In light of Michael Brown, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and the ongoing national debate regarding institutionalized racism, students at Ithaca College held the school’s first diversity town hall meeting. Student leaders gathered this afternoon to discuss and brainstorm ideas to work toward a more diverse campus, focusing primarily on diversity issues related to the college’s African, Latino/a, Asian, and Native American (ALANA) community, but also including topics such as gender and sexually.
Instead of just talking about the issue, students were asked to come up with specific solutions to problems in which they feel are directly related to a lack of diversity on campus. Maybe someone of color was given odd looks as soon as they stepped into a room full of white people. Maybe someone received microaggressive comments from a peer and didn’t know how to handle it. Maybe there aren’t enough professors of color in a school. How can we address these issues, and, more importantly, what are we going to do to prevent these things from happening again?
School administrators sat in on the meeting and took note of the various suggestions that students had for diversifying the campus. Students also participated in a series of discussion-based activities, such as filling out an identity worksheet in order to share the most salient parts of their identity.
The town hall meeting today served as the infrastructure to a future of possibilities. The idea here was to start planning a course of action–what can we do as students to help make the campus a more inviting place for students of color? We’ve had endless discussions about the problem, so now it’s time to actually do something about it.
Curious eyes glisten in the sunlight as tiny hands experiment with kinetic experiments and plan out a Mars Rover mission. Slimy reptiles and colorful fish glide within their bright exhibits, inviting those eyes into the world of exploration. If that doesn’t spark your inner scientist, then a visit to Ithaca’s very own Sciencenter sure will.
This week in particular is a special time to dust off those lab coats and dive into a world of inquiry and imagination as the Sciencenter helps celebrate the national Week of the Young Child. From April 13th-17th, kids across the country will join the initiative to provide learning opportunities for young scientists. The Week of the Young Child, sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), gives “early childhood programs across the country an opportunity to bring awareness to the needs of young children” with a series of fun, creative and educational events and activities.