Outside of classes, University Prep offers programs, conferences, workshops, and more for students to extend their knowledge about diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.
Every year, we take six students to a student conference run by NAIS, Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC). According to NAIS, SDLC is "a three-day, multiracial, multicultural national student conference that focuses on self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community". We also take about eight students to a regional conference run by NWAIS, Student Diversity Leadership Retreat. As opportunities arise, we take students to additional conferences and workshops.
The Community Conversation program at University Prep is a mandatory, Upper School program that is facilitated by students, allowing them to develop their skills in dialogue, empathy, and interacting with people who may have different perspectives. It focuses on methods to engage meaningful conversation across difference, whether it is a difference of opinions or identities.
This program encourages students to navigate discomfort: speaking up when afraid of looking foolish or being judged; staying silent to allow others to share; sitting with disagreement instead of striving for resolution; and bringing in new perspectives on diversity and social justice.
Our DEISEL program innovatively integrates the development of cultural and emotional intelligence by combining diversity, equity, and inclusion work with social-emotional learning. This program encourages our students to think about themselves and their identities, and how they interact with others, and challenges them to grow as socially responsible contributors to our community and society.
Our affinity group program offers identity and interest-based affinity spaces that enable people to talk about their shared experiences. Although members of the group may share a common identity, such as gender or race, it does not mean that everyone in that group has had the same experiences. Rather, participants recognize that their identities have an effect on the way they move through the world.
The goal of affinity groups is to facilitate positive identity exploration and development towards the larger goal of creating an inclusive and thriving learning environment. These kinds of groups offer a time and space for empowerment of the individual and of the group within the greater community. Affinity groups are voluntary, and they happen once a week in the Upper School and every other week in the Middle School.
Our diversity & community student organizations and affinity groups are active in creating spaces for students from other schools to participate. For more information, explore the Community Programs page.