By Isabella Bordonaro
Managing and Online Editor
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – Penn State held a Town Hall meeting Tuesday, November 15, to allow students from all campuses to meet with a panel of six Board of Trustee members, discussing the new “All In” diversity campaign.
At Penn State New Kensington,students were able to meet in the Art Gallery, and watch the Town Hall from University Park via live stream. The Board of Trustee members were meant to discuss diversity and inclusion at Penn State, and how they personally deal with it in their own lives.
Shannon Josefoski, SGA Club President andstudent at PSNK, planned the viewing event for New Kensington. According to Josefoski, “it was important for our students to see a different perspective of diversity and inclusion,” she said. “I was hoping that those who attended would hear the questions being asked and see the students asking them, and reflect on experiences in their own lives.”
Two other students in attendance, Raven Brunner and Jayleen Chagolla, were there together to represent PSNK’s new Diversity Club. Raven Brunner, a Communications major, is the President of the new club. When asked why she attended the event, she stated, “I’ve been talking to Lauren Blum and Shannon Josefoski about issues around our campus regarding diversity, and people being uneducated on other cultures.” Brunner added, “I am also President of Diversity Club and felt this meeting would be very beneficial in figuring out what to do next.”
As the meeting ensued, students said they felt that the conversation was not going to be very fruitful.
“I believed the questions presented by the students were very well informed and grasped the overall
problems that had to be brought into light,” stated Chagolla. “However, the corresponding answers from the board members seemed to be repetitive and avoid the questions at hand, which honestly made no progress for change and what the meeting was meant for.”
Josefoski had similar feelings on the answers from the board. “I would have liked to have more of a response from the board rather than just the politically correct response. Very few of their responses actually answered the question directly,” she said.
The point of this town hall was to continue to raise awareness of the new “All In” initiative that was meant to foster inclusion of all diverse peoples over all Penn State campuses. After the initial kickoff received an enthusiastic response from University Park students, students here have felt that not much has been accomplished since then.
“There hasn’t been much done after the big kickoff and that’s disappointing to see. I think they got such a big boost of energy and response from the students, but they let it fall by the wayside,” Josefoski stated.
According to Chagolla, the lack of action with “All In” is the responsibility of the students.
“Although the intentions and overall methods of the ‘All In’ initiative delve into the important issues of campus life, the lack of participation and interest of students defaults what the initiative is attempting to develop,” she explained.
As for how this campus can be inclusive and “All In” Brunner said she feels that, “everybody has been working really hard at PSNK to provide events and information about diversity on campus. They’ve also supported Diversity Club very well and gave us a lot of valuable resources.” “As of now, it relies on the students to participate and be engaged in these events and meetings in order to become an all-inclusive and diverse community because there’s been issues of masked prejudice and racism here and it can’t be solved until the community wants to solve them,” she added.