‘Champions of Change’ highlighted in 2022 Symposium for Inclusive Excellence


Colorado State University’s annual tradition where the diversity of people, perspectives and ideas are affirmed and celebrated is back with a new name and focus.

The 2022 Symposium for Inclusive Excellence — formerly the Diversity Symposium — returns with events online from Oct. 17-21, with select programming in person for the first time since 2019. All CSU students, staff, faculty and community members are invited to participate in a week full of rich programming and university fellowship.

Registration and information

Registration is now open for individual sessions. Attendees can build their own symposium experience by selecting daily programs and attending sessions as their schedule allows. More information is available at inclusiveexcellence.colostate.edu/symposium.

This year’s theme, “Champions of Change,” is highlighted throughout the symposium, with guest speakers, educators and community members sharing presentations on diversity, equity and inclusion in education while focusing on local and global issues.

Keynote speakers

Symposium Speakers

Keynote speakers Haben Girma (left) and Schuyler Bailar are set to share their stories at the Symposium for Inclusive Excellence. Girma’s talk is Oct. 17, and Bailar’s keynote is scheduled for Oct. 20.

The symposium will welcome two keynote speakers: Haben Girma and Schuyler Bailar. Both are “Champions of Change,” advancing diversity and inclusion efforts through advocacy, education, and awareness.

Girma, who will deliver her Zoom keynote address on Monday, Oct. 17, from 11 a.m. to noon, is the first deaf-blind graduate of Harvard Law School. She also is an author, an advocate for human rights and a champion for disability accessibility.

Girma uses her experience as a disabled individual as an opportunity for innovation, and she teaches organizations the importance of choosing inclusion. The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, and TODAY Show featured her memoir, Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law.

Bailar, who will deliver his keynote address by Zoom on Thursday, Oct. 20, from 11 a.m. to noon, is the first transgender athlete to compete in any sport on an NCAA Division I men’s team.

By 15, he was among the nation’s top 20 swimmers in the breaststroke in his age group. By 17, Bailar set a national age-group record. Then he swam for Harvard University, on the winningest Harvard team in 50 years. In addition to being one of the top social media LGBTQ+ educators and advocates, Bailar is a leading DEI speaker and advisor for hundreds of businesses, organizations, and schools.

Film screening

The ACT Human Rights Film Festival,  CSU’s Thematic Year, and CSU’s Todos Santos Center in Mexico have partnered with the symposium this year for a special screening of the award-winning documentary film I Didn’t See You There.

An opening night reception is set for Monday, Oct. 17, from 5-6 p.m. at the CSU campus in Fort Collins. Attendees can gather for food and friendship before the film screening at the Behavioral Science Building in room 131, located at 410 W. Pitkin St. in Fort Collins.

The film program will begin at 6 p.m. at CSU and the Todos Santos Center. Following the screening, a panel of experts will respond to accessibility and disability themes shown in the film with local pertinence at the CSU campus.

CSU’s Todos Santos Center is an international extension of CSU. The center is an opportunity for CSU students to grow as global citizens in their understanding of and appreciation for other cultures; the center provides a variety of research and educational opportunities that CSU students would not otherwise be able to be a part of. The Center also creates a community hub for educational sessions and information sharing.

“We are thrilled to continue to build upon both the growth of the symposium and the accessibility of the virtual sessions from previous years. Our campus partners have created thought-provoking and exciting programming for this year’s symposium showcasing accessibility and inclusion,” said Assistant Vice President Ria Vigil.

Vigil oversees the annual symposium for the Office for Inclusive Excellence and leads a committee of CSU volunteers to review and approve programming proposals, sets up keynote speakers and events, and promotes the symposium to the greater community.

CSU Inspire

The symposium celebrates the work of CSU’s faculty and staff through CSU Inspire. This featured event brings five to 10 TED Talk-like sessions led by CSU faculty, staff and students and focused on sharing engaging and inspiring initiatives happening on campus in relation to social justice, in short, eight-minute presentations.

Attendees can watch presentations in person on Wednesday, Oct. 19, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Lory Student Center Theater as CSU faculty and staff present passion projects of their choice. Presenters this year include Carolin Aronis, Aramati Casper, Candace Mathiason, Tonie Miyamoto, Melissa Raguet-Schofield and Robert Wiggins. Cookies and refreshments will be available. No registration is necessary for this event.

Undergraduate research symposium


Undergraduate research symposium students from MURALS is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 21, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Undergraduate research symposium students from the Multicultural Undergraduate Research Art and Leadership Symposium (MURALS) will present projects on Friday, Oct. 21, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. MURALS immerses students of color in various disciplines to expose them to diverse research opportunities. The four main aspects of the program include mentoring, presenting scholarly work, networking, and learning about multicultural leadership. No registration is necessary to attend the MURALS presentations.

In addition to the number of special events, there will be programming throughout the week focusing on accessibility, research, and professional development. Attendees can learn new ways to use technology to be more inclusive, how to build equity practices into hiring, and weaving diversity throughout research, data and accessibility. There is a robust schedule of events available for students, faculty, staff and community members.