Understanding social identity and difference are skills that junior Adedolapo Adeniji has gained as part of her role as a Common Ground facilitator with the Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR). An International Studies (International Security, Norms and Cooperation) major, Adedolapo began her involvement with IGR when she was a first-year student after her academic advisor suggested she take a course on intergroup dialogue. Adedolapo continued her learning by attending the Growing Allies retreat put on by MESA, the office for Multi Ethnic Student Affairs.
Within Common Ground, Adedolapo works as part of the programming team which trains student facilitators who lead workshops across campus that “raise awareness about social identities (race, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.), prejudice, stereotyping, power, privilege, and oppression.”
As a facilitator Adedalopo works with students to understand disconnects between ideas and experiences and then identify ways to share experiences so that folks can have an awareness of other experiences and perspectives. “I’ve learned that we may be on the same page but a different paragraph.”
When she is not working with IGR to facilitate sessions and train students, Adedolapo works as a Resident Assistant in the Residential College in East Quad and serves as the co-director for the Detroit Entrepreneurship Network. Adedolapo works to incorporate all that she has learned in IGR with her residents and peers.
The skills gained have “helped me talk with folks about what they may be struggling with and I can help clarify what someone is saying. I can facilitate tough conversations, plan events and work to resolve conflicts in the community.”
With this skill set in hand, Adedolapo plans to pursue her Master’s in Management and continue on to Law School. When asked about encouraging first-year students to get involved with IGR or other opportunities on campus, Adedolapo shared that students “should just do it, don’t hold back. College allows space for students to explore what may be best for them, so join something you love!”
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