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Published April 12, 2018
Dimitri Nesbitt, of Torrington, recently was named the recipient of the University of Wyoming’s 2018 Willena Stanford Commitment to Diversity Award.
Nesbitt, a senior in international studies, will graduate in May.
“Being a recipient of this award is an incredible honor,” Nesbitt says. “It means so much to me that the unique and engaging community at the University of Wyoming feels as though my efforts on campus have been worthwhile.”
His nominator says Nesbitt has been a familiar face for students participating in social justice-oriented activities. He has stood up for people of all backgrounds and is well-known for being a strong advocate for all students, the nominator says.
“Dimitri holds outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in addressing campus inequalities and working to make our University of Wyoming better,” says his nominator. “He has fundamentally changed university culture by building lasting connections between the Associated Students of UW (ASUW), UW administration and student groups.”
Nesbitt is noted for:
-- Serving on multiple committees: Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Dialogue committee; co-chair of el Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan; director of diversity for ASUW; committee on Women and People of Color; and the Good Mule Project.
-- Organizing and promoting social justice rallies, such as for the Standing Rock protest, the transgender rights march, the May Day march and the protest against speaker Dennis Prager.
-- His work in promoting diversity and inclusion of people of color and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
-- And holding institutional and student government administrators accountable for representing underrepresented student groups.
“He willingly puts himself into the conversation for others and actively listens and advocates for students,” says another nominator. “He is always the first one to volunteer, the first one to organize and the first one to inform student groups. He inspires other students to work for diversity and inclusion, and never backs down from the opportunity to improve our campus community.”
Nesbitt says the stories individuals told about themselves fueled him in his social justice career. He also is thankful for multiple individuals who have been with him along the way.
“Countless people have stories to tell. It’s very easy to live a life without recognizing injustices, and it’s hard to mobilize yourself to try to change them,” Nesbitt says. “I have learned more things about myself through the stories people have shared, and my proudest moment is that I was there to hear those stories.”
Other nominees for this year’s Stanford Award were Garrett Cruzan, of Laramie, a senior in the Department of Art and Art History; Diana Loza, of Gillette, a senior in business management; Wendy Martinez, of Laramie, a graduate student in public administration; and Imelda Isabel Perez, of Green River, a graduate student in communications.
The Willena Stanford Commitment to Diversity Award is named in the memory of the inspirational former UW instructor in African American and Diaspora Studies. She also was a past member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Dialogue steering committee on campus.