Ava McLeod is Eckerd’s first ECOS Culture Council Liaison. The new position is meant to bring more representation in ECOS and McLeod plans to use the opportunity to make Eckerd a place where all identities are included. She is a first-year student intending on majoring in Marine Science with minors in French and Animal Studies.
The position was created by ECOS president Will Shedden. According to McLeod, he created the position to increase dialogue and work towards changing diversity issues on campus.
Within the position, McLeod wants to change the campus mentality of silence when the issue of race is brought up and use this position as an opportunity to work towards change. Also, she wants to be a representative for Black, African American and Indigenous people on campus and provide a larger voice.
“I don’t want to be a gatekeeper, but more like just a representative,” she stated.
Director of Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Morgan Harthorne, says Sheddon felt the office was doing important work and needed more representation on the ECOS cabinet. Harthorne saw it as a great opportunity.
“Hell yeah we’ll take it,” said Hawthorne.
McLeod’s main role in the position is to provide a voice for cultural clubs on campus that make up the Eckerd’s culture council and to make sure that they are represented, plan educational events on campus and become connected with the administration.
Harthorne explained that since the position is new, she and McLeod are still creating the position and hopes that it becomes a strong position to help minorities on campus.
“I want to work with club heads by sitting through meetings and to communicate with them about what they need like money, members, marketing and etc” McLeod said.
She wants students to recognize their privilege and that isolation is easy for students who are not white.
When asked how she would describe diversity at Eckerd to a prospective student McLeod explained, “It's awful, Eckerd needs to work on diversity”.
Before Eckerd, McLeod was a diversity and leadership scholarship winner. Once she got to Eckerd, she explained that Morgan Harthrone encouraged her to apply for this new position through an application.
McLeod hopes to gain better communication skills, become a better leader, become more informed and educated and wants to inspire students to take action.