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Five Groups Awarded Community Development Grants to Foster Dialogue and Collaboration

Kira Simpson '18, Emma Puranen '18, and Sarah Parks '19

One of the 2016-17 grant recipients is Peripeteia, which held its inaugural weekend in January 2016. Above, Kira Simpson '18, Emma Puranen '18, and Sarah Parks '19 participate in the "Everyone Doodles" course held during Peripeteia. Photo by Angelina Abitino '18

Five projects from diverse groups of students, staff, and faculty have been awarded community development grants for the 2016-17 academic year, the selection committee recently announced.

The grant program is an initiative of the President's Office. The five selected groups will receive up to $10,000 in funding for projects aimed at promoting sustained and meaningful interaction among community members in order to cultivate a more inclusive learning environment.

“Whether student, staff, faculty, or alumni, we all play a role in fostering a diverse and inclusive community,” says Bruce Easop, presidential fellow and chair of the selection committee. “This group of projects brings together community members across many facets of campus life through the arts, through intellectual curiosity, and through opportunities to share personal narratives.”


Human Library Project - Jacky Ye '19 of El Monte, Calif., Gilbert Guerra '19 of New Berlin, Wis., and Zackary Lash '19 of Aventura, Fla.; advised by Professor of Linguistics Donna Jo Napoli

The Human Library would function much like a regular library, in which you can browse for books by topic, only the "books" are people, the "topics" are their life experiences, and the "reading" is a conversation. The group believes that "participants will be reminded that every person they walk by, every student they interact with, every staff member they are served by, is a human being with a story to tell that is solely theirs. Humanizing the campus at large will do wonders for levels of understanding and empathy in the community."

Kitao Gallery: Arts Festival and Arts Nights - Tara Giangrande '16, an art history major from Frederick, Md., Deborah Krieger '16, an art history major from Los Angeles, Calif., Elizabeth Whipple '18, an art major from Brookline, Mass., Clara Habermeier '17, an Honors economics major and art history minor from Rockville, Md., Adriana Obiols Roca '16, an English literature major and art history minor from Guatemala, and Adan Leon '18 of Chula Vista, Calif.; advised by Professor of Art Tomoko Sakomura

Funding for this project will primarily support a campus-wide arts festival that will engage students, staff, and faculty. A series of three “Friday Arts Nights” during the spring will also allow the Kitao Arts Gallery to function as a communal art-making space. These events will make the creation of art more accessible to those who could not otherwise afford supplies and create a welcoming and collaborative space for non-majors and more experienced artists alike. 

Peripeteia - Victor Gomes '17, a special major in cognitive science and psychology from Gulf Shores, Ala.; advised by Professor of Philosophy Peter Baumann

Peripeteia, which held its inaugural weekend event in January, plans to expand its engaging and interdisciplinary series of community-driven workshops, classes, and seminars. This funding will support the Peripeteia Weekend and monthly prelude events. By continuing to grow this series, “the goal is to include every department, every discipline, every campus group, and every office that would like to share what they’re passionate about or feel others should know,” says Gomes. Additional students involved in Peripeteia include Owen Weitzman '17, a sociology and anthropology and Spanish major from Newtown, Mass., Irene Kwon '17, a sociology and anthropology major from Korea, Emma Remy '18, a mathematics major from Costa Mesa, Calif., Jake Mundo '16, a linguistics and mathematics major from Morristown, N.J., and Zoey Werbin '17, a biology major from Davie, Fla.

Lunch with Strangers - Dierdre Konar, director of Advancement Systems

This proposal plans for a series of “Dinner with Strangers” events, modeled after President Valerie Smith’s program. The goal is to create spaces for students, staff, faculty, and alumni to interact with people they might not otherwise meet. 

Community Healing Project - Anna Livia Chen '18, an Honors special double major in interdisciplinary approaches to justice and injustice and history from Mountain View, Calif., and Caela Long '16, an Honors neuroscience major from Latrobe, Pa.; advised by Kaaren Williamsen, Title IX coordinator

This project will build on the Voices of Healing event the Title IX office hosted in April. It will involve a three-day facilitated workshop that will empower survivors to develop and share their stories. A digital archive will allow the community to engage in this storytelling project. The group believes this initiative will allow for both personal growth and community awareness and education.

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