Echoes of chatter bounced off the walls of Shippensburg University’s Gilbert Hall as people gathered for a discussion about social issues and inequities faced on campus.
Ask. Communicate. Teach Tolerance. (A.C.T) gathered SU administrators, faculty and leaders from across campus to participate in “A Call to Action.”
The SU organization was created within the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) to encourage SU students and community members to have an open dialogue on campus.
Student Government Association Senator and original A.C.T member Isaiah Smith explained that the meeting was called after a student made a Facebook post that described wanting to wear a Boston police academy sweatshirt, and how he frequently traveled with weapons on campus.
“It was pretty much a threat to all black people,” Smith said.
The organization was originally called “facing your ignorance,” but members decided to change the name because of backlash.
The organization presented a campaign, then a proposal to administration and staff to get into classrooms to build relationships and ultimately educate SU students.
Smith described a picture of people in blackface and an alumnus’s Snapchat post with a racial slur in it as fuel for the organization’s leaders to bring problem- solvers together.
“Racism, microaggressions and overall lack of human understanding is a problem on campus that we’re adamant to fix,” Smith said.
The group played an activity explained by junior Desiree Sourbeer in which individual cards were passed out and each number triggered a different social cue.
People with ace through five cards could not be talked to; cards six through 10 could create pleasant conversation and people who received the royal sweep cards were to be bowed to.
After playing for several minutes, Sourbeer separated the crowd and asked how the judgment exercise made everyone feel.
“It just made me feel awful,” yelled one student from the crowd, another explained how it was hard to ignore people or know how to properly respond.