Anti-Hate Campaign aims at tackling diversity issues

Kristine Young

Kristine Young

“Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect other even as we respect ourselves,” said former UN Secretary General and Burmese diplomat U Thant. As the campus grows in size and becomes more diverse, SDSU’s Residence Hall Association is taking a stand on respect and tolerance by sponsoring the campus-wide Anti-Hate campaign.

The Anti-Hate Campaign, which started this year, is an effort to make students aware of diversity on campus and address issues on campus.

“The campaign is a personal commitment that students, staff and SDSU community members can make to themselves by signing a pledge card, signing our banner, and taking a button as physical representation,” said Allie Wolfgang, the RHA vice president.

Amy Danielson, the Medary Area Complex Director and adviser to RHA, said the campaign encourages students to take responsibility for fighting hate on campus. She said the campaign asks students to be tolerant of other ideas, take a stand against discrimination and encourage peers to abstain from offensive language or actions.

Wolfgang said there is a task force on campus responsible for promoting the campaign.

“The task force is a group of people who are going to keep the campaign up and running by tabling, making buttons and promoting the campaign. The task force was put in action for students to promote unity, understanding, acceptance and tolerance here at SDSU,” said Wolfgang.

Wolfgang said RHA decided to start the campaign for two reasons. The first was to respond to students who have heard hurtful jokes or comments on campus and want a united front to be able to stand up to such acts. Second, she said that after going to nationwide conferences and seeing how successful the program has been in other areas, they wanted to make SDSU a more welcoming area.

RHA is raising awareness of the Anti-Hate Campaign in a number of ways, said Danielson. They are tabling in the Residence Halls and The Union, so students have an opportunity to sign the Anti-Hate Banner, sign a pledge card and receive a button. She said there are also informational posters in each residence hall and a monthly flyer to remind students of the campaign.

Wolfgang is hoping more organizations will jump on board with the Anti-Hate campaign.

“We want to work with a variety of departments and organizations to receive feedback, support and allow the campaign’s message to reach a large number of students,” Danielson said.

Danielson thinks SDSU can obtain positive results from the campaign.

“Every community could benefit from an Anti-Hate Campaign. A welcoming community is something we should always strive for, and this campaign is creating a platform to keep this a conscious effort for everyone.”

There has been a strong and positive reaction to the campaign, said Wolfgang. Apart from the few who may be indifferent to the campaign, there are a lot of people who are very enthusiastic about it and realize how important it is.

Amanda Knutson, a senior HPER major from Vale, S.D., said she thinks the campaign is a great idea.

“I think it’s great RHA is doing this, it’s a matter of being proactive,” said Knutson.

Jackie Willard, a sophomore biology and pre-pharmacy major from Chamberlain, thinks the campaign addresses issues that need to be dealt with.

“I hear hurtful comments on campus and it breaks my heart because we should be building each other up, not tearing each other down. I think it’s great and really cool that kids on campus have a passion to help people being discriminated against,” Willard said.

Wolfgang said she would like to see the Anti-Hate Campaign grow and become universal on campus. More diversity programming, bringing speakers onto campus, and increasing participation in the campaign are just a few of Wolfgang and Danielson’s goals for the campaign.

“This campaign goes beyond race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientations. It is about reflecting on your own actions and behaviors, and making a personal effort to ensure that everyone who steps onto the SDSU campus feels welcomed and at home,” said Danielson.