Mount students discuss diversity at ‘Race 101’ panel

April 24, 2017

Brianne Thompson, leadership development coach at the Mount; Olivia Bogle, a senior psychology major from Pine Bush, N.Y.; and Alberto Gilman, a sophomore public relations major from New Windsor, N.Y. discuss race and diversity at the Mount’s recent “Race 101: How to Get the Conversation Started” panel. 


Mount Saint Mary College students recently discussed diversity on campus and in the community during a panel discussion titled “Race 101: How to Get the Conversation Started.”

The talk was the final installment in this semester’s “The Mount Speaks Out” diversity roundtable series, which focuses on hard-hitting issues facing today’s college students. The event was sponsored by the college’s Office of Student Success.

“Race 101” examined diversity on the Mount campus, what students should know about the many cultures represented at the college, and more.

The panel consisted of Brianne Thompson, Leadership Development Coach at the Mount, who has a German, Scottish, and Irish ethnic background; Olivia Bogle, a senior psychology major from Pine Bush, N.Y., with family roots in Jamaica; and Alberto Gilman, a sophomore public relations major from New Windsor, N.Y., who traces his family lines to Puerto Rico. The panel was moderated by Megan Rossi, resident director for Sakac Hall.

Bogle explained that since she first came to the Mount in 2013, has seen “lots of growth” from conversations about diversity such as the “Race 101” panel.

Gilman noted that he sees diversity beyond race at the Mount – in different majors, interests, hometowns, walks of life, and more.

“It doesn’t matter where they came from…difference has made us strong,” he said, reflecting on his friendships at the college.

Bogle encouraged the students in attendance to take advantage of the diversity that the Mount has to offer. She pointed out that being able to learn and work with others is an important skill that can be translated into situations outside of college. Similarly, being aware of one’s own culture and background is important too, she added.

“Knowing who you are will help you to succeed in the workforce,” she said.

When asked what they wished the college community knew about their culture, the panelists responded in a variety of ways.

“As a black female,” Bogle noted, “I move through the world a little differently.” She told audience members to ignore harmful stereotypes and that she does not “put (herself) in a box.” Neither should anyone else, she added.

Gilman gave the audience a peek into life in Puerto Rico, which he explained had three main pillars: tradition (including strong faith), family, and good food.

“We are in a climate of change when it comes to race and issues of diversity,” noted Thompson. She encouraged the students to be active in that change by not making cultural assumptions and by always being open to learning about other cultures and ways of life.

“We should be part of the change,” added Bogle.