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“Post” is the new academic word…so let’s get post-comfort: Nathan Victoria

March 6, 2010

I’m sitting here at the NUFP pre-conference hearing from Michael Benitez, Jr., activist, scholar, and PhD student at Iowa State University, and I am angry. I am angry that we are in a world where students don’t feel safe in their residence halls due to their race, gender, sexual identity. I am angry that whenever we talk about social justice, those in the majority feel silenced, the minority feel empowered, and I feel torn between the two because of my identities. I am angry that we don’t create spaces where we can talk about this confusion, step out of our comfort zones, and yes, stumble forward together. So many times when we learn about the history of our field, our campuses, our lives, we so often are scared to act. We don’t know what people we will anger, what politics we won’t know how to navigate around, and we don’t want to look stupid.Well you know what, I’ve decided that it is time to change things. As the manager of the 2010 Annual Conference blog with the theme Live the Legacy, Be the Movement, I’m using my privilege as a staff member at NASPA to encourage us all to start being our own movement.

When I talked to the NUFP Fellows and asked them to introduce themselves, I noticed that they all were sitting with other individuals from their institutions. How many times do we do this during NASPA? How many times do we stay in our comfort zones, stick around with those individuals we know, and not challenge ourselves? Well, let’s take this years NASPA Annual Conference theme to heart and start being the change we want to see.

Benitez asked each of the fellows to ask themselves, “what’s your mission?” My mission is to be that mentor I never had in undergrad. My mission is to question the institution and recognize that I’m not just my identities as “oppressed” as a gay Filipino American, but that I also am a male, and able-bodied, and educated. Benitez say that we need to “not be scared to take a risk and be vulnerable.” So here’s my risk and being vulnerable. What’s your mission? How are you being a movement? How are you being vulnerable? How are you using your privilege to question and get “post-xxxx.”

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