Inspiring Social Justice in Student Leaders
Walking through Georgia State University’s campus provides a glimpse of the diverse student body that makes Georgia State University and Atlanta a true international and multicultural hotspot. At every level, Georgia State University is formulating ambitious strategic goals that respond to the changing world. Whether the university is increasing the variety of student workshops on diversity at the division level, helping students identify a sense of belonging in their Panther family while connecting their purpose with their personal and academic goals through the Multicultural Center or taking pride in its diversity and a range of backgrounds in our city, state or university, the university strives to make sure every student knows they are home when they are here.
As part of the university’s diversity and inclusion efforts, the Multicultural Center hosted the inaugural Social Justice Retreat at Montara Farms in Clermont, Georgia. The Social Justice Retreat was designed to help leaders from a number of Georgia State University’s clubs and societies engage each other and start a dialogue about social justice, multicultural competence, inclusion and compassion that they can take back to their student organizations. Feeding carrots to ponies was merely a bonus!
Students from the Multicultural Programming Council, Mixed Student Union, Comic Book Club, Georgia State University chapter of NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), MAP (Multicultural competence And Peer education) Ambassadors and University Assistantship Program interns came together for a weekend of team building activities, problem solving, discussing how racism and oppression play a part in everybody’s lives and strategizing about individual and social empowerment.
My favorite part of the retreat was listening to each person’s ‘Where I Am From’ poem. It was incredibly moving to hear about the places that everyone was from, and the elements of our pasts that make up who we all are today.
~ Kysa Huddleston, a MAP Ambassador
Georgia State University seeks to create global citizens who can address and respond to the complex issues of our time. The Multicultural Center plays a critical role in this mission through their commitment to helping students cultivate a sense of belonging, creating a community of care for underrepresented and underserved student and providing opportunities for students to connect with people across differences. The Multicultural Center strives to be a safe place to drop in, connect with other students and know students’ identities are recognized, their pride is valid and their rights are protected. The Social Justice Retreat expands the reach of the Multicultural Center by helping student organizations find resources to do this same work. The university is growing and changing and because of this, not in spite of it, the university and the center are stronger!