Dr. Debra Nixon, a Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) professor in the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences adopted the phrase “Do Something Different” for the initiative in May 2007 after the monthly Diversity Dialogues discussion. She initiated the Dialogues February 2006 in response to the successes she was having teaching an MFT Diversity course. In the annual classes, students from all over the world were reporting that they were being transformed by the conversations and feeling of community that she fostered in the classroom. She states:
What I discovered was that the way to move beyond “tolerance,” an outmoded, ineffective concept to promote acceptance, was through open, honest, non-politically correct conversations. But it was in a conversation with Dean Yang, and at his urging that we began having our campus-wide Diversity Dialogues. And in last May’s (2007) Dialogue (with Lua Hancock, Terry Morrow, Jewell Bexley, Elizabeth Koenig, Anne Rambo, and Robin Cooper) we decided that it was time to do something that would make a difference in how we engaged diversity. The phrase “Do something Different” was popularized in the therapeutic community by Solution Focused (SF) family therapists. The idea is that if a person truly wants change then it is imperative for them to do something differently. It followed then that if as a race of people—human that is—we must begin to do something differently with regards to our many differences—ethnic, religious, age-- if we wanted to get different results (per Albert Einstein). To my mind, this requires a shift from tolerance and political correctness towards a honesty, true acceptance, even love for others.