In an effort to foster cooperation between Marquette’s cultural groups, the Center for Intercultural Engagement hosted its first Students for Inclusivity, Resource Sharing, Community, and Leadership to Engage with Social Justice meeting Friday, with 30 representatives from different cultural and social justice organizations in attendance.
SIRCLES members plan to meet monthly to discuss diversity, social justice and collaboration on campus. John Janulis, a coordinator in the Center for Intercultural Engagement said the group’s name is tied to the idea of everything coming full circle for the members and leaders of the organizations involved.
“I think there are some commonalities between what SIRCLES is trying to accomplish and themes that are generally associated with a circle,” Janulis said in an email. “Symbolically, a circle can represent unity and togetherness, which is one of the goals of SIRCLES,”
Janulis and Alexandria Taylor, a graduate assistant in the CIE, came up with the idea for the organization last May when student leaders of Marquette’s various cultural groups began to consider collaborating. Once plans for the organization were formed, the CIE invited more than 40 student organizations to SIRCLES the summer.
“We wanted to find a balance between providing learning opportunities for inclusive leadership and having each organization share what they were planning in terms of events,” Janulis said.
In order to get in sync with one other, the different representatives shared their clubs’ mission statements and highlighted their upcoming events. A large emphasis was put on fostering support and partnership between the groups.
“For me personally, I want to use SIRCLES as a network to build relationships with other student organization leaders to put together collaborative events,” said Ryan Perel, the president of the Jewish Student Union and a junior in the College of Business Administration.
While brainstorming future collaboration projects, the SIRCLES attendees made it their objective to eliminate ignorance on campus and engage the whole student body.
In addition to support and collaboration, SIRCLES also hopes to play a role in molding the Marquette’s student leaders.
“I hope that SIRCLES will help students understand the concept of leading through inclusion,” Janulis said. “Learning how to be an inclusive leader will prepare our students to make some tangible contributions to their communities for the rest of their lives.”
While many of the SIRCLES attendees were impressed with the turnout for the first meeting, they also expressed hope that the organization would grow both on campus and beyond, with SIRCLES expanding to local colleges or universities in Milwaukee.
Rebecca Zellelew, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences and the secretary of the African Student Association, said she plans to invite other organizations and representatives.
“It was a really good turnout for any type of meeting, but when I think of the amount of organizations on campus – there should have been more representatives,” Zellew said. “I’m going to talk to my friends in other clubs and tell them to have someone represent their club at our next meeting.”