MSU changes up “woke” event to better engage students

A TED Talk-inspired event recently brought more attention to social justice issues in a fun, “woke” way. 

RWU students gathered in the GHH atrium with plates full of fruit, cheese and cookies to listen to six speakers who had been asked to share their professional knowledge as a part of Stay Woke Week.

The event was put on by the Campus Entertainment Network (CEN) and hosted by the Multicultural Student Union (MSU).

Alexus Moniz, president of MSU, said that speakers are traditionally part of the event in order to educate students. However, over the years, MSU found that students are not always engaged if the event is lecture-style.

“Every semester we do Stay Woke Week, so it’s always been a tradition of ours to do events all week that are related to social justice, diversity and inclusion,” Moniz said. “We decided that we want to do a TED Talk-inspired event instead in order to better engage and educate the student body.”

The people who attended the event were given information that will help them be more aware and present in their lives. It also gave them the knowledge to help be better members of the global community.

There were five of these TED Talks, with topics that ranged from the mental health of minority students, to white feminism, to the philosophy of abortion.  

The speakers at the event were Associate Professor of Communications Paola Prado, Director of the Feinstein Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement K. C. Ferrara, Professor of Communications Roxanne O’Connell, Lecturer for Philosophy Christina Rawls, Staff Psychologist Kineret Kandelker and Staff Counselor Deborah Knapman, LICSW. 

At the start of the event, Moniz said she hoped the different topics will get a conversation going.

According to Moniz, a conversation inspired by the one of the speakers hopefully helped people in the audience to be more “woke.”

Moniz said that being “woke” means being aware and present because oftentimes, it is easy to turn a blind eye to issues that are going on.

“This is our time, our future generation,” she said. “So we have to be aware of the present and pay attention to these things.”