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New Pilot Program Helps Build “Social Justice Ambassadors” on Campus

November 11, 2019
  • The first annual cohort of Social Justice Ambassadors with Fanny He, Assistant Director of Student Activities & Inclusivity Programming
On Friday, November 8, the four students of the Office of Student Development and Activities’ newest initiative spoke to faculty, staff, and peers on their experience becoming Social Justice Ambassadors.

The new Social Justice Ambassador Program brought Dominique Cagliuso ’20, Dorian Provenchar ’22, Manuela Arap ’22, and Olivia Louis-Charles ’23 through a five-session program that assessed some of the ways in which societal structures perpetuate privilege and oppression through both institutions and individuals.

Fanny He, Assistant Director of Student Activities and Inclusivity Programming and advisor for the SJA program, explained, “When this program was first put together, I wanted a program that drew student leaders from different backgrounds, different experiences, and different identities to come together to learn how all of those identities can mix and mingle, as well as how they can learn different social justice histories and how to use these strategies to propel us into a more inclusive future.”

The students took part in weekly meetings consisting of group discussions, interactive activities, presentations, and reflections. Faculty members, including Brad Herling, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Religious Studies, and Marnie Brady, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Politics and Human Rights, led discussions ranging from the topics of Religion and Sexuality to Power, Privilege, and Oppression. On Friday, the ambassadors discussed their experiences at the first annual Social Justice Talk Back.  

Hear from the Ambassadors 

Dominique Cagliuso '20Dominique Cagliuso ’20
International Studies and Politics and Human Rights double major with a minor in Law and Ethics

“I think it was really eye opening to see everyone’s different perspectives and [this program] was sort of a way for us to open a dialogue and to dig deeper for each of us, look at how each of our individual stories melted into one, and how we’re going to take our stories, put them together, and mobilize for the future.”

 

Dorian Provenchar '22Dorian Provencher ’22
Politics and Human Rights and International Studies double major with a minor in Law and Ethics

“I chose to be a part of this program because I wanted to understand my personal privilege and my bias in this world and, in a way, deconstruct them and learn tactics I could use to give people in less-privileged positions power and empower them to create a more social, equitable, and equal society.”

 

Manuela Arap '22Manuela Arap ’22
Public Relations and Communication Arts double major with a minor in Politics and Human Rights

“This program opened my eyes to how everything is interconnected - especially forms of oppression - and how first to break the way things are going, we can’t just pinpoint one of them, but we have to break all of them. Understanding what we have in common can help us grow together with more strength- I think that was really important.”

 

Olivia Louis-CharlesOlivia Louis-Charles ’23
International Studies and Studio Art double major

“My favorite thing I got out of the program was getting deeper into the topic of social justice. Before I had a very vague definition of it but going through this program I learned how deep it actually is and I learned a lot more than I thought I would. There were so many things I learned; one of the main things was the interconnectivity of [social justice] within our society and the different topics within it. It takes tackling everything, not just one thing” to obtain it.

Learn more about the Social Justice Ambassador Program here. Congratulations, all!