Tevonne Dennis – Butler University – Class of 2016

Interviewer: Anthony Murdock II

Q: In what ways are you involved on campus?

Tee: I am honored and take great pleasure in serving as the VP of Diversity Programming in the Student Government Association. I am also a Butler Student Ambassador. I serve on the Multicultural Recruitment Team in the Office of Admission.

Q: What have your various research roles taught you about the university, particularly in relation to the school’s views on diversity and students of color?

Tee: I have learned that it is not very difficult to forget the minority’s needs and desires when there is such a disparity. I’ve also learned as a multicultural student at a PWI that my views enforced by education and experience are often forcibly challenged by those with different realities. In this knowledge acquired, I’ve come to understand and believe that the academic, cultural, social climates and specifically in regard to diversity become unaware, insensitive, intolerant, and ultimately for a big portion of multicultural students unconducive.

Q: If there was one thing you would change about Butler, as it relates to multiculturalism or diversity, what would it be and why?

Tee: In my ideal world, Butler University would actively seek to increase the enrollment of students and acquire professors who possess perspectival diversity to enhance the degree of academic growth. In this same effort, classes can prepare students for the melting pot America has become by including aspects of diversity and ways to recognize, respect, and embrace it throughout our curriculum.

Q: Describe yourself in three words…and explain why you used those three words.

Tee: Achiever, Value-Oriented, Versatile. I use these three words because they encompass my personality as much as three words ever could. Achiever- I’m a hard worker who believes in personal and professional development through exploring the world around us and relentlessly pursuing happiness. I’m enthused about setting goals for myself and achieving them because this continuous process creates the individual you want to be. Value-Oriented- I’ve always believed in having principles. A wise individual once said and I quote “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Continuous actions build habits and habits determine character. When one holds close to their beliefs and pursues challenging them to ensure the logic in them, their actions are then shaped by those beliefs and radiates the person they want to be. It’s sort of like personal branding. Versatile- The individual that I am is far from what one receives at face value. I have been shaped into the well-rounded individual by many diverse experiences throughout my life from exposure to many countries, cultures, religions, arts, and so forth. I find myself being relatable to almost everyone I come in contact with because of the opportunities I’ve been blessed with.

Q: Upon graduating, what do you plan to have accomplished, both as a public leader but also as a growing individual?

Tee: Upon graduation, I want to accomplish being untainted by the politics in the world and energized enough to stand for what I believe in and challenge those beliefs. “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”- Socrates

I also believe in stewardship and I hope that by the time I graduate I did or said something that encouraged, educated, or positively challenged someone. I hope my time as a student leader has helped the university move in the best direction.

Q: What does “Double Consciousness” mean to you?

Tee: To me, “Double Consciousness” is a great representation of young people trying to enact change in their community that benefits themselves, those around them, and those to come. “Double Consciousness” is about awareness, collaboration, and change.

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