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This Matters opens to talk about divisive issues

Pricilla Gomez

Education, border issues, politics and love are all current and controversial topics that are open for discussion for UTEP students this semester during the This Matters Series.

The Student Engagement and Leadership Center presents the This Matters Series, where students can gather a few times during the semester to discuss growing issues within society.

“The Student Engagement and Leadership Center initiated the This Matters Series to provide a safe space where the UTEP community can engage in meaningful conversations that lead to progressive actions,” said Kelsie Vasquez, who oversees the series.

This Matters Series was formerly known as the Brown Bag Series and has engaged students in conversations about trending issues since 2014.

Vasquez is a Women’s and Gender Studies graduate student and the Inclusion and Advocacy Intern at the Student Engagement and Leadership Center. With the help of others, Vasquez decided on a name that better represented the series.

“We felt as though the title Brown Bag did not accurately reflect what the series aimed to accomplish,” Vasquez said.

This Matters goal is to help participants develop communication and critical thinking skills that will allow them to form educated opinions.

“The university is a learning environment and this series is good for students who might not be exposed to those topics in their classes if they are not in the liberal arts discipline,” said Emily Martinez, higher education graduate student.

The subjects that will be discussed during the series were selected to address concerns and matters of interests of UTEP students and the surrounding communities.

The series will host guest speakers to lead the discussions on topics like human rights on the border, race, Texas politics, wellness for your body and mind.

“I hope to learn more, I’m not well versed in many topics. I want to know what I can do to help people,” Martinez said. “I’m mainly here to just listen.”

Discussions began on Sep. 13, and the remaining discussions will be held on Sep. 26, Oct. 11, Oct. 16, Nov. 13, and Nov. 20. All discussions are held from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and the locations of the discussions vary for each meeting and can be found online at

Refreshments will be provided for students who attend the discussions.

All students are encouraged to attend the series and other events and programs the Student Engagement and Leadership Center provides, like Quench a discussion series that focuses on issues specifically within the LBGTQ community.

Quench will also take place this semester and plans to educate the campus community to support the LGBTQ community. Quench discussions will be held on Sep. 26, Oct. 17, and Nov. 14, all sessions begin at noon at Union Building East in University Suite, Room 312.

For more information about This Matters or Quench visit the Student Engagement and Leadership Center on social media @UTEPSELC or on their website

Catherine Ramirez may be reached at [email protected].

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This Matters opens to talk about divisive issues