FiWGSA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Subcommittee – Newsletter #19

The FiWGSA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion subcommittee publishes biweekly newsletters – please see the complete PDF of the latest newsletter here –  a text only version is included below.

FIWGSA DEI Biweekly Newsletter September 6th, 2021

National Hispanic Heritage Month

This is the official newsletter provided by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) subcommittee of the Fish and Wildlife Graduate Student Association (FiWGSA)!
It highlights resources gathered by the committee to create a deeper understanding of a range of topics to empower individuals to create a sustainable, inclusive community.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the US from September 15th to October 15th.

It traditionally honors the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans as we celebrate heritage rooted in all Latin American countries. More information on the creation of National Hispanic Heritage Month can be found here.


Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration
Saturday, October 2 from 12-3 pm at Wells Fargo Plaza, Roanoke, VA

Inclusive VT Week
September 6-11

GLC Welcome Back Picnic
September 10

Learning Lunch featuring Dr. Jim Tokuhisa
September 13 at 12 pm. Hybrid event.

International Cafe Hours featuring a taste of Egypt
September 17

Henry Street Music Festival: Celebrating Black Excellence
September 18th, gates will open at 3PM. Find more information at:

National Women’s Friendship Day
September 19

InspirAsian Series: Faculty
September 21

Critical Race Theory (CRT) Academic Symposium
September 24

We have a Google calendar featuring DEI events and activities. Add this calendar to your personal Google calendar and turn it on or off by checking or unchecking the box next to the calendar name. Click the link below for access!

Get the DEI Event Google Calendar


There are many ways to get involved on campus or learn about what resources are available! We are working on a list of organizations, students, and more on campus to help you get connected. Click the link below to access the list, or head over to GobblerConnect! If there is something you would like to add to the list, please email us!

Virginia Tech Student Groups

Cultural and Community Centers on campus:

American Indian & Indigenous Community Center: (AIICC) serves as a community gathering area and study space. You’ll find the AIICC in room 122 of the Squires Student Center, just to the left of the Welcome Center on the first floor. More information here.

Asian Cultural Engagement Center: (ACEC) is a division of the Cultural and Community Centers under the Virginia Tech Office for Inclusion and Diversity. The ACEC’s mission is to advocate for the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) communities, including Virginia Tech faculty, staff, students, and alumni. We also aim to educate the campus community on issues centered around or related to our communities. More information here.

Black Cultural Center: (BCC) opened in 1991 in 126 Squires Student Center. The BCC is an important component of Virginia Tech’s efforts to create a welcoming and inclusive campus. It is utilized by the campus community for educational programs, exhibits, meetings, and receptions. The BCC includes comfortable space for community building and for studying. More information here.

El Centro- Hispanic Latinx Cultural Center: El Centro is the Cultural and Community Center for the Latinx community at Virginia Tech. This is a support space for all the people that identify themselves as Latinos or Hispanos, for the people interested in our culture, and for all our allies. More information here.

LGBTQ+ Resource Center: The LGBTQ+ Resource Center aims to advance, through education and advocacy, the rights and well-being of all Virginia Tech LGBTQ+ communities locally, across the Commonwealth of Virginia, and around the globe. We work to provide space, acknowledge and celebrate intersectionality, cultivate leadership, and engage in activism in the spirit of Ut Prosim. More information here.

Intercultural Engagement Center: (IEC) is an important component of Virginia Tech’s efforts to create a welcoming and inclusive campus community. The IEC helps to create this environment by providing students, faculty, and staff opportunities to come together across difference in order to deepen understanding, develop the capacity for difficult dialogue, and create community. More information here.

LGBTQ+ Living-Learning Community: Help us build the experience you want most.

The university is developing a new living learning community for queer and trans students and allies. The LLC steering committee is looking for a few student members to help shape the mission and programming for the LLC. Join us and share your vision for how to make this a supportive and inclusive community for all students!

If you aren’t familiar with them, LLCs are on-campus living communities which allow students to live together around a common discipline or interest. To date, about 40% of on campus students are in an LLC and that continues to grow! We are so excited to be offering this new community for students interested in LGBTQ+ studies and need your input for the launch and growth of this community to be successful.

