News Highlights: Week of December 11

Facing Anxiety Students share how they cope and how campuses can help, by Julia Schmalz from The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education has teamed up with Active Minds, a nonprofit group focused on campus mental health, to gather stories about students’ experiences with anxiety. Students from colleges across the country shared how they cope with anxiety and what they’d like their professors to know about it. A student named Genesis wishes her professors understood that although she sometimes doesn’t make it to class, it’s not because she doesn’t take her education seriously—it’s because it can be physically difficult for her to make it there. Julia wants her professors to know that she will get the assignment in, but it might take her a little longer than her classmates. In addition, Carly wants to normalize the practice of taking a day for mental health just as you would for physical health, and Rebecca says, “From my experience as a Black student, especially as a black female, we sometimes have to convince ourselves that we’re not crazy. There’s nothing crazy about dealing with anxiety, depression, whatever’s going on.”

Breaking The Bubble Of Food Writing: Cultivating Diverse Stories, by Adrian Miller from NPR

African American food writer Adrian Miller says that his industry suffers from a cultural bubble. As evidence, he points to the countless articles written about Southern food and barbecue that overwhelmingly feature white people and exclude Black people, and that stories related to African American cuisine tend to be saved for Black History Month “in order to get a ‘hook’ for their readers.” Miller says that African American food writers are often pigeon-holed into writing about traditional African American food, while white food writers can explore “a wide variety of cuisines beyond their immediate expertise.” He explains that when the gatekeepers of an industry are all white and come from the same class and culture, the content they create and curate can suffer. To solve this issue, he suggests that the food-writing industry bring on more African American gatekeepers and “more white gatekeepers who truly make diverse storytelling a priority, take more risks and make more of an effort to find and hire diverse food writers.”

Wall Street Diversity Push May Put More Women Onto Boards, from Bloomberg News

Wall Street giants Blackrock, Vanguard, and State Street are embracing shareholder proposals to increase gender diversity on their boards. They may be encouraged by reports that show that more women on boards is good for business: a new survey finds that millennials want to see diversity on the boards of companies they invest in, and numbers show that companies who have brought women onto boards perform better than companies that don’t. While there are clear financial incentives for companies to bring on more women, State Street Global Advisors’ Deputy Global CIO Lori Heinel and Bloomberg’s Peggy Collins stress that companies also need to be advocates and sponsors for women. They discuss how currently, the prerequisite for becoming a board member is being a CEO, but the challenge is that most CEOs are men. At the same time, no woman wants to be promoted simply because she’s a woman—she wants to be promoted because she’s the best. To overcome this, companies need to create a path for women in which “they know they’re supported and can aspire to these higher roles.”

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