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College uses new diversity training program


St. Olaf worked with a new provider for online diversity training this year.

Director of the Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion María Pabón announced the change in an Oct. 2 email to students. The switch to the new program, EVERFI, comes as a result of critical student feedback regarding the previous training system, DiversityEdu.

Students criticized DiversityEdu for not using strong enough language or having relevant information. The switch to EVERFI seeks to encourage students to develop stronger language surrounding equity and inclusion and what that looks like, Pabón said.

After being piloted with a group of students in fall 2018, the Division of Student Life decided to move forward with EVERFI as the new program for diversity training at St. Olaf. The course, which is also used for students at Carleton College, is more cost-effective and reflects a more inclusive diversity training, alongside other programs revolving around drugs, alcohol and mental health, Pabón said.

Before starting the modules, students are asked to participate in an anonymous survey, which collects data on demographics and student experiences on campus, as well as the campus climate at large.

For first-year students, the survey will pertain to individual expectations regarding the campus climate. At the end of their time at St. Olaf, these same students will take a survey asking about the realities of life on campus. The data will be used to note where things are going well and what can be improved, Pabón said. 

“Being able to have that information allows us to create better programming, better initiatives, help us to respond, to prevent or continue to support certain areas,” Pabón said.

Students are required to complete the training in order to register for spring semester classes.