Keilah Davis | Correspondent
Q: One of the main sections of your platform was “Diversity and Cultural Competence.” Explain what those words mean to you.
Paul Nolan: The difference between diversity and inclusion is very significant. Diversity is having people of different backgrounds all at the table, whereas inclusion is making sure everyone is welcome at that table. You can slice and dice diversity in a million different ways but it really boils down to this: are we making sure that everyone here at NC State embraces [diversity] and is culturally competent enough to respect those individual differences? So part of our platform is making sure that the whole community is respectful and educating people on what is the best approach in dealing with people who are not like ourselves.
Q: Why was it important for you to include diversity and cultural competence as one of your key campaign components?
Brayndon Stafford: My biggest thing is that NC State [markets] this whole idea of diversity when they’re trying to get students to come in and trying to get donors. I didn’t really see those efforts come from the top down. NC State is minutely diverse compared to the way they express it to outside people. Now students want to make sure that the diversity NC States [markets] and the people that are of diverse cultures are being appreciated and heard. Then in the future they won’t just say that NC State is diverse but they’ll actually make efforts to make NC State diverse. That’s why I thought it was a big component of our platform.
Q: Do you think it will be easy to implement your plans? Why or why not?
Nolan: We made sure our platform was very well researched and thorough. We looked at 35 peer institutions to see what their student governments were doing well and how we can replicate that at NC State. I think it will slightly easier because we are well prepped for this. We just need to make sure that we have great directors in the executive department because those are the people who are actually putting the initiatives into action.
Q: What were your thoughts on the Racial Climate Town Hall? Do you plan to have forums like this next year to include student voices in your initiatives?
Stafford: I definitely appreciated everyone who put in the work behind the scenes to make the event happen. Students were able to express themselves not only to other students, but to faculty and staff as well. When we finally had a chance to express their feelings to administration, it was refreshing because they could see that students aren’t just making things up. It’s a great opportunity to start making change. I think it’s something we definitely need to have whether it is another town hall or it takes a different form.