By Grace Poole
Noise canceling headphones, a quiet area at social events and increased music genres are some of the changes to Trevecca’s social life events that have been centered around a vision for increased inclusivity and diversity.
In the past, Trevecca events have highlighted specific people or groups among the student body, said Morgan Crocker, the ASB director of student life. When Crocker took office as ASB social life director at the beginning of the semester, she had a vision to make an impact by focusing on inclusion and diversity for all social events.
“Diversity for me is a little bit of the piece of the pie for everyone,” said Crocker.
This semester, some of Trevecca’s most popular events focused on trying to remove barriers to participation in social events, such as Late Night at Waggoner, Lemonade Lollipops and Live Music, Trojan Idol and Skate Night.
Late Night at Waggoner, a long-standing Trevecca tradition, had an added quiet area for those who wanted to participate without being in the midst of the chaos. The event includes cornhole, karaoke and other loud activities, which can be overwhelming to some.
Crocker’s moment of success was when she saw the turnout of the “chill zone” at Late Night at Waggoner, which included board games, coloring sheets, classical music and other things that are calming to students.
“The first time I walked down into the chill zone Late Night at Waggoner, I was like ‘okay this was the right decision,’” said Crocker. “It gave more accessibility to students who don’t like loud and crazy events. It gave them a space to go to still come get free pizza and free food and be included.”
In an effort to bring musical diversity to events, Trevecca students were given the chance to showcase their musical talents and abilities during Lemonade Lollipops and Live Music, the last event of “Welcome Week.”
“Morgan did a really good job of wanting people who normally aren’t singing or music majors to be included in this, and I think it made it super enjoyable to everyone because it didn’t feel like people were being left out. It didn’t feel like ‘Oh they are more talented than me,’” said Bobbianne Cooke, a performer at the event.
This event featured students performing musical genres such as alternative, country, pop, soul, r&b, musical theater and even some original music.
Crocker wanted to make Trojan Idol a place for everyone to be involved. By adding 25 noise canceling headphones that allow minimal sound to go through, students who do not feel comfortable in loud environments are still able to take part in this event and enjoy the music and talents performed by peers.
Crocker also implemented a section of seat that was behind the bright lights.
“They can still feel the show and experience it without the lights shining in their face,” said Crocker.
In addition to these measures for inclusion, Crocker said the voting system changed. This year, it was based more on vocal performance and stage presence rather than a popularity contest, she said. For the participants who sang a variety of different genres, this gave them a more fair chance to showcase their talents.
Skate night was another opportunity for Crocker to include accommodations for those who cannot participate because of physical disabilities.
Mini canvases and paint pens were in the lobby of the skating center as an alternative option for those who wanted to be involved.
Crocker also ensured that if there were any accommodations that could be available for those with physical disabilities, she would try to make it happen.
“I think it has been really cool to see some of the events that have come out of SGA partnering with clubs and councils to bring some more diverse events and new experiences to Trevecca’s campus,” said Wilson Vrieze, a senior at Trevecca.
Crocker has always had a heart for diversity and inclusivity. Growing up in a missionary family, she got to experience many cultures that were not her own, including going to a high school on the border of Mexico.
“Equity is a big part of diversity to me, like everything should be equal to the point that everyone has what they need,” said Crocker.
Crocker cares about diversity and inclusivity because of her five adopted siblings, who all have a disability.
“I saw a lot of need, and I think that kind of sparked my passion,” said Crocker.
Pushback from doubts and fears do not outweigh the successes for Crocker.
“My boss has been behind me on it, and she has let me take chances. She has said, like, ‘You know what, if this fails then it fails and we will try something else,’” said Crocker.