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The Daily Tar Heel

New residence hall position created for social justice advocacy

The position is intended to increase social awareness in residence halls.

The Department of Housing and Residential Education is launching a pilot Social Justice Advocate Program. Students interested in inclusion, diversity, religious differences, gender issues and LGBT issues are encouraged to apply.

The pilot program will allow students to help plan events in their community and train community government members, acting as a “social justice voice” for their hall, according to an email from the housing department.

“Adding a social justice advocate program to community government is a great idea,” said sophomore Carolina Valder. “It’s definitely important to have one person or group whose key purpose is to focus on inclusiveness to raise awareness about minority experience at UNC, different socioeconomic backgrounds, different gender-based needs, and dietary needs and religious considerations.”

The housing department already works to educate students and staff in multicultural competency, such as its Multicultural Advisor program.

“MAs are resident advisors who receive additional training on social justice issues and facilitation,” said Hazael Andrew, assistant director for the First Year Experience, in an email.

“This newly created position will complement the MA program and work to educate residential students who are members of community government on social justice issues.”

Since the advocate program is collaborating with the Residence Hall Association, participants will also become members of their community government. The proposal was unanimously supported by the community governors and executive board.

“The purpose of hosting a pilot program first is to truly enable students to co-create what this experience will be in the future, and we value the contributions they will make to the evolving experience: content and application,” Krista Prince, coordinator for leadership development, said.

Interested students can apply for advocacy positions until Jan. 14 at noon.

“It has always been very important to our organization that no student — regardless of sexual orientation, socioeconomic status or limited mobility — feels like they are unable to get the most out of their on-campus experience,” said Taylor Bates, president of the Residence Hall Association, in an email.

“We live in a wonderful community of very diverse Tar Heels, and we hope this new program will help us celebrate that key element of Carolina.”

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