Packed houses at diversity and inclusion events

Faculty, staff, and students from across the Virginia Tech campus filled the seats at two recent diversity events in which the college was involved.

Student Emiy Blair (left) and Associate Professor Emily Satterwhite talk about Appalachian cultures at Virginia Tech.

Student Emiy Blair (left) and Associate Professor Emily Satterwhite talk about Appalachian cultures at Virginia Tech.

On March 18, Emily Satterwhite, an associate professor of Appalachian studies, spoke to a full audience about Appalachian cultures at the university and perceptions about and from students in the region. She was joined by Emily Blair, an English major and poet who grew up in Fort Chiswell, Virginia, who shared some of her thoughts on growing up in Appalachia and attending Virginia Tech.

The event was hosted by the College Diversity Council and was one of the Roundtable Discussions held once a semester.

There was a robust conversation following the presentation and audience members said the event was very intellectually stimulating.

“Despite my familiarity with the region and the people, I still came away from the discussion having learned a great deal and with a keener understanding of the people from Appalachia, including myself and students in my department,” said Joe Guthrie, an advanced instructor of Agricultural Technology. “I think I and my colleagues who attended can utilize this new knowledge to better address the concerns our students from this region may have.

“It also gave me a better understanding of the intent of the Diversity Council events in increasing that understanding on student concerns for other diverse groups. I suppose I had always looked at the groups featured in the diversity events as a ‘them’ and now I see it as an ‘us.’ ”

On March 19, another robust conversation took place when more than 100 people attended Phillip Haynie’s talk on the future of agriculture. Haynie received his B.S. in agricultural and applied economics from CALS in 1999 and is a fifth-generation farmer. He spoke about his experiences as a black farmer, precision agriculture, and Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), among other things.

More than 100 people attended the event, which was sponsored by the Virginia Tech Chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, the CALS Diversity Council, and the CALS Alumni Organization.

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