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Campus Inclusivity Committee seeks to give support to underrepresented Belles

| Wednesday, November 4, 2020

This year, Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) created the new Campus Inclusivity Committee to build community among traditionally underrepresented Belles.

Committee co-chair and junior Adriana Salgado spoke about the importance of fostering inclusivity on campus. 

“The mission of Campus Inclusivity is to work towards creating a more welcoming and united campus,” Salgado said. “As a student of color, I struggled a lot finding my place at [Saint Mary’s] and know I am not the only one who felt this way. The issue of inclusivity has become prominent not only on campus but globally. I believe this committee has the potential and power to allow students to find their place and truly feel a part of the Saint Mary’s community.”

Co-chair and junior Akpedze Balo said the committee was first started last year as the Community Justice Committee.

“It was kind of hard to get our feet off the ground since we are a fairly new committee this semester,” Balo said. “I believe it was not made until last year when it was called Community Justice [Committee], so it was hard to figure out what we wanted to do exactly when it came to events. But we have the wonderful support of interim vice president for student affairs Gloria Jenkins and executive director for inclusivity and equity Dr. Redgina Hill.”

Salgado said she wants people to engage with the committee, beginning with the group’s introductory event Friday.

“My goal this year is to gain exposure for the committee as it is new and has not really had the chance to gain popularity,” Salgado said. “Our upcoming event on Friday, Mug Mania, is to establish ourselves and show that we are here to help students de-stress and have fun. I want to provide a judgment-free zone for students to come and feel relaxed, especially since this week is already stressful for multiple reasons.“

According to Balo, the committee also worked in cooperation with other groups this fall.

“Luckily we were able to sponsor events for the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and La Fuerza, which was great during this semester,” she said.

Next semester, the committee plans to host events that lift up the experiences of historically marginalized groups.

“We plan to have a speaker series or panel next semester and are hoping to draw attention and awareness to minorities on campus,” Salgado said. “For example, we want to have a speaker for Black History Month and an LGBTQ+ speaker to come and talk to students who feel underrepresented.”

Balo also wants to launch an Instagram page that gives resources and a platform for students to share their experiences of discrimination.

Salgado hopes that she can gain a better understanding of how to advocate for minorities as a leader of the committee.

“One of my personal goals is to gain a better perspective on how minorities on campus feel and how we can improve on their college experience,” Salgado said. “I want to be able to take action against bullies and oppressors.”

She said she recognizes the relevance of the committee’s role during a very tumultuous time in the world.

“I believe this committee is important due to all of the events going on around us,” Salgado said. “We have found ourselves in a really difficult year, and like many people, I find myself scared of what the next few months hold. I think that it is important to show the SGA cares about all of the students at Saint Mary’s and is willing to listen to their concerns and take action against inequality.”

The committee invites all interested students to join the organization on Belle Tower and attend their Mug Mania event.

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About Genevieve Coleman

Genevieve Coleman is a sophomore at Saint Mary's majoring in English Literature and Secondary Education with minors in Sociology and Theatre Performance. When she is not serving as an Associate News Editor, she enjoys petting dogs and watching television with subtitles.

Contact Genevieve