The committee will meet twice a month, for 90 minutes, for the entire 2021-2022 academic year. The LLC will open to students in fall 2022. If you can participate, please contact Dr. Bing at


APIDA Mental Health Support Group at Virginia Tech
Biweekly Meeting (Mondays 4:00 pm) | Registration Link Here
Sponsored by ACEC, aKDPhi, AAMHA, & Cook Counseling Center. For questions, contact Dr. Nina Ha at

Beyond Boundaries: A Support Group for Students with Disabilities/DisabledStudents
Tues. 5 pm, every other week | More info and how to register here.
For VT Students only – Provided by Virginia Tech’s Cook Counseling Center.
Open to all Virginia Tech students who identify as disabled/ having a disability.

Black Mental Health Matters – Virginia Tech’s Cook Counseling Center
Virginia Tech’s Cook Counseling Center mental health resources can be found here.

Q*mmunity Support Group
Mondays from 5:30-6:30PM in the LGBTQ+ Resource Center
This group welcomes folks who identify as LGBTQ+, as well as those who are exploring their gender and/or sexual identity, to connect and share their experiences. Feel free to come late, leave early, and/or bring food. Meeting format and mask requirements subject to change based on university guidance. For questions or more information, contact Dr. Jess Westcott ( or Swathi Prabhu, MA (

Ebony Women of Excellence
September 16th at 6p in Newman Library 207A, Meet & Greet
Ebony Women of Excellence is a support group for women that provides a safe community of peers that allows for authenticity, empathy, and relevant problem solving, specific to their experience as Black women. Our mission is to empower, inspire, and liberate Black women so that they may thrive in their fullest expression of truth, power, and embodiment. Join us.

The group is a collaborative effort of SOAR, the Women’s Center, and the Black Cultural Center. Learn more @


FIWGSA DEI is working on growing a resource database that can be shared widely to provide information about issues of inequalities. We are creating annotated bibliographies to streamline finding specific resources.

(We are still working out kinks, so if you have any problems accessing these resources, please email us! Contact info is below.)

Our Journeys Our Stories: Portraits of Latino Achievement | Nuestros Caminos Nuestras Historias: Retratos del Logro Latino
by Smithsonian Latino Center

This online exhibit “…explores the diversity of the Latino experience in its portrayal of a group of extraordinary men and women and the stories they tell. Like the exhibition, this companion book combines personal narratives, portraits, and dichos, or traditional sayings, to provide an inspirational, illustrated anthology of Latino accomplishments across generations. People of all ages and backgrounds will be engaged by these inspirational stories and portraits of Latinos who have made significant contributions to American life. By telling the stories of leaders in the Latino community who display outstanding character traits, such as dedication, discipline, perseverance, integrity, passion, responsibility, courage, and commitment, this anthology provides multiple views of achievement that will motivate many other Americans to realize their own dreams.”

Top 8 Reasons Why and How We Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
by Emily Key, Education Programs Manager, and Adrián Aldaba, Associate to the Director and Programs, Smithsonian Latino Center

“Why do we celebrate the Hispanic community in the United States? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 56.6 million Hispanics in the United States or 17.6 percent of the country’s population as of July 2015. Hispanics or Latinos have contributed to American life since the American Revolution, fighting in every war since then. Latinos today continue to advance communities across the country as small business owners, veterans, teachers, and public servants, among many other professions. Hispanic Heritage Month allows us to recognize their achievements and contributions to our national story.”


Dr. Ellen Ochoa

Dr. Ellen Ochoa began working for NASA in 1988 as a research engineer. Her work focused on optical systems for information processing. She has written technical papers and is included on three patents. A few years later she became the first Hispanic woman to be an astronaut, making four trips to outer space during her career. She also served as Deputy Center Director and Director of Flight Crew Operations before she became the first Hispanic and second woman director of the Johnson Space Center. She has received many awards for her work, including NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal. Dr. Ochoa continues her work serving on boards and committees, and as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). More information on Dr. Ellen Ochoa here!

Let us know about events you would like to have highlighted in this newsletter!
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our subcommittee chairs,

Paige Van de Vuurst ( and Kaitlyn Theberge (

Best regards,
The FIWGSA DEI Subcommittee Virginia Tech

Our mission statement: FIWGSA DEI Committee aims to actively foster a safe, respectful climate for the academic community in our department and our college so ALL can succeed, grow, and feel empowered as unique individuals and increase the representation of historically underrepresented groups in the conservation field.

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