Donald Trump has taken the country by storm. Whether you love him or hate him, you can’t escape the continual media coverage of what Trump says and does while on the campaign trail for Presidency. 

On Sept. 15, as part of their monthly Cultural Conversation Hour, the Office of Multicultural Development wanted student’s insight on Trump’s controversial remarks. Titled “Vote for Me!: Donald Trump, Immigration Reform, & the Hispanic Vote,” organizers hoped the conversation would spark an exchange of perspectives by taking an introspective look at Trump’s thoughts on immigration reform and the Hispanic/Latino vote.

LaShonda Gurley, director of Multicultural Development, believed that the event had a great turn out of different perspectives, which in turn strengthened the conversation. 

“The benefit of having opposing opinions is that it adds to the richness of the conversation,” she said. “Having these opposing viewpoints also allows the participants to consider all sides in order to make a more well-informed decision, or to prompt them for further research.”

Musical Performance Senior Jaired Birks was one of the students who came out to event to express his opinions on how Trump is not a viable presidential candidate. He believes that people in society are often pampered to the point that they stay away from talking about politics or controversial issues. In reality, he thinks it’s absolutely necessary for everyone to participate in conversations that challenge their opinions. 

“I believe it is essential for us to spend time focusing on that which is both significant and uncomfortable, because those are the subjects that will likely inform our morality and define our nation,” he said. “There is no better place than a university to have conversation that expands the mind and challenges our understandings.”

The conversation saw a range of perspectives, and attendees discussed Trump’s strengths and weaknesses, political stances, and media coverage. 

P4 Jacob Soppe believes that all Americans need to take a stronger stance and be more involved when it comes to the government. Considering the low rates of people who turn out to the polls, he thinks everyone should take it upon themselves to be active in the governmental process. 

“I think everyone can and should be politically involved to learn what is going on in our government; by attending conferences, reading the news, watching the news, watching CSPANs, etc. The lack of politically engaged people has led us [Americans] to rely on a few people to change things in our areas.” 

Senior Music and Literature major Nicole Glaza believes that opportunities like these cultural conversation hours serve as a place for those who don’t normally speak out to do so. It not only serves as a chance for them to express themselves, but also hear other perspectives. 

“How are we supposed to learn and form our own opinions if we don’t hear anything different from what we’ve been told in the past?” she said. “So many students are so deep set in what their parents believe that they don’t want to consider any other points of view. I think it’s important for young adults to learn about the world outside of their own in order for them to make informed decisions, such as voting.”

When asked what benefits she saw from hosting cultural conversation hours, LaShonda said they served as an opportunity to expand on what the department always strives for.

“Always, always, always…. exposure and education!” she said. “I think that it is important to continue to host forums, such as the Cultural Conversation Hours, in order to allow participants, especially students, the opportunity to express their opinion in a safe environment.”

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