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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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Student program builds connections among female minority students

Courageous+Conversation+is+sponsored+each+month+by+the+Department+of+Multicultural+Services.
Photo by Annie Lui

Courageous Conversation is sponsored each month by the Department of Multicultural Services.

Courageous Conversations is helping female minority students feel at home at Texas A&M by creating a program for students to share their experiences and encourage others from similar backgrounds.
On Monday, the Department of Multicultural Services sponsored their monthly Courageous Conversations program. The program’s purpose is to give Asian American, Latino and Black students a safe space to discuss personal experiences they’ve faced as students at A&M. The program sponsors a lunch and discussion workshop. It also has a craft for the students to do during the discussion, which allows them an opportunity to bond with each other. Esperanza Olivarez, an ambassador for Courageous Conversations, said that the program was made possible by a TEXAS Grant given to the university because of the lack of female-based minority groups on campus.
“It’s so woman of color at A&M can actually have a safe space,” Olivarez said. “They didn’t have anything for woman of color, so the grant was created for us.”
Courageous Conversations was started three years ago, and Olivarez said that they quickly realized after the first year that each group of students had concerns about different things, so the program allows students to have smaller group discussion with others who share their racial, cultural or ethnic background.
Evelyn Stewart-Johnson, also an ambassador for Courageous Conversations, said that when she first came to A&M, she had a sense of culture shock and felt like no one understood her. Stewart-Johnson said that other minority students could be feeling the same way.
“What a conversation does is it pulls out those things in you that you don’t understand, and you’re able to heal from them by talking to someone that has also dealt with it,” Stewart-Johnson said.
Each of the Courageous Conversations programs has a specific talking prompt based on the word of the day. The word for February’s meeting was commitment, with talking prompts based on the discipline, diligence, dedication and disengagement in drama. Each student had the opportunity to open up and discuss what the prompts meant to them.
“The word of the day was something that I think that really resonates with college students, since college is a big commitment,” said history senior Dana De Pau.
De Pau said she had learned about the program through a friend and enjoyed doing the craft activity, which was making charm bracelets. She said that having a program like this is good for being more inclusive to different groups of minority students.
“I think it’s also good to have a platform for people’s voices to be heard,” De Pau said.
The Courageous Conversations happens monthly, and students can sign up to attend at dms.tamu.edu/courageous-conversations.

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