Welcome to 2013 ASSP Elections. Here we have some information from the candidates themselves!
Why are you campaigning for this position?
I believe that the VPIA is a needed and valuable position within the ASSP body. With growing numbers of diverse students coming to SPU, the need for intercultural initiatives and representation is vital. Because this is happening while the campus is still a majority white school, the need for integration and unity is just as important. I am campaigning for this position because I want to see the programs and the initiatives that the VPIA puts on succeed. I personally am running for this position because of the timing. I think that our school is at a critical turning point. With more students from diverse backgrounds, we have a unique opportunity to transform multi-ethnic programs (MEP), and campus programming in order to make SPU a more multicultural school that reflects the Kingdom of God.
What unique skills and talents would you bring to this position?
This is a unique position to run for as a white person. I can automatically think of my weaknesses because of my race; however, I am coming to understand that even though I am white, I have a unique opportunity to stand between the gap between white students and students of color. I believe that this could create a year where we not only celebrate diversity, but promote reconciliation. As our school becomes more diverse, we have a golden opportunity to create a reconciled and integrated student body. SPU has the chance to look a little bit more like the Kingdom of God rather than other institutions in our world. I think that because I am a white woman involved within Catalyst, working with both students of color as well as MEP staff, I can be a bridge to connect our campus together. Although I may not have the same experience as people of color (or even of many white people), I hope that my experience is one that can challenge our student body as a whole and encourage us to step out of our comfort zone in order to transform our campus. I hope that as next year's VPIA I could support and encourage both students of color and white students to work together to better represent the Kingdom of God.
In my campaign, my unique skill would be as a person who is called to stand in the gap. My hope would be to help our school to not only promote diversity efforts, but to connect people of diverse backgrounds together. This would mean engaging in our growing multiethnic campus. I have a few ideas for how this could happen.
First of all, I think that having the Catalyst ministry coordinator partner with other campus ministries would promote multicultural and inclusive worship. Spiritual growth and the opportunity to explore religion are foundational to our school. In most UFND classes, students are required to get off campus to visit a church different from the one in which they grew up. I think that the VPIA can create opportunities on campus for students to experience different types of worship. I would like to see the ministry coordinator work toward cultural training opportunities within the larger ministries on campus, allowing weekly opportunities for programs to be inclusive and multicultural, rather than just MNOW (multicultural night of worship). Because diversity has increased at SPU, we need to reflect this in our programs, including ministries.
Second, I think that there should be more intercultural events within the resident halls. This year as the education coordinator, I worked with the programming coordinator and the intercultural coordinators on hall council to put on learning activities in the halls. I think that there is often a strained atmosphere on floors and more dialogue is essential. Having these activities encourages students to come together and have conversations more regularly. It creates a safe space to open dialogue and encourage friendship between people that may not have known each other before. The intercultural coordinators have a unique opportunity to facilitate these conversations within the dorms; working with both the education and programming coordinator will help give intercultural coordinators the tools they need to do this.
Third, as the Education Coordinator within Catalyst this year I had the responsibility in planning InContext the discussion series on racial and ethnic issues. I am currently working with this year's VPIA to create a third discussion series that goes in depth of how these racial and ethnic issues are important in the Bible and essential to the character of God. I hope this discussion series will be an opportunity where people can go in depth with Scripture to discover that God is the source of this ministry of reconciliation. I think all students would find this valuable and many have asked for a refreshing topic within InContext. I also think this will be a great initiative to help connect students with MEP.
Fourth, there were a lot of goals that we worked on this year as a Catalyst team that could be implemented for the whole year. This year both the VPIA and the Welcome Coordinator worked to create a mentorship program, which is a great program to start Fall quarter. Students of color still need a safe space in order to grow in their own identity and feel comfortable amongst other students who may have faced similar challenges. I feel that this program could really grow and succeed for both mentees and mentors. We also attempted to do an MNOW for every quarter, but that did not happen. I think this would be a really great goal to try to reach.