The Lecture Fund recently restructured its organization to include a general body membership, which met for the first time in Healy Hall last Wednesday.
This marks the first time that the nonpartisan, student group has created an open forum to collaborate with students and discuss initiatives to improve campus dialogue.
General body members will also provide assistance to individual students who wish to organize speaker events without the help of a student group and address event accommodations for students with disabilities.
According to Lecture Fund Co-Vice Chair Hayden Jeong (MSB ’17), the Lecture Fund has been working on establishing the general body membership to gather student feedback for several semesters.
“Catering to what the Georgetown students want is going to help us host more effective events in the future,” Jeong said.
Jeong also said that the Lecture Fund hopes to gain student perspectives on how to constructively contribute to campus activism and promote free speech.
With the new structure, organizations interested in bringing a speaker to campus can have the event co-sponsored by the Lecture Fund, which will provide financial, logistical and marketing support.
The group will continue to host an active calendar of speakers addressing a range of subjects and disciplines.
During the event Wednesday, students called for members of the Black Lives Matter movement to come to campus and address racial tensions in the United States. Others suggested inviting political experts to speak about the current presidential election. The event was attended by 10 students.
At one point, Lecture Fund Co-Vice Chair D.J. Angelini (MSB ’17) asked the students to suggest the one individual that they would most like to see at an event in Georgetown. Responses included Stephen Colbert, Bill Nye and Samantha Power.
The Lecture Fund has hosted five speakers throughout the semester, ranging from Kiran Ghand, former drummer for English hip-hop artist M.I.A., to Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion. The group will host two more speakers before the end of the semester.
The forum also served as an opportunity for the Lecture Fund to gauge students’ stances on certain issues and adjust their programming based on student perspectives.
According to Jeong, the organization hopes to hold more regular general membership meetings in the future and make them a consistent part of its effort to ensure that the Lecture Fund is as receptive as possible to the student body.
Jeong said she hopes to host another meeting before the end of the fall semester and conduct monthly meetings upon returning in the spring.
“Whether you come to three in a row or if you stop by every now and then, we would love to see familiar faces,” Jeong said. “[We also want] to speak with students who haven’t interacted with us before.”
Jeong said that she hopes the forum will dispel some preconceived notions about the exclusivity of the Lecture Fund and highlight the organization’s genuine interest in the opinions of the student body.
“We definitely want students to see that some of the stereotypes that they might have aren’t necessarily true,” Jeong said. “Sometimes students think all we do is stand in line and usher people into Gaston. “We do a lot more than that and we want [students] to know the full range of our services. We want them to tell us what they want from us.”
Alexander Mooney (MSB ’19), who attended the meeting, said that the event was a great way for potential members of the group to learn about the organization and how to contribute to shaping campus dialogue.
“Lecture Fund is all about inspiring dialogue. … So having a general membership meeting for selective clubs like this is a really helpful way to know who would actually be committed to the club and involve the student body,” Mooney said.
Grant Olson (COL ’19), who also attended the meeting, said that it is important for students to draw on a diverse assortment of speakers.
“You know you can aim high for the big names,” Olson said. “But you can aim for the niche names that people might not really know, but can enlighten a section of the student body that really makes a difference.”
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