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    Posted April 16, 2014 by

    Learning about Social Justice one Panel at a time!

    At the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, within the Office of Residence Life is a committee known as Broadening Horizons. According to the Office of Residence Life webpage, “The Broadening Horizons Committee can best be described as a ‘learning to action’ experience for students interested in learning more about issues of diversity and multiculturalism. The vision for this group is to spend time learning and exploring various areas of diversity education and incorporating them into the residence/campus life experience.”

    In the past, part of Broadening Horizons action as a committee has been putting on campus programs related to diversity and inclusivity, and within this past semester they have put on their very first Panel Series program. The panel series consists of 6 different panel topics which are: Bullying Panel, Able-ism Panel, LGBTQ Panel, Hate Incident Awareness Panel, White Privilege Panel and Intersectionality Panel. The panels started on February 12th, and the last panel on intersectionality will end the program on April 30th. This program has incorporated many areas of social justice into one on-going, semester long experience with the intention to increase awareness and education surrounding these topics. While this vast array of one-hour long panel topics has not necessarily made audience members into experts on these topics, it has provided a good understanding of the complexities involved in conversations regarding social justice, diversity and inclusivity. This program has also created an understanding as to why these conversations are important, not only in the context of college campuses and higher education, but also in terms of the larger understanding of society as well.

    One Broadening Horizons member, Morgan Kolinski, who attended all the panels reflects on her experience when stating, “The Panel Series has made me much more aware of how many amazing people we have here on campus that are dedicated to making this campus and the world more inclusive.”

    While Morgan highlighted the amazing people we have at UWL, one panelist, Cristian Noriega, reflected on his experience as a panelist and how it feels to share his story. Cristian stated, “It is always a privilege to be able to educate others in such an intimate way. I am happy and proud that many of my struggles and obstacles in life can give a unique perspective and that I can use them in a productive manner like these panels.”

    In conclusion, the Broadening Horizons Panel Series vision was to promote diversity, social justice and inclusivity education and awareness at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. It was a unique experience where panelists, Broadening Horizons members, and audience members all were able to learn something from this program. And of course, a huge thanks to all the wonderful panelists in the panel series because they made this program a success!

    *In picture left to right: Nizam, Amanda, Raeven, and Cristian*
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