On Monday, April 15, students gathered on Skinner Green to participate in “‘OMG Karen, you can’t just ask orgs why they’re white!’ Or can you?”, an inter-group dialogue on whiteness in student organizations. While the event was organized by Marty Whitney ’13, chair of Project: Theatre, Marnie Murray ’14, e-board member for the Coalition for Gender Awareness, and Julianna Lord ’13, leader liaison on the board for the Outing Club, it was the Inter-group Dialogue that organized the event.
The dialogue was a culmination of ideas from the whole semester. Whitney, Murray and Lord put on the event because they are all involved in orgs that are predominantly white. According to Whitney, the dialogue aimed to address “how white privilege manifests itself and is perpetuated by Mount Holyoke orgs.”
Whitney further spoke on what inspired them to organize the event. “As org leaders, it was important to us to not just discuss whiteness in our individual orgs but to do something on a larger scale,” said Whitney. “We came up with the idea of drafting a pamphlet with strategies for creating inclusive spaces within orgs that would be part of the packet org leaders receive from student programs at the beginning of the year.”
The event on Monday was meant to be a brainstorming session to present the idea of making a pamphlet for org leaders and ask for more input from participants. Ten students representing several orgs on campus attended and suggestions were offered, included creating coalitions between orgs and thinking about the language orgs use to represent themselves.
“Many orgs here are predominantly white, which is not a proper representation of the population at Mount Holyoke,” said Emma Rourke ’15, member of the Mount Holyoke Democrats.
The dialogue is not closed and the organizers are still taking suggestions. With the help of Student Programs they will be gathering additional information for the pamphlet.