True understanding and growth come not just from conceptual speakers and traditional learning methods, but through experiential learning — the process of learning by doing. Through hands-on experiences and reflection, we foster a deeper connection between theoretical knowledge and real-world situations.

Over the past year, United Properties has embraced experiential learning as a powerful tool for DEI education. We have organized a range of immersive experiences that allow participants to engage directly with diverse communities, cultures, and perspectives. These experiences have proven invaluable in expanding empathy, broadening understanding, and driving positive change.

Some recent experiential learning experiences at United Properties include:

  • Breakfast at The Dripping Root: Participants had the opportunity to connect with Catiesha Pierson, the owner of Minnesota’s first and only Black-owned cold-pressed juice bar. We celebrated the journey of a BIPOC business owner, exploring both the challenges they faced and their successes.
  • Cultural conversation with Houston White and Brandon Champeau at The Get Down Coffee: Participants engaged in an open dialogue with Houston White and Brandon Champeau, gaining insights into their experiences as entrepreneurs and community leaders. This experience encouraged discussions around race, identity, and community building.
  • Tour of the Coliseum redevelopment on Lake Street: Led by Taylor Smrikarova, participants explored the Coliseum redevelopment project, owned by three BIPOC partners. This experience showcased the positive impact of diverse ownership and revitalization efforts in historically marginalized neighborhoods.
  • Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: We visited the new Asia Mall in Eden Prairie, immersing ourselves in the vibrant Asian community and celebrating their rich heritage and contributions.

By actively engaging in these experiential learning opportunities, United Properties is committed to fostering an inclusive and equitable environment. We believe that firsthand experiences lead to a deeper understanding, empathy, and a stronger commitment to creating positive change in our organization and communities.

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“Our DEI initiatives involve experiential learning where personal and emotional conversations occur, involving a myriad of thoughts, ideas, and experiences. At United Properties, we strive to apply DEI principles to impact people, organizational outcomes, and the communities we serve. This value drives us to do better and be better.”
Matt Van Slooten, Chief Executive Officer; DEI Sponsor of United Properties