Documenting Diversity – Ohio Wesleyan University

February 2, 2022
By Cole Hatcher
DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University student Anna duSaire is receiving an OWU-funded Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Grant to create a documentary film that explores the sense of belonging felt by the university’s students of color.
“I wanted to create something that gives BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) students the opportunity to share what it’s been like for them to attend OWU without being interrupted or questioned,” said duSaire, a senior from St. Louis Park, Minnesota. “I decided to focus on the idea of ‘belonging’ specifically, because I think everyone wants to feel like they belong in the spaces they operate and exist in.”
A Sociology/Anthropology and Politics and Government double-major and Social Justice minor, duSaire plans to debut her documentary in April and to survey the audience before and after they view the 10-minute film.
“I hope people reflect on the stories and experiences they hear in the film and think about how they are similar and different from their own experience at or perception of OWU,” said duSaire, a member and previous vice president of OWU’s Black Student Union. “I also hope folks think critically about ‘belonging’ – what it means, what it looks and feels like, how a ‘sense of belonging’ is achieved, what it means to have a ‘sense of belonging’ in a space. … I want to get people to absorb, reflect, and think.”
Dawn Chisebe, OWU’s chief diversity officer, is mentoring duSaire on the process of planning and producing the oral-history documentary, while Elaine Chun, multimedia technology services manager, is helping her learn to use filmmaking equipment. In addition to earning a DEI Grant, duSaire also has been awarded a WCSA Initiatives Grant from the Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs, OWU’s student government, to support her project.
After she graduates in May, duSaire plans to follow a path that “will allow me to continue to challenge myself and those around me, while furthering my understanding of sociology.”
“OWU has helped me prepare to reach these goals by introducing me to sociology and anthropology, and through providing me the space and opportunity to take on various leadership positions, take on big projects, and push boundaries,” she said. “Through OWU, I have also developed an incredible support system who have continuously loved, supported, and believed in me.”
Ohio Wesleyan’s DEI Grant program was launched in 2021 to support projects proposed by students and employees to advance the OWU campus as an antiracist space. The university continues to accept student DEI Grant proposals this semester, with the application and review process overseen by the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Student grants may be up to $1,500 each.
Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s DEI Grant program at owu.edu/DEIGrants.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature program, The OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “Best Colleges” lists. Connect with OWU expert interview sources at owu.edu/experts or learn more at owu.edu.

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