Diversity Peer Educator Program Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The Housing program aims to assist in developing a community that is inclusive and supportive.
By Jeremy Carroll


Read time: 2 minutes
Two alums of the University of Michigan laugh at an old shirt the man is wearing.
Two alums of the Minority Peer Advisor program share a laugh at an event celebrating the program's 50th anniversary. Photo by Jeremy Carroll

Michigan Housing’s Diversity and Inclusion office celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Diversity Peer Educator (DPE) program during an event on homecoming weekend.

Previously known as Minority Peer Advisor (MPA), the program aims to assist in developing a community that is inclusive and supportive of students across all social identities.

“I’ve been able to take, for the last 27 years, everything I learned as an MPA and use it in my everyday work,” said Kia Berry Hagens, ’96, MA’97, a former South Quad peer advisor. “I recently changed jobs, and I literally talked about being an MPA in my interview. When I reflect on what it’s done on my life, I know it’s benefited me, but I also know it’s benefited everyone else I worked with.”

About three dozen alumni and current students celebrated the program in the courtyard of the West Quad.

Robbie Townsel, former coordinator of the program, said it was a joy to see all the success the alums have had in their lives.

“I am happy, and I am blessed,” she said. “I have touched your lives; you have touched my life.”

Townsel told the current students to have the courage to take a stand.

“Go forward, put your beliefs out there because the world needs change,” she said. “Don’t just sit by, be an activist.”

U-M senior and current DPE Maia Jackson said she has learned from and with her peers every single day.

“It’s our commitment to make these students have a home, and a place that they can call a home away from home,” she said.

Jeremy Carroll is the content strategist for the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.

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