On Sunday, Oct. 29, Student Government Association’s Elections and Credentials Council Commission will meet with potential candidates applying for the lead commissioner position of the newly formed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission. The position will be filled that evening, and the new lead commissioner will begin work right away to develop the commission’s vision and mission.
SGA President Ahna Van Valkenburg said that the idea for the new commission was formed last spring when SGA announced the changes within the “big three” commissions. Campus Service Commission was dissolved and absorbed into CEC, which was renamed from Campus Entertainment Commission to Campus Events Commission, leaving room for a new commission to be formed.
Vice President Will Kuball said that these changes left not only an empty physical space, but also extra funding.
“With that new vacancy that was created, not only literally in the Parke Student Leadership Office with the new vacant office, but also within our constitution so to speak, we had room for a new commission,” Kuball said. “With diversity, equity, and inclusion being an integral part of our platform, we felt that we could dedicate a whole commission to those three things with the help of our advisor [Natalie Reinhart, director of student engagement] and Amena Chaudry.”
Chaudry, the diversity coordinator for Student Support Services, was instrumental in the creation of the commission and will serve as its advisor. Chaudry works closely with students, specifically those who are marginalized or underrepresented in Concordia’s population. One major concern that she has heard in meeting with both individual students and organizations concerned the lack of space on campus for underrepresented students to find community, collaboration, or connection. She brought those concerns to SGA, who then used her feedback to help create the new commission.
Jacob Hanson, a junior and the lead commissioner of the Elections and Credentials Council Commission, said that one unique aspect about the new commission is that the lead commissioner will have much more influence over the structure and goals of the commission.
“The nice part about this is that we’re not saying what it necessarily needs to look like, it is really up to this person who gets hired to set forth the goals and the foundation of the commission,” Hanson said.
According to Chaudy, the lead commissioner’s position will include figuring out organizational structure, possibly renaming the commission, planning and working with a budget, and proposing different events. While specific goals will be made after the lead commissioner is hired, Chaudry said that the overarching goal of the commission is to make lasting changes that impact and diversify Concordia College. Chaudry also said that the commission will be instrumental in supporting Concordia’s mission of influencing the world, while facing the challenge that its campus does not look like the world.
The application, which went live Monday, Oct. 9, will be open until Friday, Oct. 20. SGA is urging all students who not only feel passionately about diversity, but also who are creative and who can take initiative, to apply.
Aside from hiring a lead commissioner, Van Valkenburg and Kuball both strongly encourage anyone who has a passion for diversity, equity, and inclusivity and who wants to be involved in the commission to email firstname.lastname@example.org and express that interest.
SGA is hopeful that the commission will be up and running by the end of the semester, and that it will be featured at January’s Cobber Expo.