Daily Egyptian

SIU students define campus care at Salukis SPEAK

Ann DeHorn, of Carbondale, discusses what care means to her with assistant dean of students Deborah Barnett on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, during the Salukis SPEAK forum in the Student Services Building. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

Ann DeHorn, of Carbondale, discusses what care means to her with assistant dean of students Deborah Barnett on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, during the Salukis SPEAK forum in the Student Services Building. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

By Bekah Sanders

When you ask someone how his or her day is going, do you really care about the answer, Nathan Stephens asked a group of concerned faculty and students Tuesday. 

Salukis Solutions for Peace and Equality through Advocacy and Knowledge, split up into seven sessions throughout the semester, is a series of open dialogues focused on inclusivity, respect and personal growth for students.

“We need to learn more about one another on a more intimate basis,” said Stephens, director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence. “As a society we have moved away from taking the time to get to know people.”

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The first session, hosted in the Student Services Building by Student Affairs, tackled the topic of how to create a culture of care on campus.

Assistant dean of students Deborah Barnett throws a teardrop-shaped cutout into a bucket Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, during the Salukis SPEAK forum in the Student Services Building. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

Assistant dean of students Deborah Barnett throws a teardrop-shaped cutout into a bucket Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, during the Salukis SPEAK forum in the Student Services Building. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

ChaTonia Webb, a senior from Peoria studying social work, helped facilitate the conversation and get students involved with the Salukis SPEAK Series.

“How can you truly care about someone if you don’t become educated on how they operate as well as how they live their lives?” Webb asked the group.

Deborah Barnett, assistant dean of students, said SPEAK was created in response to students’ requests for a safe place to vocalize their concerns.

Tuesday’s discussion was a foundational session to help guide and set the standard for future meetings.

Melinda Yeomans, associate director of the University Honors Program, said despite only 14 attendees, individuals can still create a ripple effect across campus and bring a change to the SIU community.

After Yeomans’ introduction, participants broke off into groups and made posters defining care. To help foster a safe space where respectful dialogue was encouraged, the audience would snap after each group read their definition.

The session ended with a call to action as attendees put blue pieces of paper shaped like water droplets into a bucket. The shapes symbolized the idea that every small gesture of care can make a difference.

The next session, “What is privilege,” is at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 13 on the first floor of the Student Services Building.  

Anyone interested in facilitating discussions can submit applications online to the Dean of Students page.

Staff writer Bekah Sanders can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @rsanders_DE.

To stay up to date with all your SIU news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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