Cultural group tackles tough topics

By Caitlin Giddens

As Texas temperatures and academic pressure rise, one Baylor organization is offering students solace in cool, inexpensive popsicles.

The popsicle stand, sponsored by Fellowship Among Cultures, Ethnicities and Shades, can be found during lunchtime each Monday and Wednesday in the Baylor Sciences Building lobby. F.A.C.E.S. also sells popsicles from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Thursday at the Bill Daniel Student Center.

But more than selling a tasty treat, F.A.C.E.S. hopes to raise money for a scholarship for a local high school student. And by reaching out to the community, F.A.C.E.S. strives to become better known on campus.

“With the stand, we hope to promote multiculturalism on campus, and show how diversity is expanding yourself,” Austin senior Kyneshawau Hurd, treasurer of F.A.C.E.S., said. “The discussions we have in F.A.C.E.S. are great, but a lot of people are missing out. Because at Baylor, when people hear multiculturalism they think the majority can’t be included.”

Instead, F.A.C.E.S. invites all students to join the cultural discussion and feel comfortable. In fact, the organization was created as a comfort zone for ethnic discussions free of judgment.

“We began two years ago with one discussion from a group of girls living in East Arbors,” Fort Worth senior Alison Whitaker, president of F.A.C.E.S., said. “Two of the girls were black and one was white. So they were discussing how they do their hair, and it made the girls realize people don’t know everything about other races.”

Whitaker said questions remain unanswered because of the intimidation and discomfort of discussing certain issues.

“We talk about subjects other people are scared to,” Whitaker said. “You can bring an open mind to our meetings. Everything we say is an individual opinion. So if you have a strong opinion about this subject, you should attend the meetings.”

F.A.C.E.S. meets at 7 p.m. every other Wednesday in the Houston Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center. Since several of the organization’s officers are graduating soon, they are searching for applicants.

“When I’m gone, I want future officers to connect with the different demographics of people across campus to broaden the cultural and religious spectrum,” Hurd said.

“And continue our volunteering with the family abuse center. We want to expand all of our traditions.”

F.A.C.E.S. mentors students at University High School and volunteers with the Family Abuse Center. As community service chair of the organization, Austin junior Mia Clarke said she values the time she has spent in the community and in the meeting room.

“I love the idea of going to a safe place on campus and discussing subjects that we don’t talk about at Baylor,” Clarke said. “I have expanded my knowledge of minority issues and made friendships with the other officers of F.A.C.E.S.”

After attempting to establish a scholarship program for the past two years, F.A.C.E.S. hopes to award a local high school student a scholarship for the fall semester.

“All of our funds from the popsicle stand will go directly toward this scholarship fund,” Hurd said. “There are so many high school students who need a chance like this, and we can do it. If you eat a popsicle, you help someone with their education.”

Members hope the scholarship will be between $250 and $500, depending on how much money they are able to raise.