Protect Your Peace - Streaming Student Support on Instagram Live

In March, the University of Louisville community made quick adjustments in order to accommodate online learning and remote work in light of the global pandemic. Students who had never experienced distanced learning had to be adaptable to change and quickly figure out how to turn home into their classroom. Faculty and staff were faced with the same monumental task as offices closed.

Those of us in the Diversity and Equity Division went above and beyond to shift the support services offered by our offices to an online format. Student appointments, check-ins, and student group meetings were still able to happen virtually, but the informal accompaniment that our staff offer to students was a bit more difficult. So much of the work that we do is creating space to engage students in dialogue when they need it most. This often comes in the forms of spending time in the lounge/study areas we staff and having an open door policy for students do anything from vent, get last minute advice for academic/career/personal issues, or just to chat about Netflix shows. 

During the first week of remote learning, everyone made adjustments in order to accommodate students and spent quite a bit of time brainstorming what the online landscape would look like. During that time Marcos Morales (Cultural Center, Program Coordinator, Hispanic/Latinx Initiative) and I met to chat about how we could meet students where they were to recreate some of the accompaniment that they are used to receiving from our offices. From that meeting we launched the Protect Your Peace series.

Protect Your Peace started as a weekly opportunity for students to “pop-in” on an Instagram Live forum on Wednesdays from 12-1pm. During these sessions our goal was to share important information and create opportunities for virtual engagement surrounding topics that were pertinent to the current times, i.e. creating an effective work-home environment, dealing with the grief of that came with covid-cancellations, the importance of staying home, etc. This grew to a weekly live stream where we would bring in guest speakers who were able to talk about the pandemic from many different viewpoints. Not only did our guests share information, they also brought relatable action items to help our communities struggling with the transition.

Although this series has ended, Marcos and I are excited for season two of Protect Your Peace this Fall. Additionally, we’d both like to extend a warm thanks to the team (Professor Enid Trucios-Haynes, Marian Vasser, Amberli Seay, and Katy Garrison) that helped us brainstorm ideas and guests for the livestream. For more information please visit the following link:

Listed below is a brief overview of the episodes that were included:

Episode 1: Protect Your Peace

In this episode, Marcos Morales (Program Coordinator for Hispanic and Latinx Initiatives) and Ashleigh Hazley (Assistant Director for the Muhammad Ali Institute) introduced students to ideas surrounding “Protect Your Peace” and provided updates from across campus about the switch to online learning.

Episode 2: The Power of the Pause ft. Dr. Ahmad Washington (UofL, College of Education and Human Development)

This episode provided discussion on how to create effective workspaces at home while also challenging the idea of productivity as it pertains to decolonizing education.

Episode 3: Grieving the Year That Was ft. Dr. Kaila Story (UofL, Department of Pan-African Studies & Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies)

In this episode, Dr. Story discussed affirmations for COVID-19 (from the Black Youth Project) and provided supporting examples on how to cope during the pandemic.

Episode 4: Impact of COVID-19 on Marginalized Communities ft. Karina Barillas (La Casita Center, Executive Director)

This episode focused on the both disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color and highlighted issues in how they are represented in the media.

Episode 5: The Importance of Joy and Fun ft. Bláz Bush (UofL, LGBT Center on the Health Sciences Campus)

This episode focused on the importance of joy and connectivity during times of crisis. Additionally, Bláz and the co-hosts shared examples of how to use technology for virtual fun. 

Episode 6: Reflections and Top Five

In this episode, Marcos and Ashleigh reflected on the series and shared their top five sources of joy/inspiration.

Episode 7: Salute to the Class of 2020 ft. Mayor Greg Fischer (Mayor of Louisville), Marian Vasser (UofL, Office of Diversity and Equity), and Katy Garrison (UofL, LGBT Center)

During this final episode, guests shared words celebrating the class of 2020 and discussed the importance of graduation for marginalized communities.