Jo M Beld

Why are you serving on the Council on Equity and Inclusion?
I am serving on the Council because I want to contribute whatever I can to helping St. Olaf live out its commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism. This is college-wide work that calls for collective action, and it needs to be led by a group that reflects the diversity of identities and experiences that make up the St. Olaf community. That’s what the Council is intended to be and to do. The chance to work with the other Council members has been a great opportunity to strengthen my commitments, my knowledge, and my skills for advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism.

What drives your interest in and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracist work?
Part of the answer is in my job title! We can’t be an “inclusive, globally engaged community”as it says in our mission unless we do the work intentionally and effectively. I’m also compelled by my commitments as a political scientist; a healthy democracy requires people with the values, skills, and experiences that inclusive, globally engaged colleges cultivate. Finally, I’m called by my faith, which sees every human being as equally worthy and beloved.

When someone asks you how they can support this work on campus, what is your advice?
Engage! Take advantage of the courses, co-curricular activities, professional development experiences, reading recommendations, and community events and programs that will strengthen your capacity to help build an inclusive community. Equally important: invite your friends and colleagues to join you. Finally, ask hard questions and listen — not just for what is said, but for what is left unsaid.

What is your hope for the future of St. Olaf?
I hope for us to live more fully into our mission, where people of all identities come together, know that they belong, and flourish.