Students Participate in the StoryCore Session at the 2017 Community Day of Learning
Listening attentively to one another so as to hear through the din of similar conversations going on all around them, a group that included both a relatively new and a long-time, tenured faculty member, two alumnae who now work at the college, and several other staff members talked about “belonging at Bryn Mawr.”
For one staff member the moment of belonging happened when a spouse died and co-workers provided much-needed support and compassion. For one of the faculty members, it was still an open question. The professor felt that immigrant voices often went unheard.
The group was one of dozens gathered in Schwartz Gymnasium last week for the third-annual Community Day of Learning’s opening. The theme of this year’s day was “Minds and Bodies: Belonging in Our Communities.”
“No one day will solve all of our problems,” said President Cassidy in beginning the day. “But we are one of the few places that brings together the entire community for these sorts of conversations.”
After the opening event, participants in the Community Day of Learning (CDL) were able to attend their choice of nearly 50 different sessions organized by students, faculty, and staff, as well as a one-woman show by writer and performer Nimisha Ladva, about her family’s experiences in the U.S. as immigrants from Pakistan, and a performance by poet and spoken word artist Wahlida Imarisha.
For a full list of the day’s sessions, go here.
Dean of the Undergraduate College Jennifer Walters closed the day with reflections.
“In my view, the calculus of belonging equals engagement plus acceptance. It is possible for a person to engage in good faith with the opportunities offered by a community or an institution like Bryn Mawr but if that person's efforts are not recognized and welcomed (accepted and believed), a sense of belonging does not grow. This is one way that the Community Day of Learning is important to the College. It is an effort to make visible the hidden histories, hidden identities, experiences, stories, labors, and struggles of this place and its members. To welcome them even if they are uncomfortable or contradictory. On the Community Day of Learning, we listen with a spirit of open minded and open heartedness. I witnessed this attentiveness and openness throughout the day in every session I attended.”
The theme for the 2016 CDL was “In/Visible: Class on Campus, Class in Our Lives” and in 2015 the campus looked at “Race and Ethnicity at Bryn Mawr and Beyond.” The CDL is an occasion when the entire community—students, faculty, and staff—gather to learn and to explore an issue important to the goals of ensuring equity and inclusion at the College (and beyond). Classes are canceled and offices are closed so that all can participate.