Through the Student Lens – DEAL Senate gives students a voice on campus

Julianne Morse ’24
Majors: Economics and Psychology
Hometown: Plymouth, Massachusetts

How does the Wheaton experience allow for students to find their voice and be an advocate? Meet one student DEAL Senate member who is using her talents and drive to help build a community with inclusive and equitable space as you take a look “Through the Student Lens.”

What is the DEAL Senate and when and why was it established?

The DEAL Senate is a collaborative body of students, staff and faculty that was established in 2018 after the inaugural climate survey and is one of the four interwoven components that make up DEAL (Diversity, Equity & Access Leadership) at Wheaton. It was created to work to make campus a more equitable and anti-racist place. We have worked on many initiatives around anti-racism, accessibility and more in my time in the Senate. There are about 30 members of the DEAL Senate. Students can become members by emailing [email protected] or [email protected].

How has being a part of the senate shaped and enriched your Wheaton experience?

Being a part of the DEAL Senate has been a really rewarding experience for me because I have been able to learn a lot about what it means to do diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work. It also has opened my eyes to how passionate I am about DEI and how I want to make this work a part of my life for my career. Interacting in this diverse space has given me one of the many experiences I referenced in applying for my internship with the Department of Housing and Urban Development this upcoming summer.

Additionally, DEAL gives me a space to lift up not only my voice but the voice of other students. Being a part of the DEAL Senate has also been really awesome because I feel like this is a space where if I bring up a concern or question to the faculty and staff it will be taken seriously and dealt with. DEAL Senate has helped me understand better my place in DEI work and how I can be an advocate for those in need.

Can you detail some of the accomplishments of past and present student DEAL senators? Is there anything you are particularly proud of?

Something I am particularly proud of is the conversations we have had around Grace’s Disability Sign and I am hoping that this initiative will be passed in the near future. Grace’s Disability Sign is an initiative introduced to Wheaton by the Class of 2025. Trisha Harithsa ’25 hopes to bring further acceptance to the disabled community on campus by installing signs that were created to raise awareness around people with invisible disabilities who utilize accessible bathrooms and other accessibility tools. One of the main goals of this initiative is to educate the community and encourage others to refrain from judging individuals with invisible disabilities. Additionally, I am proud that DEAL Senate has been able to instruct departments to create anti-racism plans and help faculty decolonize the curriculum at Wheaton College.

How could Wheaton parents and families support you in the work you do?

Parents and families can support Wheaton’s DEAL committee by donating money and asking it to be used for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Also, if you see an issue that the Wheaton community should take action on in regards to DEI then please feel free to email the [email protected] email.

What has been your favorite part about being a DEAL Senate member?

My favorite part about the DEAL Senate is that I get a chance to talk with staff and faculty about important issues and eventually get to see those ideas come to fruition.

Julianne is just one of the many engaging students here at Wheaton. As parents and guardians, you are an integral part of our community. “Through the Student Lens” brings the campus to you, as seen through the eyes of our students, the many roles they play and the experiences they gain during their time here at Wheaton.