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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

An interview with VPIEC Dina Zavala

Anthony Vazquez Vazquez
Dina Zavala stands outside of Laird Hall.

Dina Zavala, the recently inaugurated vice president of Inclusion, Equity and Community (IEC) as of last spring, sat down with the Carletonian to discuss the Division’s plans for the future. After about 110 days in office, she looks forward to coming events this academic year.


“Campus discovery is one of the priorities for this year,” said Zavala. “And what that means is, through my meet-and-greets with different folks on campus, I’m really getting to know what Carleton College has been doing.  Historically, Carleton has been really at the forefront for work on diversity, equity and inclusion […] Right now, the Division is in the process of collecting information for the year 2022-2023, highlighting what everyone on campus is doing.”


Along with spotlighting past DEI work by Carleton, Zavala plans to build the division’s capacity and staff : “Through my conversations with folks, I’m learning ‘these are what the needs are,’ ‘this is what they would like to see for the Division.’”


Lastly, her other priorities include collaborating with other offices, “building relationships [and] really getting to know everyone, and that includes the students. I want to know faculty, staff, students and also the community of Northfield,” said Zavala. “The community of Northfield is within our community, and part of my position is community.”


Current collaboration initiatives include working alongside the Learning and Teaching Center (LTC) to bring an author to campus for Spring Term, as well as working with other vice presidents and offices, including s the Office of Admissions following the changes in affirmative action policies on the federal level along with Carleton’s decision to no longer consider applicants’ legacy status.


“I think this is such an interesting time for [the Division of IEC] because we are so new, and this happens right when this is starting,” said Zavala.  “I have a vision of what I want [the Division] to be […] but what I understand, and please know that this is my three-month knowledge, is that it’s always been a very holistic process. Race has not been the main factor of selecting students […] one factor will not determine [if] a student comes to Carleton.”


This holistic process lends itself to Zavala’s focus on fostering a sense of community at Carleton, as cemented in her division’s name.


“In order to build a thriving community, you have to have that diversity […] Carleton is a very diverse community,” said Zavala.  “And now we are emphasizing that community piece. If we have all of the different microsystems in our Carleton ecosystem […] microsystems with their own diversity, what can we do to include them in the community that we’re building? […] So in a way, ‘community’ feels like a big umbrella, and inclusion itself could be the actions we take to build that community.”


Throughout this year, Zavala hopes to support such an ecosystem through campus discovery and highlighting Carleton’s DEI work so far, focusing her attention keeping the Carleton community up-to-date on inclusion efforts with informational archives and other communication methods.  She also seeks to build up the new Division’s staff and to increase collaboration between the Division of IEC and other offices.


Zavala ended her interview by touching on the personal enthusiasm she has to connect with the Carleton community while going into the 2023-2024 year:


“To see the students, and also to see the whole campus alive […] that’s what excites me,” said Zavala. “To see all the different projects, activities, and just how beautiful it is to be [a part] of this community.”


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About the Contributor
Zoe Roettger
Zoe Roettger, Features Editor
Hi there!  I'm Zoe (she/her), and I'm a prospective Linguistics major with a Classics minor.  I love anything language-related, arts-related, writing & reading, and cats.  I also have a spider plant named "Pulchra," which, against all odds, is still alive.  When not testing my plant's resiliency, I can usually be found in Anderson or Blue Monday. Zoe Roettger '27 was previously an Arts & Features writer.

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