Newly elected UMC chair talks branching out their name
The DP discusses the new chair's goals for next semester
December 8, 2013, 3:34 pm · Updated December 8, 2013, 9:38 pm·
The United Minorities Council — the 35 year-old coalition of over 20 minority groups on campus — elected College junior Reginald Stewart as its new chair last week. The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with him to discuss his goals for the upcoming year.
The Daily Pennsylvanian: Why did you decide to run for the position of UMC chair?
Reginald Stewart: I’ve been on UMC for two terms. This will be my third. Talking with the board members during my terms and seeing what they wanted out of it … [and] listening to all the alumni talk [at the 35th year UMC gala] about how they felt about it and where they wanted to see it go, I felt like I had a lot of ideas for advocacy, outreach, new programs and old programs that need to be revitalized.
DP: What are some goals that you have for next year?
RS: The biggest thing I want to do is to branch out the UMC name. We have Celebration of Cultures and Unity Month, but I feel like it caters to specifically minority communities. We have a strong community with the UMC and the other 5B organizations, and I feel like we’re reaching ourselves but we’re not reaching people on campus that don’t know about 5B or the UMC.
Another [goal] the UMC has is Members at Large. It’s basically a program where people who aren’t in constituent groups can come to UMC meetings and have a voice. My first term, it was kind of lackluster. My second term, it was nonexistent. I’ve heard a lot of people really wanting that program back … I definitely want to integrate people [who are] not in minority [community groups] into the UMC more because I feel like they have a lot to offer.
DP: How you plan on branching out the UMC name?
RS: We had UMC’s Open Mic. We let anyone come talk about identity or perception or culture. One of the anonymous poems that really touched me was on the Greek system and minority life and how that integrates, or doesn’t integrate, well … It was exploring how minorities feel in the Greek system. I feel like the Greek system is an area that the UMC has never tried to reach before. I think that having events, programming, mixers and … having collaboration with them will hopefully mend that problem even a little bit.
DP: How has your past experience helped you develop your ideas and plan for the next year?
RS: What I’ve seen time and time again is really energetic people coming up with these great ideas, but not understanding how to make them happen. All these good ideas come, and they just falter because they’re never followed through with. I’ve … met with the 5B and [President Amy Gutmann] and have a rich understanding of how to get something passed. I think that’s something really invaluable.
DP: What are you looking forward to next year?
RS: I’m looking forward to a good, smooth year. I’m looking forward to seeing the UMC grow. I feel like outside the minority community, not a lot of people know about the UMC, and I would love to see in a conversation that [the person I’m talking to] knows what UMC stands for.