Social Justice Week committee hosts interactive, discussion-based workshops

Alex+Fogel+leads+the+Coming+Out+and+Identity+workshop+during+Social+Justice+Week.

Andrew Burke-Stevenson

Alex Fogel leads the “Coming Out and Identity” workshop during Social Justice Week.

Krishita Dutta, Arts Co-Editor

Belongingness is a vital component that constitutes inclusivity, diversity and inclusion for many students. Hence, the Social Justice Week committee made this year’s theme BELONG (Begin, Equity, Learning, Ownership, Narrative, Gratitude). 

On April 14 from 9:40-11:30 a.m., students attended two student-led workshops and a debrief session led by the Diversity Equity and Inclusion peer facilitators. The goal of the workshops was to spread awareness on various social justice issues through interactive, discussion-based activities. This year, there were over 20 workshops.

Board members seniors Natalie Hultquist and Will Trone, junior Anika Gupta, and sophomore Mahi Shah worked with Dean of Students Ana Campos to plan the schedule. 

According to Anika, running workshops in person, compared to over Zoom in 2021, had both upsides and downsides.

“I honestly think that it’s more stressful, since there’s more logistics to figure out, but it’s also just nice to see everyone’s faces,” Anika said. “I feel like people were definitely a lot more involved this year than last year.” 

Senior Ardith Huner helped lead the workshop “Mental Equity in Gender-based Violence” with other members of the club GirlUp. She said  students initially took a while to open up but were more  interactive over time.

Students were a bit wary to raise their hand at first but became comfortable a few minutes in and were interactive.”

— Ardith Huner

“Students were a bit wary to raise their hand at first but became comfortable a few minutes in and were interactive,” Ardith said. “I honestly think the session went well. We had a good discussion at the end and were able to package the materials for the menstrual drive as well.”

Students who attended workshops, such as junior Jackie Slimmon, felt it was an educational experience. 

“I attended ‘Visible vs. Invisible Disabilities,’ and I thought the leader did a really good job of engaging people in the workshop,” Jackie said. “I feel like I learned so much about something I thought I knew a lot about, but then during the workshop I realized I didn’t, and I came out having learned so much more about disabilities in general.”

Students who led workshops hope that their efforts make a difference to students’ mindsets moving forward. Sophomore Alex Fogel, who led “Coming out and Identity,” hopes that the discussion Alex and co-leader junior Martin Oliver facilitated encourages students to be more open-minded about LGBTQ+ identities and continue on a journey of educating themselves. 

Alex believes the workshop was a great opportunity to share and learn from one another.

“I chose to help run this workshop since it related to my experiences personally,” Alex said, “and I wanted to help educate others.”