Mount St. Mary’s University Students to Present at National Summit on Civic Engagement
Five students from Mount St. Mary’s University will present their work on a national stage at the National Campus Leaders Summit later this month. Sponsored by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., the summit brings together student leaders from across the country to learn civic engagement.
The students - (pictured L to R) Lyndsey Saunders, C’20, Charles Lewis Jr., C’20, Brianna Brown, C’20, Jessica Hugee, C’19, and Le-Roy Battle, C’19 – were invited to participate in the conference. They are leaders of the Mount’s Peer Education Advisory Council of Excellence (P.E.A.C.E.) P.E.A.C.E. members work with the Center for Student Diversity to create events and promote discussions to foster a welcoming and inclusive campus environment.
The summit will allow the students to examine their work on civic engagement against the backdrop of the Holocaust – a setting that brings into context the importance of their efforts and serves as a reminder that hate, if left unchecked, can have disastrous consequences.
The P.E.A.C.E. leaders will present a project called “Who Am I” at the summit. It examines various microaggressions, and how they relate to those who may be marginalized. Microaggressions are the verbal, behavioral or otherwise offensive actions we have when interacting with others that we may or may not be aware of.
It's their hope that the overall summit experience will give them more information to apply to their work moving forward, namely, a social media campaign and an information session. These initiatives will discuss microaggressions, and how they relate to stereotypes and assumptions.
According to Springer, the idea behind the social media campaign is to “raise awareness about stereotypes and display how microaggressions affect our everyday lives.” Participants can tell the story of not only who they are, but also who they aren’t, and have these stories shared with their photo on the Center for Student Diversity's social media outlets and webpage. Follow these and other stories from the CSD on Instagram at @msmu_csdiversity.
The information session, called Microaggressions 101, will discuss what microaggressions are, how they came about and why the topic is important. The session will be held on Wednesday, March 29 at 6 p.m. in O’Hara Dining Room.
Through these projects, it’s the group’s hope that people will become more aware of microaggressions and other forms of prejudice, and those people will work to educate others. Ultimately, the idea is that this will lead to more inclusivity on campus.
“If you’re letting it happen then you’re being complicit with it. Inaction is a form of action,” says Lyndsey. Drawing from his recent experience, Le-Roy adds, “Leading up to the Holocaust, a lot of it had to do with conformity and complicity and people not doing much to stop it.
Actions can be small but add up to something much larger. The P.E.A.C.E. Leaders understand this, and are hoping their efforts can work in the same way.