I.D.E.A.L. Week celebrates justice, diversity, equity and inclusion in business

IDEAL Week Sign

Juan Hernandez draws on a banner asking students to weigh in on how they contribute to diversity in business during I.D.E.A.L. Week at CSU. 

The handwritten notes on the large sign that’s now hanging in the foyer of Rockwell West encapsulate the hopes and experiences of the future leaders who want to make business a more diverse and inclusive place to be. 

“Honor, respect, affirm, celebrate difference,” reads one note on the banner, which was compiled as part of I.D.E.A.L. Week, a collaborative effort between the College of Business’ Office of Undergraduate Programs, Office of the Dean and Career Management Center. 

“We want to hold ourselves accountable, and we want to make our words matter,” said Patrice Palmer, the assistant dean of Social and Cultural Inclusion and an organizer of the event.

A sign reads "equity means equal opportunity for all"
Notes about contributing to diversity in business

What is I.D.E.A.L. Week?

IDEAL Week Banner

A look at the banner that now hangs in the foyer of Rockwell West that details how CSU students contribute to diversity in business.

I.D.E.A.L. stands for inclusive, diverse, equitable, accessible leaders. Beginning March 28, the College of Business held events each day dealing with each of these core tenets, culminating with the Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Case Competition on April 1. 

Throughout the week, students participated in a range of events including (but not limited to): 

  • Pastries and Prompts, where participants were rewarded with pastries for sharing their ideas on how students’ beliefs and lived experiences play a role in the College of Business on a speech bubble. 
  • A video story booth where students were encouraged to share their thoughts on equity for future I.D.E.A.L. Week presentations. 
  • Difference Matters (a mural of diversity responses), which is where students were given the opportunity to respond to the prompt “How do you contribute to diversity in business?”  

Palmer said the whole goal of I.D.E.A.L. Week was for the events to be driven by the diverse group of student organizations within the College of Business. 

One of the students involved was Juan Hernandez, a first-year business student who identifies as queer, Latinx and the first in his family to go to college. 

“It’s so important to get involved and have this support system, because it’s all fairly new to me,” he said while writing on the banner that now hangs in Rockwell West.

Ariana Martinez, another first-year business student, said she hopes to use her degree to open up a restaurant after graduation. She hopes sharing her experiences during I.D.E.A.L. week will resonate with the rest of campus. 

“For me, this is about getting my ideas out there and sharing my point of view so we can all move forward,” she said.

Student teams compete for up to $25,000 in prize money

Students present during CASE Competition

Students present during the case competition that capped off I.D.E.A.L. Week at CSU. 

There was a lot at stake during the final event of I.D.E.A.L. Week: The Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Case Competition, which was sponsored by New Belgium Brewing and FirstBank. 

The top three student teams were eligible for a $25,000 pool in prize money. To encourage diverse team groups, the teams were required to be composed of students with at least three unique inclusive dynamics. 

A team of judges were tasked with selecting the winning teams during the final presentations on April 1. Each team shared a response to a case study regarding a company that sells authentic ponchos from Peru. 

“Doing this kind of business is important, because up until recently, it was just about numbers and profits,” said Jaylen Nuila, a third-year business management major who participated in the competition. 

“I think that bringing diversity into business really is an advantage for everyone,” said Molly Stang, a third-year business major and another participant in the case competition.

About CSU’s College of Business

The College of Business at Colorado State University is focused on using business to create a better world.

As an AACSB-accredited business school, the College is among the top 5% of business colleges worldwide, providing programs and career support services to more than 2,500 undergraduate and 1,300 graduate students. Faculty help students across our top-ranked on-campus and online programs develop the knowledge, skills and values to navigate a rapidly evolving business world and address global challenges with sustainable business solutions. Our students are known for their creativity, work ethic and resilience—resulting in an undergraduate job offer and placement rate of over 90% within 90 days of graduation.

The College’s highly ranked programs include its Online MBA, which has been ranked the No. 1 program in Colorado by U.S. News and World Report for five years running and achieved No. 16 for employability worldwide from QS Quacquarelli Symonds. The College’s Impact MBA is also ranked by Corporate Knights as a Top 20 “Better World MBA” worldwide.