New co-chairs moving Four Front forward
Ipsa Chaudhary and Alanna Diggs were elected in April.
Jun. 02, 2015
Junior Ipsa Chaudhary and senior Alanna Diggs are the two new faces of Four Front Council this year.
The co-chairwomen were elected in April to represent the minority population of MU in the Multicultural Center’s student council. Diggs said they hope to strengthen Four Front’s “cultural competency” and continue building its brand.
Former Four Front co-chairwoman Young Kwon said she believes both Chaudhary and Diggs possess “great ideas and skills” that will help them continue advocating for students of marginalized identities through Four Front.
“Alanna and Ipsa are excellent leaders,” Kwon said. “They have been highly involved in organizations under Four Front, and they are very respected by their peers. They have great knowledge about social justice and have been developing their leadership styles. I know they are going to be amazing leaders.”
In addition to Four Front, Diggs has also worked for the Department of Residential Life and the Alumni Association Student Board, and has recently been recruited by the secret society Mystical Seven. Chaudhary will be an Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention educator in the fall. Both women are Diversity Peer Educators and involved with the South Asian Students Association, where Chaudhary was the vice president and events coordinator.
Diggs attributes her position to inspiration and encouragement she received from other leaders in minority groups.
“I had always looked up to Tama Chakrabarty, the previous co-chair, who is a student leader who also has impeccable character,” Diggs said.
She said Chakrabarty and Mary Bifulco, the previous Diversity Peer Educator coordinator, encouraged her to become the Four Front liaison for DPE. It was then that she began to understand the council’s effect on positive change at MU.
“I got involved because I am passionate about seeing this campus become a place where all students feel safe and valued so they can spend all of their time focusing on becoming better students,” Diggs said.
As for next year, Diggs hopes she and Chaudhary can continue the legacy that Kwon and Chakrabarty have left them.
“The previous co-chairs sacrificed so much and worked tirelessly last year to get Four Front to be a recognizable brand,” Diggs said. “More importantly, they made it a place for student leaders to strengthen each other and bond in solidarity. We want to honor (that) by initiating more dialogue. We want students involved with Four Front to be able to discuss issues on campus and gain more cultural competency. As DPEs, Ipsa and I are excited about education. If we can contribute to the character of a few passionate students, the effect that those few may have will be a tremendous step toward positive change.”
They also share a passion for dance: Diggs is the choreographer for SASA’s dance group, Flawless Girls, where Chaudhary also dances, and Chaudhary is the choreographer for Mizzou Masti, where Diggs is also a dancer.
Former SASA President Ami Bhatt, who is also Diggs’ roommate, has worked with both co-chairs through SASA. She described Chaudhary as “one of the most powerful young women” she has ever encountered. She believes Chaudhary and Diggs have potential to move Four Front forward as its leaders.
“(Diggs) is extremely passionate about everything she does and always gives her 100 percent,” Bhatt said. “(Chaudhary) is extremely hardworking and likes to see results.”
Diggs also brings her passion for multicultural and minority students to the attention in the other groups she is involved in, such as AASB.
“As a fellow member of AASB, (Diggs) is always presenting new ideas while also bringing attention to areas or topics that have not been addressed previously,” AASB Vice President of Communications Aimee Murray said. “For example, she has been a major advocate for increasing the diversity of the students who represent the Alumni Association on AASB. As a multicultural student, she recently co-facilitated a diversity discussion to our entire organization to discuss cultural boundaries, issues of diversity and how we can overcome stereotypes and negative stigmas.”
AASB’s faculty adviser also notices Diggs’ efforts to educate students on issues that minorities face.
“So we’ve been lately trying to educate our groups more about diversity issues on campus and making our group more well rounded,” AASB adviser Aly Friend said. “She is very smart and educated on a variety of topics. I learn a lot from her and I know her peers do as well.”
Chaudhary is a pre-med student as well as an artist. Bhatt believes that these interests lend her a unique blend of skills: an ability to analyze as well as creativity.
“With her creative and critical mind, I'm sure she's going to make Four Front progress very quickly,” Bhatt said. “She is a hardworking ally and strives to educate herself about all things multiculturalism through DPE and RSVP.”
Diggs said Chaudhary compliments her own personality well, noting that while she has many big dreams, Chaudhary is able to keep them in check with her more realistic views. They’re also friends, and Diggs hopes that their relationship and personalities can be an example for other group members.
“We've never taken ourselves too seriously, and we've always found a way to laugh, even under the most stressful circumstances,” Diggs said. “I think that's very reflective of how we'd like to see Four Front next semester. We'd like to be a safe space for students to share ideas without judgement and a place where they can encourage each other personally and to do things they may have been hesitant to do before. We want students to be able to laugh and learn from each other so that we can become a stronger organization with a bigger impact on campus.”