By Sheryl Holman
October 21, 2016
SPEARFISH…Student leaders at Black Hills State University are encouraging positive respectful discussion of potentially controversial topics.
A group of student leaders, which included students involved with student government, athletics, student organizations and who are pursuing a variety of majors, gathered recently to proactively address current events and encourage respectful, inclusive dialogue.
The students recognize that students at BHSU come from a variety of backgrounds, have had different life experiences, and have differing perspectives.
Dr. Pam Carriveau, political science professor who is often called upon by regional and national media to comment on political issues, identified a number of social and political issues that have direct relevance to the students attending BHSU.
Bryce Boser, a student athlete from Rapid City who participated in a recent BHSU international service learning program, said the discussions have a positive tone with a mutual respect for each other and differing views. He noted that presidential election year political campaigns include some ‘touchy’ topics that sometimes people don’t want to talk about.
“With the elections and other events taking place in society today, this is a way to discuss issues and how they are reflected on campus and how they are being discussed on campus,” Boser said. “We are finding ways to get more students involved and will continue to create an environment where students feel comfortable talking about all kinds of topics.”
Jhett Albers, BHSU athletic director, expressed his gratitude for the students’ leadership in tackling these complex issues.
“It’s great to see this BHSU Student Leadership group meeting to discuss social issues, current events, and timely topics in a positive environment. The meetings provide the opportunity for students to voice opinions and share thoughts, ideas, and experiences that better educate each other on individual perspectives to those related topics,” Albers said.
Dr. Jane Klug, Dean of Students, said that she is pleased to be a part of a community that is willing to talk about current societal issues in a respectful manner.
“I am blessed to work with an incredible group of students who are willing to share their feelings, thoughts and experiences in a constructive way to continue to make our campus a better place for all to learn, live and work,” Klug said.
Boser and other students said the discussions have already provided insight and are creating greater understanding and respect for other students across campus.
“I think if these topics are discussed in an orderly and respectful fashion, it becomes an educational thing. It’s how we can learn from each other. That’s what college is all about,” Boser said.