Student groups want to work together more

Kyle Roerink

Two groups working together is better than one group working by itself. That’s the attitude Josh Meadows, a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon, and many other student groups are taking to improve togetherness on campus.

What this means to you:

Some say the organizations on campus don’t work together enough. If organizations begin to work more closely, this can mean a better university for all students. Students must also realize that most groups accept all students to their meetings.

The problem on campus is that students are just not interacting enough, said Meadows, a sophomore VCD major. He said his fraternity is ready and willing to work with other organizations.

“On this campus, sometimes there is togetherness,” said Alascia Jones, sophomore accounting major and secretary for Black United Students. “And as far as organizations, if they are not related to each other, they don’t really associate with each other.”

She said inclusion on campus is important because it gives people opportunities to stop looking at what is different about each group and learn how to benefit each group for progress within the university.

Jones said this year alone, BUS worked with PRIDE!Kent, College Democrats, Hillel and Undergraduate Student Government in an effort to learn from each other’s ideas about how to make the university a better place.

“A lot of times you meet people who you never thought you would have associated with,” Jones said. “And I have been pleasantly surprised.”

She said people need to stop looking at each other’s differences and start figuring out how groups can benefit from one another. A common misconception is that students think BUS events are for African-Americans only. What students need to realize, she said, is that anybody is invited to an event hosted by the group.

“Building leadership and doing those things takes interaction and communication among every group on campus,” Dean of Students Greg Jarvie said. “If a student group has an objective they are trying to meet, it can surely be met through multiple, different groups, through interaction.”

Jarvie said it is important for groups to understand a common goal: “to better ourselves as individuals and our institution.”

Part of the function of social organizations and extra-curricular activities is to meet new people and learn about new things, said Chadd Smith, secretary of College Democrats and pre-law major. He said College Democrats has worked with BUS, PRIDE!Kent and the Women’s Liberation Collective, and it has been an enlightening experience.

Aaron Sacks, senior finance major and an active member of Hillel, said the organization has not done much formal interaction among different groups on campus, but now that Hillel is in its new home, there will definitely be more interaction in the future. From a student’s perspective, he said, he would like to see more interaction, and Hillel is moving that way.

“When there was Palestinian Awareness Week,” he said, “I think at least once there was a contingent of Hillel students that went over to the discussion and tried to interact and make a dialogue happen.”

PRIDE!Kent President Leora Rzepka said it is especially important for the minority and special interest groups to work together because it will create more possibilities for good.

“There are a lot of similarities between everybody, especially among groups like BUS and PRIDE!,” she said. “Lately we’ve had two lessons at our meetings on the history of the LGBT movement. One of them, we talked about how the women’s rights movement and the civil rights movement helped each other.”

Contact minority affairs reporter Kyle Roerink at [email protected].