Weaving New Beginnings, the University of Oregon’s annual networking reception for students, staff, and faculty of color and their allies, will celebrate its 25th year of welcoming new Ducks and connecting them with others on campus.
This year’s event will be held Oct. 16 in the Erb Memorial Union ballroom from 5 to 7 p.m.
“This is one of the few times throughout the year that we really get to see people of color in one place,” said D.J. Kelly-Quattrocchi, coordinator of multicultural education, engagement and student success in the Office of the Dean of Students.
“I think there are a lot more people of color at the UO than we may think,” he said. “Though still a rather small amount, being able to see almost 200 students, faculty and staff of color in one room is really powerful, especially for our students for whom that isn’t the norm.”
Kelly-Quattrocchi, who chairs the reception’s working group, said the event builds support early in a student’s arrival to the UO. Prior to the event, student groups and UO offices dedicated to supporting students of color will have information tables in the Gumwood Room.
Veratta Pegram-Floyd, an academic and career coordinator with Tykeson College and Career Advising, is in her third year of being involved with assessment of the reception. She agrees that a highlight is the chance for students to meet faculty members and staff while learning about resources that are available on campus.
“I have been educated in predominantly white institutions similar to the UO, so I think that connection for students is really important,” Pegram-Floyd said. “A lot of the attendees are first-year students, so for faculty and staff this is a great way to meet the newest Ducks, as well as get rejuvenated by connecting with colleagues that they don’t see as often.”
Referring to herself as this year’s “mistress of ceremonies,” Pegram-Floyd added that the reception encourages faculty and staff members of color to get outside of their cross-campus silos and gather in one place.
“It’s also an opportunity for one-on-one engagement with students that is different from in the classroom,” she said. “It’s really crucial for the students to see and make that connection.”
This year’s keynote speaker will be Allison Davis-White Eyes, who has worked in higher education for more than 20 years and has focused her professional work on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.
At one time an assistant director of admissions at the UO, Davis-White Eyes helped formulate the university’s broad-based Native American initiatives. She currently serves as the chair of the University of Oregon President’s Diversity Advisory Community Council and is director of community diversity relations with the Oregon State University President’s Office of Institutional Diversity.
“Twenty-five years is a good history of a program and it’s really exciting that we’re hitting that milestone,” Kelly-Quattrocchi said, “and I’m really excited that Dr. Davis-White Eyes will be talking about honoring that history but also pushing forward.
“What does it mean for us to continue the work that has already been done? We need that call to action, to continue to find space for ourselves, take care of ourselves as a community and make the UO better for the people who will come after us.”
He added that all Ducks are welcome to attend, explaining that while the reception focuses on people of color, “we realize that we won’t be anywhere, as people of color, without allies who want to support us.”
The reception will feature a variety of heavy appetizers, which Kelly-Quattrocchi describes as good conversation starters for making informal relationships.
“I pride myself on getting a pretty good spread, with all sorts of food,” he said. “If they have nothing else to talk about, they can talk about what they’re eating.”
RSVPs are requested but not required. A signup form is available online.