A recent "hot-button" topic on high school (and even moreso college) campuses is the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion and how these play into the pursuit of a well-represented student body. However, how can true change happen in the United States if its fundamental government is not ethnically and ideologically diverse? How can schools, comprised of our future workforce and the politicians who will govern it, be inspired to attain a slice of "real" America if the law of the land does not fairly govern its diverse population? Senator Cory Booker shares his experience in THIS article by the Huffington Post about his first days in the United States Senate. He was clearly in a room where he felt underrepresented.
Diversity and Inclusion are issues and topics many may be aware of but few are willing to address. The members of Jackson Prep’s United Student Union (USU for short), of whom I am also a member, are devoted to discussing such issues and to providing an open platform for student voices and opinions. I spoke with Brittany Wilson, President of the United Student Union, for information on this important organization and its positive impact on Prep.
Q: How often does the USU meet?
A: The USU meets twice a month.
Q: How long have you been involved with the USU?
A: My Junior year is when I became a part of the United Student Union. The previous President asked me to lead the group. USU has been my opportunity to apply my leadership skills. Some other cultural organizations at Prep I am involved in are the Student Ambassadors/ International Student Program, the International Day Committee, and the French Club. Joining all of these organizations has helped me participate in activities from different cultures and has given me opportunities to talk to students from other countries.
Q: How has your involvement in the USU prepared you for college?
A: United Student Union has prepared me for college by allowing me to hear and listen to the perspectives of students who are different from me in many aspects of life. Colleges have people who think differently. Because United Student Union gives students a look into others' views, students who participated in USU will know how to join or avoid confrontational subjects.
Q: What are the goals of the USU?
A: The goals of USU are for students to engage in conversation of topics such as racial tensions or political influences, use the Golden Rule, and improve their arguments by seeing different perspectives. We try to get input from every member because even people who have similar views can have something different to say.
Q: A lot of students read The Sentry. What is something about the USU that you would like students to know?
A: For students who laugh at the efforts of a diversity club at Prep, I hope that they will understand that USU is the foundation for future clubs/organizations that want to see Prep evolve into a diverse oasis. Just because Prep is a predominantly white school doesn't mean that USU is all white students. For a diversity club at Prep that is receiving more recognition than in years previous, United Student Union is fairly diverse. We do hope to encourage more members to join so more students can be aware of what other students believe.
Q: A lot of people other than students read The Sentry. What is something you would like them to know?
A: To appear more progressive, many communities look for racial and ethnic diversity. But diversity is more than appearances, it includes differences in opinions. United Student Union attempts to enlighten students' ideas on topics such as societal tensions and morals.
Brittany and I will be organizing a future panel discussion here at Prep. This will be a first and will further inform the student body about the goals of the USU. Stay tuned!