By Adeeb Chowdhury
SUNY Plattsburgh’s Student Association has set its sights on organizing the creation of new artwork highlighting and celebrating Black lives.
The executive council meeting Oct. 12 began with a discussion of creating a new mural on campus dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement, created by various artists from within the SUNY Plattsburgh community.
Some members pointed out that such murals already exist in the downtown area, but the school having its own would elevate the artistic message and make it more meaningful to students.
“Such a project would be incredibly important for the times we’re in,” Coordinator of the Arts Rickell Larose said. “We have to turn these core ideas into actual, substantial things that everyone can see.”
Larose mentioned that creating a canvas opposed to a mural was suggested to her, given that it would be more convenient to take down and repair over time. Both the ideas of making a mural or canvas are on the table for the time being.
Coordinator of Public Relations Naomi Tegybelu has also reached out to other SUNY institutes that have their own murals and road paintings in order to better understand how to handle obstacles that may present themselves in the process of making and maintaining such artwork. For instance, Tegybelu specifically mentioned the possibility of vandals defacing the artwork and how to combat such a problem.
However, Coordinator of Clubs and Organizations Ivanna Menezes pointed out that simply creating artwork without taking substantial steps to educate students on racial injustice would be a hollow gesture.
“This can be turned into an annual event, where people come every year to repaint and add to it, followed by an educational session or program focused on systemic racism and how it affects communities of color,” Menezes said.
SA President Rudaba Ahmed agreed, stating that any such project should be a consistent effort that stands the test of time. Ahmed also mentioned the recognition of Black Solidarity Day and a teach-in focusing on Black empowerment and leadership.
Following the conversation regarding the Black Lives Matter artwork, members discussed ongoing plans for opportunities they are putting together for the SUNY Plattsburgh community. Ahmed announced she was making progress on the mentorship program that will be made available to students as a resource to help them advance in the professional world. The mentorship program will involve collaboration between various offices on campus and is currently seeking programmers to handle the technical aspects of building the program.
Coordinator of Academics Ahmed Metwaly is in the process of launching a digital learning campaign aimed at promoting digital literacy and resourcefulness in the age of online education. Meanwhile, Coordinator of Activities Lauren Safford is working to organize a series of events for the student body in the days leading up to Halloween.