Educating Residents About Social Equality, a group sponsored by the Office of Residential Living that provides programming on equity and diversity to the university residential community, restructured its organization to include general membership positions for students this year.
Since it was founded in 2011, the organization has been run by residential assistants, community directors and students who apply for positions on the executive board. The advisory board also includes two staff advisors — Henle Village Community Director Jillian Sitjar and Village A Community Director Quintin Veasley — who assist in procuring funds from the university.
This year, students will be able to participate in different event planning committees without joining the board. The group will also host weekly general body meetings open to all students.
“At any time, individuals from the student body, whether on a whim or from promotion at an event that we host, are free to sit in on meetings and dedicate themselves to a committee they’d like,” ERASE President Anita Williams (COL ’17) wrote in an email to The Hoya.
In the past two years, ERASE has hosted a number of events and programs to promote dialogue on cultural diversity and social equity, with the goal of building more inclusive communities within all residence halls.
These programs include facilitated roundtable discussions on racial, gender and disability diversity, photo campaigns and open mic events.
The group hosted its first event this year, a study break in Sellinger Lounge, Oct. 27.
Several planned events for this year include social functions with hot chocolate and cookies and potlucks featuring cultural foods.
Williams said the group would like to engage students in discussions about diversity without giving the events specific labels.
“We definitely want to host some fun, engaging things that move beyond the somewhat static ‘dialogue’ space,” Williams wrote.
According to Williams, ERASE plans to host more events this year in partnership with a variety of student groups to improve relationships between student clubs and create a greater sense of community. The specific clubs have yet to be confirmed.
Williams said that the goal of ERASE is to help students engage with one another beyond their club affiliations.
“It’s not hard to notice that some of the cultural clubs keep to themselves, as well as some of the arts and sports groups,” Williams wrote. “We want to bridge that gap and provide a space that’s interactive and fun, tackles real issues with diverse opinions and transforms the relationships across the student body.”
In addition to collaborating with other student groups, ERASE partnered with the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access, which distributes newsletters and flyers across campus to help promote the group.
Every year, ERASE hosts a series of open mic events, in which students can perform music, poetry or other art in front of their peers.
Maria-Jose Nebreda (MSB ’19), who joined ERASE as a general body member this year, said she has been impressed with the group’s engagement with the university community.
“I was looking for ways to get involved in the action-based social justice side of Georgetown and ERASE was a way of me doing that,” Nebreda wrote in an email to The Hoya. “I liked that ERASE took into account the importance of intersectionality and that it seeks to create better relationships between student groups at Georgetown.”
Eliza McCurdy (COL ’17), who participated on the board of ERASE as a residential assistant in Darnall Hall last year, said while she enjoyed her experience working with the board, she thinks that the group can benefit from more marketing in the future.
“I really enjoyed the group of people who worked on it and thought they could get a lot done if they put their minds on it, but unfortunately, it worked out that people’s focuses seemed to be elsewhere,” McCurdy wrote in an email to The Hoya. “I think there is a lot of potential for ERASE in the future though if they can do a better job of getting the word out.”
Other nonmember students also praised the group’s efforts. Gina Kim (SFS ’18), a member of the Georgetown University Student Association Multicultural Council, said that she values ERASE’s programming.
“I think that ERASE is important because it strives to bring together a lot of different groups on campus,” Kim said. “I think that diversity and conversations on diversity are important to create voices for all on campus.”
Daniel Lysak (COL ’18), president of the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center Hall Council, said he thinks ERASE can help increase student involvement in important dialogues on campus.
“ERASE has the ability to become a powerful force for diversity and social equity, both of which are essential to making all Hoyas know that they are important, regardless of their backgrounds,” Lysak said. “Through active discussions in ERASE, I believe we can achieve this goal.”
Hoya Staff Writer Toby Hung contributed reporting.
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