Max Wallach, '22

December 22, 2020
Junior promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion at UR

Max Wallach, ’22, is one of the founding student members of the Institutional Coordinating Council for Thriving, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (ICC) – a group of UR faculty, staff, and students which grew out of the Making Excellence Inclusive Report.

The Council focuses on connecting people and initiatives across campus – a role that Wallach particularly values.

"The ICC is very thoughtful in how they approach change and the steps they want to take," Wallach said. "I often find myself being a mediator for friends. I like to take the time to consider all viewpoints before making decisions or suggestions, and the way the ICC approaches problem solving is very aligned with how I approach issues."

Wallach has learned a lot about leadership and the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) from his involvement with University of Richmond Hillel, an organization for Jewish students to explore their identity. 

Led by Jewish Chaplain and Director of Religious Life Josh Jeffreys, the community often takes time to host conversations with students of different faith backgrounds.

"For many of the issues surrounding DEI, it’s often because of perceived differences," Wallach said. "Focusing on the similarities with students that we might perceive as different is a positive experience that reinforces why I want to do this work."

Even Hillel’s Board, which Wallach helped shape as its program coordinator, places value on every member’s contributions and ideas.

"We really tried to avoid a hierarchy," Wallach said. "And no matter what we want to do, Josh and the rest of the Chaplaincy are there to support us."

Wallach is also a member of the President’s Student Cabinet. Members are selected to represent the broadest possible range of student backgrounds, interests, experiences, identities, and ideologies.

"Hillel, the Frisbee Team, the ICC, and the PSC, the small communities that get formed whether naturally or by assignment, those types of relationships are what I value most at UR," Wallach said.

When asked what opportunities there were for change at UR, Wallach chimed in immediately, "We can change COVID existing and go back to normal!"

But then added, "There’s a really big opportunity for Richmond to grow into a place that’s much more widely accepting or at least the ability to step up and prove that it’s the inclusive community that it aspires to be."