The Student Newspaper of Groton School

The Circle Voice

The Student Newspaper of Groton School

The Circle Voice

The Student Newspaper of Groton School

The Circle Voice

Inclusion and Engagement: Reflecting on a Day of D&I and GCE

Sunny Ma ’28

On April 18, Groton’s held its inaugural Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) and Groton Community Engagement (GCE) Day to broaden students’ education from the classroom and see the greater goal in our Groton education: to lean into the values of our school motto, Cui servire est regnare, “For whom to serve is to rule.” As we reflect on last month’s programming, we consider the leaders that were responsible for making the day possible and examine the success of the workshops and community service of the day.

Groton Community Engagement and Diversity and Inclusion Day was only introduced to Groton in 2022. However, the idea first surfaced in 2019 from the former director of GCE, Robert O’Rourke, Academic Dean Kathy Leggat, Athletic Director Bob Low, and English teacher Vuyelwa Maqubela. 

Time normally devoted to the academic school day was instead used for D&I and GCE workshops and activities. Activities at local nonprofits, including the Lowell Humane Society, Loaves & Fish Food Pantry, and the Groton Senior Center, give students hands-on opportunities to create meaningful connections with the community surrounding our school. “This involves helping others who are less fortunate than ourselves and humbling ourselves for a cause other than our own,” said GCE Director Elizabeth Phan. An important goal of GCE is leveling the playing field between all students despite their background or experiences and forming bonds through service.

As for the D&I portion of the day, Director of Diversity and Inclusion Sravani Sen-Das expressed the necessity for students to actively work towards improving our campus climate. By creating space for uncomfortable conversations, students are empowered to speak from the “I” perspective, thus shedding light on topics previously hidden in the shadows of the Groton grind or withheld out of fear of speaking against the common crowd. Fifth and Sixth Form leaders stepped forward to organize a diverse array of workshops encompassing subjects like “Misogynoir: A Deeper Dive,” “The Criminalization of Addiction,” and “Bias in Artificial Intelligence.” 

Ms. Sen-Das emphasized that, at Groton, “Diversity and Inclusion” aren’t just “buzzwords.” Blessed with a diverse campus, “we don’t just talk about belonging, we actively work on it.” With both a strong Groton community and an understanding to uphold our duty of service, we can then extend meaningful relationships to the outside world.

By and large, students appreciated the work that was put into D&I Day. According to the anonymous survey filled out at the end of each workshop, 82 percent of students rated their attended workshops between 8–10 (on a scale of 1–10), and 92.4 percent rated the preparation level of facilitators between 8–10.The survey also highlighted students’ comments about acquiring “new perspectives” by balancing “historical” and “personal” experiences, feeling engaged through the topic’s “relevance” to the student body, and the slow “digestion” of learned information. 

One particular comment that stood out from the survey was written by “the only second former in this workshop.” They explained, “I had no one else that I knew very closely to discuss the questions with, but that was the whole point of the workshop, and I was able to branch out and talk to a lot of other people who I wish I got to know sooner because we ended up having a lot more in common than expected.”

As Groton continues to encourage diversity, inclusion, and community engagement, Ms. Phan says she “hopes to see opportunities for Fifth and Sixth Formers to shadow professionals in their work and to have hands-on experience in the real world.” The Groton community is proud of the success of the D&I and GCE Day, and is grateful to all those who contributed to making this day possible.

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