UVM Students of Color Build Community at Common Ground Center

In February 2016, Common Ground Center hosted the University of Vermont's ALANA (African, Latino/a, Asian, Native American) Student Center. CGC staff member Neily Jennings had a chance to interview Lam Phan, the Coordinator for Programs and Student Leadership Development at the ALANA Center, about their work. Here's what Lam had to say!

ALANA recently hosted a retreat at Common Ground Center. For those who aren't familiar with ALANA, can you tell us a little about it and the vital role it plays in the UVM community?
The ALANA Student Center seeks to serve and empower students of color at UVM. Our goal is to create a diverse and rich community of empowered, engaged, and enthusiastic ALANA and Bi/Multiracial students at UVM.

What was the retreat called, what was it about, and who was it for?
The retreat was called the Racial Aikido Retreat. It’s a diversity training designed for students of color and bi/multiracial students. It seeks to empower students, give names and languages to their experience, prepare students to deal with racism and microaggressions, and start to dismantle internalized racism.

What did you accomplish at the retreat? Were there any major take-aways or actions coming out of it?
We created a supportive and healthy community of students of color. Participants were able to walk about with greater self-awareness and societal awareness in terms of race and racism. They learned how to navigate bias reporting system at UVM and beyond.

Why did you select Common Ground Center as a venue for the training? Did it meet your needs?
We selected the Common Ground Center because of its location, affordability, and its beautiful venue that has everything we needed.

How can people get involved, support your work, or learn more?
Visit our website or contact us at asc@uvm.edu for informational meetings and to propose ideas.