Potomac State College Celebrates the Success of Student Initiative, Diversity Ambassadors

Potomac State College Celebrates the Success of Student Initiative

Diversity Ambassadors, a new student life initiative was recently celebrated during an awards dinner on the West Virginia University at Potomac State College campus in Keyser, W.Va. The premise of this endeavor was to foster interaction, understanding and acceptance between minority student groups and larger student populations on the College campus. Diversity Ambassadors is the brainchild of Ed Brown, D.M.A., pictured back row, far right, adviser of this initiative, which was funded by a Higher Education Policy Commission grant. Participants included seated on floor from left: Andrew Day, Fort Ashby, W.Va.; Iain Feezle, Augusta, W.Va.; Casey Kidder, Keyser, W.Va.; Derrick Graves, Martinsburg, W.Va. Second row from left: Keilee Smith, Harrisville, W.Va.; Caitlin Hagendorfer, Romney, W.Va.; Christina Stephenson, Washington, D.C.; Kylisha Pankey, Lochgelly, W.Va.; Serena Redman, Moorefield, W.Va.; Daisy Wiltrout, The Marshall Islands; Tammy Bookard, Washington, D.C.; Rahnae Barfield, Washington, D.C. Back row: Keynote Speaker David Fryson, WVU Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Students Joshua Myers, Romney, W.Va.; Jareed Askew, New Rochelle, N.Y.; Lea Baker, Augusta, W.Va.; Jarred Rawson, Brandywine, W.Va.; Ndeye Fall, Dakar, Senegal; Kwynten McGee, Washington, D.C.; Miles Bender, Washington, D.C.; Campus President Jennifer Orlikoff, and Dr. Brown. 

One could say it was a celebration of differences at a recent awards dinner held on the West Virginia University at Potomac State College campus in Keyser, W.Va. The group was celebrating the success of a new student initiative, Diversity Ambassadors, in which 24 students from different ethnic, racial or regional backgrounds were matched and for a five-week period agreed to spend time getting to know one another by eating, studying or hanging out together.

The goals of the initiative were to alleviate any fears, challenge stereotypes and erode divisions between groups through positive engagement and interaction. Additionally, participants set the example to serve as role-model “ambassadors” for the rest of the student population.

This initiative was the brainchild of Ed Brown, D.M.A., who currently serves as the College’s activities program manager and adviser to the Student Government Association in addition to serving as chief adviser to 25 other student clubs. He wrote and Dean of Student Life William Letrent submitted a grant proposal that was accepted and funded by the Higher Education Policy Commission in August 2016.

“I’m passionate about spreading the spirit of diversity around the Potomac State campus and it’s my sincere hope that this experience will have a life-long impact on the students who participated in this initiative,” said Dr. Brown.

Addressing the students, their families and guests at the awards dinner in addition to Dr. Brown, were Campus President Jennifer Orlikoff and David Fryson, Esq., WVU vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

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