Students sign inclusion pledge as part of StaND Against Hate Week
Morgan Johnson | Thursday, November 9, 2017
On Wednesday, community members signed a pledge indicating their intention to create a more inclusive Notre Dame as part of the Gender Relation Center’s (GRC) annual Social Pledge Signing on Fieldhouse Mall. The signing was part of StaND Against Hate Week.
The event was designed to encourage the spirit of inclusion across different ethnic, racial, sexual and socioeconomic backgrounds. Students, staff, faculty and alumni were able to sign the poster, which will be hung in the LaFortune Student Center as a visual representation of Notre Dame’s commitment to this issue.
Sara Agostinelli, assistant director of LGBTQ student initiatives for the GRC, said she believes the Social Pledge Signing was an outlet for students to establish goals of inclusion for the Notre Dame community.
“Our hope is that this week is not just a week of education and awareness but it is about moving into action and helping students think beyond one week and more about their entire Notre Dame experience,” she said.
StaND Against Hate week has been taking place for several years. This year, the GRC co-sponsored the week with other campus organizations such as Student Government, the Center for Social Concerns, PrismND and Notre Dame Right to Life.
Agostinelli said students who attended yesterday’s signing were enthusiastic about becoming engaged and committed to their campus community.
“Students were really committed to it and wanted to be involved,” Agostinelli said. “They wanted to show their solidarity. It’s the education and awareness and the opportunity to learn from their peers that’s important for the event.”
A primary goal for StaND Against Hate week is to make Notre Dame a safe and welcoming home for all students.
“Whether they live on or off campus, this is their community and we want all students to feel valued, welcomed and celebrated,” Agostinelli said.
Student organizer Kaleem Minor, a sophomore, noted the importance of educating students on issues of hate. T-shirts provided at the signing included facts about hate in America.
“We want to illuminate the issues that plague America, which consequently plague our campus,” Minor said. “We want students to think about these issues and be aware of them. By handing these shirts out, we hope to get students engaged in conversation about something they might not be educated on.”
Agostinelli hopes that the Social Pledge Signing and the week as a whole will have a lasting effect on students and their attitudes towards hate.
“I hope that this is a good reminder to students,” she said. “I know the University is really committed to the spirit of inclusion. The pledge is something that is visible, and putting it in front of students is always helpful. I also hope that this shows students how many of their peers also value this spirit.”
The signing also provided the opportunity to promote the week’s other events, which are discussion-based and aim to engage students in meaningful conversation.
Freshman Elena Esteve, who signed the pledge, noted the importance of hate issues, both on and off campus, and commended student groups and the GRC for their dedication to inclusion.
“There are many important facts that people do not know about hate issues, and it’s excellent that these organizations are drawing attention to it through the pledge,” she said.