Our Commitment to Inclusivity & Intercultural Competency

Diversity and Inclusivity

Hollins has long been dedicated to fostering a campus community that encourages and values diversity and inclusivity.

Working to abolish prejudice never ends and Hollins is committed to promoting racial and cultural understanding. Most notably:

  • Over the years, our Student Government Association, Black Student Alliance, SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Alliance), Better Together (Spiritual and Religious Life), ACCENT (Association of Countries, Cultures, Events, and National Traditions), Asian Student Alliance, Unión de Estudiantes Latinx, and other student clubs and organizations, along with faculty and staff, have developed a variety of activities and implemented programs that support diversity and inclusivity. Examples include the Diversity Monologue Troupe, a team of student leaders that promotes understanding of the university’s rich diversity while helping to broaden perspectives on the various stereotypes common in society, and Face2Face, where students engage in cultural identity exercises with the goal of improved mutual understanding.
  • Cultural and Community Engagement (CCE) was created 13 years ago to support an inclusive community, promote acceptance, and celebrate difference. It includes the Early Transition Program, which is designed to assist new students from underrepresented groups, and the International Student Orientation Program, which focuses on helping international students adjust to living and studying at Hollins and in the United States. CCE also conducts Safe Haven workshops for those who want to serve as advocates for Hollins’ LBGTQ community.

To complement these efforts, the following steps have been taken or are under way:

  • We have held listening sessions with students; conducted training sessions for faculty to help them lead classroom discussions where every student can feel respected; and provided workshops for student affairs staff and student leaders.
  • A series of insight conversations have occurred where students can share perspectives and build capacity for critical dialogue. As a result of these conversations, we facilitated mixed group conversations exploring the use of social media.
  • Our New Student Orientation added a program for incoming first-year students that is devoted to cultural competency and inclusivity.
  • Students, faculty, staff, and Roanoke community leaders serve on the The Hollins University Working Group on Slavery and Its Contemporary Legacies. Chaired by Associate Professor and Director of International Studies Jon Bohland, the committee seeks to gain a deeper understanding of Hollins’ history and make recommendations on how best to recognize and honor the mid-19th century enslaved and others whose work ensured Hollins’ survival during its early years. The committee’s work is the basis of Hollins’ membership in Universities Studying Slavery; in Spring 2018, Hollins hosted the biannual meeting of this group.

Spiritual and Religious Life Activities – 2019-20

Events include:

        • Sanctuary (Tuesdays at 4:30pm in the Meditation Chapel), a weekly faith discussion seeking meaning through stories, scripture, and crafting in community.
        • Meditation Group (Fridays at noon in the Gordh Room), silent 20-minute seated meditation open to all.
        • Walk N Talk with the counselors and chaplain (Thursdays at noon, meet at the Meditation Chapel)
        • Religious Communities Fair (Thursday, September 12, 11:30am-1:30pm, RAT), explore the diversity of religious and spiritual offerings in the Roanoke valley and connect with a place of worship.
        • CONVOS: “Why is it so hard to talk about faith?” (Tuesday, November 12, 12:30pm-1:30pm, Janney Lounge)
        • Sharing the Light: A Holiday Celebration in Story and Song [formerly White Gift Service] (Sunday, December 8, 7pm, duPont Chapel): a candlelight event of music, readings, and dance that will welcome the spirit of the season and embrace the variety of faith traditions in our community. Sponsored by the office of spiritual and religious life and the department of music. 
        • Golden Rule Dinner, an annual soup and bread dinner and service project in the spring semester in which Meriwether Godsey makes a food donation towards local hunger relief based on the money saved in providing a simple meal.  An experiential learning and serving opportunity around poverty and our responsibility to our neighbors.
        • Hollins Imagining Collective, a Sowell Grant project directed by Chaplain Jenny Call, which will invite the entire campus to share stories of who we are as a community as we vision together about what we hope for Hollins to become.
        • Student groups include Student Chaplains, Better Together Interfaith Club, and Divine N Motion Praise Dance Team.

          Students wishing to start a religious club may speak with the chaplain for assistance.


Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month
September – October 2019

Lisa DillmanBook Discussion with Lisa Dillman and Yuri Herrera
Dillman, translator of more than 20 novels, translates from Spanish and Catalan and teaches in the department of Spanish and Portuguese at Emory University. Her translation of Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World won the 2016 Best Translated Book Award. Other recent translations include Such Small Hands, by Andrés Barba; Mourning, by Eduardo Halfon; and Salting the Wound, by Víctor del Árbol. She lives in Georgia.

