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Up for a challenge

Mills College Weekly

Lisa McRipley is one of the few people who makes you feel welcome when you walk in the door.

On Aug. 1, McRipley started as the new assistant dean and director of diversity programs and assistant director of summer academic workshops.

Although she has been here just a short while, already students are feeling the effect of her positive energy on campus. Perhaps it is because she is an aries, or maybe because she originally began her studies as a drama/theater major; regardless, McRipley’s vibe is addictive.

“She’s got a lot of energy, and I think she can do really good things here at Mills, said junior Alysha Grevious. “She’s very passionate, she really gets into the conversation and makes you feel like anything can be done.”

McRipley came to Mills from University of Michigan Ann Arbor where she was both a doctoral student in higher education and also the coordinator for the multiethnic student affairs office.

“I first met her this summer when I was speaking with the [Summer Academic Workshop] students,” said Debra Berman Santana, professor of ethnic studies. “Then again at the women of color reception which her office hosted. I thought it was well organized, I appreciated the tone she set as the first speaker, and overall I though it was a great way to kick off the year.”

McRipley found Mills College through a multiethnic affairs search engine.

“As soon as I looked into Mills, it immediately became my first choice,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in women’s colleges, and creating an environment where you can go in and be yourself,” she added.

She said her job will be focused on multiethnic identification development, community development and cultural enrichment. She is planning events that tie in aspects of each element.

The first multiethnic event she is planning intra and inter-group dialogues, which is continuing the work of her two predecessors.

The first of these conversations will occur at the end of September when she will host a dialogue between white women and women of color for first year students in Olney.

identification and also community building is the women of color retreat at the end of this month. “The purpose of the retreat is multiethnic, but we will be community building because we will work on strengthening ties between different women of color.”

Her office will be hosting events for all of the cultural months and also for national coming out day, October 11.

She is looking to create a student diversity task force, made of student volunteers that would meet once a month to help her put together activities that are both entertaining and educational.

“I have more of a macro way of looking at diversity, I don’t believe it is entirely racial, but all people who are excluded,” McRipley said.