Vince Greer has been front and center in the foundational work of diversity and inclusion at CMC since his arrival as the first director of the CARE Center in July 2016. With George Floyd’s murder in May 2020 prompting social justice protests around the country, Greer reflected on his work as associate dean of students for diversity, inclusion, and residential life.
The CARE Center is responsible for so much foundational work on diversity and inclusion at CMC. How do you see your efforts contributing to the President’s Initiative, and perhaps, leading some of the changes that need to happen?
Diversity and inclusion work is optimal when the work and investment is a shared entity across the board. It’s why I think CARE can be especially helpful moving forward, particularly with the President’s Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience. This work has to happen in tandem, in real partnership with everyone at the College.
The CARE Center’s programming, educational capacity building, and broader opportunities allow us to be at the forefront to help students who, prior to the events of the summer of 2020, haven’t been as inspired or don’t quite know how to be involved. I see CARE taking the existing things that we do—for starters, our ally and implicit bias training with student organizations—and extending it to folks who have historically been on the sidelines.
“Diversity and inclusion work is optimal when the work and investment is a shared entity across the board.”
I also need to mention the work of CARE in tandem with our CMC student identity affinity groups, who continue to lead these efforts at the peer level through programming, advocacy, and activism.
Much of the CARE Center’s leadership is student-centered through its fellow program. How do you help students turn their interests and motivations into real change?
It starts with truly meeting students where they are. We all have a starting point somewhere. None of us just woke up with a higher level of proficiency—it comes through direct lived experience, our families and friends, reading books, learning theories, the classes we’ve taken, and continued education. CARE does its best to remember that and to be a community of open inquiry and growth—not judgment.
Even as a person who has done this work for many years, I’m continually learning. There’s never a moment where you can say in the diversity and inclusion space, “I figured this all out.”