VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University strives to attract and develop students who will ignite change throughout their lives, and this drive to make the world a better place often starts while they are still on campus. For William Repetto ’18 MA and graduate assistant in the Falvey Memorial Library, this drive led him to create a new resource guide that encourages community building, outreach and intersectional exploration.
This spring, the University’s Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship Institute (ICE) recognized Repetto with one of its annual Meyer Innovation and Creative Excellence Awards for his contributions to Falvey’s Diversity and Inclusion Resource Guide. The ICE Awards were created and endowed by Patrick Meyer ’74 VSB in honor of the Meyer family (Patrick ’74, Edward ’86 and C. Paul ’30) to recognize the spirit of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship that enhances the University.
The Diversity and Inclusion Resource Guide was created to make accessible resources by, for and about underrepresented voices; it also was constructed with the idea of building community.
Repetto served as project lead and worked with library communication staff members Joanne Quinn, Regina Duffy and Kallie Stahl, fellow graduate assistant Hunter Houtzer, and Sarah Wingo, Liaison Librarian for English Literature, Theatre, and Romance Languages and Literature.
The library’s newest subject guide is a community-curated webpage that includes both library and user-generated content. As Repetto explains, the Diversity and Inclusion Resource Guide was created to make accessible resources by, for and about underrepresented voices; it also was constructed with the idea of building community.
“The current sociopolitical climate, at least here in the United States, emphasizes the mentality of ‘us versus them,’” says Repetto. “We’re encouraged to see the differences between and among one another rather than see the genuine places of overlap in goals and ethos, places of growth. This guide, if you’ll allow me to be ambitious for a moment, is one tool that students may use for finding these places of genuine growth. I hope that students will use this resource guide to discover practices, beliefs or values of other communities that they may not have known in the past. Conversely, I hope that members of any underrepresented communities on campus will use the guide as a podium for informing others about how day-to-day life in an underrepresented community is different from what may be considered ‘mainstream.’”
Repetto notes that a social component became a central piece of the guide’s construction. The guide currently includes sections dedicated to communities interested in subjects concerning Black and African American Voices, Hispanic and Latin American, LGBTQ+, and Women and Feminism; but the site also encourages others to submit ideas for other communities to be included. The guide also includes a form for users to submit resources that they think should be included on the site. In addition, the homepage includes a Twitter feed linked to the hashtag #falveyincludes, through which anyone can contribute resources, experiences or insights.
“The guide itself should serve as one of these places where people who see the world differently from one another can find legitimate places of both overlap and disagreement, and use this recognition as a tool for appreciation and reconciliation,” Repetto adds.
Repetto graduated this May with a master of arts in English and, although he describes himself as a generalist, wrote his thesis on spirituality versus religion in American literature. He is interested in examining how the spiritual is separate from the religious in American society and how that delineation appears in literature and art. Repetto is a native of Chadds Ford and earned a bachelor of arts with honors in history with minors in English and French from La Salle University in 2016.
He was drawn to Villanova by its notable faculty, the chance to study abroad and the opportunity for a graduate assistantship.
“From the first mailer I received to the personal phone calls and emails that the department sent me throughout the application process, Villanova began growing on me before I even visited campus,” Repetto says. “Once I got here to start working, I was never let down. I have felt at home in the Villanova community from my first day.”