Allegheny Student Government swears in new cabinet member

Lauren Trimber, Senior News Editor

Trevor Mahan, ’21, was officially sworn in as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion during the Allegheny Student Government meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Mahan became interested in the position because of the group he participated in during high school.

Lauren Trimber
Allegheny Student Government President Mark MacStudy, ‘18, swears Trevor Mahan, ‘21, in as Director of Diversity and Inclusion during an ASG meeting Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.

“Back home, I led a gay-straight alliance, I helped coordinate events with a club called Students Against Prejudice, which kind of encompassed all of diversity and privilege and power,” Mahan said. “I built strong relationships with people who came from many different backgrounds. That was something I wanted to keep doing here in some way.”

Upon joining ASG as a first-year senator, Mahan said he was troubled by the Diversity and Inclusion committee’s lack of involvement in the diversity found at Allegheny.

“It troubled me, and I didn’t know how to change that,” Mahan said. “When I heard the position was open, I really debated doing this. I went in with the mentality of be the change you want to see in the world. It’s something that’s near and dear to my heart just because of where I come from, and it’s something I’ve always been involved in. I thought it I could help improve this in any way, even if it’s some small way for half a semester, I’d be happy to do it.”

One of the biggest things Mahan wants to focus on in his new position is gauging student climate with respect to diversity and inclusion.

“Furthermore, I want to shift the role in the way so that the committee of diversity and inclusion can be a better advocate for students who are historically marginalized,” Mahan said. “I want that to look like conducting interviews with student leaders, average students, anyone who comes from some form of diversity, who shares that identity.”

Mahan added he will also be looking at clubs which represent various forms of diversity. Along with students, Mahan plans to interact closely with the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access and Social Justice Center and IDEAS Center co-directors Darnell Epps and justin adkins.

“I’ve interacted with both Darnell and justin in professional development capacities,” Mahan said. “I met with them at events the IDEAS Center puts on. It’s something I want to work to build. I’m not best friends with them like some of the juniors and seniors are on campus, but that comes with being a first-year. I’m hoping this position will allow me to create a relationship with them and work on issues that are new and dear to the hearts of Allegheny students.”

Mahan hopes that by the end of the year, he will be working with Title IX and the Office of Public Safety, as well at the Dean of Students.

“I’ll be working with those people to advocate,” Mahan said. “Hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have a report that will list out the issues these students face and be able to say certain staff and administrations are aware of these. It means a whole lot more when it comes from students and not just the gossip around school.”

Similar to Mahan, Director of Communications and Press Elyse Cinquino, ’20, joined ASG Cabinet this semester. With Mahan recently sworn into his position, Cinquino talked about what she thinks of Mahan’s transition thus far.

“He has a really interesting perspective on things coming from a first-year perspective,” Cinquino said. “Even with that, he’s been able to see and take note of what has been done in the past with his position and to try to improve upon that. I can see him doing some great things.”

Chief of Staff Camila Gomez, ’19, echoed Cinquino’s comments on Mahan’s ability to improve on the previous accomplishments of his position. As chief of staff, Gomez was one of three people who interviewed potential candidates for the position. She said Mahan had one of the strongest interviews and was essentially exactly what she had been looking for for the position. Prior to Mahan, directors of Diversity and Inclusion had been passionate about small projects but had not provided longevity for the position, according to Gomez.

“What we really wanted was somebody to bring a little bit more structure to the position,” Gomez said. “There’s no one thing that that position consistently does every year. Trevor does have some really good ideas on how to make some consistent norms for that position. We’re really just looking for somebody to come bring some structure in. He was the perfect candidate to belay the foundation we were looking for for the future.”

Although Mahan will only be in the position for a semester, Gomez said he is building his plans around the time constraints.

“He was also very understanding of the fact that he will only be here for one semester and being realistic with his goals,” Gomez said. “He knew what he wanted to achieve in that time and is also planning to help transition the new person. I’ve been very impressed with how well he’s been taking to the position.”