Student activities jumpstarts themed month effort

We’re gonna have a house party. We’re gonna have a theme party. The Office of Student Activities has started working with Student Government to create some new, fun events this year at Drew. Each month, these two groups will host events pertaining to the month’s theme, all centered around various types of identities. Their hope is to make the campus even more inclusive for everyone who is a part of the Drew community.

September’s theme has been Latino Heritage Month, where the Student Activities and club leaders have hosted various activities, like ARIEL’s Cafe con Leche event and the Food Identity and Globalization panel, along with a planned trip to Broadway on Oct. 2 to see “On Your Feet!”

By partnering with club leaders, these events can have many different elements to them, with each club’s focus coming into play. In October, the theme will be LGBTQPIA+ History Month. There will be social media campaign members highlighting different leaders and a showing of the film “Before Stonewall.” Additionally, a “Safe Zone Project Train the Trainer” workshop will be held to help educate students on how to work in Safe Zones around Drew as facilitators. Students can also take a trip to Washington D.C on Oct. 22, going on a self-guided tour around various famous monuments and historic sites, as well as going on another trip to Greenwich Village in New York City.

November will be Native American Heritage Month, December will be Interfaith and Winter Holiday Celebrations, and February will celebrate Black History Month. March welcomes Women’s Herstory Month as well as Disabilities Awareness Month and April celebrates Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Jared Sutton (’18), the Student Government President, noted, “I think theme months are important because Drew is a diverse place, and everyone, not just select people, deserve to have their culture talked about.”

This program started in an interesting way. Student Government held their Diversity Forum last March. Dean Brisson explained, “It sparked a lot of programs about diversity.” From there, 25 percent of the budget of Student Activities was allocated to the Theme Month initiative. “Students wanted more programs on race and identity topics,” Brisson added, “So we started to create new programs that fulfill diversity requirements and are educational and entertaining for students.” Students’ feedback was taken into account, and was made inclusive to the decisions about the events occurring.

Many theme months have clubs that are already affiliated with the theme provided, so this initiative can enhance what students have already begun in many ways.  

“We want to introduce students to new topics and support students who identify with these topics, and celebrate them!” said Brisson. The hope of the Student Government and Office of Student Activities is to demonstrate an inclusive community and show students are supported. Brisson noted, “I love when student have expectations of what we want to be celebrating. We have ideas of what we want to do, and if it comes from students it’s even better. Sutton said, “I’m hoping to see a lot of campus engagement and participation in the program, and I’m hoping that students feel as if a legitimate campus need is being addressed.”

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