The Student News Editor Olivia R. Nolan spoke to Diva Mukherji, newly elected BME Officer and one of the founders of the LiberatEd initiative on how it felt to finally see her ideas come to fruition, and what the process was like along the way.
What was your original inspiration for LiberatEd?
It largely came from a lot of smaller discussions with friends about the gaps in our curriculum and we realised that the lack of diversity is something most courses shared.
What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced with getting the initiative off the ground?
I think getting widespread attention for the initiative, and getting the word out to enough students to attend the workshops and get involved. Thankfully, we’ve had great turnouts at all of the workshops!
Who have you worked with throughout the process; was it smooth sailing or were there many road blocks?
It started with Esme Allman, the current BME officer, Patrick Garrett, the VPAA, and over time people from other school[s] have been joining in.
It’s worked very smoothly actually, even though there are so many of us involved. We’ve now started working with staff members, and they’ve been great to work with as well and they’ve been very supportive.
What have you found people’s reactions to be when discussing the initiative? Do they understand the reasoning behind it, do they support its existence?
We’ve had overwhelmingly positive reactions. I think it’s because smaller groups of people have been having similar conversations but there hasn’t been a platform for people to have constructive conversations and really communicate with staff, so LiberatEd fills that purpose.
What would you say you are most proud of now that the initiative has officially launched?
I’m definitely most proud of how many people have gotten involved and are willing to help out. So many people are putting in so much time and effort to help this and it’s just so great.
This is such an important initiative and it needs the support of students for it to keep going, so seeing how many people are interested makes me think that LiberatEd will create so much change!
LiberatEd are running a series of workshops, speaking to class representatives, the Staff-Student Liaison Committee and at School Departmental meetings talking directly to course organisers.