Our Mission

SOAR (Students Organizing Against Racism Group) is a student-run organization to battle racism within the CEMS department and surrounding community through three main objectives: Education & Evaluation, Outreach, and Recruitment & Retention. We are composed of undergraduates, graduates, and post-docs and work along with faculty in the CEMS DEI Group to implement department-wide initiatives. SOAR was formed in response to the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests in Minneapolis.

Education & Evaluation Team 

Education & Evaluation, a unit within CEMS SOAR, offers various educational opportunities to staff, faculty, and students on fostering an inclusive and respectful environment in our community. Education & Evaluation will ultimately include weekly digests, social discussions, training, and other educational initiatives that enhance our understanding of and appreciation for the diversity that makes up our CEMS community.

If you are interested in getting to know more about the Ed&Eval team, please contact us.

Outreach Team 

CEMS is located at the heart of a metropolitan area suffering from shameful racial inequalities in educational and economic achievement [1] [2] [3]. The SOAR Outreach group seeks to share the department’s wealth of knowledge, expertise, and resources with the surrounding community via outreach partnerships. Outreach takes on many forms, including in-person visits and activities by CEMS students and faculty, tours of CEMS and related U of M facilities, or virtual visits. We are motivated to expand CEMS’s relationships with educational institutions serving BIPOC populations of all ages and to do our part to dismantle structural barriers to outreach access.

The Outreach team meets every two weeks, Fridays at 10 am. If you are interested in joining a meeting, please contact us.

Recruitment and Retention Team

Studies on racial equity at the University of Minnesota identify large and growing gaps in access and retention of students of color, leading to underrepresentation of BIPOC students at UMN, especially in STEM [1] [2]. We believe CEMS can better recruit and retain BIPOC students. The goal of this team is to promote diversity and equity through fair recruiting and building a welcoming culture where students can achieve their career goals, regardless of race or ethnicity. Group initiatives include a mentorship program, welcome week and visit weekend events, and working with faculty to reevaluate the admission process.

If you are interested in being part of or just getting to know more about the team, please contact us