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Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Belonging

At Emma Willard School, we commit ourselves to building a community that values and celebrates differences, encourages dialogue, fosters mutual respect, and highlights our shared purpose and ideals. We are dedicated to the empowerment of all of our students, and we are guided by a deep understanding that a diverse, inclusive environment and academic excellence are inextricably linked.


Our Vision for DEIJB at Emma Willard

Emma Willard School is home to a vibrant and diverse population of students and adults from across the country and around the globe. The diversity of our community is both visible and invisible: each student and adult brings a unique perspective, history, and multifaceted identity that informs how they work and learn— and also the way they shape and experience Emma Willard school culture. The goal of these statements is to express our shared commitment to actively nurturing a culture of unequivocal belonging, especially for those who have been historically underrepresented. The values articulated in this statement are ones we hope to see flourish here at Emma and also in the world beyond our walls. 

beloved community

Collage of student dreams and aspirations to achieve Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's philosophy of a 'Beloved Community'

Interest and Affinity Groups

We are committed to fostering a strong sense of identity and belonging among all of our students. Having dedicated groups that students can join to share ideas, ask questions, and develop a broader perspective on aspects of identity is an important part of being an inclusive community.

Interest Groups offer opportunities for students to explore virtually any topic or issue and, unlike clubs, are completely student run. Affinity Groups are tailored to provide crucial space for students to engage in deep conversation and provide support for each other around issues unique to their specific cultural and societal experiences, they each have an adult advisor who usually has lived experience relevant to that group.




Programs & Initiatives

DEIJB Council

The DIEJB Council is charged with advancing productive conversations about diversity at Emma Willard School and helping to ensure that ours is a community where difference is celebrated and inclusion is our guiding principle. The council works with matters related to the faculty and student body to heighten awareness of and attention to issues of diversity.


"Call to Engagement" Speaker Series

Emma Willard School is fortunate to have a budget earmarked for bringing guest speakers to campus to share their worldviews, perspectives, and experiences with the students and adults in the community. In recent years, we have been focusing our resources on speakers who have used their talents and passions to create positive change in the world. The Speaker Series focuses on a relevant and timely annual theme that seeks to respond to current issues and expand each student’s understanding of the complexities of engaging in the world. In conjunction with this mission, the school has brought a diverse range of speakers who address themes such as race relations in boarding schools, gender equity, international student inclusion, and transgender rights.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Hiring

We are vigorously pursuing candidates for teaching and staff positions from diverse backgrounds, working with Nemnet and POCIS-NY, as well as tenaciously seeking out person-to-person connections. It is vitally important that Emma’s faculty begin to reflect the rich diversity of our student body, as the celebration of this diversity is at the very center of Emma’s mission, and at the core of our identity as a school. Learn More About Employment at Emma

Diversity in Admissions

At Emma, we know that a global perspective is the very bedrock of a transformative education. Each year, we attract applicants from over 20 states and five continents. Our partnerships with organizations that support high-achieving students from underrepresented backgrounds and independent schools in the United States ensures we connect with talented students from diverse racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. With over $4.5 million in need-based financial aid, Emma stands proud in its commitment to the very best education for girls. Learn More About Admissions


Community Engagement and Social Impact

The Community Engagement and Social Impact program at Emma Willard School offers students a wide variety of opportunities for positive, purposeful connection to local and global communities. These connections help to strengthen students’ understanding about the context in which community needs have developed and continue to exist, while also challenging students to think critically about ways that diversity and identity play an important historic, social, and political role in the existence of those needs. Through classroom-based Service Learning, students are challenged to connect and apply academic content to the needs of the community. Through weekly off-campus opportunities, students have the flexibility to opt into a variety of group or individualized community engagement opportunities that help to build character, deepen compassion, and nurture a lifelong commitment to actively pursuing positive change within their communities.

Empathy and Respect in Dorm Life

Our residential programming is heavily focused on celebrating the beauty of our differences in all aspects of our identities; we have cultural celebrations within the residence halls and students of all religions are supported and encouraged to celebrate, observe, and share their respective holidays with the dorm communities.  The residential faculty strives to create communities in which all students feel valued, seen, and represented. The 9th grade residential experience provides opportunities for our youngest students, many of whom have never lived away from home, to gain a deeper understanding of differences and to navigate difficult conversations about community living that typically are rooted in misunderstandings based on differing cultural, religious, or racial identities and perspectives. Cluett House is a living and learning experiential dorm for 20 upper-class students each year that focuses on concepts of “positive world change” such as social justice, human rights, democracy and freedom, equity and diversity, activism and advocacy, and environmental sustainability.  Students are engaged in a programmatic curriculum that introduces many perspectives on these topics. Content is delivered through visiting guest speakers, workshops on nonviolent communication, heavy and often uncomfortable discussions about power, privilege, diversity, equity, and justice, and other media resources. Students leave the Cluett House residential experience with a deeper understanding of their place in the world and the avenues through which they may pursue making positive changes.