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MOAAP Film Event Foreshadows Continued Success


On a snowy Saturday night, the Minority Organization of Architecture, Art, & Planning held its first event of the year; a screening of AAP alum Omar Nolan’s (’06) documentary Shades of Gray: When Being Both Means You’re Neither. The film screening and discussion that followed was an effort to raise awareness on living as a Cornell student of multi-racial identity. Around 50 members of the Cornell community, including students, faculty and staff members, and those from around the Ithaca area joined the group in Goldwin Smith’s Kaufmann Auditorium.

MOAPP is one of the only groups in the College of Architecture, Art, & Planning that boasts a membership comprised of students from each of the departments in the college, including some graduate students. The group garnered success during the 2009-10 school year after a successful trip to India. However, due to a rocky transition of power from the 2010 graduating class and a number of unforeseen internal struggles, the group was defunct for the first semester of this school year. With the determination of the new Executive Board (Nick Savvides, Brandon Taylor, Jessica Gardenhire, Ujijji Davis, and James Nguyen) and support from staff across the university (including new Associate Director of Diversity & Inclusiveness, Rei Thompson), the group is revitalized with a passion unlike any that has been seen previously. During Saturday’s discussion, almost everyone in the room signed up to be included on the listserv and to join the organization. MOAAP has a busy semester scheduled, as they have signed up to host a film series and take on larger projects, such as the revitalization of one of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated’s historic sites.

MOAAP has a larger impact on the university as a whole than they might imagine. The Student Assembly members present (EVP Ray Mensah & AAP Representative Ulysses Smith) both recognized the importance of having groups on campus that encourage diverse membership, especially given the recent change in climate around race relations. This group highlights just how important it is that we have a dialog about race. As shown by shifts in Africana and now the American Indian Program, the university is in need of a way to have these open discussions in order to relieve the mounting tensions. This movement should be led by not only the Student Assembly, but also student organizations like MOAAP. At the Dining with Diverse Minds dinner the night before the film event, the importance of communication was the central theme. Well now it is time that we start communicating and not merely saying how much we should do it. MOAAP is doing its part to not only bring the discussion forward, but also to find ways to include different individuals from across the university and engage them in manner that seeks to bridge the many gaps that exist between us.

If you would like to get involved with MOAAP or learn about how you can get involved with this unfinished film, feel free to contact any of the E-Board members at the addresses below. If you would like to know more about the College of Architecture, Art, & Planning or how you can get involved with the Student Assembly, please contact Ulysses Smith ( Feel free to join the MOAAP group on facebook


Nicolas Savvides (President): ncs59

Brandon Taylor (Vice President): btt9

Jessica Gardenhire (Secretary): jlg358

Ujijji Davis (Public Relations/Historian): udd2

James Nguyen (Treasurer): jln62

Ulysses Smith

Architecture, Art, & Planning Representative

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