SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In wake of recent protests and calls for racial equality, Augustana University in Sioux Falls is highlighting the experiences of some of its Black students, as the school looks to learn from its students studying there. Sophomore Mekhi Moore was the first student to be highlighted as he spoke about how Augustana has helped him use his voice to influence change.
Mekhi Moore came to Augustana from Woodbury, Minnesota, an eastern suburb of St. Paul, and went from a much more diverse high school, to a predominantly white university.
“It’s not easy being a Black man at a predominantly white institution, there’s a lot of drawbacks to that, but with that, there’s a lot of positivity that comes with that,” Augustana sophomore Mekhi Moore said.
Augustana wanted to highlight Black students’ experiences at the university, to both listen and learn.
“I think it’s important for us to acknowledge that maybe all of their experiences aren’t positive. So really working towards hearing maybe the downsides of everything too. That’s equally as important in order for us to be better, and for us to do better,” Admission Counselor Wendy Mamer said.
Moore took the advice of a friend, and became involved on campus, serving as an Ambassador for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office. He was elected to the Augustana Student Association, too.
“You just have to take the initiative to do it. You just have to want to do it so that’s what I did. I went out, tried to meet as many people I can and build those connections, and make a change,” Moore said.
He says he wants to see Augustana provide more events, organizations and classes that represent less-represented students, and educate all students on social justice issues that many have to face and endure.
“Augustana has many resources to build, and help build diversity and to really help limit those racial encounters that happen on campus, and sadly it does happen on campus,” Moore said.
Mekhi credits Augustana for helping him find his voice. Now he’s hoping to use that voice to give back to the university and make the campus a more inclusive environment for all.
“Augustana is an amazing place for me. It’s nice that I can finally call it home. I just feel Augustana could be better. And that’s what I’m pushing for, is to make Augustana a better place for all,” Moore said.
Mekhi is majoring in Sign Language Interpreting.