Stepping Up: Learning How to Be an Ally at NYU Shanghai

The Ally Week logo
Apr 21 2023

A robust line-up of events — including panels, a film screening, a workshop, and a round-table discussion — sparked conversation about social injustice and brought awareness to the experiences of various minority groups on the NYU Shanghai campus. The events comprised NYU Shanghai’s 9th annual Ally Week, a joint collaboration between students in the LEAD program, volunteer ambassadors, and the Center for Student Belonging.

“Ally Week is a start, not an end,” said Agnes Zhu, the manager of the Center for Student Belonging and one of the main organizers of the week-long program. “We hope to use Ally Week to create a platform for individuals and groups to listen to each other, as well as have their own voices be heard.”

Read below to hear what being an ally means to Ally Week participants, as well as the potential for allyship in the NYU Shanghai community!


Doris Zhang ’25
Moderator of “The Perception of Women” round table

“To me, being an ally to any group should not be approached as a task or mission to be accomplished. As an ally, I uphold the values of reflection, awareness, and activism by engaging in open conversations, supporting marginalized groups, and advocating for inclusive policies and actions.”


Angran Li, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Sociology
Moderator of “NYU Shanghai First-Generation College Student Celebration” panel

“Upholding the values of being an ally involves creating a classroom environment that values the diverse experiences of all students, providing mentorship and support to students from underrepresented backgrounds, and using one’s position to promote positive change in the academic community. It also involves being open to feedback and suggestions for improvement.”


Minqing Wang, Senior Head of Academic Advising
Advisor for “Inclusive Design On and Beyond Campus” activity

“I've been intentionally practicing inclusion through my language and behavior. In my advising work, I tend to consider student experiences more holistically and be sensitive to the challenges of underrepresented groups. I hope that all our community members will be open to developing their own rituals to practice everyday solidarity!”


Noel Joyce, Clinical Instructor of IMB
Moderator of “Documenting Disabilities: Film Night with Unrest

“Disability is an increasingly important topic that needs to be discussed. I think that being an ally to people with disabilities means helping to promote independence and figuring out how to give them opportunities.”


Jaidyn Perry ’25
Panelist for “Gender and Queerness Tea Talk”

“To me, being an ally means making a conscious effort to not only acknowledge and appreciate everyone, but also to unlearn and challenge negative ideas and perceptions of other groups. To uphold the values of being an ally as an NYU Shanghai student, I try to make a conscious effort to keep an open mind. I also try to make sure that all of my fellow students can feel safe and comfortable at NYU Shanghai.”

Winnie Wilson, University Registrar and Chief Diversity Officer
Panelist on “NYU Shanghai First-Generation College Student Celebration” panel

“The most important aspect of being an ally is showing respect to everyone within our community. I'm working with subcommittees within the student, faculty, and staff populations that focus specifically on promoting allyship and inclusion year-round. The continued goal is to bring the community together for ongoing events, discussions, and training.”


Lixian Cui, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Global Network Assistant Professor
Panelist on “Migrant Children” panel

“It is important to step out of our bubbles and see the other parts of the world. As a professor, I hope that besides doing research on important social issues, I can engage in local communities and share my experiences with our students at NYU Shanghai. There are many worlds I still do not know; however, I am open and willing to know more.”


Catherine Leininger ’26
Moderator of “The Perception of Women” round table

“I believe that the first step to being an ally is listening — not just hearing, but listening. Oftentimes our opinions don't align with the opinions of others, but to truly understand where someone else is coming from is the essence of being an ally.”

See below for photos from Ally Week!

Students wearing "Ally Week for All" shirts pose with an NYU Shanghai sign
Students in the LEAD program and Ally Week ambassadors pose for a photo

Event panelists have a conversation with each other
"Language Beyond Looks: Debunking Stereotypes" panel

Students fill in a poster with the question "How do you feel about sexual objectification?" written on top
An activity at "The Perception of Women" event

Panelists engage in conversation with each other
"NYU Shanghai First-Generation College Student Celebration" panel

Xavier Jiawen Xin leads a workshop on disability justice
"Introduction to Disability Justice" workshop

A packed audience listens to panelists discuss the experiences of migrant children in China
"Migrant Children" panel

Panelists engage in conversation with each other
"Gender and Queerness Tea Talk" panel