SGA Update: New Program on Campus to Promote Diversity

The Compassion Initiative

By Jaylin Johnson, Correspondent

This week, we investigated a new project by the Student Government Association (SGA) called the Compassion Initiative. The initiative, led by the SGA’s Vice President Timmy Casnellie, is meant to be a step towards having more inclusiveness and diversity at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). The fall semester is the first semester the Compassion Initiative will be active on the Prescott ERAU campus. There have already been two open meetings for students to attend to learn more and provide feedback, one virtual and one in-person. Casnellie believes the initiative will only be successful if the whole student body understands its purpose and intent. 

The Compassion Initiative hopes to embrace diversity and set multiple goals to help the ERAU campus. Casnellie expressed the importance of having many different people join in expressing their perspective, as everyone has had different experiences in life that help shape their views. All these points of view can have respectful conversations to strive for understanding between the groups. The discussions aim to bring the students together with compassion to help change social injustices. 

Ideas that Casnellie had already thought of integrating onto the ERAU campus were brought up at the last meeting during a presentation explaining the initiative’s future direction. A diversity fund was suggested for clubs to draw from to hold events that promote diversity. There is also the idea of a campus speaker focused on inclusion and diversity going to the SGA summit in the upcoming years. One final key thought brought up was having focus groups and knowledge or awareness months based around certain aspects such as cultural heritage. These were just the ideas that the Compassion Initiative leaders had already come up with; students brought up many more throughout the meetings. 

This initiative has much potential to help the ERAU campus. Still, more students are needed to ensure the organization can achieve its goals. The whole student body has a say in how the Compassion Initiative is run from this point onwards. The meetings are open to every student who has an idea to contribute, or just those who are curious. Casnellie addressed any and all questions and concerns brought to his attention. He hopes to use the critiques and suggestions to better this initiative in the coming semesters. 

“My main future goal for this initiative is to bring knowledge to this campus so that we all experience understanding at a fundamental level. Then it’s the optimal goal that people can look at each other, with different viewpoints and different perspectives, and have compassion for one another.”

Casnellie, in summary