Shippensburg University’s Student Civility Initiative (SCI) will kick off this week with student discussion groups after inclement weather postponed the discussions originally scheduled for last week.
According to Multicultural Student Affairs Director Diane Jefferson, the discussion groups will serve as a “springboard” for the SCI, where input provided by students will be used to decide the future direction of the initiative.
“We had a lot of discussion about having students at the center of what we do, and not doing this for them, but with them, because in order for this to be a successful program we have to have student input,” Jefferson said.
Since the initiative’s inception at the beginning of the semester, Jefferson, Dean of Students Donna Gross and media relations and social media manager Megan Silverstrim have reached out to nearly every organized group on campus, graduates and professionals to ensure that the initiative is both receptive to all voices and adept in facilitating improved relations on campus, as well as off.
Regarding the outreach of the initiative to groups on campus Gross said, “If we didn’t reach out to them, if they want to have a session and provide feedback, we welcome that.”
An initial part of the SCI’s campus outreach has been to place door hangers on campus to spread awareness of the initiative, as well as give tips for being a good neighbor, making responsible choices and providing safety information.
The discussions will be led by moderators from various groups on campus, including Residence Life, Student Government Association and the Activities Program Board.
In the discussions, students will be asked a series of questions regarding their values, “Raider Values” and aspects of campus life they feel do not align with these values.
Jefferson described the discussion groups as a “barometer of where we are with regards to not only diversity but respect overall and how we engage people.”
The SCI will be hosting a number of these discussions between now and spring break. Three of the discussions will take place this week.
The first will be at noon on Wednesday in the graduate student/non-traditional student lounge in the Ceddia Union Building Room 209, followed by two discussions at 8 p.m. in Naugle and Kieffer halls the same day.
If students are unable to meet during these times, Gross encouraged them to reach out to set up a meeting at which they can provide input.
Underscoring the integrity of student participation in the SCI, Jefferson said, “Students have to know that they are a primary part of this initiative, and in fact I don’t know if it can be successful without them.”