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Student Government strives to promote an inclusive environment through dialogue

Led+by+Gia+Hamed+25%2C+Student+Government+gathers+in+a+circle+to+participate+in+inclusive+dialogue.+
Samuel Herr
Led by Gia Hamed ’25, Student Government gathers in a circle to participate in inclusive dialogue.

At a time when tensions are rising and cultures are colliding, JCU’s student body needs a strong support system more than ever.

On Jan. 30, Student Government convened for a presentation on Sustained Dialogue – which focuses on building relationships – as opposed to negotiation.. This process was created by former U.S. Diplomat Dr. Hal Saunders in the 1970s and was utilized in addressing the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process.

The presentation was given by guest speaker Rhonda Fitzgerald, executive director of the Sustained Dialogue Institute, who has worked previously with Vice President of Student Experience and Campus Belonging Naomi Sigg.

Fitzgerald gave a detailed and engaging explanation of the history of Sustained Dialogue and how this mode of communication can be applied at a college or university, including examples from universities that had previously utilized Sustained Dialogue to address difficult but necessary issues that students face on campus.

One method of discussion posed was to create groups and safe spaces for people to discuss what’s on their minds without passing judgment on one another. This would be facilitated by trusted leaders and possibly organized by the Student Government itself. Senators stated that they are confident that these safe spaces exist within JCU in different capacities and that, in the wake of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, there has been a lot of support available for the communities affected here on campus.

One student who has certainly made a difference in this area is Director of Diversity Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB) Gia Hamed ‘25. This past November, Hamed helped put together a panel moderated by Arab, Muslim and Jewish professors at JCU where they were able to share their personal stories and reflections.

In addition, directly following this past Tuesday’s meeting, Hamed organized a DEIB training for the senators and executive board. Hamed led the group in activities that touched upon cultural similarities and differences within the JCU community.

Student Government aims to foster a more welcoming and supportive community. Those involved are passionate to see JCU grow into a more beautiful and accepting place.

With any questions, concerns or feedback relating to this or any other topics, email [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Vic Jackson, Student Government Beat Reporter
Vic Jackson is the Student Government Beat Reporter for The Carroll News from Akron, Ohio. He is a sophomore at John Carroll University double majoring in Communications (Digital Media) and English (Creative Writing) and minoring in Peace, Justice & Human Rights (PJHR). Aside from The Carroll News, Vic is a DJ for The Heights, a student researcher for the Tim Russert Department of Communications, part of Black Students in Action (BSA) and the East Asian Student Association (EASA), a member of JCU's acapella group Sweet Carrollines and a barista at Saxby's, among other things. In their free time, they enjoy listening to R&B and jazz, writing poetry, admiring art and fashion, spending time outdoors and hanging out with friends. After graduation, Vic hopes to work at a major broadcasting station or be a world news journalist for a national news organization. To contact Vic, email him at [email protected].

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