VICE PRESIDENT EQUALITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION: PATRICE BELTON
Name: Silice ‘Patrice’ Belton
Role: Vice President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (VP EDI)
What this role involves:
In summary, this role involves being a voice of reason and, a vessel for change, support and representation on behalf of all students and (specifically) those from backgrounds with protected characteristics. This denotes to:
- Advising and encouraging the consistent implementation of equality, diversity and inclusion policies across the Association and in line with the (recently launched) Strategy.
- Chairing the Association’s Inclusion meetings with departments from across the OU.
- Coordinating and collaborating with other Association representatives to ensure that policies relating to equality, diversity and inclusion are adhered to by (All) at the University.
- Representing the interests of students in secure environments.
- Working towards widening [access, accessibility and] participation for students who fall within the Protected Characteristics groups, as itemised by the government and the OU, within the Association, the Open University (Open) and wider Higher Education (HE) sector.
- Providing support and guidance to the Disabled Student Groups (DSG), PLEXUS, OU Students’ Association BAME Group and, any other Association-affiliated groups, for protected characteristics.
- Acting as a member of the OU Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group and other EDI groups which falls under this remit.
- Working closely with the Support staff team.
- Working closely with other Central (and wider) Committee members to advise on, or take forward, equality, diversity and inclusion issues.
What you've studied and are studying at the OU:
I am (presently) writing my 'End of Module Assessment (EMA)'/dissertation for my final project module, on the BA (Hons) Design and Innovation (Business) degree, which is due to finish at the end of September 2020. I have studied to date; Level 1 – U101, B120 and B122; Level 2 – T217 and B207 and; Level 3 – B301 and (now) T317.
Why you decided to volunteer and any previous volunteering with the Association:
I decided to become a volunteer because I desired to make a difference and to be an example for other students (especially others from similar backgrounds) who may not appreciate the value they are or difference they can make, for themselves and others, if they dared to believe. This role manifested of the back of my STEM Faculty Association Representative (STEM FAR) role, which evolved into a plight towards raising awareness and increasing representation for BAME students in meetings, and whilst standing in on the EDI Steering Group for an absent colleague. These highlighted challenges in the student journey and, the importance of having a voice within the wider student community and University.
Summary of what you want to do in your role during the August 2020-July 2022 term:
My vision for the role is, to help students have, discover and embrace their sense of belonging (here) at the OU and in the wider HE sector, by showing them someone wants them to be a part of this community; to be involved, to want to share their stories, challenges, and victories; to feel listened to and, to find solutions (even, as simple as signposting or making reference to others who could take action on their behalf). I desired to be that person who shows up and, keeps showing up for Students and, one who helps every student to feel that their VOICE (Values, Opinions, Inclusion, Choices and Equity) matters at the OU and within the OU Students’ Association. This may be a long shot (of sorts) but it’s a venture worthy of investment!
Any other interests you'd like to share:
As a student with anxiety, I am quite high energy and so, in my downtime, I have been known to always have something on the go. However, as I enter into this new role, towards the end of my study and whilst embracing a new version of self, post-pandemic; I plan to reduce (much) of the hustle and bustle of mundanity, to pursue things I truly feel impassioned to do. At present, embrace gardening/growing small selections of herbs, vegetables and flowers; baking sourdough products and; painting with oil pastels. I hope to rekindle biking and driving <grit teeth> in the midst, but will leave the rest up to intuition and purpose, what that means for future self(?!); who knows…