The Kelley Office of Diversity Initiatives, or KODI, is more than an office at the Kelley School of Business. It’s often described as a family.
“The emotional support and sense of family at KODI is unlike anything I could’ve expected,” said Naomi Jackson, BS’22, a Fry Scholar who serves as Kelley Student Government’s director of equity and inclusion. “They know each student by name.”
“It’s really the one group of people that I can call, I can text, and I can rely on for anything,” says Jonah Katz, BS’21. “It’s the same way that your family at home, they’re the ones that you call for support. I feel like I have that through KODI.”
KODI supports all students in the Kelley Undergraduate Program, with a focus on recruiting, retaining, and advising historically underrepresented students. This includes students who identify as African American, Latino/Hispanic, American Indian/Native American, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.
“We’re here to support you, as you go through college, in every possible way,” says KODI Director Carmund White. “You will have an opportunity to have a mentor, you will have an academic advisor, you will have advocacy, you’ll have support.”
KODI has three advisors on staff: White, Jamie Gathing, and Maqubè Reese. They are available to help students plan their academic paths, answer questions, and explore ways to get involved with equity and diversity initiatives. Those initiatives include serving on KODI’s Student Advisory Board, becoming a mentor, planning diversity-focused events, or attending a webinar on allyship.
That support and guidance are especially important for students who don’t often see themselves represented on campus and in the business world.
“I struggle with identity,” says Marissa Munoz, BS’22, president of KODI’s Student Advisory Board. “KODI and Maqubè have been a huge help to me. I’ve learned you don’t have to fit in one bucket. There are many buckets,” she says.
An O’Neill School student, Ky Freeman works with KODI staff and students in his role as IU Black Student Union president. He says many Black students think of the KODI advisors as their second moms and dads.
“We have to battle feelings that we don’t belong, that we’re not enough,” Freeman, BS’22, says. “At KODI, they can look at you and truly see you. You belong. It’s beautiful to see people at KODI who care. They want to see you thrive.”
Thriving is made more difficult during a pandemic and the fight for racial justice in the US. KODI provides a safe space for students to share their emotions.
“It’s difficult to go to school and act like everything’s normal,” says Jordan Davis, BS’22. “It’s too much to carry on your own. Now more than ever, I have reached out for help to KODI because that support is there for times like this. And you really can’t go through any of this by yourself, and you’re not supposed to, because that’s the whole point of a community.”
Reese, assistant director of diversity initiatives, says it’s essential for students to be heard, come together, and continue the fight for change.
“We are preparing our students to have an equity and inclusion mindset and to be aware of 21st century problems,” says Reese. “It can feel overwhelming because everyone wants to dismantle systemic oppression immediately. At KODI, we make sure you have the resources and support you need to share your voice.”
That support is empowering.
“KODI gave me the confidence to take ownership of the initiatives that matter to me,” says Emmy Ni, BS’21. “I’m encouraged to share my thoughts and concerns.”
The Kelley Office of Diversity Initiatives (KODI) supports all students in the Kelley Undergraduate Program. They provide academic advising, resources, virtual and in-person events, and opportunities to get involved in equity and diversity initiatives.