Budget Cuts Can’t Keep Dewalt’s Passion For Diversity Down

By Marquise Mays

  After UW-Madison faced a $300,000 budget cut, Jacqueline Dewalt stepped onto UW-Madison’s campus this past fall as the new External Relations, Partnerships, and Development Director for the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement (DDEEA).

In the wake of UW’s budget cuts, many diversity initiatives and scholarship programs that cater to students of color have seen a decrease in funding and staff.

Many of these scholarship programs have lost college advisors, therapists, and other individuals who serve as a support to them.

According to Dewalt, the DDEEA created this position to help fundraise, sustain diversity initiatives and encourage alumni to invest in enhancing diversity efforts on campus.

“This position didn’t exist, the idea was to raise money for the division and programs for scholarships and sponsorships.” Dewalt said.

With her two main priorities being scholarships and sponsorships, Dewalt wants to restore the lost from the budget cuts and remind UW the value of diversity at a predominately white institution.

“It is one thing to get students of color here, it is another to keep them here, and allow them to graduate and grow.” Dewalt said.

This means fighting for all of the events that make this place feel like home for many marginalized students.

This includes, but not limited to the multicultural graduation ceremony, student events, Black History Month and Native History Month.

Dewalt’s position allows her to fight for funding specifically surrounding the experiences of students of color and she has several ideas on how to fundraise for diversity.

According to Dewalt, having a larger visibility in the campus-wide, multi-media fundraising campaign is a great way to bring money for diversity.

“The fundraising campaign is for the purpose of the Chancellors needs and other schools and colleges … we want to be identified in that annual campaign.” Dewalt said.

Every year spanning from October until December, UW-Madison partakes in a campus-wide annual fundraising campaign to encourage support for world-class education and research on campus, but diversity is always missing.

To make the presence of diversity known, Dewalt and others in the division decided to launch a diversity annual campaign, in hopes to raise funds.

“This March will be the first year that we’ve ever done a divisional diversity annual campaign, from March until August, we’re getting ready to do a blitz and try to raise funds specially for the division and the programs.” Dewalt said.

Dewalt enjoys her new position. Finding funding to sustain, retain and recruit more students of color after facing cuts is a lot of pressure on someone, but this is her passion.

And for that passion, we thank you Jacqueline.


This article is also published here

Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Marquise Mays, is a graduate student at the University of Southern California studying Cinema and Media Studies. His interests include visual culture, the performance of Blackness, audience reception and television. His passion lies in producing research, visual art and multimedia that critically assesses the presentation of Blackness on television. Through this he would like to connect the practice of storytelling to theoretical frameworks, like Critical Race Theory, to ultimately introduce Black men with the agency to discover themselves through television production processes.

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