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Photo by Amulyah Anken

This conference is all about sharing ideas  and learning about what makes us different. When we see each other only by the opinions that divide us, we miss out on all that can bring us together. We can’t let our differences separate us, because at its core, this conference is about bringing people together. If we lose sight of that, we risk becoming like our current government, divided, listening only for our own chance to speak rather than understanding.

The four core values of the YMCA; Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility, are the building blocks of decorum and what makes this conference run, when they devolve the conference experience devolves. As the debate within the conference heats up, its noticeable that the decorum of some of the delegates melts away.

When a delegate speaks without any one of the core values, intentional or not, they take away from someone else’s conference experience. Taking time away from someone else’s proposal to speak on one that has already been settled is callous towards the author of the current proposal as well as the audience. When a delegate takes into account the popularity of the author, and not the credibility of the proposal during voting and ranking they’re being fraudulent to themselves and the other delegates in the program. Grandstanding and or filibustering on someone’s proposal is impertinent and rude. A delegate who uses a phone for reasons other than research in chambers is thoughtless to the feelings of the others.

These rules and expectations are set in place so that delegates can enjoy the conference without the fear of being belittling for what they believe.

We must take a stand against callousness and replace it with caring, remove fraudulence with honesty, impertinence with respect and thoughtlessness with responsibility.

Everyone on this Mountain is here for a reason. Whether they were elected, appointed or selected, everyone represents the best of what their state has to offer. It is humbling to be in the presence of so many brilliant minds, it’s a light in the darkness of the our current political climate. It gives hope that tomorrow will be a brighter day than the one before. But the only way to ensure the bright tomorrow we all desperately want, is to fix these issues today.

By Sarah Jones, DE

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