Intersections Ambassadors seek social justice on campus

By Taylor Crowley | 3/29/18 3:21am


Intersectionality is defined as the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class and gender as they apply to a given individual or group of people. Grand Valley State University's Intersections Ambassadors focus on inclusion and social justice for all students attending the university. 

The Intersections Ambassadors have recently finished their planned events for the winter 2018 semester, but the organization continues to meet and discuss new ways to get more students involved moving forward. The organization is planning for big things to come in the upcoming fall and winter semesters.

In past events, the ambassadors held a panel discussing how students take on diversity and understanding how faculty and staff help students adjust to college life, specifically focusing on marginalized groups.

Another presentation focused on intersectionality and how it applies to a solid foundation for leadership. 

The Intersections Ambassadors group is a student-led peer-education organization that focuses on social justice issues. Social justice at GVSU can be defined as advocating for people who cannot advocate for themselves, and working toward equity and equality for people who have remained unheard because of their personal identities and systems of oppression acting against them.

Jarred Daniels, active Intersections Ambassador, is most passionate about social justice issues and how they affect everyday life. He said because he majors in women, gender and sexuality studies at GVSU, he can apply his knowledge and skills to educate other people in the community. 

“I’ve met a lot of faculty and staff that I’ve had really meaningful connections with,” Daniels said. “I wouldn’t have met a lot of great people if I hadn’t joined Intersections Ambassadors.”

Intersections Ambassadors dedicate their passion to educating students on social justice in the community. The ambassadors work with students who have been marginalized, including people of color, people from lower-education backgrounds, and queer and trans people. 

The organization focuses on teaching how these marginalized groups intersect with one another and how they can work collaboratively to further social justice. 

One guarantee from the organization is passion. The organization thrives on passion, and this trait continues to keep the group members excited about the message they put out to GVSU. 

“I’ve found that when people go into social justice advocacy, it’s fueled by passion for it. It really bonds people,” said Ty Konell, active Intersections Ambassador. 

Konell said she feels very safe being a part of this group. She said that even though the students might be from different majors or have different interests, they all have the same goals, which fosters friendship and camaraderie. There is an underlying theme of social justice work and caring about oppressed communities. 

Daniels and Konell both hold their passion and drive for social justice advocacy in high regard. The organization has plans to grow and expand, inviting more GVSU students who are interested in social justice to apply to join the organization.

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