Peace and Justice Award Winner Looks to Multicultural Students to Stay Grounded 

Posted Feb 22, 2024

Each year, Otterbein’s Office of Social Justice and Activism honors members of the campus community with the Award for Peace and Justice for demonstrating the humane values of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Recipients must be involved in activities on the campus or in the community which serves to balance inequities; encourage like philosophies among others; promote equity and equality in the classroom and/or community; and teach or demonstrate the principles of non-violence in solving problems. 

Michelle Armour, coordinator of the Urban Districts Initiatives in the Office of Admission, was one of the winners. We talked to her about her recent award.

Michelle Armour Mlk Peace And Justice Award
Michelle Armour

How did it feel to win the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Peace and Justice? 

Michelle: It felt amazing! I had no idea that I was being considered for this award. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and pride. The 2024 MLK Peace and Justice Award validates the work that I have been doing at Otterbein and will continue to do.

Why are equity and inclusion personally important to you? 

As a woman and a person of color, I have experienced the ugliness of racism. Equity and inclusion are important because it works to establish a level playing field for all people.

Why is it important to grow and support a diverse student population at Otterbein?

The world is increasingly becoming more diverse, with a projection that non-Hispanic whites will become a minority within the USA by 2045 (U.S. Census Bureau). I feel it is important that Otterbein reflects the population of the country because it will help students to be better prepared academically, socially, and professionally for the real world upon graduation. I believe students get a richer education when they have the opportunity to learn with people who have had different life experiences.

How does your work support DEI efforts at Otterbein?

I am fortunate because my work directly supports DEI efforts at Otterbein. As the coordinator of the Urban Districts Initiatives in the Office of Admission, my recruitment territory is the most diverse in our department. I recruit many students of color, first-generation, students with diverse gender identities, and students across the socioeconomic spectrum. I work with students and their families to educate them about the benefits of an Otterbein education. 

What do you do in your daily life to foster understanding with those from different backgrounds than you? 

In my daily life my Christianity allows me to see all people as equals. God tells us to love each other as He has loved us. I created the Diversity Ambassador program in 2021. This program consists of successful Otterbein students who work with me in the Office of Admission to support multicultural recruitment. These students are diverse in many ways, which keeps me grounded and in tune with the diverse population of students on campus and in high schools.