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An Interview with IIDEA Committee Member Vimmi Surti
June 24, 2021

Rutgers School of Social Work’s Committee for Inclusion, Intersectionality, Diversity, Equity and Advancement (IIDEA)Vimmi Surti aims to advance the School’s initiatives that further inclusion, intersectionality, diversity, equity, and advancement. MSW student Vimmi Surti 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 an MSW student representative from the non-traditional program.

Why did you want to be on the IIDEA Committee?
I wanted to be on the IIDEA Committee to expand my perspective about diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality by working collaboratively with staff, faculty, and student representatives from the BASW, Ph.D., and DSW programs.

What do you hope to contribute to the IIDEA Committee?
I hope to contribute to the IIDEA Committee my strengths and experiences I have as a South Asian person. South Asian culture is diverse in itself, especially when it comes to food, language, religion, clothing, education systems, and worldview. I hope to bring my unique perspective to the table, which enhances the efforts in the School’s strategic plan.

Why are diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives important to you?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are important to me because I believe in a just and fair society. A society that includes people from different backgrounds and gives an opportunity to grow intellectually, emotionally, spiritually to make their world a better place. 

As a social work student, what are you learning about the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of social work?
The field of social work is wide, and it has different aspects and layers to it. As a social work student, I am learning to put the needs of the vulnerable and marginalized population as a priority. It is important that I, as a social work student, include people of all races, genders, ethnicities, and nationalities in my spectrum in helping them meet their needs.

Are there any actions people can take right now to more fully commit to diversity, equity, and inclusion?
It’s important for people to discuss different terms like people of color, African American, Black, Brown, and White. To a few individuals this may be common sense, but to many, in-depth understanding of these terms may help them to commit more fully to diversity, equity, and inclusion.


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