Talk on inclusion given on campus by Pichichero


Justin Richards

Christy Pichichero, an associate professor at George Mason University, asked questions and presented discussion points to all attendees at the “Creating Inclusive Spaces at EIU” event in Booth Library Tuesday afternoon.

Allison Little, Staff Reporter

Students, faculty and administrators were able to learn how to create inclusive spaces at Eastern at a workshop with Christy Pichichero, associate professor of History and French at George Mason University. 

The workshop was held on Tuesday in the Center for Student Innovation on the first floor of Booth Library. 

Despite subpar weather conditions, the attendance for the workshop was around 50 people and the turn-out was better than expected. 

“Well I saw more people than I expected to see, actually I thought with the bad weather that we would have a very small turn out. I was expecting maybe 10 or 12 people, and there were over 50 people there.” Pichichero said. 

The people in attendance were from many different communities, disciplines and departments within the university.

Pichichero, who has done a lot of work in inclusivity and diversity, said she was excited about the range of people in attendance. 

“A lot of people came through and I was extremely pleased to see that there were deans in there and administrators, there were faculty members and then also students, and that when we had our small group discussions everyone was sort of intermixed” Pichichero said. 

The workshop focused on creating more inclusive spaces for increasingly diverse university populations.

Pichichero used an exercise called “Where do you know from?” to get attendees to share their experiences and backgrounds and think about how their own identities could shape the way a space was designed. 

“People really got to hear the experiences and thoughts of those who are coming from different backgrounds and different positions in the university.” Pichichero said. 

Pichichero said that the exercise was used in other workshops about inclusivity and diversity.

“That exercise is one that I have used in other workshops of this sort at for example the American society for 18th century studies where we run a workshop on teaching race … then I molded for this type of a workshop,” Pichichero said.

Pichichero said that the best way to learn to create inclusive spaces is to think about a person’s own diverse aspects and think about how a space could be well-suited to accommodate those aspects.

She added thinking about the people who inhabit the space is the best way to make a space inclusive for everyone.

Pichichero also said that to be able to teach about diversity a person should reflect on their own distinguishing features and how they relate to the other people around them. 

“The sort of best practice right now is to say you can’t really teach about this stuff unless you’ve really thought about yourself and thought about your own identities and what you’re bringing into the classroom,” Pichichero said. “That sense of self honesty is really necessary to be able to delve into these social issues.”

Allison Little can be reached 581-2812 or at [email protected]