Student govt. starts committee focused on diversity

By Meghan Finlayson

Staff Writer

March marked the birth of the Bucknell Student Government Committee on Diversity, the newest of BSG’s nine internal committees. Consisting of presidents from various multicultural clubs and organizations, it is the first committee to allow non-BSG members.

The committee is made up of presidents from the Afghan Student Club, the Bucknell African Student Association, the Black Student Union, the Caribbean Club, the Chinese Culture Association, Essential, FLAG & BT (Friends of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgendered), Japan Society, SAAB (Students for Asian Awareness at Bucknell), OHLAS (Organization for Hispanic and Latin American Students), South Asian Students Association, International Student Orientation and Multicultural Team Membership Program.

The purpose behind the Committee is “to advise the President on diversity issues at the University and to promote effective participation by members of all racial, ethnic and under-represented groups in the civic life of Bucknell,” according to the committee’s by-laws.

In January, Joey Martin ’12, Chair of the Committee on Diversity, began revising the BSG Constitution. “Prior to this year, only BSG members could sit in on these committees, and we want to move towards a more inclusive model,” Martin said. He opened the committee so other student representatives and presidents of clubs could contribute.

“My hope is that this committee will serve as a forum for groups and clubs to collaborate on campus initiatives and programs, and for collective discussions on campus climate issues,” Martin said.

So far the response has been positive. “I think that the new Diversity Committee is a great step forward for our community. Nothing can be solved overnight, but the existence of the committee serves as a great way to open up lines of communication and provide a link between BSG and our campus’ multicultural groups,” said Michael Tonge ’12, president of the Caribbean Club.

Still in the planning phase, the committee has only held one meeting so far this semester.

“It is an effort on behalf of BSG to reach out to these student groups, especially to answer questions they have. Establishing a connection [between BSG and these groups] is a motivating factor,” Martin said.

Controversial radio-show host Tammy Bruce’s visit was discussed at the last meeting, and the committee is planning The Black Arts Festival and Friday’s Day of Silence for LGBT.

Other ideas to expand are being considered as well. “I believe the leaders of fraternities and sororities should also join this committee as well as a few others that are not considered diverse groups,” said Mahilet Oluma‘13, Treasurer of BASA and Chairman of Alumni Relations for BSU.

The BSG Executive board is focusing on the potential to open up more of their internal committees in the future.

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