Facilitation: A platform for Diversity and Inclusion

Makaylaprofesh Dearborn is a Senior at Syracuse studying Biology and Policy Studies. After graduation in the Spring she is planning on moving to Seattle for a year before attending medical school to focus on a path in pediatrics. Makayla has been a facilitator and trip leader since her freshman year. She loves facilitating because of the underlying philosophies and says that it has taught her as much as any of her classes while here at Syracuse.


Diversity and Inclusion are two key words that are constantly talked about in and outside of a classroom. However, in most aspects of our lives, it seems as though diversity and differences are something to be ashamed of rather praised. As humans, we tend to think of anything that goes against the status quo as “weird” or “bad”. In actuality, it is all of our differences that make us special and they should be celebrated rather than hidden. Luckily, through facilitating I have found a forum in which some of the core values are diversity and inclusion.

Diversity

Many of the activities that we facilitate have to do with teamwork. A major part of teamwork is communication and listening to each other’s ideas. If everyone had the same idea, there would be no progress in the world. Being able to balance everyone’s ideas and work out creative solutions is only possible by accepting diverse ideas. Additionally, everyone in a team will have very different skills. It is by making the best use of these individual skills that a team can be most successful. Furthermore, people come from different backgrounds; everyone has lived a different story so to dismiss one person’s idea would be irresponsible because they may have experienced something that another person has not.

Through different activities, it is possible to demonstrate the need for everyone to be included for the most successful outcome. They allow for a platform for people to open up and display what makes them unique and why that is beneficial.

Inclusion

Everyone has different strengths but everyone also has different weaknesses. These could be emotional or physical weaknesses. However, with facilitation it is easy to adapt different activities to fit everyone’s needs. As a facilitator it is crucial to be able to read the dynamics of the group and appropriately adjust the activity. The goal is to keep everyone involved at all times. In a group, there is naturally going to be leaders, team members, and supporters. However, all are needed to be successful so everyone must participate even if it is in different ways.

Additionally, all activities that we do are “challenge by choice”. This means that if a person does not want to participate in a certain activity, they do not have to. Even if they are simply cheering on the group, they can still remain engaged with the group and feel included.

 

Diversity and Inclusion are two words that need to be integrated more into everyday life. Fortunately, facilitating provides a platform for focusing on improving those elements. It is important to celebrate individual differences and be inclusive in all aspects. As Aristotle once said, “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.”