Speac-Up Series starts off with a bang
Marry Murphy, Contributing Writer
The first fall semester session of the SPEAC-Up Series, an open forum for students to discuss various topics, was hosted last Monday in McGarvey Commons. The series will continue to be hosted by the Office of Educational Equity and Diversity Programs, and according to Walaa Ahmad, Assistant Director at the Office of Educational Equity and Diversity Programs, it’s an experience that can benefit all Behrend students.
“The SPEAC-Up Series stands for Students Powerfully Express Any Concerns,” Ahmad said. “So the series is designed to bring students together to discuss about our campus environment, our role today, politics, growth and development, anything that the students want to talk about.”
The event focused primarily on culture during the Monday gathering, offering both international and domestic students a chance to voice their opinions and experiences, and what culture means to them.
One such student, Oyinkansola Elizabeth Malomo, a senior, is no stranger to the SPEAC-Up Series events and always makes a point of attending the forums, “Usually the best part is the conversations and interactions,” Malomo said. She also pointed out that she was especially excited for this particular forum as it included several outside guests including members of the American Association of University Women and Global Friends. One of the biggest takeaways Malomo had from the meeting was “Don’t judge….and I think that’s one of the biggest things we could see from tonight because everybody had such interesting things about them.”
Another attendee, William Maas, a sophomore, and Secretary of Community Affairs for the SGA, used this opportunity to further understand the needs of the community he represents. “With being the Secretary of Community Affairs,” Maas remarked. “I’m not going to know what the community needs unless I go and sit down with the community and hear the stories of the different people here.”
The event certainly did its job of opening up a dialogue. Several of the participants remained after the event ended to chat with the other students and community members. This kind of open dialogue is exactly what Ahmad wants to inspire with the series. “It’s a way of promoting diversity, promoting respect, and another thing is to make that connection, make that human connection.”
The next installation in the SPEAC-Up Series will not take place until the spring, and though a specific date has not been chosen, they plan to host several different spring sessions.