NATY BUSH ’19
As the country encounters countless issues concerning race, college campuses are searching for ways to improve the overall atmosphere in their communities. Trinity has a group called the Multicultural Affairs Council (MAC), which deals with such issues and helps to coordinate the cultural clubs and organizations around campus. Representatives form about a dozen clubs are members of this council, and they meet regularly to discuss upcoming events to be hosted by each club. More importantly, as of late, the MAC has been preparing a petition to S.A.I.L. administrators to increase the MAC budget and to improve support for the affiliated clubs. The SGA’s Multicultural Affairs Chair, Zaniyyah Ashbey ’16, who serves as MAC’s liaison to the student government, described MAC’s work, “we put problems on the table in an attempt to solve them collaboratively making great use of our resources. We also plan our collaborative events such as the upcoming town hall and the MAC holiday dinner open to all of campus.”
MAC clubs have been provided with smaller budgets than in previous years, which has made it increasingly difficult for these clubs to host successful school-wide events. MAC clubs host events throughout the year that provide the student body with opportunities to enjoy festivities relating to the culture of each club, such as the Forever Afrique Fashion Show and the MOCA Talent Show that were hosted last month. Their goal is to increase awareness and enthusiasm toward each particular culture represented on campus. According to Ashbey, MAC’s goal with the town hall is to help “all Trinity students feel validated in their varying kinds of engagement on campus.” With a smaller budget comes fewer events, and fewer events could lead to less recognition of these clubs and cultures. This is naturally of concern for MAC, whose mission would be impeded by reduced budgets.
The town hall is organized, says Ashbey, “to have student consumers as well as student- leaders come to speak on their own behalf.” The forum will likely address other issues beyond MAC’s budgetary concerns, expounding on issues addressed by such events as Solidarity on the Field and Wake Up World. Members of the faculty too have expressed their support for MAC’s petition in a letter published by the Beacon Magazine.
This week, the MAC representatives for the clubs, alongside SGA leaders of the council, will be meeting with the SGA to present the petition. The students will meet with S.A.I.L. administrators and deans involved in student life to also address some of the students’ concerns pertaining to campus culture. This meeting is called the MAC town tall, and MAC members hope to earn more support from S.A.I.L. to make future events even more successful.
The upcoming town hall is representative of an interesting and innovative collaboration between MAC and SGA. Though they had worked together in the past, the town hall will be telling as to the role that student governance will play in discussions and events centered around multicultural issues. Both SGA and MAC have considerable resources available, and a closer partnership could greatly expand the scope and variety of events, notwithstanding the impact that greater funding could have. The effect of the meeting remains to be seen, and it is unclear what the administration’s financial response will be, but the fact that such an open forum is occurring at all constitutes a change in course of action for both organizations. This change is taking places against the backdrop of a gradually changing campus culture, and such shifts may well have a significant impact on the way things happen on Trinity’s campus.