By: STEPHEN SALISBURY
As I sat down to write my article this week, I really struggled with on what I should focus that wasn’t political. There are so many things happening in what I now call “Trumplandia,” that to pick any one thing might indicate that I don’t care enough about the one-hundred other things on which I could comment. And, whenever I do focus on one specific event, by the time the article hits the newsstands, five new things have happened worthy of discussion. So I decided to focus this week on the good things that are happening here in IUSB land instead.
For example, did you know that the Muslim Student Association (MSA) has had a huge revival this year? SGA Treasurer Nargiza Amirova, and my SGA chief-of-staff, Shail Bhagat, have worked diligently to provide a club where Muslim students and their non-Muslim allies can meet, have fellowship, and look for ways to make a positive impact on both our campus and the surrounding communities. I’m proud to serve in a student government that has people of the Muslim faith serving in prominent positions of leadership. This is a sharp contrast to what we’re seeing at the national level. Rather than allow themselves to be marginalized, these students have chosen to be brave and identify themselves to their community and let us know that they are not the demons they are often portrayed as, but human beings just like you and me who care about their fellow students and their community. If you would like more information about the MSA, visit their webpage on Titan Atlas at: titanatlas.iusb.edu.
Speaking of BRAVE, another exciting initiative that is happening right out in the open here on our campus is “Bringing Recovery, Awareness, Voices, and Engagement together to strive for a campus free of sexual violence.” This semester, BRAVE advocates are providing a BRAVE Action Series that has featured the showing of the film “The Hunting Ground” followed by an open discussion among attendees. This week, the folks who brought us “Sex Signals” will be on campus teaching us how to “Beat the Blame Game.” In the coming weeks there will be BRAVE trainings for those who want to learn how to help prevent sexual violence on our campus. The movie “The Bro Code” will be shown. Michiana Monologues will be performed throughout the area, including March 3 here on campus to raise money to help women who have been victims of more than just having their “you know what” grabbed.
This will all culminate as we gather on April 20 to “Take Back the Night!” You can even have the chance to receive a BRAVE certificate acknowledging your commitment to prevent sexual violence on your campus simply by attending several of these BRAVE events. For more information about how to be BRAVE, go to the IUSB BRAVE Facebook page.
If you haven’t heard of Stage 4 Change yet on our campus, believe me, you will. This group of about 20 to 30 students has been actively collecting, cultivating, collaborating and creating a Michiana Monologue-style event that will be performed April 22 at the Civil Rights Heritage Center and April 23-25 in the Grill here on campus. Whereas the Monologues focuses on the stories of women specifically, the Stage 4 Change mission, according to their website, is to “utilize storytelling and the arts to build inclusive communities. We channel raw individual narratives on identity and difference into solutions that transform campuses into environments where all students can flourish.” Check it out at www.stage4change.org. If this doesn’t sound relevant given our current political climate, then I don’t know what is.
So as you can see, there are a number of positive things happening right here on our campus that run counter to everything that is happening in Washington that might discourage us. I had the opportunity this past Friday to sit in on the IU Board of Trustees meeting at IUPUI. This is the governing body for our entire university. It was a proud moment when the board voted unanimously to endorse IU President McRobbie’s recent statement in response to our commander-in-chief’s recent actions against certain types of immigrants and refugees.
The first two sentences of this statement read as follows, “At Indiana University, we embrace openness to the world. This has long been a hallmark of great global universities such as ours that seek to attract the best students, scholars and researchers from every country and champion the cause of greater cultural understanding.”
As your Student Body President, I whole-heartedly agree and stand with our university President, not the one who lives in Washington! I really tried to avoid going political this week, but some people just make that so hard. Hopefully, next week there will be nothing to which I’ll feel the need to respond.