"No Boxes, No Labels Symposium" Will Spur Campus Discussions, Understanding

By Catherine Ding | 11/14/13 9:00am

Students will gather together to focus on self-reflection, allyship and community building at the “No Boxes, No Labels Symposium” today in Sarner Underground at 6 p.m., hosted by the Dartmouth chapter of the NAACP. The event will encourage students to engage in a student-run, moderated forum that promotes discussion about race relations and cross-cultural communication.

The mission of the NAACP is to promote the political, educational, social and economic equality of all people.

NAACP chapter president Chauna Pervis ’14 anticipates that this event will be an occasion conducive to inspiring commentary and productive critique at Dartmouth.

“Dartmouth is an internationally renowned academic institution, and as such it is important to continue to have constant dialogue about our campus’ climate in order to promote constant understanding,” Pervis said in an email.

The event is also co-sponsored by Alpha Delta fraternity, Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity, Council on Student Organizations, Epsilon Kappa Theta sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, the Office of the President, Phi Tau coed fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, Sigma Delta sorority, Sigma Lamda Upsilon fraternity, Delta Delta Delta sorority and Zeta Psi fraternity.

Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity president Connor Watumull’14 said that the purpose of the event is to foster understanding, respect and collaboration between communities at Dartmouth.

“Especially in light of campus events that transpired this spring, we feel that as a Greek organization it is important to engage all facets of campus directly and be as open and tolerant as possible,” Watumull said in an email. “We look forward to learning more about our and other communities’ roles and identities on campus and how best to work together to build community moving forward.”

The event will also include various activities and small group discussions led by an NAACP member for students to better understand the nature and development of effective strategies for social justice. Students will have “family groups” and “home groups” that will allow for intense dialogue and sharing.

Phi Tau coed fraternity social chair Joshua Schiefelbein ’14 believes the event will promote the breakdown of stereotypical labels that people place on others and on themselves.

“We are co-sponsoring the event because as an organization, we view diversity and acceptance as two of the most important qualities any group, particularly an academic institution, can have,” Schiefelbein said in an email.

Many co-sponsors are optimistic about the results of this event. They hope that the forum will facilitate dialogue amongst the students who attend and will ultimately foster understanding and respect between the various campus communities that these students represent.

“We hope that the event will encourage these communities to collaborate and connect more socially and intellectually in the coming months” said Watumull.

There is a general consensus among sponsors that it is important to hold multiracial, multicultural and inclusive gatherings at Dartmouth.

“As a highly ranked academic institution, helping to prepare future world leaders, it’s particularly imperative that we instill these values in Dartmouth students,” Schiefelbein said. “We’re uniquely located to start and maintain an effective dialogue about cross-cultural communication, acceptance and inter-sectionality.”

Catherine Ding