Creating and maintaining an inclusive and welcoming environment on campus is among the most prominent objectives for faculty here at SNHU. Few individuals are more committed to ensuring this than Michael Reaves, Assistant Director of Diversity.
The Office of Diversity, located in the Green Center, provides support and guidance to students of color, international students and members of the LGBTQ community. The office also oversees numerous student organizations while promoting and coordinating events that celebrate multiculturalism and diversity.
Reaves possesses numerous duties including overseeing student employment in the office, serving as the advisor for the Multicultural Student Union (MSU) and coordinating Diversity-sponsored events throughout the academic year.
Reaves attended Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island and has a Bachelor’s degree in Community Development. During his time at Roger Williams, Reaves participated in extensive non-profit work. His favorite experience was becoming an Academic Coordinator for College Unbound, a highly integrated, performance based model that combines theory and practice to ensure its graduates have the broad knowledge and professional skills required to lead.
In 2012, Reaves became an Academic Coordinator at SNHU. “I’ve always appreciated SNHU’s innovation,” said Reaves. “I was happy to see the community aspect.” His passion for working with students led him to his current role as the Assistant Director of Diversity Programs.
Reaves considers helping and supporting students to be the most rewarding part of his job. “My favorite part of the job is interacting with the students and helping them cope with daily struggles. I love the community building.”
Among the main goals of the office is to provide a space where all students can be comfortable, feel at ease and discuss any stressors in their lives.
This past year, the office began their “Men’s Group” organization on campus. The group is comprised of students and staff who identify as male. The group discusses day to day issues as well as the idea of masculinity.
“Men have not always been able to express themselves emotionally,” said Reaves. “We are excited to run our Men’s Group again in the fall.”
The 2016-2017 school year also saw the creation of Fluid, an organization for students who are exploring their gender identity.
Reaves is excited to expand upon Diversity Day, an event that features activities centered around campus inclusion and diversity.
Two of Reaves favorite annual events are the Unity Dinner in the fall and the Soul Food Dinner in the spring. These events celebrate cultural diversity and community bonding here at SNHU. They are very popular year after year, and Reaves always looks forward to coordinating them each year.
When Reaves is not coordinating events, offering support to students, managing student employment or serving as the advisor to one of the many Diversity-led student organizations on campus, he often spends time with his boyfriend, Sam. He also enjoys visiting family in Connecticut. He particularly enjoys watching his sister’s basketball games.
Reaves also loves to travel. “My favorite place to travel was China, I got to study Mandarin and climb the Great Wall of China. I also want to go to Thailand and experience other Asian countries.” Reaves has also expressed interest in exploring Western Africa after discovering the roots of his ancestry through the 23andme DNA testing.
Reaves’ mission to create a campus of inclusion and acceptance is widely embraced throughout the SNHU community.