.
Guests were treated to dinner and music before speakers discussed the impact DPE has on students as a resource, as it provides students with a safe space in the face of adversity as a result of their race, sexual orientation or any other issues with identity. A variety of brief lectures, poems and songs all addressed DPE and the individuality it promotes.
University alum Noël Gordon, who worked in DPE as a students, shared stories from his time at the University as a gay man of color and working with students in the Oxford Residence Hall. Gordon stressed the importance of cherishing others in one’s originality and building friendships when trying to create a safe community.
Gordon described his peers in the DPE as “a group so fierce even Beyoncé would be jealous,” and added how important the friendships within this community are to being successful in their mission.
“One day you soon you’ll come to realize how powerful this program really is,” he said. “Created in the image of the great Robbie Ransom, the DPE is bold and unapologetic in its pursuit of social justice.”
Gordon said the DPE is one of the only programs on campus that gives positions of power to typically marginalized groups such as LGBTQ students, people of color and international students. He added that students should realize the importance of being good to yourself, to respecting the work you do and to being willing to compromise.
Trey Boynton, director of diversity and inclusion, also spoke of the DPE’s significance and impact in the program, adding that the group saves lives and sends a strong message to members in the University community.
“We need it more than ever,” Boynton said. “DPE is housing’s manifestation of our commitment to diversity.”
Robbie Ransom, former director of cultural awareness and diversity education, also spoke after receiving recognition from current DPE members. Ransom encouraged the DPE members to keep on fighting for social justice, even after graduation.