January 15, 2020

On Jan. 17, Arizona State University’s Committee for Campus Inclusion will be honored for its commitment to diversity in the city of Tempe.

The Tempe Human Relations Commission will award the committee the 2020 MLK Diversity Award in the category of educational organization. The annual recognition is given to individuals, businesses or community groups that help achieve the goal of making the city a better place. It’s the first time the committee will be receiving this award, after being nominated by a university employee.

“It’s wonderful to be in an institution that knows that inclusion is important,” said Cassandra Aska, associate vice president and dean of students and university chair of the Committee for Campus Inclusion. “To see that there’s a role that we can play to support the university and the people in the university,  and then to have that work that we do be recognized for an award in it of itself — is very humbling.”

The committee is made up of faculty, staff and students who are actively involved in outreach work across all ASU locations. In order to ensure that the university’s spaces are welcoming to all people, regardless of status, the committee is committed to engaging in dialogue and offering programs that encourage inclusion.

A point of pride for the committee is its Catalyst Awards, which are given out to individuals, groups, teams, programs, organizations or units that have made a significant difference in fostering and promoting diversity and inclusion at ASU and beyond. Aska believes this is one of the committee’s greatest accomplishments, especially in 2019, when 54 individuals were nominated for the award.

“We wholeheartedly believe that this is not any one individual’s, any one department's, any one unit’s responsibility. This is throughout. And to recognize multiple people in a lot of different spaces: in the classroom, in the library, in student success, student services spaces — that are doing this — is absolutely phenomenal.”

Aska considers the committee's work transformative and in alignment with the university’s bold charter. She’s confident people apply what they’ve learned through Committee for Campus Inclusion in their communities, even if they leave the university or Arizona.

“I think the support that we have within the university is awesome. It’s again a reflection of the commitment that exists to all of us continuing to evolve and grow in this area,” Aska said. “We believe we’re making a positive impact.”

It’s because of these accomplishments, and many more, that the city of Tempe is honoring Committee for Campus Inclusion. On Friday, Jan. 17, ASU students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to be recognized at the 2020 MLK Diversity Awards breakfast, which will be held at the Tempe Marriott Buttes Hotel.

Top photo: The Committee for Campus Inclusion's executive board and past co-chairs, include (from left) Karen Engler, Rod Roscoe, Venita Hawthorne-James, Zachary Reeves-Blurton, Benjamin Mills, Amy Pate, Cassandra Aska and Margot Monroe. CCI co-chairs not present in photo: Drew Ross, Jennifer Stults, Linda Torres and Courtney Smith. 

Jimena Garrison

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