Duke Student Government senators shared updates on a LGBTQIA+ mental health support group project and conducted a media training at their Wednesday meeting.
Senators Rashad Rahman, a junior, and Akshay Gokul, a first-year, are leading the project along with junior James Liao, cabinet director of LGBTQIA+ affairs and policy. The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, Counseling and Psychological Services, Blue Devils United and some student organizations also collaborated on the project.
The goal of the support group is to create space and build community among LGBTQIA+ identifying and questioning students, and to provide direct communication to campus resources, such as CAPS. As of now, the team plans to distribute a survey to gauge interest in the support group.
Duke director of Global Communications Greg Phillips led a media training and shared advice with senators on how to talk to reporters. Phillips explained that senators act as representatives of constituents, thus reporters “may want [a senator’s] take on something.”
Phillips then elaborated on three ways an interview can go wrong—the interviewee not saying what they meant, the interviewee being misunderstood or the interviewee being misquoted—and provided advice on how to avoid these situations. He stressed the importance of preparing and knowing the news outlet before an interview, avoiding saying “no comment” to reporters and being polite if an error arises in a story.
In other business
Senators Effie Mehbod, a senior, Comfort Markwei, a first-year, Karen Xu, a sophomore, and Hana Hendi, a senior, were nominated and confirmed to the Board of Elections. Senator Katie Kotler, a sophomore, was confirmed to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
DSG chartered the Duke Amnesty Club, Duke Rare Cancer Club and Duke Women’s Wrestling.
Defining Movement Dance Group received $1,550 in funding for a small dance workshop and social dance lesson event preceding their April showcase. The Muslim Student Association received $2,800 for a speaker event with author Jamillah Karim, titled "Black Mecca to Black Medina: Black Women Find Beauty in Islam." The Jewish Student Union received $4,087 for their Bar Mitzvah event. Duke University Improv received $3,067.50 for their Valentine’s Day Show with the acapella group Pitchforks.
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Ayra Charania is a Trinity junior and a senior editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.