Throughout the past year, many beloved staff members in Residential Life departed from Drew, opening doors for fresh faces to come in and make their mark. Among them is Monica Madera, the new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Coordinator.
“As a Latina, I always felt like I didn’t belong in certain spaces and I didn’t fit in with one group but I also didn’t fit in with another group,” Madera said about why being Drew’s DEI is important to her. “It wasn’t until I got to college that I understood that there is so much more than those base stereotypes and those base understandings of who people are. It changes your perspective of the overall culture of institutions.”
In addition to being the supervisor of the Theme Houses (ABC, La Casa, WoCo, Art House),
Madera advises cultural clubs and organizations. Her main responsibility is to plan events related to cultural and historic observances. In November, she organized a Powwow with the Red Blanket Singers,a Native American drum and dance group,for Native American Heritage Month.
“I want to build and expand on things that have already worked, and unfortunately, because of the pandemic, a lot of these things that were great for these students have been left behind,” Madera said.
Madera explained that she has seen a lot of projects that are unfinished due to either COVID-19, changes in administration or even changes in the student body that she wants to revisit. She is already working on bringing back Black and Brown at Drew with an upcoming event on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. in the 1867 Lounge and is planning for a full comeback of such events in the Spring.
Madera said she is open to creating new experiences for the Drew community, and is always ready to hear ideas from students.
“Any student that wants to come along and pitch an idea can absolutely come to me and we can figure out how to do that,” Madera said.
She added that her office is located in the Office of Residential Life and Student Engagement, and when the door is open, it is open for everyone.
“Students come in from 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. and we just have conversations and sometimes they’re planned meetings and sometimes people drop in and have conversations, but getting to know every student is probably my best day,” she said.
If you would like to contact Monica Madera, feel free to email her (firstname.lastname@example.org), call her office phone (973-408-3258) or stop by her office in EC 138.