Student Organizations push for change on campus

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Natalie Turman

Georgia Southern University’s Know Your Worth Book Club and Community Garden organizations are coming together to host a march on Friday at 3 p.m. in front of the University Bookstore to push for positive changes for African-American students.

“We felt that a rally was necessary to engage support for both organizations. We placed it on inauguration day because we felt that would be the day, no matter what, people are going to be angry. They are going to be disappointed, they are going to be looking for an outlet,” Keyshawn Housey, vice president of the Community Garden, said.

The march will end at Sweetheart Circle. Once there, speeches and more information about the organizations’ call to action and plans for the clubs will be addressed. The groups hope the march will unite the GS community as we enter a new time.

“For the march, I’m not sure how many people will come out, because people don’t like to be the first to do stuff, so I’m not really worried about numbers or exposure or anything like that. For me, if five people show up or if 500 people show up, it would be a good starting point for us to realize in today’s society, higher level people divide us,” Keith Woods, president of the Know Your Worth Book Club, said.

Both groups have created a call to action for their march. Their call to action asks for a meeting with department heads from Human Resources, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the College of Business Administration to discuss the following demands listed on the Community Gardens website:

1. “The course ‘Racism in American Institutions’ must be established at Georgia Southern, required for incoming freshmen and instructed by Mr. Baugh or any other qualified professor of color.”

2. “Provide more funding for the Africana Studies department and other minority focused departments to expand curriculum and program initiatives.”

3. “Georgia Southern must hire more black professors at a 1:4 ratio matching our student population and provide yearly statistics on the faculty demographics.”

a. “The last known percentage from 2013 in the National Center for Education Statistics, showed less than 6% of our professors were black. This is a complete disservice to our student body.”

i. “Studies show the best way to store anything to memory is by drawing connections with information already imprinted in your brain. With the obvious cultural disconnect in our country, a white professor is less likely to present information in a way that appeals to a black student’s long-term memory.”

ii. “A study done by Thomas S. Dee in 2004 for the Education Next journal showed, in comparison to white teachers, black students taught by black teachers improved their scores from 3 to 6 percentile-points.”

4. “Georgia Southern must provide transparency for the students in regards to budget and allocation of funds within each department. Quarterly reports should be emailed to all students.”

The study mentioned in the Community Garden’s call to action is available online.

The Community Garden is a new organization that plans to assist those living below the poverty line in Bulloch County.

The Community Garden encourages members to be aware of their history and culture. The organization wants people to be more aware of the problems in the world and how they can help fix them.

“We hope to make it more of a mutual development program, where we encourage them to pursue topics they are passionate about and help them realize problems in the world so they can research probable and realistic solutions so that when they get in the real world they can address them,” Surjania Awer, president of the Community Garden, said.

The Know Your Worth Book Book Club is a book club on campus that focuses on history, current events and other aspects of African-American life. This includes covering books written by African-Americans authors.

Both organizations hope their march works to bring the community closer together. They also hope for people to better understand their culture, history, and themselves.

The march is not to protest the inauguration of Trump, according to the organizations’ representatives, but to give people an outlet to support change and growth on campus.