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Student Government column

Discussions are the necessary starting points in forging respectful and lasting interpersonal relationships. To foster these types of discussions, the Advocacy Committee of the Undergraduate Student Senate is hosting informal yet informative discussions centered around important issues such as race, culture, gender, stereotypes, multiple identities, diversity, and multiculturalism in our community and the around the world. These dialogues are bi-weekly 30-minute conversations in the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, in the basement of the Cohon Center.

These conversations also make use of an activity called the "Race Card." Race Cards are short, yet powerful, six-word messages that will be displayed in the center as well as the university to further demonstrate the importance of the work of the center, the opinions of the students, and the initiative.

The first of these conversations was held last Friday from 4:30 to 5 p.m., with the topic of Art as Activism. This conversation used the Race Card format to foster thoughtful conversations and concisely express complex ideas, as well as encourage other members of the campus community to think about this topic.

On the first conversation, Jeffrey Ko, the Senator in charge of this initiative, says that "we had about 10 people engage in casual and respectful conversations. The Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion is an excellent area to facilitate these important discussions because not only is it an inclusive and welcoming space, but also it hosts the excellent staff that can contribute to these discussions at any point. Overall, we would love to continue these discussions and reach out to a broader group of students."

The next Diversity Dialogue is planned for the same time this Friday, March 30, in the Cohon Center. This conversation will revolve around multiculturalism on campus, as well as the level of cohesion between cultural groups on campus. It will include fostering dialogue around and creating a mosaic displaying what culture means to the participants in the conversation.

Getting involved in these Diversity Dialogues is a low-commitment way to be included in conversations about important topics on campus, as well as to listen to fellow students' perspectives and experiences pertaining to these topics of race and culture. If you would like more information or would like to get involved, contact Senator Jeffrey Ko at jko2@andrew.cmu.edu.