AMS Open Exchange talks diversity

Communications Director Renee Lung took part in an AMS discussion of campus diversity on Tuesday.
Communications Director Renee Lung took part in an AMS discussion of campus diversity on Tuesday.

The AMS executive, commissioners and officers took to the stage of the Common Ground on Tuesday to discuss diversity on campus.

“Our campus is diversifying slowly but surely,” said Ethan Rabidoux, AMS president. “I realize that it’s not the most diverse university, but it has made progress within the last 10 to 15 years.”

The forum, which the AMS has dubbed “Open Exchange,” was the third of its kind to be held this year.

“This was our best-attended open exchange so far,” said Renee Lung, AMS communications officer, referring to the seven to 10 students at the forum.

The panel began the discussion by examining what it means to have a diverse campus.

“It’s not only about racial diversity,” Rabidoux said. “It’s about class issue[s] as well. It is a matter of making Queen’s accessible and open to people from all walks of life.

“This is what will truly create a diverse experience at Queen’s.”

One student asked the panel how awareness about diversity on campus could be increased.

“Diversity needs to start at the institutional and the personal level,” said Jennifer Holub, AMS social issues commissioner.

The panel spoke of the need to ensure that tuition at the University remains affordable.

“Setting tuition at a high level creates a barrier,” said Shiva Mayer, AMS VP (university affairs). “We need to ensure that tuition be kept at a reasonable level.”

The discussion next turned to whether Queen’s is doing an acceptable of job advertising on-campus diversity to high school students interested in undergraduate studies at the University.

“We need to make students from all walks of life recognize that they are welcome on campus,” Mayer said.

The panel also discussed various ways in which the AMS advocates for international students’ needs.

Students in the audience also answered the panel’s question about whether they think there is an adequate amount of diversity on campus.

“I think there’s a huge amount of diversity on campus,” said Jennifer Raffoul, ArtSci ’06. “You just might not run into it on a day-to-day basis.”

The discussion then turned to the on-campus promotion of diversity, and how it might be improved.

“Clubs need to work on advertising to people outside their usual demographics,” said Emily Huva, ArtSci ’06.

Frances Darwin, ArtSci ’06, agreed.

“Advertising also needs to be in a busy place and needs to be bold.” The AMS addressed the advertising issue and discussed initiatives that could help improve publicity for cultural organizations and cultural events taking place at the University.

“We’re looking to make an online calendar that will provide a really good outlet for people to find out what’s going on on campus,” Lung said.

Lung said the AMS also owns several display cases in the JDUC and encourages student-run organizations to use them to advertise upcoming events.

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