The University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine chapter of Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment (VOICE) has won the VOICE National Chapter of the Year Award for 2020-21. This is the second time in three years that the Wisconsin chapter has received the recognition.
The award honors a VOICE chapter that has organized or sponsored many successful events during the academic year, exceeded programming requirements, and continuously supported the development of a positive and welcoming environment, as well as an understanding of diversity and inclusivity, within their local and academic communities.
“It’s gratifying to know our efforts are recognized. We, as an executive board, have put a lot of time and thoughtfulness into our programming,” says chapter president Erika Kwong DVMx’22.
“We appreciate that our club activities impact and support our community,” she adds. “We hope to continue to provide a space where everyone can show up authentically and learn from one another.”
VOICE is a national student-run organization that seeks to increase awareness, respect and sensitivity to differences among all individuals and communities in veterinary medicine. The organization also aims to celebrate diversity within the profession, encourage campus environments that embrace diversity and promote the success of all students, and emphasize the importance of cross-cultural awareness in veterinary medicine to meet the needs of a diversifying clientele. In addition, to ensure a more diverse future for veterinary medicine, VOICE chapters provide leadership and mentorship to youth, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds, who are interested in careers as veterinarians.
“We hope to continue to provide a space where everyone can show up authentically and learn from one another.”
Throughout the 2020-21 academic year, the UW School of Veterinary Medicine VOICE chapter hosted the “Let’s Talk Series,” a series of open discussions that varied in format and topics, ranging from racism, LGBTQIA+ experiences, mental health, invisible disabilities and more. The chapter’s subcommittee, Broad Spectrum, also hosted a virtual social event and a panel discussion on how to be an LGBTQIA+ ally.
“This school year and virtual format have posed new challenges, but our team has worked hard to continue hosting educational and inclusive events,” says Kwong. “We have a supportive and collaborative executive board, and that teamwork translates into the quality of our events.”
The UW VOICE chapter was previously honored with the National Chapter of the Year Award in 2019 and the 2017-18 Programming Excellence Award.
Those interested can connect with the UW VOICE chapter on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to receive chapter-related emails. Broad Spectrum is also on Facebook and Instagram. To contact chapter leadership, write to VOICE_vetmed@wisc.edu.