Vice President Of Intercultural Affiars: Jasmine Hairston
Why are you campaigning for this position?
Until I came to SPU, I harbored a lot of hidden shame and resentment towards my identity as both an African American woman and minority. Coming to SPU, I encountered situations where I was both encouraged to accept my identity as a minority and also extremely discouraged. However from different programs put on by the Multi Ethnic Programs department and through different life-changing classes, I have come to accept, love, and celebrate who I truly am. I am campaigning for those students who have a similar story. Students of color have a very different experience at SPU and I want to help create an environment where they are supported and heard, but also a campus wide culture where diversity is celebrated, students are culturally educated, and where we all partner together in our own journeys in furthering our self-identity.
I am also campaigning because as Christians we cannot separate ourselves from being advocates for diversity. We are a part of an extremely diverse body of Christ and we all bear His image. In learning from one another, we are able to see, know, and experience God more.
What unique skills and talents would you bring to this position?
- Cross-cultural Experience: As stated above, I whole heartedly believe that as Christians we need to be people who reach across the aisle, engage with the “other”, and seek to be learners of different cultures. The body of Christ is extremely diverse and if we want to know Christ better, we need to get to know one another better. From this, I have a passion for missions and engaging with other cultures. I have a lot of experience in cross-cultural engagement on a small scale with the girls on my floor to people of different cultures in my hometown to long-term mission trips to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Guatemala.
- Leadership experience: I have seven years of leadership experience at my middle/high school, church, and organizing different mission trips; ranging from student government to church youth leader and mission trip organize and team leader. Here at SPU, I have been the Treasurer for Emerson Hall council, a member of Advancement Core, an SPU Ambassador, and now I am a Peer Advisor.
- Event planning skills: I have been in charge of planning events for as long as I can remember. These range from small floor events, large church conferences for young women, youth group events, VBS programs, dorm events and pep rallies and community events at my high school. I know what works and what doesn’t, how to delegate and get people involved, and also how to keep people on track while encouraging them. I have been involved in big picture planning meetings and have often been responsible for getting the smaller details done. I am able to balance being both relational and efficient.
- People skills: I just really love people. I love learning and engaging with them. (As weird as that sounds) I am very personable and I am able to work with a variety of people. As a PA, I have been able to learn how to effectively get people excited for events, empower them, grow in their gifts, and to balance being a leader and a friend.
Describe three to four specific goals you would like to accomplish during your term
If I was elected to be VPIA, my hopes are that events centered on cultural engagement would be much more widespread across campus. In order to accomplish this, I have 3 goals.
- Unity among the multi-ethnic clubs on campus: My hopes are to encourage more club collaboration besides the annual International Dinners. I hope to hold quarterly meetings that are mandatory for all club leaders and highly encouraged for club members. In these meetings, we would discuss visions for the campus, plan events that encourage collaboration between clubs, and instill a sense of leadership and ownership within these clubs as campus leaders and educators.
- Target the Residence Halls: I would strive to work with the IC’s of every dorm and encourage them to plan a cultural event to take place within their residence hall. I believe that the best learning happens when people are eating together. I would love to see an event like International Dinner happen within the dorms, but on a smaller scale. My vision for these “Family Dinners” is for people to have a potluck dinner, share their stories, and have the IC lead an activity that educates students on a different culture or centered on the topic of diversity. Along with targeting the residence halls, I would hope to elevate the position of all the Intercultural Coordinators by being a support and encouraging inter-hall collaboration.
- Increase the social media presence. We have a lot of great events that happen on campus, but they do not get a lot of publicity or the events are advertised too late. I believe that simple things such as creating a Facebook presence, putting the time together to release video ads, and media blitzes would make a huge difference. I believe even in just putting an “attention getting” video together about all the exciting clubs and events that happen on campus and to be played during Welcome Week would be an amazing way to start off the year with a bang, educate people on how much Catalyst and the IA do, and get them excited for the events to come.
- Better Reflect SPU as a whole: About 32% of the student body is composed of minority students and this percentage is predicted to steadily increase in the upcoming years. This is our student body. We are African Americans, Latinos, Germans, Native Americans, Asians, etc and it is time that the programs at our school reflects that. I believe that our school can do better at being inclusive to the population that is a large part of our student party. We can do this through more student programs and even through the way we worship on chapel. My hope is that the Catalyst ministry coordinator can have a partnership with the ministries program in the hope that diversity in our worship isn’t something we bring out on special occasions or holidays, but something that we embody and exemplify in the way we worship. We can think of it as practice for heaven! ;)