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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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Interactive workshop series to improve campus diversity on individual level

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Photo by Photo by Yuri Suchil

The organization Aggies to Aggies is offering free diversity training to all students starting March 23, 2017. 

March 23 was the first in a semester long series of workshops hosted by Aggies to Aggies (A2A) and aimed to educate students on different topics regarding diversity.
The lecture was led by Peer Diversity Educators civil engineering sophomore Jonathan Filip and finance sophomore Farren Fontenot. The presentation included opportunities for participants to engage with the topic through open discussion and small group work. The workshop aimed to explore instances when well-intended comments or actions might create an unwelcoming environment for others. The workshop series will include two more workshops titled “This is Me: My Story and Identity” and “Understanding Culture and Cultural Differences.”
The topics that are addressed in the workshops are topics that students may not feel comfortable discussing, and Farren hopes to be able to facilitate more open conversations about these issues.
“We’re educating about topics that aren’t always talked about, like with microaggressions,” Farren said. “These issues aren’t always discussed and open so it’s just good that we give workshops where people can come and learn about these different types of things so they can go off and teach their fellow Aggies.”
Aggies to Aggies, also known as A2A is a peer diversity education program within the Department of Multicultural Services with the core values of diversity, inclusion and empowerment. Filip further explained the unique educational approach A2A takes in their workshops in order to reach out to students effectively.
“Being able to relay the information in a positive and educational way and not in a pointing my finger in their face like accusing,” Filip said. “It’s  just to teach them and get them to learn about these issues so they can essentially make our community better here at A&M.”
Farren cites his personal experiences as something that motivates him to look for ways to make a change on campus.
“I’m really passionate about these workshops because personally I’ve experienced a lot of hate and things like that, and so for me I just really want to see a campus where students don’t feel out of place, where students feel included,” Farren said. “I just want people to come here and get educated and make the campus better.”
According to Filip, educational programs are important to creating a more inclusive environment.
“You have people who are privileged who don’t understand or have never experienced the things that these people who are not privileged go through,” said Filip, “They don’t know their experiences. So when they don’t understand they don’t see why people who are not privileged are getting upset.”
As one of many organizations endorsing diversity and inclusion, Farren said he felt Aggies to Aggies resonated with his values as well as his vision of greater inclusivity on campus.
“I saw the description about how we were really trying to promote campus inclusion and campus diversity,” Farren said. “Personally, I’ve been struggling with that a lot lately, not feeling like I belong on campus all the time, and so our mission statement and what we’re trying to do just spoke to me.”
To learn more about the A2A diversity training workshops visit https://dms.tamu.edu/diversity/a2a/.

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