A Look at Mount Greylock’s GMSU

Krishiv Malhorta

The Mount Greylock Multicultural Student Union (GMSU) helps to educate the students and staff of the school community on issues pertaining to diversity and common stereotypes. The group aims to provide the opportunity to learn from one another through educational and social forums to ultimately promote diversity and cultural awareness within Mount Greylock and beyond. The group met for the first time this school year on November 15th to discuss their new initiatives and ideas.

Back in June of 2021, GMSU reached out to Williams College in search of multicultural advisors. They now have five new college students who have been integrated into the group: Lito Vazquez, Morin Tinubu, Oliver Behrens, Shiara Pyrrhus, and Lili Massac. 

While GMSU was previously advised by former principal and current seventh grade social studies teacher Mary MacDonald, she stepped down from the position for this school year. Librarian Liza Barrett remains as an advisor to the club to connect GMSU to the school, with the college multicultural advisors taking on a much larger role.

During their November 15th meeting, students and advisors met to discuss last year’s initiatives as well as some new ideas for their first official meeting. Some of these new initiatives include putting up art around the school to represent multicultural students, and going into Directed Studies to educate students. GMSU members would also like to provide the community with more information about multicultural months, such as Black History Month.

One of the major initiatives discussed during the meeting was the idea of introducing Junior Multicultural Student Unions into both the Williamstown and Lanesborough elementary schools. In June of 2021, Nolan Pratt, the principal of Lanesborough Elementary School, had the idea of a Jr. GMSU for LES and reached out to GMSU. GMSU also reached out to the principal of Williamstown Elementary School, Cindy Sheehy, who is on board with the idea. In January of 2022, this initiative will be in full force. 

The Directed Study idea will involve members of GMSU going to all Directed Studies across the school and educating students and teachers about certain multicultural issues and how to combat racism in the school environment. If it is a month that is celebrating a certain race or cultural identity, members will also talk about that month and its history.

Last year the idea of t-shirts was discussed and a design was made. This year there were some edits to it, and it was finalized. This will be another way of spreading the club through the school. The t-shirts will only be accessible to members of the club, both the one at Greylock and the Jr. GMSU.

A Mount Greylock SEE fund grant was written to get funding for the t-shirts, Jr. GMSU, and art around the school. The Jr. GMSU and art can still happen, but the t-shirts will not be produced until the funds are granted.

Leadership roles were also discussed, and a few days later, a poll was sent out for members to vote for the positions of Co-Facilitator (2 people), Communications Advisor (1 person), and Historian/Notetaker (1 person). 

There was a second official meeting on November 29th, 2021. At this meeting a meeting schedule was created, final changes to initiatives were made, and members chose which initiative(s) they wanted to focus on or be a part of.

GMSU will have bi-weekly meetings on Mondays at 2:45 in the back classroom of the library. There will be one monthly online meeting where people who missed previous meetings can catch up, but the main focus of these meetings will be having a safe space to talk about racist incidents, and more generally talk about race. 

The main initiatives for GMSU will be Jr. GMSU, T-shirts (figuring out where to design them and the price of the t-shirts), and awareness at MG (which has subparts to it that include creating and handing out pamphlets, talking in directed studies, visual presence, and a video about why members joined GMSU). There will also be an initiative to invite speakers to talk at Mount Greylock. These speakers will come from Williams College and the Mount Greylock A Better Chance (ABC) scholar program.

Members and advisors of GMSU are very happy that GMSU is back up and running, and are very excited about taking action on the planned initiatives.