’Deis IMPACT!, the University’s annual celebration of social justice and activism, will take place later than usual next semester to allow the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion to hire a program administrator to manage its educational programs. 

The scheduling shift occurred because the ODEI only recently acquired the funding for this hire, which is a new position. According to a Friday email to the Justice from Director of the ODEI Allyson Livingstone, the hiring process will be completed within the next four weeks. This is a change from previous years, where a 2019 ’deis IMPACT! coordinator was employed on a short-term contract.

The week-long festival normally happens each February, but will instead take place during the week of March 23, 2020, Livingstone wrote in a Monday email to students and staff affiliated with ’deis IMPACT!.

“Moving the date back will allow our staff to deliver a quality experience with the highest likelihood of increasing engagement. Our hope is to honor the vision of [’deis IMPACT!] while remaining flexible, realistic, and open to change,” she wrote.

The ODEI will also be considering “programmatic shifts … to make the program more impactful,” Livingstone added. Drawing from feedback received about 2019’s ’deis IMPACT! — including concerns about low attendance and an oversaturation of programming — the ODEI is considering holding the 2020 iteration of the festival over the course of two or three days instead of seven days as in previous years. Livingstone wrote that ’deis IMPACT! 2020 “will likely center around a keynote speaker and 1-2 days of engagement about the themes the keynote event presents.”

These changes come after the ODEI’s review of the program throughout the spring and summer of 2019, which aimed to “assess and ultimately enhance the opportunity for impact,” according to the festival’s website. 

’Deis IMPACT! came under the direction of the ODEI in the fall of 2018, which shifted programming to include more graduate student programs and “increased collaborations on programming opportunities,” according to the festival’s website. “The transition to the ODEI was intentional and strategic, as it offered the potential to position the mission and goals [of ’deis IMPACT!] centrally within the institution,” Livingstone wrote in the Monday email.

For the first time last year, the program featured a theme — “What is Social Justice?: Consciously Exploring Oppression, Power, and Privilege” — to facilitate “a unifying thread” among the programs. The ODEI also began providing stipends to ’deis IMPACT!’s student coordinators, known as “Impacters,” and conducting workshops to improve leadership skills. 

The festival was previously facilitated by the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life from its creation in 2012 until its transition to the ODEI in 2018.