The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs hosted an ice cream social on Valentine’s Day promoting the #PioneersUnite initiative on campus. Students were given more information about the initiative and had the opportunity to pledge their support to the cause.
The collaboration between OMSA and #PioneersUnite was facilitated through Kari Hill, associate director for OMSA. Hill said that a group of individuals who are on the division for OMSA are also on the committee for #PioneersUnite.
“I was just aware of the campaign, so I emailed and asked them if it would be okay if we used this event as a site to get more people aware of the campaign and hand out the pledges and the t-shirts. They were perfectly agreeable to that,” Hill said.
#PioneersUnite was founded this past year as a possible answer to concerns about bullying and harassment at the university, particularly towards minorities and the LGBTQ community on campus. Since the initiative is so new, spreading awareness about the movement and its message has been crucial to its continued success. Events such as the ice cream social are integral to spread awareness about the movement while allowing for a little fun at the same time. Many of the people who came for the ice cream stayed for the social activism display.
Junior animal science major Brian Copper relayed his thoughts on #PioneersUnite, stating that what OMSA was sending out a positive message.
“It spreads awareness about other cultures and groups that might be discriminated against or hated against,” Copper said.
Advisor for the OMSA office Jeremy Payne shared that he was content about the new initiative, and that he hopes that the campaign will create a new sense of community.
“[We wish to create a] newfound sense of community, a newfound sense of confidence for having the tough conversations with folks as they pertain to bias incidents, hate crimes, and bullying of any sorts,” Payne said.
#PioneersUnite will be collaborating with several organizations on campus this semester in hopes of convincing others to stand up for their peers when they witness harassment or discrimination on campus and off campus.