Courageous Conversations allows participants to be heard

Necessary discussions drive improvements for life on campus


Photo by: Alexis Ramirez

Aliyah Ramirez, Staff Writer

Focused on creating a safe space for students and staff to share their thoughts and feelings on a variety of topics, Courageous Conversations was brought back to campus. Put together by Student Life, Equity & Inclusion and Ethnic Studies, participants met on the second floor of the Student Union on April 6, from 12-1:15 p.m. to connect with food and honest conversation.

Director of Student Life Teresea Archaga began the discussion by thanking everyone who attended and followed a brief introduction around the circle of participants. Afterward, the given agreements were addressed by Archaga to reinforce “what is shared in the space, stays in the space,” as experiences and emotions remain confidential. 

“These spaces are important for all in order to have a safe and supportive space for participants to process emotions and in some cases help in creating solutions to improve well-being, support one another, and move towards understanding you are not alone,” said Archaga.

Courageous Conversations initially began as a place for participants to process tragedy as Archaga addressed past topics surrounding the Pulse shooting in Florida, the Black Lives Matter Movement and hate crimes against Asian communities.

As LMC continued its transition from the pandemic, the topics collected by students and employees included anti-racism, social media and loss on campus. However, this past Thursday’s discussion primarily centered around rebuilding a supportive campus space with positive and negative shared experiences. 

“We want to continue to engage in the community building for our students so that they feel comfortable and safe,” said Dr. Tanisha Mj Maxwell, Vice President of Student Services, toward raising opinions around, “things that are going well, things where we might be providing gaps in services and welcome their innovative ideas.”

Students collaborated with staff on ways to improve resources and communication, while ensuring spaces to seek support for students both on and off campus. 

LMCAS President Jeffery Bui conveyed ideas for rebuilding life on campus with “more clubs, more communities, making sure we have peers who are knowledgeable that can help students around, have people engage students to come to events and provide a nice space for students to come and connect.”

Questions were also asked on what makes students return to class, their experience, and how to create effective processes without losing human connections on campus. LMC student Chiamaka Oha described the event as an “opportunity to voice their opinions and have a bigger voice.”

Courageous Conversations provided a space for participants to be seen and heard. Interim Dean for Equity and Inclusion, Rosa Armendariz, described the collaboration between students and administration as necessary to “create things together.”

To keep the discussion going, Courageous Conversations will host another event with staff and students on Thursday, April 27, from 12-1 p.m. on the second floor of the student union, a follow-up to the LGBTQ+ Summit held on April 19-20.