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S.T.A.R.T. Program Starts Week of Awareness

Picture Provided by: S.T.A.R.T. Program

On Feb. 5, the Students Taking an Active Role Together (S.T.A.R.T.) program launched their first “Week of Awareness.” On each day of the week, S.T.A.R.T. members spread awareness on a new social issue.

“Our message is Educate, Activate, Advocate,” S.T.A.R.T. Vice President Tina Gonzalez ’19 said. “When you think about the week, the message is essentially educating people. Everyone is aware of these topics and these peoples and by activating everyone’s minds through this education, hopefully by the end of it, these people will be advocates.”

Mason Cashman ’21 and Adam Alon ’21 originally planned The Week of Awareness. Their inspiration came from the summer S.T.A.R.T. Week’s group discussions on social issues.

“Adam and I thought it would be a great idea to take the talks that we did over the summer week and bring them into more of a spotlight for the whole school to see,” Cashman said. “Because we thought that the issues and discussions we had and the topics we covered were important for not only people of S.T.A.R.T. to be aware of, but for the whole student body to take action on.”

With the support of the S.T.A.R.T. program, the two students planned out how they wanted each day to discuss a social issue, but it was easier said than done.

“It has to be super organized all the time, having your bases covered basically,” Alon said. “We are communicating with different groups and, obviously, they have their own timeline.”

Despite these obstacles, the S.T.A.R.T program, with the collaboration of the Muslim Student Association (MSA), launched Monday’s photo campaign on Islamophobia.

Students and faculty should expect to see photos around campus. Each of the pictures include a faculty member or student with comments of their feelings towards Islamophobia.

A photo used in the Islamophobia photo campaign. Picture Provided by: S.T.A.R.T. Program

“My personal stance on Islamophobia is that it’s wholly unacceptable,” Cashman said. “Having a belief that one person, because of their religious background, is inherently less than or dangerous compared to another person is completely pointless and has no base of grounding. And so, the fact that we were able to have a day focusing on Islamophobia as an issue during our S.T.A.R.T. program, I think is fantastic.”

The S.T.A.R.T. program hopes that their Week of Awareness would inspire students and faculty to take a stand against social injustice on and off campus.

“I think that there’s just this big skew on who is wrong, and this painted picture of these groups that are wrong. Instead, they are the people who need the most support,”  Gonzalez said. “So, people, like of the Muslim faith, brown people, black people. There needs to be support instead of this perspective  ‘they’re the wrong ones, they’re the ones that decide their fate, they’re the aggressors.”

The last day of Week of Awareness will be on Feb. 9. On that Friday, students will learn what it means to be an ally and the actions to become one.

Ave Johnhope ’20 is a Staff Writer for the Hub. She can be contacted at

Posted by on February 7, 2018. Filed under Around Campus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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