Posse Plus Retreat addresses pertinent issues on campus

Megan García, Contributing Reporter

Emma Vaughters | Layout Editor

During the weekend of March 15-17, between 200 to 250 Tulanians gathered for the annual Posse Plus Retreat. Posse scholars, students, faculty and staff met in Orange Beach, Alabama to discuss issues such as gender, sexuality and race, affecting both the community on Tulane University’s campus and the nation as a whole.

“Posse is a not-for-profit organization that helps non-traditional college students go to four-year prestigious universities like Tulane University,” Justin Olavarrieta, freshman and New Orleans Posse scholar, said. “It is strictly a merit scholarship, and many people mistake it for a minority scholarship. It’s very structured and calls a lot of attention to one student and what they have to offer in a group.”

With this year being the 30th anniversary of the Posse Foundation, each Posse scholar invited two or more Tulanians to the retreat, among them friends, companions and even faculty members. With the presence of faculty members at the retreat, the importance of protecting marginalized groups on Tulane’s campus was more prevalent than ever. Different members of the faculty let students at the retreat know that their offices are safe spaces.

The theme of the Posse Plus Retreat this year was “The State of Our Union,” aiming to address political and social issues alike that are fragmenting and dividing the country and campus.

“I grew up in a very different environment than most of the people on campus did. I learned in the Posse Plus Retreat that we do need to bring back these conversations that are critical on our campus and critical in our nation and how we have to bring these discussions on campus and flourish in them,” Olavarrieta said.

The retreat provided Posse scholars and other participants with the opportunity to distinguish their point of view in our community by engaging in various group activities.

“People just passed around the mic and shared poems, spoken word, some people wrote essays and read pieces of their essays. Some people just shared advice, it was really cool,” freshman Raven Ancar said. “After we all hugged out and went up to whoever touched them with what they said, some people were crying. It was just so touching, a very touching experience.”

The circulation of different perspectives on the issues discussed at the retreat exposed many students and faculty members to new outlooks.

“[Posse Plus Retreat] was a really great experience for me, and I think overall a great experience for other people,” Olavarrieta said. “It was great conversation. You had a lot of viewpoints coming in. It all led to a greater understanding of me for other people and how the issues on our campus can be confronted and how the issues in our nations can be confronted as well.”

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