February 21, 2024

Cyerra Hawkins (from left), Nicole Smith and Katie Billatoro meet for the UpRising club to discuss future activities and plans. Nadia Nawabi | Banner

For students at California Baptist University who are looking for a way to expand their views and connect with others, a campus club offers a safe and open space.

The UpRising club makes efforts to strengthen connections among diverse groups on campus and unite students as a community.

Diversity is often considered a force that can create division among groups. However, UpRising attempts to use the celebration of diversity as a way to initiate important conversations between different groups on campus.

LaNyce Bond, senior psychology and sociology double major and president of UpRising, said increasing appreciation of diversity on campus was her main motive in founding the club.

“At first I was very hesitant about creating the club,” Bond said. “I am graduating in May, so it was kind of something God set on my heart to do. I believe the need for diversity on campus is what propelled me to create the club.”

Matthew Hanlin, senior liberal studies major and member of UpRising, said he believes the club has the potential to promote student unity and discourage the formation of cliques on campus.

“It encourages members to step out of their usual groups and comfort zones and embrace diversity,” Hanlin said.

UpRising uses dialogue as its primary means of connecting different groups of people and raising levels of understanding among them.

Cyerra Hawkins, senior health education major and UpRising member, said one of the main purposes of UpRising is to bring about diversity awareness through conversation among groups.

“The club creates an inviting atmosphere where people from different backgrounds can come together and talk freely about a series of topics chosen by the members,” Hawkins said.

In February, the UpRising club joined forces with the Associated Students of California Baptist University to co-host a poetry slam in celebration of Black History Month.

ASCBU funded the poetry slam and reached out to UpRising for help in planning and coordinating the event.

Bond said she hopes for other future partnership opportunities because they allow the club to utilize a larger platform for promoting acceptance and unity on campus.

Bond said she hopes the UpRising club will continue to encourage diversity and work to make the school a more open environment.

“UpRising has some real members who aren’t afraid to discuss real-world problems in order to make the school better,” Bond said.

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