Throughout the Fall 2022 semester, three 360° course clusters had opportunities to explore their central themes outside the classroom, traveling within the U.S. and abroad. Below are reflections from our students.
Helen Christ '24, our cluster liaison from Minerals, Museums, and Western Colonialism spent eight days in London and Bristol, England.
“This course cluster has fundamentally changed the way I view museums and collections. As an archaeology major, I have been really interested in learning how museums, a space we usually view as objective, can instead be used to create and perpetuate power imbalances. Our visits to the Bristol and Sedgwick Museums introduced us to curators who were actively working to change these narratives and to bring underrepresented voices into the conversation. Back at home, we were exposed each week to new ways that geology intersects with colonialism, making it clear how interconnected our sciences are with extraction of both resources and people. This insight proved invaluable in researching an individual mine-site, and consequently working to enact those curatorial changes we learned about in our own cataloging processes.”
Rachael Sharp '25 from the Climate Change: Science and Politics cluster explored Freiburg and Sankt Peter, Germany.
"Although climate change is a vast and complex topic, this cluster has allowed us to break it down into manageable and straightforward pieces. We have learned an extremely important lesson—climate change not only impacts our water, the biosphere, or the weather, but communities and individuals too. To hurt and pollute the earth is to hurt and pollute ourselves. We examined case studies of both developed and developing countries who have to carry the responsibility of combating climate change. Visiting Freiburg and St. Peter was an amazing opportunity to see the way communities mitigate climate change in practice."
After completing this cluster, Rachael has decided to major in environmental studies, with a minor in health studies. Learning about how climate change impacts people and communities was incredibly motivating and impactful to them. They hope to address ways in which our health is intrinsically linked to the health of the environment in their future studies and career.
Melanie Sung-Clarke '23 from the Taste cohort spent four days in New York City.
“Food and taste are socially, politically, and culturally influenced and indicative of a specific time and place. For example, Chinese immigrants created chop suey as a survival tactic for bringing in business under the Chinese Exclusion Act. To this day, many non-Asian American’s conception of Chinese cuisine is reflective of Americanized Chinese food, and some still prefer this inauthentic portrayal of Chinese cuisine. Going off the idea of taste preferences, I will also take away from this 360° subjectivity of what is 'good' and 'bad' food. The flavor profiles or textures that I am attentive and welcoming of may be influenced by individual as well as cultural factors. And something might just not be my cup of coffee!”