Poetry Convocation

April is national poetry month, and for this last convocation of the year there was a variety of people reading poetry. The convocation began with an introduction about politics and art with references to Kennedy and his speech about the arts. The poetry selections included poems about poetry, summer camp, wordplay, music, hateful dogs,  and differences. Many Billy Collins poems were read. There were also several people who wrote the poems they read themselves. These poets all enjoy poetry and the arts for different reasons. The reasons ranged from poetry just being cool to poetry allowing people to express themselves in ways they otherwise could not.

These poems not only expressed how the poets felt or how the reader felt, but they also allowed the audience to experience emotions. The poems allowed for a brief respite from the stresses of the end of the semester. Some of the poems brought laughter and others brought feelings of melancholy. All of these poems showed how the arts can be a way of knowing for some people. People who learn about the world and who learn about themselves through the arts use the different artistic mediums to express themselves. This way of knowing is just as valid as knowing through logic, observation, emotions, and revelation. All of the ways of knowing are different, but all can be used to find truth.

I really enjoyed the poetry that was read today. Each poem that was chosen to be read was chosen for a reason. I also think that the people who read poetry for us today allowed the listeners to receive a glimpse of what is important to the person. Some of the readers valued bringing joy and laughter and others used the platform to share a personal experience or to share a piece that brought forth a strong emotional reaction. I think it is so cool that people were able to share this poetry with us today and I am so thankful for this poetry reading convocation.

Student Art Opening

On April 20, 2017, Concordia had its annual CSP Student Juried Exhibition opening reception. The gallery consisted of pieces of art created by the students of CSP. The different types of art included photography, graphic design, acrylic paintings, pencil drawings, and ceramics. One rather unusual piece was a geometric sculpture made from masking tape and cardboard. The pieces evoked different feelings from the observers, including joy, sorrow, and serenity. Music that played in the background gave an upbeat feel to this exhibition. The artists were also in attendance and any observer could see the pride of the artists as they showed friends and family the artworks that they have worked diligently on.

For many of these art students, creating pictures and sculptures is a way to express themselves. It allows them to speak their truth into the world. Truth was a topic that we focused on last semester in Honors, and we learned about the different ways of knowing truth. For some, the most impactful and relevant way to know the world is through aesthetic, or the fine arts.

I thought the student juried exhibition was wonderful! This is the first one I have gone to and I will definitely be attending annually. I love being able to see my classmates and friends excel and show their hard work to the world. One of my favorite pieces had to be a sculpture of a blue octopus! I thought that it was adorable and a fun piece to admire.

Privilege Walk 2017

On Monday, March 27, 2017, the Honors Program hosted a privilege walk with the help of CHUSA and UMOJA. Concordia Hmong Unity Students Association(CHUSA) and United Minds Of Joint Action(UMOJA) are two of the diversity groups on campus. The privilege walk was hosted to help us and the Concordia community begin a conversation about privilege and what it means to different people. It allowed for a safe environment to have this conversation with adults who are trained to facilitate the event. The actual privilege walk began with everyone standing on a line across the room. A statement would be read and then according to the directions that accompanied the statement, people would take a step forward or backward. This was to give people a visual representation of how privilege affects different people. Following the walk, everyone that participated sat in a large circle to have a discussion on the feelings and thoughts that were evoked by doing the walk. After the discussion there were refreshments and people stayed to chat with each other and meet new people.

This walk allowed people that aren’t in the Honors Program take a peek into what we are studying this semester. Part of the conversation after the walk was about what people that may have a privilege can do to help others that may not have the same privileges that we do. This is what we are also thinking about in Honors, working on “hearing the voices of the marginalized.” I think this is an important lesson for everyone to learn and I am very glad that we were able to share that lesson through the privilege walk.

I thought the privilege walk was very beneficial to everyone who participated. It allowed people to hear about experiences that are different than their own. Having the opportunity to learn about other people is very important to me, and I am glad that this event facilitated that. It allowed for people to be very open and honest, if they wanted to be. I always appreciate hearing from other people and that was encouraged during this event.