Marco Barker ASUN

Marco Barker talks during the ASUN meeting at the Nebraska Union on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska heard from the new Vice Chancellor for Diversity and InclusionMarco Barker and passed one bill related to the Nebraska International Peer Mentorship Program during the senate body’s last meeting on Wednesday, April 24.

Senators asked Barker questions about diversity and inclusion efforts at UNL. Barker said he doesn’t believe UNL is optimizing its ability to improve diversity and inclusion at UNL.

“There’s sort of two things that’s really important to me: one is what we’re going to do, but the other piece is how,” he said. “At our university, we haven’t necessarily figured out the how in the most effective way.”

He said he wants to ensure UNL changes its policies related to diversity and inclusion to include everyone. Barker said he plans to form a strategy to accomplish this goal.

“I see that we have this really amazing, complex — it’s good — but a complex problem,” he said. “It really excites me to be able to get in and figure out how we can get people working together in a way that they haven’t before.”

Although Barker said he faces challenges in his job, he said that does not prevent him from continuing to work.

“I really do ultimately have hope,” he said. “I’m not a super optimist like, ‘The world is always shining. The glass is always half full.’ That’s not necessarily me, but I really do have hope for the future. I have hope in people.”

After Barker’s time in open forum, ASUN passed Government Bill 8. Freshman Campus Leadership Associate Mark Iradukunda wrote Government Bill 8, which moved for ASUN to support the Nebraska International Peer Mentorship Program. The program will pair first-year or transfer international students with domestic students to create a more diverse and inclusive student body, according to the bill.

Iradukunda said he already has 95 international students signed up for the program, but he is looking for domestic students to serve as mentors.

The bill passed, which was followed by a round of applause. ASUN will post information about how students can apply to the program and applications are due on Friday, May 10.

President Emily Johnson announced during the meeting that she is meeting with Counseling and Psychological Services to talk about setting up a system so students can schedule CAPS appointments online. She said she hopes this will help students who may be too intimidated to call CAPS to schedule an appointment.

ASUN also appointed several people to various ASUN committees and boards, including College of Law student Dylan Dam who was appointed to be a senator.

The next senate meeting will take place during the fall 2019 semester.