Campus & Culture

DEI is Everybody’s Work: 4th Annual Day of Dialogue Sets Stage to Take Action

With in-person and online sessions, interactive activities, film screenings and more, there are more opportunities than ever to get involved in Saint Joseph’s annual Day of Dialogue.

Collage of images, books and movies related to the Day of Dialogue

by Diane Holliday

Saint Joseph’s University’s annual Day of Dialogue will return for its fourth year on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. The daylong event aims to build upon conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) taking place in the SJU community all yearlong through sessions that call attendees into action as Hawks with and for others. 

With classes canceled, meetings discouraged and sessions happening both in person on Hawk Hill and online, Day of Dialogue is an opportunity for the entire campus community, including alumni, to come together and learn how to own their role in making the world around them more inclusive.

“Day of Dialogue celebrates our uniqueness all while lifting the voices of our community. It’s a day when we come to learn and grow from each other’s experiences and challenge ourselves to work toward a better tomorrow,” says alumna and previous Day of Dialogue attendee Ali Corso ’09, ’22 (MBA), president of the National Alumni Board.

This year’s schedule includes unique events like “A Simulation of the Stresses of Poverty,” which provides participants with the opportunity to engage in a monthlong simulation of how individuals living in poverty must navigate their daily lives, and “Helping Those Who Hate You,” which challenges attendees to explore what ethical obligations, if any, minority communities have against those who oppress them.

Nearly two dozen afternoon sessions, including “Helping Those Who Hate You,” will follow a screening of “The Inventor,” a short film based on the true story of Black entrepreneur Garrett Morgan, whose invention was used to rescue miners trapped in an underground inferno but whose name was left out of the story entirely.

“Though just 15 minutes long, ‘The Inventor’ includes themes related to a myriad of topics, including allyship, technology, ethics, entrepreneurship and leadership. Due to its high quality, depth and brevity, we knew that we’d be able to host a series of sessions all focused on the same film, facilitated by members from across our SJU community,” says Janée Burkhalter, PhD, professor of marketing, associate provost of diversity, equity and inclusion, and committee co-chair. 

“As we continue to grow the Day of Dialogue and seek out creative and meaningful opportunities for engagement, we are excited about the opportunity to introduce this new element and are grateful to all of the sessions’ sponsors: the Department of Music, Theater and Film, SJU Libraries, the Arrupe Center, Beautiful Social Research Collaborative and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” she says. 

Day of Dialogue celebrates our uniqueness all while lifting the voices of our community.

Ali Corso ’09, ’22 (MBA)

President of the National Alumni Board

For the first time this year, the keynote presentations will be delivered in a fireside chat format, inviting attendees to be active participants in each conversation. D. Steve Boland, chief administrative officer for Bank of America and one of the vice chairs of the company’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Council, will deliver the morning keynote. 

The afternoon keynote, “How Social Emotional Intelligence Generates Greater Self-Care, Community Care and Collective Action for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging,” will feature Carissa Begonia, business and leadership coach and founder of CONSCIOUSXCHANGE, and Future Cain, CEO of The Future of SEL.

“[Begonia and Cain] both focus on emotional intelligence and self care, which we thought would be really helpful considering we’re coming off of the pandemic,” says Chontel Delaney, MS, committee co-chair and associate director of academic technology. “We spend a long day on heavy topics and want to make sure that attendees are checking in on and caring for themselves.”

There are plenty of opportunities to participate in non-discussion based activities too, from contributing to the interactive Post-It Note wall, coloring social-justice-themed pages, and creating string art with Hilo Fiber Bar.

Registration for Day of Dialogue opens Jan. 18, 2023, and closes on Feb. 8, 2023.

“I hope people can see that, with opportunities to lead sessions or engage in conversations throughout the day and beyond, DEI is everybody’s work and there’s always something new to learn,” says Burkhalter.



Interested in supporting the Day of Dialogue? Make a gift online.