IGC Student Council responds


Former President of Student Government Jess Hasken once said, “Togetherness isn’t a kumbaya mentality. It means you fight, you cry, you disagree, but you don’t demonize.” In response to Michael Galvin’s article in The Mac Weekly, it is our responsibility, as members of the Institute for Global Citizenship Student Council (IGC Student Council) and individuals committed to Macalester’s purpose, to support Ms. Hasken’s statement. Last fall, a small group of students faced the challenge of “togetherness” when they sought to charter the IGC Student Council. Rather than condemning the Institute, we sought to collaborate with the Deans and the Campus Advisory Committee to build a constructive partnership. A painfully long process of disagreement, shaky trust, and frustration finally brought us to a working relationship with the Deans of the Institute in order to provide a solid platform from which to start representing the student body this Fall. We would like to thank Michael Galvin for his opinion piece in last week’s issue for reopening these important discussions. However, the charges brought forward by Mr. Galvin are very serious and cannot be left without a response. First, he takes issue with the Institute’s supposed objective of generating expertise for America-centric global leaders and extols social justice activists, who fight against the interest of money and power. Such a position is truly disappointing because it embraces the same “us against them” worldview propagated by the very White House resident whom Galvin dismisses. Second, Dean Samatar’s alleged “tribalism” in regard to student interest groups on campus is not something that he, nor we, desire, but rather is a consequence of interest groups perceiving the vision of others as irrelevant to their own. Whenever we focus on blame, we are reinforcing the “tribalist” view of Macalester students by dismissing all but a very narrow portion of the diverse moralities found within the student body.

In regard to America’s involvement in the world, no one will deny that the American government has made some mistakes, but the consequences of the US isolating itself from the international community would be much more disastrous. Citizen participation is essential to correcting, and preventing these mistakes.

Every year, administration, faculty, alumni, and students collaborate openly as they work toward common visions, accomplishing great projects across the world. This past year, two students received a grant from 100 Projects for Peace, four students were awarded Action Fund grants, campus carbon emissions have dropped 8 percent since 2004, and over 20 Experimental College (EXCO) courses are currently available to our community. None of these projects would be possible without the partnerships between students, administration, faculty and our diverse surrounding communities. But we must go beyond conversations.

There comes a point in our lives when we must decide how we perceive our world: is it a place of anger and isolation, or one of collaboration and connection? Recent developments may have caused some disillusionment for some very visionary activists, but it is time for a change. We are here to be inspired and to inspire those around us. As global citizens, we do not ask those in power to submit to our demands; we affirm our abilities to do far more promising things by working together. Rather than asking what is the Institute for Global Citizenship doing for me, we should be asking ourselves, what can I do for global citizenship?

The IGC Student Council will collaborate with the Macalester community through student endeavors and–in as many ways as we can–student initiatives toward change. Everyone has a different identity on this earth and we, as a student body, must recognize the diverse passions in Macalester students. We are still changing the world today, and it is time to unify our action, supporting one another as we stumble over roadblocks and struggle through our hectic lives. And it is this process, this struggle, that is inherently linked to collective change.

IGC Student Council meetings are open to all students. We meet Tuesdays at 4:30pm in CC 215. Check our website: macalester.edu/globalcitizenship/studentcouncil/

Alese Colehour
Timothy Den Herder-Thomas
Momchil Jelev
Josh Jorgensen
Hector Pascual-Alvarez
Samantha Robinson
Federico Segura
Danni Sigwalt
Ben Voigt

Paul Bisca also contributed to this editorial.