Our student data showed that our black students were experiencing lower feelings of satisfaction, enthusiasm, and pride toward their school as compared to other racial groups. We believe that an affinity group is a way to provide some needed support. An affinity group is a term used as a bringing together of people who have an identifier in common, e.g., race, gender, religion, family status, etc. Affinity groups are for individuals who identify as members of the group and can speak to the experience of being a member of the group from the “I” perspective. Affinity group spaces are designed for people to develop and strengthen their own racial/ethnic/group identity rather than as a time to learn about others.
While initially it may seem counter-intuitive at a school that is promoting inclusiveness and brotherhood, it is in reality an important piece of this work. It is important to recognize that different groups within De Smet Jesuit may need room to find fellowship and kindred spirits to continue to fuel their drive to be active members of our community.