ROCKET: What is your response to the celebration for the 100 years of women?
Zauhirah Tipu: I think it is a beautiful celebration and I’m glad to see the campus and administration honor this celebration, from repainting Sadler to the SLD hosting a scavenger hunt to you guys covering it in your magazine. My one reservation is one I see you all already highlighting: this is truly 100 years of white women. While that is still something to celebrate, one should be mindful of exactly what this milestone represents. I wouldn’t have been able to go to college here 100 years ago.
R: What measures can William & Mary take to make campus a more inclusive community for POC, especially WOC?
ZT: I’d like to preface this by saying I have seen the administration and campus make steps towards the right direction, but there is still a long way to go. I think one of the biggest empowerment tools is funding. Many multicultural organizations are funded, but far too many fall short of their needs. Another issue is acknowledging our past and creating an environment in which students can have constructive conversations about diversity and inclusion and what it looks like in the future. Far too often, people are almost afraid of understanding different perspectives. The list goes on and on, but I’d like to add a specific measure I would like to see administration take. I’d like to see W&M provide a grant competition for diversity initiatives. There are grant opportunities all around campus for sustainability, research, writing competitions, and much more, but why not let student pitch diversity initiatives for funding?
R: What are some things you do on campus that you think make the environment a more inclusive one?
ZT: I’ve had the pleasure of serving as one of the Co-Presidents of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) for the last year and a half. We work very hard to create awareness and a space safe for the Muslim population on campus. I have also had the privilege of serving as the Secretary of Diversity Initiatives for Student Assembly’s Cabinet, where I oversee events such as First Generation Appreciation Week and Interfaith Harmony Week. Lastly, I am one of the members of AMP’s Contemporary Issues and Culture Committee, where I have been able to see activists such as Laverne Cox and Halima Aden brought to campus. This is also my third year at my job, Phonathon, where we solicit funds for the university and my fourth year at the Undergrad Admissions Office as a Tribe Ambassador.