Yuri HerreraBorn in Mexico, Yuri Herrera received his Ph.D. in Hispanic language and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. His English-language debut novel, Signs Preceding the End of the World (Señales que precederán al fin del mundo), was featured in many Best-of-Year lists, including The Guardian’s Best Fiction and NBC News’ Ten Great Latino Books. Publishers Weekly called it “a haunting book that delivers a strange, arresting experience.” His latest novel, The Transmigration of Bodies (La transmigración de los cuerpos) (2016),prompted Pop Matters to proclaim, “Herrera is rapidly making a name for himself as one of the most exciting authors publishing in America today.” He teaches at Tulane University.
Monday, September 23, 7:30 pm

Screening of Catalina with Director and Filmmaker Paola Ossa. She is an award-winning New Jersey-based writer and director. Born in Colombia and raised in the U.S., she credits a rich culture for nourishing her creativity and curiosity. Her latest film, Catalina, was recognized by the Directors Guild of America and led her to receive an award for “Outstanding Directorial Achievement.” The film, which depicts the struggles of an 11-year-old girl who learns to fend for herself while her mother spirals out of control in fear of deportation, had its world premiere at Gasparilla International Film Festival and has been screening at film festivals all over the country.
Wednesday, October 2, 4:45 pm

Alejandro VelascoOil, Socialism, and Crisis in Venezuela — presentation by Alejandro Velasco
Velasco is an associate professor of Latin American history at New York University and executive editor of the NACLA Report on the Americas. He is the author of Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela.
Tuesday, October 15, 6:30 pm


Victoria Persinger FergusonCurrent Day Issues Plaguing Native Americans  — presentation by Victoria Persinger Ferguson

Victoria Persinger Ferguson is the Monacan Indian exhibit manager, and a member of the Monacan Indian Nation of Virginia. With a background in science and research methodologies, she has spent 20 years seeking first person documentation as well as archaeological information to help explain and support theories on the daily living habits of the Eastern Siouan population up through the early European colonization period. She has assisted with the building and development of two Eastern Siouan Village construction projects as a primitive technologist with emphasis on textiles, basketry, ceramics, sewing, and cooking, and is the author of a children’s book, Dark Moon to Rising Sun.

Wednesday, November 13, 5 – 6:30 pm, Hollins Room, Wyndham Robertson Library


MLK  2020  Celebration

Martin Luther King, Jr.A four-day event celebrating the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 17, Day of Service
January 18, Movie: Betty and Coretta
January 19, “What is Your Life’s Blueprint?”
January 20, MLK Convo and Paper Linking

Event descriptions 


Lecture and Book Signing by Joy Harjo, U.S. Poet LaureateJoy Harjo. Harjo is the first Native American Poet Laureate in the history of the position. She was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 9, 1951, and is a member of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. She received a B.A. from the University of New Mexico before earning an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers Workshop in 1978.

Harjo is a poet, musician, and playwright. She is the author of several books of poetry, including An American Sunrise (W. W. Norton, 2019);The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (W. W. Norton, 1994), which received the Oklahoma Book Arts Award; and In Mad Love and War (Wesleyan University Press, 1990), which received an American Book Award and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award. Her memoir Crazy Brave (W. W. Norton, 2012) won the 2013 PEN Center USA literary award for creative nonfiction. Harjo has also published collections of interviews and conversations, children’s books, and collaborative art texts. [Photo by Karen Kuehn]
Monday, February 10, 7:30 pm, Hollins Theatre 


Bert Ifill in Memory of Gwen Ifill
Beyond the Breakthrough: How to follow the Path Blazed by Pathfinders like Gwen Ifill

Bert IfillGwen Ifill postage stampBert Ifill, brother of the late Gwen Ifill (host of PBS Newshour), will present a lecture in honor of his sister. He remarks that his sister was ever mindful that she followed paths blazed by others, so she felt a different obligation — setting a high standard for herself, making it look effortless, and equipping others with the tools to succeed.

Monday, February 24, 5 pm, Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center, Room 119


Jeremy Alexander: GU272
An Unexpected Discovery of Family & Faith

TJeremy Alexanderhe enslaved people sold by the Jesuits were part of the West Oak and Chatham Plantations in Louisiana, both of which would later change ownership. Many descendants of these enslaved people (sometimes known as the “GU272”)  live in and around Maringouin, Louisiana.

Thursday, February 27, 5 pm, Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center, Room 119


Maria Hamilton AbegundeMaria Hamilton Abegunde will be the International Women’s Day speaker in March 2020. Abegunde is a Memory Keeper, poet, ancestral priest in the Yoruba Orisa tradition, doula, and a Reiki Master. Her research and creative work respectfully approach the Earth and human bodies as sites of memory, and always with the understanding that memory never dies, is subversive, and can be recovered to transform transgenerational trauma and pain into peace and power.
Thursday, March 5, 4:30 pm, Hollins Room, Wyndham Robertson Library


Susan CampbellSusan Campbell is our Science Seminar keynote speaker. Her talk is titled: “Mechanism of seizure development: Switching roles and gut feelings.” Campbell obtained her bachelor of science degree in biology and psychology from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She completed her Ph.D. in neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Currently she is an assistant professor in the department of animal and poultry sciences at Virginia Tech. The main focus of Campbell’s scientific career has been devoted to studying epilepsy and mechanisms involved in seizure development. Her research group is actively interrogating novel mechanisms that leads to seizure development by combining state-of-the-art electrophysiology and clinically relevant seizure models. While the consensus in the field is that disturbance in excitatory and inhibitory systems lead to seizure development, the root cause is typically unknown.
Wednesday, March 18, 7:30 pm, Babcock Auditorium, Dana Science Building