Professor McCoy sent out an email about an opportunity to earn extra credit by going to an event on Wednesday, November 29th, and then reflecting on our experience. Our school hosted Christopher Soto, aka Loma, a poet and activist, to address the issues of “incarceration, undocumented status, and non-binary identities” through his poetry reading as part of the Geneseo’s Cultivating Community.
The purpose of this event is to be an initiative that supports Geneseo’s values for inclusivity. SUNY Geneseo defined inclusivity as “fostering a diverse campus community marked by mutual respect for the unique talents and contribution of each individual.” They believe that by discussing difficult topics in an open and constructive manner they are able to reach their goal of providing an open and safe environment for all to share their voice.
Some of the topics that were discussed were gender, sexuality, nationality and language, and serious issues like mass imprisonment, sex slavery, and racism. Overall, in Soto’s poem, an important message that he was trying to point out was the importance of inclusivity. After going to this event, I have noticed how similar it is to our Final Course Statement. Similar to our class, this event started out by stating what the problem is and then allowed for the discussion to be open to the entire floor, thus allowing for everyone’s voice to be heard.
At first, I felt like our class collaboration project would not work. To have an entire class voice their opinions on a topic would be like a never-ending cycle of hearing everyone’s thoughts and point of views, without coming to a conclusion. However, I was wrong. An interesting comment Rachel Katz made in her post “English Class Trust”, where “by sitting in a big circle in class, clustering up into groups, and counting off by numbers, [we] have been able to meet the majority of the class…” feeling a “sense of comfort and security that needs to be in place in order for successful group collaboration to take place” is very similar to how I felt during the Geneseo’s community event. Together we have addressed a problem, found reasons why they are considered as a problem with supporting evidence, and then discussed solutions to the problem.
If you have any question about the event and/or would like to know more about it, here is their website: https://www.geneseo.edu/diversity/cultivating-community