A Commitment to Justice: 5 Questions with Student Ariana Barrett

Photo of Ariana Barrett on the Entry Plaza of the Uptown Campus.
Photo by Brendon Phillips

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 23, 2021) — For Ariana Barrett, diversity and engagement are areas she has always been passionate about. Since high school, she has been determined to combat the injustices of inequality, and as an intern with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), she has the ability to integrate those desires. 

Originally from Brooklyn, Barrett is a junior majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and Management. Outside of her academics, she’s the secretary for Building Ladies Up, a student assistant for Intercultural Student Engagement, and a member of Albany State University Black Alliance (ASUBA).

As a student intern at ODI, Barrett was involved in establishing the office’s social media presence, including content building and sharing, and she developed a framework for the office to better communicate with one another in the virtual space.

Recently, ODI submitted Barrett for consideration as the 2021 PR NEWS Corporate Social Responsibility & Diversity Award Undergraduate Student of the Year, and she was named one of six finalists.

“Finalists represent the communicators who use their platforms for the betterment of their communities and the global community at large. They amplify the voices of marginalized groups and dedicate themselves to social causes. These rising stars are helping to usher in a diverse, equitable future and redefine organizations’ role in the fight for global change,” said PR NEWS site.

What were some of the reasons you chose UAlbany?

One of the reasons I chose UAlbany was for the amount of diversity I experienced from the second that I stepped foot on the campus to tour the school. The tour guides consisted of a wide variety of students who were from all different backgrounds and of different races; this school provided the diversity I was looking for. And a three-hour bus ride to get home is super convenient and made me feel like this school was at the perfect location. 

What’s your favorite thing about the University?

My favorite thing about the University is the number of organizations on campus. I feel like there is a place for everyone, with so many opportunities to find people that are similar to you in terms of background, interests, major, etc. I am a part of the organizations Building Ladies Up and Albany State University Black Alliance (ASUBA). Both organizations gave me a place where I could foster sisterhood and a place where I could build bonds with students like me.

What do you see yourself doing 5 or ten years from now?

I see myself as the human resource manager and/or the chief diversity officer for my own company or an existing one. My biggest interest is with diversity and inclusion work so in that role, I look forward to ensuring that the company complies with diversity and inclusion practices while fostering an environment where the importance of diversity and inclusion is evident and amplified.

How did you decide to get involved with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion on campus?

In high school, I was always interested in being a part of conversations where we could discuss issues of inequality, work to figure out how to combat these issues, and generate more conversation beyond our group to get more people talking about the issues. After understanding and fostering this passion of mine, I knew I wanted to do something as it related to diversity work in college. I spoke with my mentor, Ekow King, about this and he put me in contact with Interim Chief Diversity Officer Samuel Caldwell. Mr. Caldwell graciously offered me the opportunity to intern with ODI last semester and then the opportunity to work as a student assistant with their marketing team this semester.

What’s something about yourself people might be surprised to learn?

I know how to play the flute! I played the flute in band for eight years, starting in the fourth grade until I graduated high school. I was first chair, and I was accepted into Mark Twain Junior High School for Instrumental Winds Talent.