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Respect Commitee tries to boost profile with booth


Jim Whiteway (left) and Jennifer Smith are two of the Respect Committee members who were trying to inform students about respect on Tuesday. Photo by Joseph Quigley. [1]

Jim Whiteway (left) and Jennifer Smith are two of the Respect Committee members who were trying to inform students about respect on Tuesday. Photo by Joseph Quigley.

by Joseph Quigley [2]

BELLEVILLE – Loyalist’s Respect Committee [3] is trying to make its presence felt with an information booth this week.

The booth ran Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Kente building’s dining hall, and will run there again on Thursday. Respect Committee members were on hand to provide information, as well as free pens and T-shirts.

The committee focuses on improving the levels of respect across the Loyalist campus, and making it more accepting of diversity.

Jennifer Smith, a Respect Committee member who works in Loyalist’s human resources department, said the booth provides a timely reminder for students.

“We felt that this was a nice time of year to do this,” said Smith. “Just as a reminder to everyone as we are heading into the stressful exam season. Just to remember to be mindful and respectful of others.”

Smith says the Respect Committee’s goals include creating an open and welcoming campus for everybody.

“There are a lot of things going on in the world that makes us always step back and think about diversity and inclusion. Make sure that we’re celebrating differences, as well as respecting the differences of others,” said Smith.

Dawn Szolopiak, a student success mentor [4] who also works on the committee, said they have received favourable feedback about the effort.

“(The response has been) very positive. (Students) like to know (about respect), they love the free things. Some made comments, some shared stories,” said Szolopiak.

But she said she is unsure of the impact the committee has had on students.

“I’m not sure if everyone has an awareness (of the committee). We’re trying to make it more visible to the student body,” said Szolopiak.

Several students coming out of the booth said they felt that respect was important.

Mitchell Moore is a 2nd year business student who said people need to be more conscious of it.

“(There is) a lack of awareness for respect.  I see people just walk though and not say anything at all when you hold a door. Just small little things that people are losing track of,” said Moore.

Tiffany Young, who is also a 2nd year business student,  said that there is not enough respect out there today.

“I think respect is something we definitely need more of. It’s really lacking in our society lately,” said Young.

But she said she is unconvinced of the Respect Committee currently making much of a difference.

“I haven’t seen much of (the Respect Committee). I’ve seen it there, and I’ve seen it up in the student hub. Maybe a poster. But, as far as impact, I don’t know if they have any with just the posters,” said Young.

The Respect Committee is planning a campus wide survey next semester in order to determine how well the committee is doing, and where they could help make improvements on campus.

Jim Whiteway, a committee member and Dean of the School of Business, said that getting people to think about respect is a demanding task.

“It’s getting the word out. It’s making people stop and think. I think that’s the biggest challenge,” said Whiteway. “People often think that what they’re saying isn’t going to hurt someone. They don’t stop and think about what they’re saying or how they’re saying things. It can often have really damaging results.”