Diversity, Equity,
and Inclusion at Williston

As an independent school that draws students from across the country and around the world, we recognize that diversity and inclusion promote cross-cultural dialogue, expose students to a deeper and wider swath of humanity, and ultimately, make our community stronger. We commit to welcoming to this community all segments of society, including members of all racial and ethnic identities, religions, sexual orientations and gender identities, abilities, ages, and socio-economic statuses.

At Williston, we’ve laid a foundation that calls for respectful communication; deliberate choices that promote diversity and inclusion both in admissions and in hiring; and frequent activities that work toward equity in the school setting and beyond, such as Community Identity Discussions, an annual Why Not Speak Day, and guest speakers that highlight social justice. Our diversity and inclusion work is also tied to our curriculum, where we endeavor to include multiple perspectives in all disciplines. We believe a diverse and inclusive community helps prepare students for success as they move into college and onto their professional lives.

Number of workshops—from Autism Myths to What's Gender Anyway?—conducted during Why Not Speak Day.

Diversity Programs + Initiatives

Diversity and inclusion are part of every day at Williston. Here are some specific programs that take place throughout the year:

On Campus

  • Why Not Speak Day (WNS Day)
  • Community Identity Discussions
  • Day of Silence
  • MSU Block Party
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Speakers
  • Multicultural Student Union
  • Asian Student Alliance
  • Jewish Student Alliance
  • Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Women’s Action Alliance
  • Pride Club
  • Why Not Speak Day Committee
  • Diversity Committee
  • WillyWorld Cultural Food Celebrations

Off Campus

  • Northampton Pride Parade
  • Trinity College Hip Hop Festival
  • NAIS People of Color Conference
  • NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference
  • AINSE Student of Color Conference

About our Director of Inclusion

In 2017, Williston launched Why Not Speak Day (WNS Day), organized by Director of Inclusion Erin Davey and a committee of engaged students. The group scheduled a keynote speaker, and organized 30 workshops that were given by students, faculty, and visiting presenters. Workshop topics included issues of race, gender, identity, cultural appropriation, and white privilege. The second annual WNS Day in 2018 doubled the number of workshops to 60 and increased the number of speakers for a full day devoted to examining identity.

The difference between empathy—akin to “celebrating diversity”—and inclusion, where true connection begins, is important to Davey, who studied sociology at Connecticut College and has taught psychology at Williston. “Inclusion is a practice, it’s active,” she said.

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