I am Georgia Southern: A Former Student’s Campaign to Celebrate Diversity

After the book burning that happened on Georgia Southern’s campus, Dantrell Maeweather said he was sick and tired of the problems with diversity and inclusion experienced at GS, both publicly and personally. 

Maeweather began attending GS in January 2016 and graduated in December of 2019. He now serves as the Provost Student Fellow.

During his time at GS, Maeweather said there have always been issues with diversity and having an inclusive environment.

“I think a lot of people don’t understand that just having people from different backgrounds in one place doesn’t fully mean that it’s inclusive,” said Maeweather. “You have to make people feel like they belong here.”

He said that following the issues that have happened on campus, the university never responds in an effective manner.

Maeweather said that he personally emailed University President Kyle Marrero and told him that the racial issues on campus are not new, saying that problems that arise are always swept under the rug.

Maeweather suggested that there be a school-wide campaign that would serve as a more internal approach to mending issues.

Maeweather proposed the “I Am Georgia Southern” campaign that looks to shine a light on the beauty of diversity and inclusion around campus, showing why it is important to go to school and be around people who are not from the same place that you are in life.

“Before I came to college and had to live own my own and be a man, I hated police officers,” said Maeweather.

He said that he’s from an inner city and this opinion was common amongst people that he knew.

“Then I got here and got a little older, and realized, mistakes do happen,” said Maeweather. “A lot of times we tend to just take sides because of where we’re from and not necessarily what happened to us.”

He said that he questioned how he could have that view about police officers if he had never, personally, had a bad experience with one.

Maeweather said that the time period where he grew and came to realize this was important. He said that he feels that it is the university’s job to help facilitate that growth.

As part of the I Am Georgia Southern campaign, Maeweather said that he has started working on social media to get videos, 90 seconds or less, of university students to feature.

He has since started working with the communications department on campus. They now have a system where the university Instagram page posts I Am Georgia Southern videos.

He said that the department started doing alumni videos at the same time that he started doing student video. He said that he thinks featuring current students is important because it caters to the inside perspective of the university.

“When I say diversity, I’m not just looking at race,” said Maeweather. “You’ve definitely got to talk about sexuality, sexual orientation, just background in general, military background, first-generation college students. There’s different types. It’s not just where you’re from or how you look.”

Maeweather said that he hopes to be able to make posters of students featured and plaster them all over campus with quotes about diversity and why being an inclusive campus is important.

If you are interested in being featured in the campaign, reach out to dmaeweather@georgiasouthern.edu