RC junior Monique Luse stood in the Diag yesterday covered in sticky, pink fluff as she made cotton candy and talked to people about affirmative action.
“Food and fun is a mechanism to reach students to try to educate them about the policies that affect their daily lives,” Luse said.
Luse and the other members of Student Supporting Affirmative Action shared candy and information as part of National Take Affirmative Action Day, which took place yesterday in 10 states on 19 college campuses around the nation. SSAA sponsored the University”s event to inspire action and awareness of affirmative action issues.
“The point of SSAA is to approach affirmative action from different angles to expand people”s understanding and appreciation of what affirmative action does for all of us,” she said.
She added that it”s also important to recognize that the day is designed to address and impact issues far beyond the court cases most people think of when they think about affirmative action. Rather, Luse said, it”s about affirmative action in the more general sense and trying to educate people about what it really entails.
“This isn”t a rally, it”s an open educational celebratory forum. Whoever hears what”s going on hears what”s going on,” Luse said.
The event featured student speakers and United States Student Association representative Liz Geyer. Although the University isn”t a member of USSA, it was one of a handful of schools outside of the USSA taking part in the event yesterday. Geyer spoke about both the day and about what”s happening across the country regarding affirmative action.
“Affirmative action is more than race in admissions and that what the University is doing to support and defend it in terms of the lawsuits is great, but students need to get involved in looking at all the ways affirmative action operates on campus,” she said.
Geyer said the event was planned “to organize around increasing recruitment and retention in spite of and because of these attacks, and to encourage students to take a proactive approach as opposed to just reacting to the legal attacks.”
LSA freshman Alex Byrne said he saw a chalk advertisement in the front of the Union and decided to stop by to see what was going on. He said he appreciated that SSAA was promoting its cause without “screaming from the steps of the Grad Library.”
“I kind of like the quiet atmosphere because you tend to ignore people who shout at you,” Byrne said.
RC junior Susie Harter, who stopped while passing through the Diag when she saw the tables set up with information from different student groups, said she wanted to see what the groups were talking about and to show her support for affirmative action.
“It”s important for our campus community and the large community to see there”s students on this campus who think affirmative action is important and valid and want to fight for it,” she said.