When schools create a multitude of opportunities for students and staff to intermingle and get to know each other, they can overcome the tendency for people to segregate themselves based on group identity. Establishing student clubs and committees based on varied interests, skills and learning styles – for example, chess, soccer, trivia, journal writing – is a starting point for building community, breaking down barriers and ensuring that everyone is included. Such initiatives can help to accentuate students’ common interests and help build connections between people from all backgrounds and identities.
Clubs and committees with themes explicitly related to equity can be an extremely powerful vehicle for breaking down barriers. People with different identities can join together to express their support for a marginalized group or community. They can actively demonstrate their commitment to being an ally. For example, when white students join a Black Heritage Club, or when straight students join a Gay Straight Alliance Club, it helps to Create Safety and a sense of solidarity among students. The presence of a teacher or administrator can help ensure that no bullying, abuse or discrimination takes place in the context of the club.