Senate Actually Does Things: Expanding Community on Campus

Sometimes, when walking along Glen Washington or having lunch at the Pub, old and bitter vibes emanate from masses of shells twenty or so years young. The simplest half smile towards a passerby is a taxing endeavor a show of respect can  be a fleeting moment. Many of us speak of Sarah Lawrence’s lack of community, but we don’t always make enough effort to build and fortify the state of union we desire. During a recent Valentine ’s Day Student Senate meeting, the organization decided to fund several events that expand and strengthen community in our College.

They prepare our food, clean up after us, and maintain our facilities. From the bookstore to the duplicating center, there is marginal kinship between SLC workers and the remaining campus. Fortunately, one specific event works towards diminishing this feeling. In its seventeenth year, the Workers Appreciation Dinner was the central topic of discussion at this Thursday evening Senate meeting. Anticipated for May 4, between Spring Formal and Mayfair, the student organized event, “…signifies to the staff that they are part of the SLC community and as you may know, there are times these employees don’t always feel that,” said Mo Gallagher, Director of Facilities. During the dinner, gratitude is shown to employees of AVI, FLORA, ABM, maintenance, the bookstore, duplicating, and security. The WADC (Workers Appreciation Dinner Club) serves as the main organizer of the event, with assistance from Common Ground and its allies.

Accepting the budget proposals for all of the presented cultural and ethnic identity groups, the Senate gave the green light for future APICAD (Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition for Action and Diversity), Chinese Table, Spiritual Space, and Common Ground occasions. The collaborative APICAD and Common Ground event titled “We’re Here” intends to highlight “Asian Americans who work to bridge the gap between art and activism,” said Vivian Liang ’13, Co-chair of the Student Life Committee. The performance segment of the event will feature comedian Nicholas, rapper and spoken word artist Choepel, musical group Exiled Prophet from MOAMENT, and Dechen Kelden, a Sarah Lawrence alumna, who will speak about cultural preservation as a form of activism.

Zhiyan Yan ‘13 presented a proposal for a Chinese Table Lunar New Year Celebration. Faculty members Kevin Landdeck and Shirley Be served as sponsors. Aside from ethnic diversity, spiritual diversity was also represented at the meeting. Chloe Clasper-Torch ’14 presented “Make Your Own Prayer Flag,” a festivity pinned for March 1, the World Day of Prayer. “The Spiritual Space will have supplies out if students would like to come in during the day to write or decorate flags,” she explained.

Budgets for “The Common Ground Faculty, Staff, Student Luncheon” and “Common Ground Town Hall” were both given the go-ahead by the Senate. The latter of the two will allow the SLC community to “discuss the role of Common Ground and voice their questions and concerns,” explained co-manager Elijah Black. Both events are opened to anyone who wishes to engage in discussion about diversity. Helping to unite and move our campus forward, these events have the potential to contribute to the exciting spring celebrations at Sarah Lawrence.

Ochuko Itietie is a First Year studying literature and writing. Born and raised in New York City with New Jersey influences, she occupies her time with music, art, and reveries of living in a villa in Genoa. She misses the old VH1 reality shows, and prefers to let people's actions do the talking.

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