As part of a yearlong initiative titled “Class Dismissed? Furthering the Dialogue About Class,” the Diversity Leadership Group and Diversity Council in early March invited members of the Bryn Mawr campus community to submit proposals for collaborative projects designed to spark dialogue on the topic of class.
The group expected to select three proposals to fund at a cost of about $2,000 each. But the community’s enthusiastic response—and the fact that several groups of project collaborators requested significantly less than $2,000—led the group to award six grants instead of three.
“We were thrilled with the number and quality of the proposals,” says Dean of Admissions Laurie Koehler, who along with Assistant Director of Intercultural Affairs Vanessa Christman will be coordinating the projects. “We also saw a number of overlapping themes, suggesting that the project developers might be able to find connections that they could use to their benefit.”
“One thing we find especially promising is that the project developers represent a real cross-section of the community,” Koehler notes. “The group of students is quite diverse, and members of the faculty and staff are also working on these projects,” she notes. “We hope that’s going to bring a broader spectrum of the community into the conversation.”
According to Koehler, the DLG called a meeting of all project developers before semester’s end, “partly so that they could see areas of commonality and begin to explore ways in which they might be able to work together.”
Over the summer, the project developers will continue to solicit sponsorship and participation from campus organizations and programs that might support their goals. Koehler and Christman will work with the groups to offer help navigating logistics and to establish a schedule of events related to the project, which will be released early next fall.
The funded proposals:
- Storytelling: A Celebration of Class, submitted by the Executive Board of the student Self Government Association (Yong Jong Cho, Rebecca Sanders, Tina Hu, Mae Carlson, and Priya Saxena), will include open mic, art, and storytelling projects.
- Examination of Class in Various Spaces on Campus, by Addie Ansell , Jessica Wong, and Kady Ruth Ashcraft, will allow community members in various locations around campus to “swap” their stories, and then allow other community members to hear them through the use of a sound-dome listening booth.
- Mapping Out Class, submitted by Jody Cohen, Anne Dalke, Sarah Jenness, Alice Lesnick, and Jomaira Salas, will work with E-Sems to examine daily life experiences on campus through the lens of class.
- Class in Session, submitted by Melanie Bethea, Nate’ Hall, and Stephanie Wujcik, will create a short documentary focused on the ways that staff and faculty experience and contribute to the sustainability of the College.
- Socioeconomic Status and Its Effect on Health Care Among Members of the Bryn Mawr College Community, submitted by Sally Heimann, Courtney Pinkerton, Saba Qadir, Priya Gupta, Tsega Meshesha, and Health Center Staff and Social Work interns, will connect personal stories along with research on broader policy issues.
- Open Mic, submitted by Muna Aghaalnemer, Emily Tong, Rachel Shen, Elena Swartz, and the Teaching and Learning Initiative, will seek to create an ongoing dialogue through the use of radio/Internet broadcasting and podcasts.
In addition to the community projects, the “Class Dismissed?” initiative will include a film series, a keynote speaker and associated discussions, and a summer reading assignment for the incoming Class of 2015, with an invitation to all students, faculty, and staff to read and discuss the same book.