Oct. 12 was the first day of USF Mission Week, a week full of events promoting the vision, mission, and values of the University. This year, ASUSF Senate is focusing on three major events aimed to provide students, staff, and faculty a way to see how the intentions of USF are being implemented on campus. USF mission week concludes on Oct. 16.
Shaya Kara, Senate’s Vice President of Mission and organizer of Mission Week, provided valuable insight into this year’s events.
Tuesday, Oct. 13: Mission Forum Series – USF Mission Week began with “Mission Forum Series” on microaggressions on campus. The forum started with a short introduction regarding microaggressions, followed by a few spoken word pieces from USF students. Afterwards, there was an open mic session for anyone in attendance who wanted to voice their opinions or firsthand experiences with microaggressions.
Then, the forum broke up into groups to discuss what changes would like to be seen on campus in relation to microaggressions. Shaya Kara, the liaison and Senate representative for The Office of Diversity Engagement and Community Outreach (DECO), intends to bring the ideas heard at the forum to DECO leadership. From there, they will ultimately decide what direction to proceed in and how to best solve the issues brought forth. “This is a great opportunity for the students of USF to be heard,” says Kara, “and to encourage real change on the campus and its policies.”
Thursday, Oct. 15: Hispanic/Latino Heritage Celebration – Students can join the Latinas Unidas for live cultural performances and music from 11:45 to 1:00 p.m. at Privett Plaza to celebrate Hispanic/Latino culture and raise awareness. Senate will also host a photo campaign to commemorate this event. Part of the mission of USF is the value of Cura Personalis, or “care for the whole person.” Because of this, Senate has decided to highlight this event as a part of mission week to allow the student body, as well as all those affiliated with USF, a first hand look into just one identity or facet of the student population.
Thursday, Oct. 15: Racing To Zero – USF’s Mission Week will conclude with the screening of the 2014 film, “Racing To Zero: In Pursuit of Zero Waste”, being held in McLaren 250 from 6- 8 p.m. In 2012, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee pledged to get San Francisco to zero waste by 2020, a system where all products are able to be used again instead of being sent to landfills. This documentary follows San Francisco on this journey, highlighting the main tactics and innovations being implemented to achieve zero waste. “Without being sustainable, we would be contributing to the harm of others,” says Kara, “This is just one step towards fashioning a more humane and just world.” After the film, a short discussion will follow where the floor will be open to any and all ideas as to how USF can help contribute to getting the city of San Francisco to zero waste.
USF’s Mission Week is one of the major events on campus that allows students to voice their opinions. In the past, events such as separate identity forums have contributed to changing certain aspects of life here on the USF campus. This year, the microaggression forum aims to stop microaggression from occurring on campus, specifically in the classroom. For Annelisse Mendez, a senior, “Microaggressions seem to be increasing throughout campus,” says Mendez. Through student input and participation in this week’s events though, senate hopes to enact real change and difference that will be able to be seen on campus.
For Kara, USF Mission Week is not only about raising awareness for concerning and disconcerting topics, but for finding solutions to those topics. To her, this week is a time when students can speak up and have their voices be heard through participation in the various events hosted or highlighted by Senate. The Mission Forum Series is one example of this, where the thoughts of the students present will go directly to those in charge of USF. “Their voice matters,” says Kara, “Their participation will be making history at, as well as help shaping the future of, USF.”