ODIME is a critical partner in the outreach and success of our COMM 100 & COMM 101 Basic Course Program in the Department of Communication.  We view our classrooms as communities, where students and instructors come together to discuss and practice principles of effective public speaking and interpersonal and group interaction.  ODIME’s Creating Community workshop gives our students a platform to safely explore their own self-identities while also learning in-depth demographic information about their audience of classmates.  We proudly partner with ODIME’s STEP program, running a sheltered section of COMM 100 for incoming STEP students and we invite the ODIME office to speak about diversity and inclusion to our incoming first-time teaching faculty during the annual Basic Course Academy.  Each year ODIME brings speakers to campus, these engagements are invaluable opportunities for our first-year students to critique professional presentations and interact with others who have overcome great challenges in culture and diversity.  ODIME offers our students, faculty and staff unique opportunities to engage across cultures and disciplines, to have fruitful public discussions of deep, personal and sometimes difficult topics and helps us all understand the importance and impact of diversity inclusion in everything we do here at Mason.    

–Lance Schmeidler, Communication

The ODIME office has been instrumental in assisting the Office of Fellowships in broadening its outreach. The staff are consistently engaged in strategic thinking about how to help students succeed broadly and in helping individual students overcome specific challenges. This year, Mason students won 19 competitive national and international fellowships. 9 of those awards were won by students from diverse backgrounds who I met through my weekly office hours at ODIME. These types of statistics are virtually unheard of in the world of competitive fellowships, which is still a realm in which students of economic and social privilege have a distinct advantage. 

The ODIME office has also played an invaluable and critical role in helping me advance the cause of diversifying international education. Not enough students of color participate in education abroad, and these students are missing out on a crucial aspect of the Mason experience. This year, student leaders in the ODIME office organized a program called “Travel Noire” that focused on the students of color and their study abroad experiences. Not only was the program well attended, but the students spoke with such poise and nuance that the discussion was, for me, one of the most enlightening and intellectually stimulating of the entire academic year. I am so pleased that the ODIME office is filled with creative and thoughtful intellectuals who are committed to making Mason an inclusive and academically challenging institution.

–Dr. Lanitra Berger, Honors College

In Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope, bell hooks writes, “Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, revelling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community.” 

The ODIME office and staff create the spaces on campus where faculty, staff, students, and residents can engage in authentic conversations around issues of diversity, identity, and meaningful community. I had the privilege of partnering with ODIME during Spring 2014 to facilitate a viewing and discussion of the film Somewhere Between for Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This was the first event I had attended, let alone facilitated, with ODIME and the evening was truly thought-provoking, challenging, and energizing. It is one of the highlights of my tenure at Mason and I thank Drs. Rebecca Walter and Shaoxian Yu for allowing me to become a part of ODIME.

–Dr. Duhita Mahatmya, New Century College

This is the second year I have participated in the ODIME sponsored Asian Pacific Heritage activities and I want to commend Dr. Walter and Dr. Yu for their leadership in enabling this event to be such a rewarding experience for me as a faculty member in Multilingual Multicultural Education.  This year’s program content-wise was an improvement over the first year in that the intersectionality of multiple dimensions of power, privilege and marginality was even stronger than the year before—resulting in breaking through a number of stereotypes and myths about undocumented students and students who come from mixed immigration status families.  It is so important that APAs stand up for the rights of all and this year the way that Rodrigo Velasquez, Mason DREAM leader linked Women and Gender Studies,  LGBT and DREAM struggles, young DREAMers and the movement elders who went before us.  I was so struck by the fact that I opened with an example from Yuri Kochiyama and Rodrigo ended with a quote from her (and we didn’t plan this!) 

I personally was so touched by the example of Yuri Kochiyama when I was a young Asian American student and now that I am a grandmother –hearing Rodrigo make the many connections between the MASON Dreamers and their inspiring work and reference those who went before us in the example of movement activist and elder Yuri Kochiyama took us to another level of solidarity and unity—

We also had Dong Yoon Kim speak from NAKASEC’s Immigrant Rights and Civic Engagement and we could imagine how in the next period more student community internships and volunteering of GMU students, staff and faculty working with community organizations like NAKASEC is the path to the future—as community organizations help GMU to work more closely to provide needed information about DACA and the changing regulations on a host of democratic and human rights issues.   I think that this event is a part of a network that will create more spaces between Women and Gender and Asian Pacific American studies for future course offerings and a major and minor.

A special thanks to Dr. Shaoxian Yu for his leadership.  The poster for the Coming out of the Shadows event was really beautiful.   I look forward to participating again next year.

–Dr. Shelley Wong, College of Education and Human Development

ODIME has helped provide a platform and space in reaching out the bigger Mason community in terms of my education campaign and advocacy against human trafficking, particularly in Northern VA and DC area. The Faces of Human Trafficking event which my students in Human Trafficking class and I co-facilitated in April of 2015 was a great success in terms of information dissemination, dialogue, and action by those who came and were inspired and challenged to do something concrete to address the problem. ODIME was the one that organized the said event with several other entities at Mason cosponsoring.

I wish to make the Faces of Human Trafficking event into an annual activitiy with ODIME as partner program/organization, and continue to reach out – one person at a time. I think this is how we help change the world for the better.

–Dr. Al Fuertes, New Century College

I’m consistently impressed by the work of ODIME. Their classroom visits for Creating Community/Beyond Diversity are always a highlight when I teach COMM 101. The students come to a greater understanding of the influence of culture and how it impacts how they communicate with others. The students often have great epiphany moments from these workshops which results in growth as students and communicators. Furthermore, I think that the STEP program that is associated with ODIME does an excellent job in helping first generation college students become successful and important leaders in the Mason community.

–James Steele, Communication

Reviewed on Friday, April 1st, 2016