Rutgers School of Social Work’s Committee for Inclusion, Intersectionality, Diversity, Equity and Advancement (IIDEA) aims to advance the School’s initiatives that further inclusion, intersectionality, diversity, equity, and advancement. Ph.D. candidate Iris Cardenas explains her role on the committee and why she is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at the School and beyond.
What is your role in the IIDEA Committee?
I am the MSW Non-Traditional Student Representative.
Why did you want to be on the IIDEA Committee?
I wanted to be on the committee to bring more diversity to the table. I am not only a non-traditional student but a first generation immigrant college student who comes from a Latinx background.
What do you hope to contribute to the IIDEA Committee?
I hope to bring more awareness on the diversity issues not typically discussed within school environments. Those topics include coming from a minority background and being an activist for immigrant rights.
Why are diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives important to you?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are significantly important to me because it brings knowledge and insight to other students. As a person who had to navigate many barriers to succeed academically, these initiatives make me seen and heard.
As a social work student, what are you learning about the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of social work?
As a social work student I am learning the importance of having these ideals at hand when working in multicultural settings, which include micro- and macro-level roles. These values influence the work that is being done within our social work profession and these values can have a great influence on the communities we serve.
Are there any actions people can take right now to more fully commit to diversity, equity, and inclusion?
Actions steps individuals can take to fully commit to diversity, equity, and inclusion are starting conversations on what is needed within institutions to bring action plans to the table.