Intercultural Leadership Council makes mark on campus in first year

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The Intercultural Leadership Council will host the first Student Problem Identification and Resolution of Issues Together program on Feb. 7 at Kansas State.

The student-driven SPIRIT program is the council’s first event to address campus issues relating to race, sexuality and abilities.

“It really is a step-by-step process to to help you get to actionable items for your school, for your campus,” said Jansen Penny, student body president and senior in industrial engineering.

However, this wouldn’t be possible without the creation of the ILC, Penny said. Student Governing Association created the ILC under K-State alumna and former student body president Jordan Kiehl. Adrian Rodriguez, associate vice president for student life of diversity and multicultural student affairs, worked with Kiehl on the project.

“I felt that … K-State needed to have a platform for all marginalized groups,” Rodriguez said. “Representatives from various identity groups are able to come together to talk about issues.”

Kiehl asked Rodriguez to combine the work of SGA and the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs into one council to centralize the work.

Rodriguez said it isn’t limited to various racial or cultural groups. Representatives from LGBTQ+ communities, religion and ability.

Penny says the council gives various student groups the ability to work together and pool their limited time and efforts.

“Why are we separating our resources,” Penny said. “When we could collaborate and combine them?”

The council has been working slowly since its inception last spring, Penny said. This is due in part to the council “finding its place” in the array of student organizations.

“It’s like, ‘We’re a piece of this, and where exactly in the puzzle do we fit?'” Penny said.

He hopes the SPIRIT program can be that piece of that puzzle. A combination of large group and small group activities are scheduled with the purpose of creating a list of tangible goals and concerns of students to bring to university administration and SGA.

“We want people in the room who are passionate about these problems on campus and about finding some different solutions on how we can possibly solve those future goals,” Penny said.

Penny hopes the SPIRIT program is the “capstone” of the ILC and will be an annual event much like KSUnite.

“My hope is that, in the future, there are a lot more tangible actions that come out of [the ILC],” Penny said.

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My name is Bailey Britton and I am the managing editor for the Collegian. I grew up in Colby, Kansas. I am a sophomore studying journalism with minors in leadership studies and English. I value quality news coverage and believe that communication is a vital part of solving problems. When I have free time, I like to spend time with friends and family or be outdoors with a good book.