"Real World" at Geneseo
In her role as coordinator of multi-cultural programs, Fatima Johnson has often heard students ask for more opportunity to interact across cultures. In response, Johnson and a team of Geneseo faculty and staff launched "Real World Geneseo," a four-day special program modeled after MTV's "Real World" reality series.
The workshop, held at a Rochester hotel in January, allowed students to probe issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, power and privilege. The Geneseo program also is modeled after successful programs at Johnson & Wales University and Arizona State University.
Twenty-seven Geneseo students participated this year, including Nicholas Lagrassa ‘12, president of Invisible Children's campus chapter. Invisible Children is an international movement that provides support to child soldiers and economic development in Uganda. "Real World Geneseo" allowed him to explore what diversity means with peers of various backgrounds.
As part of the program, participants divided into groups, and each group portrayed a community. Students completed tasks and activities as that community, such as obtaining a mock permit to build a school. During the process, they experienced what it felt like to face unexpected obstacles because of how they were viewed by others: Some groups received approval and money to build, while others had to modify plans because of limited resources or weren't approved to build extras like playgrounds.
Phase two of "Real World Geneseo" is underway. Participants enrolled in a spring course in which they can further explore topics of interest and better understand their experiences at the retreat. Students are taking Intercultural Communication, Gay and Lesbian Literature and Immigration History, among other courses.
In the final phase, students will organize a service-learning project that contributes to the community. This will be the true testament to the program's success, says Johnson — to see how students like apply their knowledge in the future.
Lagrassa already sees the value in "Real World Geneseo."
"I came out feeling enlightened ... I learned that I still have a lot of growing to do," he says. "I was able to have greater tools, which I look forward to putting to practice, to improve myself and to model my behavior for others to observe and internalize. I also now have a stronger desire to understand and accept those that are unlike me and it makes me very happy to know that I can open up to people completely without too much concern for their judgment."
—Story by Alejandra Rivas '10
IN OTHER NEWS
Middle States self-study is underway
Is Geneseo achieving its goals? What can the college community do to improve effectiveness in achieving these goals?
These two questions are guiding the 16 members of the college's Middle States steering committee as they organize a comprehensive self-study over the next two years. The assessment is part of the accreditation process by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Every 10 years, the commission reviews Geneseo for re-accreditation. A Middle States team will visit Geneseo in spring 2012.
The steering committee is co-chaired by biology Professor Ray Spear and Associate Provost David Gordon. Members are examining six aspects of the college: mission and goals; student learning and development; student success; resources (including human resources); leadership and governance; and institutional effectiveness.
The college community is strongly encouraged to participate in the process through several ways. Consider joining a working group if asked, respond to requests for suggestions and ideas by the steering committee and working groups, and read updates that the committee and groups will be providing during the process.
- English Professor Tom Greenfield recently published a new book, “Broadway: An Encyclopedia of Theater and American Culture,” in December 2009 with ABC-CLIO, Inc. The campus community celebrated Feb. 18 with an author’s reception in Milne Library.
- Vice President for Campus and Student Life Robert Bonfiglio’s article, “There’s No Place Like Home,” which focuses on the changing expectations of college graduates and the implications for colleges and universities, was published in the
November - December 2009 edition of About Campus magazine.
- Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Marilyn Moore and Vice President for Campus and Student Life Robert Bonfiglio presented the program "Intercollegiate Athletics and Character Development: Rhetoric or Reality?" at the Institute on College Student Values at Florida State University in Tallahassee on Feb. 5.
- Today, Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 2 p.m., in Milne Library 213, Rose-Marie Chierici, associate professor and chair of anthropology, will talk about "Finding a sense of hope in the midst of turmoil." It's part of the Spiritual Journeys Series sponsored by the Geneseo InterFaith Center. Chierici is the co-founder and executive director of Haiti Outreach Pwoje Espwa (H.O.P.E.), a Rochester-based organization focused on promoting social justice and a better future for the people of Borgne, an impoverished area north of Port-au-Prince.
- On Thursday, Feb. 25, at 4 p.m. in the College Union Ballroom, Hasan Kwame Jeffries will talk about “Freedom Politics: From the Black Panthers to Barack Obama,” with a book signing following the lecture. The presentation is based on Jeffries’ new book, “Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in the Alabama Black Belt.” He is an associate professor of history at Ohio State University and holds a joint appointment with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. The event is sponsored by Democracy Matters and the Africana/Black Studies program, with support from College Auxiliary Service.
- On Thursday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. in Newton 204, the film "4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days" will be shown as part of The Alan Lutkus International Film Series. Set in 1987, the story centers around a woman trying to arrange an abortion for her friend, in a time when the government had made the procedure illegal in an effort to increase the country's population. More than 500,000 women died as a result of botched abortions during that time. Foreign languages and literatures Associate Professor Cynthia Klima will lead a discussion.
- On Saturday, Feb. 27, at 8 p.m. in the College Union Ballroom, there is a square dance with The Geneseo String Band, directed by School of the Arts Lecturer Jim Kimball. Tickets are available at the door. It costs $3 for the public, and $1 for students. It's free for children ages 12 and under. It's sponsored by the School of the Arts.
- On Sunday, Feb. 28, at 3 p.m., in Wadsworth Auditorium, James Walker, distinguished service professor, will conduct the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra in the opening concert of its spring season, with School of the Arts Dean Jonathan Gonder on piano. The program includes Beethoven's "Egmont Overture," featuring Louis Lohraseb '13 as student conductor, and "Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major — subtitled "Emperor," performed by Gonder. The program concludes with "Church Windows" by Ottorino Respighi. The event is free and open to the public.
- On Wednesday, March 3, at 7:30 p.m. in Jones Hall, Civil Rights leader Hollis Waktins will lead a workshop on student activism, highlighting his own experiences, the historical background on the connection between poverty and the Civil Rights Movement and challenges and possibilities to make lasting change. He is the keynote speaker commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. on Thursday, March 4, at 7 p.m. in the College Union Balllroom. It is open to the public. Watkins is co-founder and president of Southern Echo, a grassroots organization that fosters positive change in Mississippi.
Photo of the week ....
February 25, 2010In this week's issue:
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