"Seattle University taught me how to create community. That’s one of its gifts to me. Everywhere I’ve gone in my professional life, I’ve created a community that provided the support I needed. Now I want to support others."
- Shasti Conrad, ‘07
A new alumni group is currently in formation at Seattle U, one that sets aside traditional structures associated with organizations in favor of community. Alumni and Students of Color (ASOC) will provide a safe, welcoming space for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) alumni and students to mingle and engage in conversation with others who share similar experiences in grappling with race-related challenges both within a Seattle U context and beyond.
“So many of us are used to having to claim power in spaces or come in with an agenda in order to be seen or heard,” says ASOC co-founder Shasti Conrad, ’07. “That’s not what ASOC is about. We don’t want to be a performance-based group. It’s not about delivering specific results; it’s about creating space for it.”
Co-founder Rita Bruce, ’75, concurs. “We will lead with trust and move at the speed of trust in building community. It’s important that we form groups to “do,” but ASOC is forming to “be.” Out of “being,” and anchored in Jesuit values, we will serve. We are alumni-driven and will serve an untapped wealth of BIPOC alumni; through this service we will mentor and welcome-in students of color.”
While Seattle U does have established affinity groups for alumni of color, including African-American, Filipino and Indigenous alumni, ASOC is intended to serve as an umbrella community for all these groups, and to amplify what each group is doing.
“We’re greater together,” Conrad explains. “You need numbers to enact change. ASOC is also a place where alums can be honest about ways that Seattle U needs to grow and do better. How can SU demonstrate its commitment to being more equitable and create a platform to uplift alumni and students of color? ASOC provides a way for the university to be part of the solution at a time that we’re grappling with racial justice in this country.”
ASOC’s 15-member steering committee is comprised of alumni from different backgrounds who have been gathering virtually since the beginning of the year. Still very much in formation, ASOC hopes to begin active outreach in the fall.