A group of 150 students, faculty, and staff spent the first weekend of February gathered together grappling with some of the country’s toughest issues while also supporting and celebrating each other at the annual PossePlus Retreat, held at a hotel near campus.
Retreats are held at all 56 colleges and universities that partner with the Posse foundation, and all the retreats focus on a singular topic. This year’s topic was “The State of Our Union.”
Organizers asked attendees to delve deeply into this "pivotal moment of unparalleled contradictions: An increasingly diverse society torn by intense polarization. Record-breaking profits and stagnant wages. The rebirth of urban centers amid the rise of gentrification. Technological advances and the degradation of our environment."
Among the Posse Scholars in attendance was Anisha Thornabar ‘19, who is a member of Houston Posse 3.
“PossePlus Retreat is an amazing opportunity to have many people from campus come together to talk about some important topics,” says Anisha. “This year's topic, ‘The State of Our Union’ has been my favorite one by far. We were able to explore hidden voices and talk about our current political climate through various workshops and some tearjerking games! I loved being able to have a conversation with faculty and staff and see them in a different light. I will forever be grateful to be a Posse Scholar and I can’t wait to learn of more great topics in the future!”
Lisa Armstrong is the Assistant Director of Volunteer Programs at LILAC and attended the event as a Posse “Plusser.”
“Being a Posse ‘Plusser’ was such an honor because it provided me with entry into an extraordinary community with a powerful sense of belonging,” says Armstrong. “I heard some of my life narratives in their stories and stood as witness to their incredible strengths, resilience, and passion for change. Also, they trusted me to hear and embrace what matters on both individual and group levels and for that, I am forever grateful and committed to supporting the Posse community."
Another “Plusser” was Education Lecturer Chanelle E. Wilson-Poe, whose favorite workshop of the event involved being in a group that had to work as a family to try to achieve the “American Dream” generation by generation.
“My family struggled, but we continued to persevere, and I think this is a fitting theme for the reality of American citizens — we struggle, but we press on, in spite of obstacles — these shape us and mold our experiences into victories,” says Wilson-Poe.
Bryn Mawr has partnered with the Posse Foundation since 2000. The College community includes 80 Posse Scholars, 40 from Boston and 40 from Houston.
Posse identifies, recruits and trains public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential to become Posse Scholars. Since 1989, these students — many of whom might have been overlooked by traditional college selection processes — have been receiving four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships from Posse’s partner institutions of higher education. Most important, Posse Scholars persist and graduate at a rate of 90 percent and make a visible difference on campus and throughout their professional careers.
For more on Posse, visit the foundation website.