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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Grimeland/Hadfield (Question 3)

Below is the Grimeland/Hadfield ticket's response to Question 3:

We live in a fractured community. The Undergraduate Council must take a more proactive approach to promoting interaction between the all the diverse student groups on campus. In concrete terms, the UC should organize monthly dinners to bring together racial and cultural groups; the UC should proactively encourage under-represented groups to stand in the UC's
September elections; the UC should proactively encourage groups promoting inter-faith dialogue to apply to the Student Activities Fund. The UC should also consider making funds available specifically for two or more student organizations to collaborate on projects together. (more in expanded post)

The UC leadership has a responsibility to foster collaboration between groups by organizing regular dinners for organizations representing different segments of the Harvard community. We will organize an annual schedule of dinners between the UC leadership and the leaders of racial and cultural student groups. While the existing lack of interaction between groups is
disheartening, the willingness and determination to work together is encouraging.

My entire life I have been surrounded by different cultural groups and my closest friends come from all over the world. I joined the Black Student's Association in my freshman week at Harvard and I have been very active in the Woodbridge International Society. I went to an international high school, with 350 students from 82 nations and my closest friends were
from Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Japan, Venezuela and Poland to mention a few. Due to our international backgrounds, we feel that we have an edge over Haddock and Voith in bridging the gaps between students of different nationalities.

While the UC has a central role in leading the push to bridge the gap between racial and cultural groups on campus, the reality is that each of one of us also has a responsibility to reach out. The UC is only one part of the solution. Harvard today is more diverse than it has ever been, but the segmentation into social clusters on campus - not just racial and cultural - is a huge challenge, and the student body must come together for a campus-wide dialogue on how to deal with these challenges. We propose including a question, similar to this one, in our semiannual survey of all undergraduate students.

You may have seen on Team Zebra that I have a reputation for joining comical Facebook groups, including "Telepathic Chicken for UC Prez." Anyone who knows us can testify to our commitment to bridging the gap between all racial and cultural groups.

Please feel free to comment, question, discuss etc. Please limit your posts to 200 words each, though, and remember CC's policy on anonymous comments related to the UC campaigns.


At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Rabia Mir said...

Magnus, I agree that your UWC experience does back your committment to race and diveristy issues on campus. However, I'm wondering why you didn't make an active effort in contacting and getting endorsed by different cultural groups on campus? You have your plans about what will be good to bridge cultural gaps on campus, but did you get any feedback from students who are in leading positions of these organizations?

At 2:44 AM, Blogger Magnus Grimeland said...

Dear Rabia,
It is great to hear from you. This is an issue that are really important to me, and I know that you know that. We are still working on contacting all student groups on campus, and the aim is to have contacted all cultural groups at Harvard within tomorrow at midnight. You'll probably wake up with an email from us tomorrow morning.
Thank you so much for the feedback. Sleep well.

At 3:07 AM, Blogger Jersey Slugger said...

First off, you guys get bonus points for actually (gasp, gasp) answering the question! That's something the other tickets have not done well with at all.

I have very little criticism for your response. It actually looks quite ambitious though able to be accomplished with adequate devotion by both the UC and the cultural/racial student group leaders on campus. However, you can't use the "I grew up around minorities and have some of them as friends. See! I'm not racist/segregationist"-defense. That means almost nothing if genuine interaction and understanding of one another's backgrounds does not result from the proximity of people from different backgrounds. I was at an event on Friday with the people from the Black community and the South Asian community that came together to eat each other's food (and there own) but there was very little interaction between South Asian and Black students there. People came, ate, and sat in their corners and talked with their friends and others of their own background. End result--no real issues being addressed or stereotypes being debunked; therefore, not a successful interactive environment. Is this Hadfield or Grimeland that has such a background? Grimeland's the one in the Facebook group in question.

Finally, somebody check on that BSA member thing. You're not in THAT Facebook group.


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