MUSG’s Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice Committee

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MUSG’s Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice Committee

Photo by Claire Gallagher

Photo by Claire Gallagher

Photo by Claire Gallagher

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President-elect of Marquette University Student Government Sara Manjee and vice president-elect Dan Brophy are working with MUSG’s Diversity, Equity and Social Justice Committee to gain momentum for the committee’s goals and ideas for the semester and beyond.

Dominique Maybank, committee chair and sophomore in the College of Education, said MUSG has placed more of an emphasis on the committee because DESJ is “finally hitting (its) stride and trying to figure out what the community wants and needs.”

Maybank said about 10 to 15 MUSG members participate in the committee consistently, and the committee has been a part of MUSG’s legislation in previous years, but its impact has varied depending on leadership.

“Essentially what our committee does is work to ensure everyone’s voice is heard on Marquette’s campus and that everyone feels at home,” Andrew Braatz, sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences and a member of DESJ, said.

The committee is focused on helping marginalized students on Marquette’s campus, a message that Manjee and Brophy emphasized in their campaign.

“(DESJ) aims to provide support for students of all identities, especially the marginalized and the multicultural,” Mary Thao, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences and a member of DESJ, said.

Maybank said DESJ wants “our (marginalized) voices not only heard but amplified.”

As a way of attaining this goal, Maybank has reached out to multicultural organizations to hear their experiences and frustrations.

“(We’re) trying to create a strong sense of communication with our multicultural organizations and being able to relay a lot of the sentiments that they share with us to MUSG so we can better support those students on campus,” Maybank said.

Additionally, DESJ has been starting new initiatives within MUSG for this semester and fall 2019. These initiatives include a variety of topics, such as a mentor program for incoming students of color.

The mentor program would give the incoming students “someone to turn to, kind of like a big brother and big sister thing,” Maybank said.

DESJ also hopes to connect with other student organizations to discuss the importance of mental health according to Thao.

Thao said the committee hopes to create “an outlet for students of color and (different cultures) to talk about their mental health. … This is often ignored due to the rigors of school, so DESJ hopes to provide resources and a focus group for these students.”

In order to make incoming and transfer students feel more connected to campus, DESJ is working toward creating a map of Milwaukee, said Braatz. The map would show nearby locations that current students feel are what makes Marquette home, and DESJ is reaching out to different organizations for feedback.

“The goal of the map is to help incoming students find places near campus where they can feel at home and help improve their Marquette experience,” Braatz said.

DESJ has also been in the process of writing legislation to create a new MUSG position called the intersectional vice president, who would be focused on addressing the issues of marginalized students.

Maybank said the IVP would be “a resource to show that MUSG and this campus is committed to changing campus culture … and making sure our marginalized students feel like they’re a part of this community.”

DESJ plans on putting the legislation through the MUSG Senate by next semester said Maybank.

With these new initiatives, Thao said she hopes that “DESJ can become more apparent on Marquette’s campus, so that students of all backgrounds can freely reach out to us with their thoughts, opinions and comments.”

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