On January 28, more than two dozen Ithaca College students joined a handful of alumni at the K House in Ithaca for a day of workshops and panels at the Students of Color Retreat, hosted by the college’s Center for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Social Change (IDEAS).
Led by IDEAS student workers Ashanti Ford ’24 and Leticia Rebelo de Oliveira ’26, the retreat served as an opportunity for members of IC’s BIPOC community to meet, build connections, foster a sense of belonging—and engage with alumni.
When Ford and de Oliveira approached IDEAS director Angélica Carrington in November 2022 with the concept for the event, they had multiple goals in mind.
“We want to make sure that people of color at IC will be able to bond and know each other, and know they have a safe space if they need anywhere to go to ask for help,” said de Oliveira, an exercise science and athletic training major from Brazil.
The event was open to all Ithaca College students, providing an opportunity for students who don’t identify as persons of color to be advocates or allies for their peers. Ford wanted to create a space where students could be with others who understand what they are going through. Like many attendees, she often finds herself the only student of color in her classes.
“IC is a predominantly white institution,” she said. “Everyone else does not look like me; they don’t have the same struggles as me; they don’t understand where I’m coming from. I’m so grateful and happy that we had this opportunity.”