“I like to hope ASA and Asian-American students in general will be supportive of the initiative,” she said. “If we can instill a more interactive student body to have conversations — even with friends — it would be beneficial.”
On Monday, students, faculty and staff met to discuss race and current events at the first Carolina Pulse meeting — an event under the greater umbrella of the Carolina Conversations initiative announced last week.
The event centered around small conversations that happened around the room, allowing participants to leave and join conversations freely.
The initiative includes large-scale conversations called My Carolina Voice, smaller discussions called Carolina Pulse and a fund called My Chance, where student groups can apply for money for food or planning assistance.
Winston Crisp, vice chancellor for student affairs, said the purpose of Carolina Conversations is to promote and facilitate conversations across campus. He said he hopes that there will be more events taking place all over campus under the Carolina Conversations umbrella.
“Part of this is to stimulate other people and organizations to start their own events,” he said.
Topics discussed were racial tensions on campus, such as the push to rename Saunders Hall, and recent instances of police brutality across the country, including the incident with the Charlottesville, Va., Police and University of Virginia student Martese Johnson that left him with a bloody gash on his forehead.
The event included faculty facilitators and technology in the form of a Poll Everywhere.
“If we’re truly going to engage in activities in ways that make sense to students then we need to engage in ways that make sense to students and that means using technology,” Crisp said.
Junior Brianna Gaddy said she was glad the initiative was started and that it was a mix of faculty and students.
“It was nice hearing a different perspective,” she said.
“One thing I wish was different is I want more people who don’t share my perspective to come out.”
Most of the students that participated in the talks were minority students.
Gaddy said she hopes to see more people at the next event.
Junior Merrick Osborne, co-chairman of Diversity and Inclusiveness in Collegiate Environments, said he had good conversations at the event that made him want to help raise awareness of racial unrest in the country.
“I want to continue to engage with these different groups,” Osborne said. “I’d like to see more tangible results going forward.”
A common hope for leaders of student organizations is to have more collaboration and more resources for their respective racial group.
Cecilia Polanco, president of the Carolina Hispanic Association, said she wants to collaborate with other minority groups on campus.
“As far as Hispanic students, there is a lot of untapped potential,” she said.
Crisp said the objective of the initiative needs to be clear — it is a forum for discussion.
“The purpose of Carolina Conversations is promoting dialogue and understanding ... and hopefully it will fuel and inform places where (tangible) decisions get made,” Crisp said.