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SA Diversity and Inclusion Committee plans for several initiatives

Priyansh Lunia/Thresher

By Bonnie Zhao     8/31/21 10:46pm

The Rice University Student Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee plans to launch several projects for the school year, seeking to provide a central location for students to address diversity and inclusion issues, according to Committee Chair Hafsa Ahsan.    

“[What] we hold as central to our value system is accessibility to the general Rice population,” Ahsan, a Jones College junior, said. “With this committee, if anyone at Rice has a concern about diversity and inclusion, they can reach out to us.”    

Cynthia Diaz, vice-chair of the committee, said that their mission is to address inequities related to race, region, religion, ethnicity, (dis)ability, gender expression, sexual orientation and other aspects of identity. Diaz said they have pinpointed some specific ideas for the semester.    

Ahsan said that the timeline for each project varies as some are more time sensitive, while others are meant to be long- term.  

According to Diaz, a McMurtry College sophomore, one of the committee’s initiatives this semester is to increase financial accessibility at Rice.   

“One thing that we’re thinking about doing is to [make it possible to] convert meal swipes into Tetra so that we can use them on on-campus facilities like Brochstein and [Rice Coffeehouse],” Diaz said.    

Ahsan said that the committee is also meeting with [Student Success Initiatives] to discuss how to broaden SA’s impact, and they’re currently looking into possibly changing the current minimum wage at Rice.   

According to Madison Bunting, the SA internal vice president, the committee also hopes to partner with the SA task forces that are centered around supporting historically disadvantaged populations.    

“We’ve also discussed an idea to create a forum for all the diversity-related organizations across campus to share ideas and best practices,” Bunting, a Martel College junior, said.    

Diaz said that another goal is to create more volunteer opportunities for students in the Houston area.   

“We also wanted to create a greater connection between Rice and the greater Houston area [through] different volunteer projects that Rice students can do,” Diaz said. “We want to make it accessible for our students ... We’re thinking [of offering] shuttles [for students] getting to places that they can volunteer at and simply creating a better way for students to find out about these opportunities.” 

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