After the recent re-accreditation process, with its focus on the need to address pace of life, the school is cutting in half the number of Deerfield Diversity Alliance (or DDA) meetings. The DDA is an umbrella term that includes all culture-oriented groups at Deerfield, such as the Asian Student Alliance (ASA), the International Student Alliance (ISA), the Latin American Society (LAS), the Jewish Student Alliance (JSA) and the Deerfield Black Student Alliance (DBSA).
Previously, each individual diversity club had two meetings a month.
“The new plan,” Ashley So ’13 said, “is for each small group to meet once, then come together with other clubs for a big DDA meeting at the end of the month. Separate club meetings are great, but we are trying to create more dialogue between the alliances.”
She added, “Ultimately, yes, I do think that having one less meeting will help slow down the pace of life here at Deerfield, but at the same time, diversity meetings gave me a break from the rest of school life.”
LAS President Chris Ortega said, “Instead of making everyone focus on their own problems, this makes the diversity groups more community-based. The DBSA’s first meeting last year had a sizable group, but then the numbers kind of died down. So I think having only one meeting a month will make them seem more special and worthwhile.”
However, not everyone was pleased by that change.
“We need more meetings because we need to have opportunities for discussion without tiptoeing around regulations like these,” said Tan Sertthin ’13. “Diversity group meetings are also an essential place for open discussion and real connection.”
Sarah Sutphin ’13 agreed. “It’s ineffective because the effort was directed to slowing the pace of life, but such a small fraction of the population attends these meetings that all it does is impede the progress of the groups. Furthermore, the people who go are people who want to go to the meetings. It’s nonsensical. The people who do go relieve stress and find people who they can talk to about issues that affect them. It’s literally taking away a support group.”
“This year, the DBSA had a list of topics to cover over 16 meetings,” Co-president of the DBSA Abby Cacho ‘13 said. “But with only eight meetings, I don’t think we are going to get through what we planned. We were so excited because our first meeting had the biggest turn out we’d ever had.”
“We really needed those other meetings,” she said.