My name is Ahad Hosseini, chairman of the One Mizzou Steering Committee. This letter is being written on behalf of the One Mizzou Council as a response to the Sept. 18 editorial titled “Is One Mizzou Losing Momentum?” In the article, the author speaks of perceived shortcomings of the second annual One Mizzou week and points to it as a sign that the One Mizzou initiative is faltering in its pursuit of promoting a more inclusive campus.
The Maneater’s criticism is welcomed as it helps to hold student leaders accountable. In light of the article, however, I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify the current state of One Mizzou and explain the steps we are taking to ensure it succeeds in its mission of encouraging a more purposely inclusive campus.
The concept of One Mizzou, and diversity in general, is simple yet deeply complex at the same time. At its core, One Mizzou is a feeling of belonging, and every person who identifies the University of Missouri as their home is a part of this feeling. Beyond that, the goal of the One Mizzou initiative, however, is to inspire our Mizzou family to go above and beyond simple tolerance to a deep celebration and embracement of one another to create a greater campus community. In an effort to realize these goals the One Mizzou Council, which consists of student leaders representing the campus' largest student organizations, meet weekly to bring their unique perspectives to the table. To date, the council has already forged relationships and collaboration between groups that had otherwise been non-communicative.
Since the First Annual One Mizzou week last year, the council has been working to develop a structure that will provide One Mizzou with the necessary manpower and perspective to achieve its mission. To that end, the council decided to create a steering committee to guide the day-to-day operations of One Mizzou, the benefits of which would be three-fold:
1. Expanding the diversity in One Mizzou’s leadership 2. Providing more of a direct connection with the student body *3. Making One Mizzou a more inclusive and “grass roots” initiative, and not merely a program of one of our student organizations
After an open application process last semester, I was selected as the chairman of the steering committee, and the application process to fill the remaining steering committee spots will be conducted this semester, with One Mizzou general body meetings beginning in the spring of 2014.
This new structure will give One Mizzou the ability to grow, thrive and achieve its mission in the future, while overcoming some of the obstacles we have faced thus far, such as not having a dedicated source of funding or having personnel whose primary responsibility is to plan and execute One Mizzou initiatives. These issues, and more, played a part in this most recent One Mizzou Week and did have some effect on it.
Perfection is often pursued but rarely attained. So, could One Mizzou Week have been better? Absolutely. However, any perceived shortcomings were not the result of a lack of organization or interest, but maybe a lack of understanding. The purpose of One Mizzou Week is to showcase many of the great diversity-related programs and events that already exist on campus, and this was achieved. I implore you to listen to the Inside Out podcast on Mizzou’s LGBTQ website for a sample of the passion behind what drives this movement. In addition, there were good turnouts to the One Mizzou planned events such as the DiversiMe Discussion and the “I Am One Mizzou” panel discussion.
One Mizzou is by no means “losing momentum.” On the contrary, we have the foundation set and the wheels in motion for what looks to be a bright future as we aim to help create a stronger and more unified Mizzou.
— Ahad Hosseini, chairman, on behalf of One Mizzou Steering Committee,
Start a discussion
Concurrence or rebuttal, if you have a strong opinion, let's hear it. The Maneater Forum seeks to publish a diversity of opinions and foster meaningful decision. Readers are encouraged to actively contribute to and develop new discussions. Add to ours, or make your own point.