Peddie’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Day


Falcons enjoying their day off by painting each other’s nails in one of the many wellness activities. 

Grace Edelstein '23, Staff Writer

September 22 marked Peddie’s first emotional wellness and mental health awareness day, known as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Day. The day began with opening remarks from Head of School Peter Quinn, Director of DEI Diku Rogers ’12 and Director of Counseling Dr. Karen Jimenez, all of whom explained Peddie’s desire to continue to support the community’s emotional and psychological needs. Dr. Jimenez noted that while our community emphasizes taking care of physical wellbeing, individuals “must make a concerted and intentional effort to respond to our own psychological needs.” She continued, “The DEI wellness day is an example of such a community-wide effort to augment student support.” Something especially important as the pandemic has “exacerbated” those needs Dr. Jimenez specifically mentioned. 


Next, students heard from guest speaker John Samuels, a clinical psychology doctoral candidate at Fordham University who is researching the connection between the social and cultural environment of individuals and their wellness. Morgan Spivey ’14, Peddie’s student DEI coordinator, described the overarching message of the speech, saying, “While understanding the difficulties of balancing school and caring for ourselves, having the ability to intentionally carve out space as a community is a fruitful step on the path to justice. We often forget that equity and inclusion work should be centered in cultivating joy and healing, taking moments to reflect and grow.” 


The rest of the day consisted of optional activities that provided students the opportunity to take the rest they needed. Activities included everything from a community bike ride to a session with therapy dogs to chair massages. In general, the day was perceived positively by both students and faculty, with much-expressing gratitude for the break. 


However, students continue to request that the administration invest additional time in reviewing and revising school policy to better promote a balanced workload and lifestyle. For example, one student noted, “I enjoyed the activities of the day, [but I] believe that the true stressors were only pushed back.” Other students echoed similar thoughts, expressing that these days are not a substitute for the larger issue at hand. Emotional wellness needs to be a priority and these wellness days are the first steps on the path forward; both Peddie students and faculty appear to be ready for the journey ahead.