CAMPUS EVENT

Brave Space: a forum for students to express themselves

Program plans to move toward student facilitation of meetings

Brave Space is an open forum for students to talk about about issues or experiences that concern them and bring about positive change at RPI, hosted by the Multicultural Leadership Council alongside the Black Students’ Alliance and facilitated by Assistant Director of Student Activities Miciah Yehudah. According to one member of the BSA, it was started after the Orlando nightclub shooting in 2016 as a way to help underrepresented students feel safer and facilitate discussions that address issues these communities face.

As to why it’s called “Brave Space,” one member explained that the space is not “sheltered,” because what’s said at Brave Space can and should be repeated outside of the Multicultural Lounge. With that said, Brave Space has rules and guidelines in place to facilitate respectful and productive discussions between students and administrators. It aims to make every student feel comfortable when expressing their views, opinions, or concerns.

The following is an interview between Yehudah and Namish Gali, a reporter for The Polytechnic.

GALI: Can you describe the purpose of the event and its aims?

YEHUDAH: Brave Space is a judgement-free open forum for members of the community to share their thoughts, ideas, [and] concerns with other members of the community. It’s used for students to speak about their experiences, both positive and negative. And it’s a great way for people to hear what other people have to say.

GALI: How successful do you think this event has been so far?

YEHUDAH: I’ve been here since January 2018, and I think it’s been very successful. It’s an outlet for students to talk about their experiences. Myself, as a staff member, it gives me an opportunity to get feedback from students about programs on campus and to follow-up on that. Numbers have been good this semester, and we’ve seen a lot of freshman take initiative. It tends to be mostly underrepresented students who come to Brave Space, the hope is that we can get more students not from underrepresented communities to join. That’s the purpose of Brave Space—it’s for everyone.

GALI: What direction is this event going in? Are there plans to expand it and what is the future for this event?

YEHUDAH: The plan is to have students facilitate Brave Space. I’m in discussions with the Multicultural Leadership Council to take over Brave Space eventually. It’s technically mostly student run, but in terms of facilitating the conversations, I see students doing that in the future. Hopefully, it moves into a larger space because more people are attending and it becomes a staple of the campus where everyone looks forward to attending. So really, Brave Space will expand when the campus is ready for it to expand.

Brave Space meets on a biweekly basis Tuesdays at 5 pm at the Multicultural Lounge in the Rensselaer Union.