Paris D. Wicker, Ph.D.

Higher Education Researcher | Comtemplative | Vocalist

Diversity Forum Presentation (UW Madison)

November 02, 2021

Who Belongs? Who Matters?
 Connecting Racism and Health Equity to Belonging at UW–Madison

A sense of belonging is the psychological feeling of connectedness to a social, spatial, or cultural group or community. Mattering and seeing oneself as part of an institution is an important topic within higher education. Research shows that certain students are denied belonging due to structural barriers reinforced through campus culture. At UW–Madison, students with the lowest sense of belonging hold marginalized identities (race/ethnicity, disability, first-generation, sexual orientation, gender identity, transfer status, nationality). COVID-19 and racial injustices further eroded belonging; therefore, addressing belonging is a necessary com- ponent to creating an inclusive and healthy campus. This session will share data regarding belonging at UW–Madison, address the interconnectedness between racism and belonging, and share promising practices from peer institutions. Participants will interact with the data, discuss their experiences, and explore strategies for structural change. 

Reonda Washington
is a substance abuse prevention specialist at UW–Madison. 

Paris Wicker is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and a sociology doctoral minor at UW–Madison. 


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