Black Co: The Importance of a Diversifying Collective

'At Erasmus University College we expect you to use your knowledge, insight, and creativity to unravel today’s complex scientific and social issues ensuring your actions are informed and your decisions are taken with ample consideration for the context.’


EUC starts depicting its mission and values by providing us with this quote. As we all know, there is a big emphasis on critical thinking, critical world citizenship, and inclusion, which EUC hopes to achieve by establishing a broad educational basis. Joining EUC as a black student, this general feeling of openness and inclusion was a comforting feeling, until the EUCSA committee market.


Noticeably, there are many committees in our EUC community. They focus on fun activities next to our demanding workload, but also inclusion and awareness regarding the LGBTQ+ community, sustainability, and so on. Learning about the number of these committees we have, and the similar student associations there are at the other Erasmus Faculties, raises the question of why there has been no form of committee focusing on the diversity at EUC, which we can all agree is lacking quite much.


Fun fact: about 2-3% of EUC is black.


Realizing this all at once allowed us to set up the Black Co soon after we joined EUC. The reason why is very simple. We believed that having a committee in the EUCSA that focuses on black culture in regards to appreciation, celebration and education would create a safe space within EUC, which will raise more awareness. This will consequently contribute to the world citizenship EUC values and might even bring more diversity to our campus.


So, what is the importance of awareness in an educational setting?


Firstly, being aware will allow for a better insight into one’s own beliefs, and whether they contribute to growth or tie you down. Awareness will bring you the knowledge to act and improve the current situation.[1]


Secondly, raising awareness of subtle forms of bias can already bring meaningful change. Much research has been done on this field, and incentives, pressure, and transparency can affect racial biases significantly. These aspects include closer physical proximity and exposure to multi-cultural education.


Thirdly and lastly, awareness of subtle biases and the willingness to attribute them internally is critical to learn to control them, noticing them, and being motivated to control one’s own bias can moderate automatic attitudes or behaviour.[2]


Taking all of this into consideration, there is no particular reason why such a committee should not exist. Now, being reformed as a collective, we aim to address issues and share Black culture with our community and hope to bring actual change, while also celebrating the diversity within the culture. Learning how to combat and address racism through conversations, enables us to teach each other how to be more inclusive people and, eventually, become a more encompassing campus.[3]

[1] Harrison, David. “The Importance of Awareness.” BelievePerform - the UK’s Leading Sports Psychology Website, 12 Dec. 2013, believeperform.com/the-importance-of-awareness/. [2] Pope, Devin, et al. Awareness Reduces Racial Bias. 2013. [3] Mandelaro, Jim. “Campaign Aims to Raise Awareness about Racism.” University of Rochester, 18 Mar. 2016, www.rochester.edu/newscenter/campaign-aims-to-raise-awareness-about-racism/. Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

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