SBU Students, President Stanley Bring Gender Equality Message to SXSW

Extending Stony Brook University’s commitment to global gender equality, an SBU delegation shared experience and vision with leaders in the education field at SXSWedu, the prestigious annual conference devoted to fostering innovation and learning.


Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., left, with Bridget Foley, center, and Tayisha Saint Vil at SXSWedu.

In a March 8 presentation anchored by President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., Stony Brook students and administrators discussed “A Gender Lens: Evolving Equality in Education.” The case study highlighted our equality and diversity initiatives, shared the lessons we’ve learned and opened the floor to a discussion about gender and human rights at all levels of education.

“I was excited to have this ​unique ​opportunity to share with the SXSWedu audience what we’ve learned about fostering gender equality on our campus and beyond,” Stanley said. “In our role as a HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 University Champion, ​Stony Brook is​ committed to taking a leadership role. SXSW is one important way to facilitate the robust global conversation that must take place as we endeavor to achieve true equality.”

Joining President Stanley on the panel were SBU undergraduate Bridget Foley ‘17, a member of the University’s HeForShe Steering Committee, and Tayisha Saint Vil, a graduate student in Public Health. Both students have been deeply involved in a University-wide conversation on gender issues leading to concrete advances on campus.

Foley and Saint Vil described personal experiences with gender and race discrimination and outlined the specific initiatives SBU has launched to motivate students, faculty and staff to become engaged in the issues.

“It was really cool seeing so many of my peers come together to talk about gender equality and actively work toward finding solutions to problems,” Foley said.

The students emphasized the empowering aspects of Stony Brook’s involvement with the United Nations’ HeForShe, an initiative aimed at starting a global conversation on gender equality. SBU was named one the program’s 10 University Impact Champions, committed to working toward the reduction and elimination of gender-based violence on university campuses.

The panel also described various programs aimed at implementation of the University’s Plan for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity, which articulates specific goals and tactics for ensuring an inclusive and welcoming community for all.

The panelists responded to questions from an enthusiastic and highly engaged audience.

SXSWedu, an outgrowth of the famous SXSW conference on music, film and media, aims to foster innovation in learning by hosting a diverse and energetic community of stakeholders across a variety of backgrounds in education.

“SXSW was an exciting place to be this week,” Saint Vil said.

“I was honored to participate in a panel that was so relevant to my life as a student and as a woman,” she added. “We have a long way to go in regards to gender equity; however our work today catalyzed the conversation we need to shatter the glass ceiling in academia.” 

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