Georgia Southern community voices opinions at Commission on Diversity and Inclusion listening session

Nathan Woodruff

The Statesboro Commission on Diversity and Inclusion hosted a listening session to gauge public opinion on the city of Statesboro and allow the community to offer suggestions for its improvement.

Participants were placed into groups and asked a series of questions by a conversation facilitator regarding Statesboro’s strengths and weaknesses and what changes they would like to see.

Eduardo Sanchez, freshman music education major, identified Georgia Southern University as a defining symbol of Statesboro as a whole.

“Whenever I think of Statesboro, I think of Georgia Southern,” Sanchez said. “Some of its strengths are how big the campus is, and how it appeals, how it draws in so much of the young crowd.”

Darienne Stembridge, freshman multimedia film production major, expressed that Statesboro had a variety of activities for students to engage in, but also pointed out weaknesses.

“The strengths of Statesboro would have to be access to different activities and buildings, and the things to do around here for students to get involved,” Stembridge said. “The weaknesses would have to be transportation, and getting to those things where we can get involved.”

Stacy Smallwood, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Community Health, led one of the listening sessions said that hearing from citizens and students was the main purpose of the event.

“The purpose of the listening sessions that we are holding around town are to hear from the diverse citizens of Statesboro regardless of whether they lived here a long time or whether they are students who just got here,” Smallwood said.

After the listening sessions conclude, the information will be presented to the city government, Smallwood said.

Smallwood said the goal for the Commission on Diversity and Inclusion is making sure everyone’s voice is heard.

“We want to let everyone to know that your voice is important, that your voice is welcome and that your voice has the opportunity to inform the next steps for how Statesboro moves forward,” Smallwood said.

There will be two more listening sessions around town, the next on April 23 on GS City Campus located at 58 Main St. at 6 p.m, and the final session on April 27 in the Kiwanis Fair Grounds at 16942 GA-67 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Nathan Woodruff, The George-Anne News Reporter,