LIU Post’s chapter of the NAACP is ready for a new semester with conversations and heated discussions about controversial topics. Racism and diversity were discussed during the organization’s first meeting on Tuesday, September 18, in Hillwood Commons.
Every Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Cinema in Hillwood Commons, the NAACP will host events touching on difficult topics in the college community. The first one was devoted to cultural diversity and racism, and the discussion at times reached a heated level, with freshmen and upperclassmen coming together and sharing their experiences.
“I believe it is imperative for newcomers and freshmen to have someone to talk to, because it helps them feel more accepted in a new environment,” said NAACP President, senior Sociology major Ara McPherson. “I also wanted them to know it is okay to step out of one’s comfort zone and try new things.”
The NAACP is a National African-American civil rights movement that was founded in 1909. LIU Post’s chapter of NAACP’s Youth and College Division confronts various issues affecting people of all races, religions, and backgrounds. The NAACP members actively strive to be leaders and trendsetters on cam¬pus and in the classroom, by reaching out to the surrounding campus community.
The first meeting had a crowd of 15 in addition to the eight in the board who hosted the event. McPherson was satisfied with the first event, and liked the fact that everybody present got a chance to give his or her opinion without being judged. She further explained that finding an arena where students can be open and honest is often difficult in large college communities, and often the newcomers have difficult issues and questions they want to share. “These kinds of meetings allow them to understand that many of their fellow students have the same issues, and can make it easier to for them to adapt,” McPherson said.
From Scandinavia to China to South America, the diversity at LIU Post is broad. Roommates from foreign countries were mentioned among the students, and the variety of opinions was wide-ranging. Some said it is hard to adapt to foreign roommates, while others claimed international students are the best roommates. The group also discussed what is, and what is not okay for a room¬mate to do. Where should we draw the line? Students shared stories from almost being poisoned by their roommate to a sweetest roommate who brought cookies from home every Monday.
The different views on certain topics are exactly what the NAACP and McPherson want to highlight for the college community. “I hope the meetings can provide a better insight on culture, campus, and life issues. I also hope the meeting can be a vessel to bring the students at LIU Post a little closer and to gain more understanding of the cultural differences we face in our campus society,” said McPherson.
Moving forward, the NAACP has some upcoming events planned. HIV/AIDS, the presidential campaign, and how music and media affects us, are some of the topics laid out for this semester. The meetings are held in a conversational way, by the executive board of the organization. The group values all students’ opinions and encourage participation. All students are welcome, and no membership required.