B.O.L.D. initiates relationships, helps create change

Samantha O'Reilly

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Members of B.O.L.D. play an ice breaker game at to kick off their meeting. Photo credit: Samantha O'Reilly

Red-framed photos of students decorate the entrance of the Cross Cultural Leadership Center. Four red couches face each other in the back of the large room. Between those couches, more than 20 students stand in a circle, their arms linked as they introduce themselves. Students snap their fingers after each student introduction.

Every Tuesday at 5 p.m., students come together for the weekly Beyond Opportunity Leadership Development meeting in Meriam Library 172.

Jovan Smith, social sciences graduate student, who helped coordinate the launch last spring, said B.O.L.D. was designed to help students build relationships, talk about diversity and social issues and enable them to use their voice in a safe environment.

B.O.L.D. was created as a way for students to sustain relationships throughout the semester between events such as the Diversity Summit, an annual retreat in which individuals can delve into factors that shape lives.

Other events include the ILead conference, a retreat that helps people develop leadership capabilities in order to become movements of change.

In addition to annual retreats, the CCLC also hosts the Late Night Lounge at Sylvester’s Café-by-the-Creek. Two Late Night Lounge events are hosted per semester, the first of which will be Hip Hop Night on Sept. 25 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“Diversity as a topic is extremely difficult for many people,” Smith said. “We feel that the best way to start having that conversation is to build relationships with other people. That’s square one.”

Shortly after introductions, students head back outside in order to do just that.

Students in attendance at B.O.L.D. play games to get out of their comfort zones and break the ice. The primary goal at B.O.L.D. is to establish relationships. After students are comfortable and have established strong connections, they have the opportunity to begin sharing their experiences.

“We value diversity,” Smith said. “Everyone is unique, regardless of how they identify. We want to appreciate and affirm that.”

Dylan Gray, sophomore political science major, is an intern for B.O.L.D.

“We want to empower students, as well as to engage in some type of change on campus,” Gray said. “If there is something they do not agree with, or their culture is not being represented on campus, they come here. We want to empower them to enact on that change.”

Samantha Bautista, sophomore CCLC intern, was drawn to B.O.L.D. and the CCLC because she feels like it is a home away from home.

“I see a lot of Latina students around campus, but we aren’t really united,” Bautista said. “The only place I felt I belonged was at the CCLC.”

“This is a place of love,” Gray said. “They come here and expect to feel that love.”

If students are feeling alienated by a new campus or new people, they can go to the CCLC or B.O.L.D. to find a connection they may not have found otherwise.

“We all have different perspectives on things,” Bautista said. “Diversity is a huge part of your learning experience all through your life.”

Samantha O’Reilly can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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