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First-year course can help dismantle campus racism
People fired up to protest racism in America should
realize that fighting racism starts in our own communities.
"(In First-Year Experience class), we haven't really had
a true talk about racism, sexism (or) anything like that,"
said first-year Mara Stewart. "It's been touched upon, but
not as much as I would want it to be."
FYE, previously known
as FYE lab, connects first-
years to the life and culture
at Guilford College upon
arrival here, alongside other
approaches like first-year
orientation. As such, it could
potentially act as a platform
to inform students by
addressing privilege and oppression
within their lives at Guilford. With
some changes, the approach to the
first-year experience, both in the
class and in general, can help
to dismantle racism at Guilford, and by extension,
around the country.
"I think the FYE 100 courses are addressing
the issue of the importance of inclusion as best
they can," said FYE instructor and Community
Director of Binford Hall Brian Daniel in an
email interview. "The FYE instructors have
been charged with a lofty task of making sure
their students know and understand (aU)
campus resources. (I) tell my students during
our diversity topic class that we are only
scratching the surface on this important issue."
Tricky to implement or not, more is needed to
dismantle racism within the campus community.
"We need to figure out how to solve these issues
within our campus by understanding where people
are coming from," said first-year Ethan Magnes.
"You can't let your social life or your academic life
overpower that service, (the) diversity that Guilford
Currently, Guilford does not require FYE instructors
to train ii> fadlitafih^atfiti-joppressiqnt^nv^mtion?,.^
and instructors decide for themselves how to apprdam
the topic. They all devote at least one course session to
"I don't claim to have the right answer, but (if)
interested students and faculty were to work together
to review FYE again and bring ideas forward, we could
improve what we are currently doing," said Vice President
of Academic Affairs, Academic Dean and African-American
Studies Professor of History Adrienne Israel in an email
interview. "We need a way that will be effective and will
transcend the classroom experience."
Addressing such a broad topic in a way that will carry
an impact beyond the end of the class session remains a
'The instructors who teach FYE 100 are generalists,"
said Interim Director of First-Year Experience and Assistant
Academic Dean for Academic Support Barbara Boyette in an
email interview. "(They) hold many different staff positions
on campus. Unlike faculty, who are experts in the area they
teach, the FYE 100 instructors must cover a lot of topics with
Despite the difficulties with creating an effective approach,
it can be done. For other topics, instructors often bring in
outside speakers to help address the issues. The same Idnd
of emphasis on anti-oppression could do wonders. Even
without bringing in experts, having standardized resources
for instructors to draw on could help immensely in starting
conversations that often seem intimidating.
Besides the FYE course, the first-year experience can help
students become more informed in other ways. Anti-racism
Excerpts from the
Guilford College Diversity Plan (2009)
the college will
Objective 2.1 Rationale:
“This objective would
increase the diversity-
related initiatives and
training in the First
Year Seminar (FYS)
program as well as
extend it beyond FYS
and further into the
curriculum as a whole,
working within the
that stimulate 8e generate
and professional development
for all students
workshops often occur on campus, but first-years
may not realize they happen or may see no reason to attend.
Better advertisement, or perhaps offering extra credit for
attending such events, coidd make a big difference.
Through a thoughtful approach to Ae way students are
exposed to new perspectives, the College can live up to i^
core values in new and more profoimd ways.
'The experience of a place where equality is practiced, or
at least where the attempt is made to practice it, would lead
to individual and institutional change for the better," said
Israel. "But, there is no one thing that can be done. It is not an
event, but an ongoing effort, that can never end."
Getting out on the streets to protest can make a difference
but only if it comes along with real change within our
institutions. Informing college students about racism, and
the ways to fight it, poses a real and tangible way to continue
thatchange. >1. :
Despite the Diversity Plan’s
2015 deadline, a recent report
by the curriculum committee
' concludes that there has
been little improvement
in regards to teaching
diversity in the classroom.
UN report should encourage more iudividual action to reduce climate change
The world is at risk.
According to the United Nation's
intergovernmental panel on climate change,
the threat is real. Unless preventative
action is taken soon,
climate change will be
"In the next 100 years,
we'll see a significantly
warmer planet and a
significantly higher sea
level," said Professor
of Geology and Earth
Sciences Dave Dobson.
"Some parts of the
world will become
will have to adapt or fade out."
Despite this information, climate change
skeptics, including many members of
Congress, still remain.
"The Obama administration needs to
finally abandon their radical climate change
agenda that is killing jobs and increasing
costs for American families," said Louisiana
Congressman Steve Scalise in an August
BY LILY LOU
"This just proves that the president is
prepared to pursue his job-killing climate
agenda at any cost, which the American
people, and House of Representatives, will
not stand for."
However, looking at the long-term
effects, reducing greenhouse gas emissions
can help the economy.
Climate Policy Initiative is an
organization that works on improving
policies concerning the environment.
"(CPI's) analysis shows that many
countries, including the United States,
can benefit economically from reducing
greenhouse gas emissions," said CPI Senior
Analyst Julia Zuckerman in an email
interview with The Guilfordian.
According to CPI, if the world began
using a low-carbon system of electricity, it
would save $1.8 trillion between 2015 and
"Climate change impacts are expected
to exacerbate poverty in most developing
countries and create new poverty pockets in
countries with increasing inequality, in both
developed and developing countries," says
the UN report.
In addition to hurting the long
term economy, climate change disrupts
ecosystems and reduces biodiversity.
"When we lose ecosystems upon which
human populations depend, in many cases
we have alternatives for adapting," said
Kyle Dell, co-chair of environmental studies
and associate professor of political science.
"When non-human species lose critical
habitats, for example a rainforest in the
Andes, endangered species lack the ability
to adapt quickly enough to survive."
Climate change also causes extreme
weather including floods, hurricanes and
heat waves, which create disastrous effects
for humans. It can increase illness, cause
death and disrupt food supply.
"As one of the highest emitters of
greenhouse gases, the United States has
notably failed to display leadership on
the issue," said Sheila Jasanoff, professor
of science and technology studies at the
Harvard Kennedy School in an email
interview with The Guilfordian. "This is
an urgent national and a world problem.
It does not help our overall standing in the
world if we do not step up to the plate."
Fortunately, individuals can make a big
difference in reducing the effects of climate
The Union of Concerned Scientists reports
that the average American produces 21
tons of carbon annually. If every American
reduced their carbon emissions by just
20 percent, it would be equal to shutting
down 200 of the world's 600 carbon plants,
according to The Huffington Post.
"Transportation and home electrical
use are big sources, so looking for public
transportation, ride-sharing or human
powered transport is good, and buying
efficient electrical products (and avoiding
waste) is great in the home," said Dobson.
But there are many other ways of
reducing your carbon footprint, including
eating less beef, buying local and switching
your light bulbs to CFLs.
"Just about anything we do represents
an opportunity to express our support for a
smaller carbon footprint," said Dell. "While
larger systemic shifts are needed, related to
larger power and transportation systems,
individuals can also do this."