The UF Chief Diversity Officer wants students to listen up about diversity and inclusion.
Antonio Farias launched his podcast, “Level Up on Presence and Belonging,” on Jan. 15. It is a project he hopes will open up conversations about diversity and allow students and faculty to hear about the experiences others face.
“There's no such thing as an expert on the topic of diversity,” Farias said. “We want to hear from everyone.”
Each podcast episode will be under 10 minutes long and promote diversity on campus, Farias said. They will be released every Tuesday, and for each one, Farias will interview a faculty member, student or special guest outside of the UF community.
The podcast is available to listen to for free on SoundCloud and iTunes, Farias said.
The first podcast episode featured Farias interviewing Will Atkins, the associate dean of students at Multicultural and Diversity Affairs.
As a freshman, Will Atkins felt intimidated by the size of UF. Over a decade later he’s working on improving inclusivity and diversity at UF.
Atkins and Farias discussed the African American community and the importance of helping students who come from lower income levels and do not have equal access to different opportunities.
“UF is big, and it's the type of place that is known before you even walk on campus,” Atkins said. “There’s something important about being around folks who know what you're going through.”
An avid listener of podcasts himself, Farias says he believes the project will be a popular way to promote and shed light on the subject of unity.
The discussions in each episode will center on injustices different groups face and ways to create a more accepting campus through opening people to new ideas, Farias said.
Although people have unique experiences and hardships, Farias said that each student and faculty member is more similar than they believe.
“We all want to belong to something bigger than ourselves, and we can only achieve this by taking the time to listen to others,” Farias said.
Salony Baddigam, a 21-year-old UF public health junior, said she is planning to listen to the podcast to learn more about others who see the world differently.
“It's so easy to focus on your own struggles and tune what others are dealing with out,” Baddigam said. “Just spending 10 minutes a week to listen to people with different experiences can help so much.”