Missouri Students Association President and Vice President Sean Earl and Tori Schafer hope to facilitate constructive discussion of controversial issues in the coming year at the monthly open forums.
The forums, called Roar At Us, will become a platform for more diverse experience and conversation. Earl and Schafer will not moderate the forum. Students will now be able to openly participate in Roar At Us, creating conversation about diversity and inclusivity.
“Students will have the opportunity to not only voice their opinions, but be able to see action from their feedback,” Earl said in an email.
Each month, Roar At Us will host themed discussions. These themes will be chosen from the top concerns of the student body. The first month of Roar At Us will feature administrators from the MU Police Department and MU Alert who will be directly interacting with the students on their expectations and concerns for this school year.
The inspiration for the forums came in part from Earl and Schafer’s experience with the Student Leader Education Seminar.
Students from around the U.S. traveled to Israel for the seminar, hosted and funded by the organization Project InSiGht, which hosts student senators from universities around the U.S. to gain perspective on the current situation of Israel and Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The program is designed “to develop ideas about controversial issues within Israeli society,” according to Project InSiGht’s website. Previous MSA President Payton Head attended the seminar last year while he was president.
“Seeing the conflicts firsthand was a completely different experience,” Schafer said. “Being in MSA we are always given two sides to an issue, but we learned there are always so many other things that go into it, and I think that’s something Sean and I took away from it.”
From Aug. 7 to Aug. 14, over 40 student government leaders immersed themselves in Israeli culture, history, politics, and government. Throughout the week, the students met with representatives from both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.
“What we saw with the Israeli conflict is, when seeing Israelis and the people who went through it every day talking about it, it’s much more impactful. You learn about the truth behind their perspectives,” Schafer said.
The experience these students gained from their trip will directly affect the plans Earl, Schafer and MSA have for the student body this school year.
“It was great to go on this trip to learn first hand what the conflict is about and how we can do our part here in the states and on our campus,” Earl said.
MSA’s executive cabinet will produce a monthly newsletter to follow up on the actions to be taken as a result of the forums.
“You will see a lot more accomplishments than goals from MSA this year,” Earl said.
The first Roar At Us will take place at 4 p.m. Sept. 1 in Leadership Auditorium.
Edited by Emily Gallion | firstname.lastname@example.org