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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M welcomes new program Intersxtions

Intersxtions
Photo by Courtesy
Intersxtions

With the division in politics today a group of Texas A&M students are aiming to develop a culture within the university that focuses on dialogue around controversial topics.
Intersxtions is a new program developed in the fall of 2017 by Kristan Poirot, Communication and Women’s & Gender Studies associate professor and Dustin Grabsch, Program Coordinator in the Department of Residence Life, in order to allow students a safe environment to discuss social justice and diversity here on campus and society.
Students in this program are required to live in Hart Hall and take specific courses during the fall and spring semesters. Students are also required to do service-learning projects and participate in monthly dialogues that are led by a peer mentor from the program, according to Poirot.
Grabsch said the purpose of this dialogue is to understand different viewpoints through healthy conversation.
“The point isn’t to walk away with a new idea, but to walk away with a new understanding,” Grabsch said.
Poirot said Intersxtions is a living-learning community on campus that supports a very open culture that allows students to truly bond with each other.
“[It is] an opportunity for students invested in social justice and diversity to deepen their understanding of research on social inequality and [to] identity and to integrate service-learning and community engagement as part of the on-campus living experience,” Poirot said.
Grabsch said that although Texas A&M is known to have a conservative nature, the university welcomed the new program to campus and expanded on the meaning behind the name ‘Intersxtions’ saying the name stems from the intersectionality between diversity and social justice, and explained the many perspectives encompassed under this title.
“It’s referring to all of the –isms –sexism, racism, etc.– which can’t be viewed in one lens alone, and have to be viewed from multiple perspectives,” Grabsch said. “So the idea of Intersxtions came from the fact that we might be one person, but we have many identities that forms who we are and how we view the world.”
Peer mentor Shannon Steidel received a mass email from Grabsch and said she knew this was something she would be interested in.
“When I read it I knew right away that this was really interesting and a really cool concept. I’ve never seen a community like this before,” Steidel said. “It looked really unique and one things that is unique about it is that people have the opportunity to talk about things that you don’t get to necessarily talk about in your daily life.”
Grabsch said that Intersxtions embodies a famous James Baldwin quote, “if the space that you’re looking for and that you would belong in doesn’t exist, you need to go out and create it.” This quote embodies their purpose for creating this program.
“I think that is the purpose of this group is to really create a radically inclusive space on campus where all students feel like they can contribute regardless of their identity, experiences, but really look at things critically and hopefully create a community that stays with them during their time at A&M,” Grabsch said.
Intersxtions plans to expand this program by creating an organization on campus for all students who live on campus and not just those who live in Hart Hall. They will also focus on working with communities in the Bryan-College Station area in the upcoming semesters.

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