Everyone on campus pretty much saw this week the “Hate” board that was on the Steps lawn, and it was great to see how many people were engaged. The point was to write something on the wall that had been said to you or that you had heard being said to someone else, and basically just fill up this wall with racist and sexist and other hurtful things that have actually been directed to someone. It was a chance to face the harshness of reality and see how shocking the magnitude of awful things that are said to others in our own community is.
It opens the discussion up on inclusion and diversity and the impact of words on other people. Those words stick with you, they aren’t something that you’ll forget, and that’s the whole point of the wall.
Yesterday students joined together and tore this wall down, and replaced it with one that says “Heal”.
It’s great to be able to come back from so much Hate and hopefully respond with more positivity. The Heal wall isn’t complete yet, but its already so uplifting and positive and just the complete opposite of what was there before.
It makes you think about if every Hate term was replaced by a Heal one. What would our world look like instead?
I am a part of the LU Diplomats club here at Lehigh University, which actually just became an official club last year. Now as a real club, they are trying to increase campus involvement and raise awareness about the club and what they do—I especially do this as part of the Public Relations committee. LU Diplomats work with Admissions to reach out to prospective students from other countries. The admissions process is one that is not fun for anyone, and worse for those coming from outside of the United States. They conduct interviews, send out emails to accepted students, and try and ease the transition into college life in the US.
This past Tuesday, they had one of their first major events: hosting Ana-Lulia Alexandrescu, a professor of practice at Lehigh who works with the graduate college, and is actually a Lehigh alumni as well. She talked with us about her experiences here at Lehigh, and how coming from a different country (Romania) influenced her life here. It was great to hear an alumni discuss her time here at Lehigh and her life after, just to come back to the university and make a positive influence here.
Yet another club that I am semi involved with is Green Action, a group that works to involve students with being aware of the affects that humans have on the environment. One of their larger tasks that they will be working on for a bit is to get Lehigh to divest from companies that still use fossil fuels, or to involve in “fossil free divestment”. Divestment is just the opposite of investment—so they are tackling the very hard task of getting Lehigh to take its money out of certain companies for the moral reasons behind it. It is not only happening on college campuses; many other groups have divested from these companies. With more and more organizations doing this, it raises awareness to the people on the problem of fossil fuels, and also will hopefully get the companies to change their ways, as sadly sometimes only money can accomplish this.
IDEAS talks a lot about environmental issues and about being responsible in whatever field you go into, and so this issue of divestment and how what we do affects others relates directly to topics discussed in the first-year seminar.
Green Action also holds other events on campus throughout the school year, and hopes to raise awareness for this divestment cause and also other general environmental issues.
Signing up for clubs and deciding which ones to join can be a little bit hectic and confusing, especially because many clubs that you want to join have a lot of depth to them and are involved in really important projects. Its useful to manage your time and figure out the best way to get involved, because getting involved can be really rewarding and a great way to meet students like you!
Engineers without borders, or EWB, is a club that many students, especially IDEAS students, are involved with on campus. The group brings the knowledge and advancements of engineering and other areas of study in order to offer help to countries around the world who do not have access to it. Currently they are working on projects in Cebadilla in Nicaragua, which students visited most recently, and other countries in Central America. A first-year student here is working on the Honduras project directly, where they are trying to work around political impediments and enable the country to have access to the technology we are trying to bring there.
First years can easily get involved on campus and join classes that deal directly with EWB issues. The group does more than just travel—in October they have a table at the Spooktacular event at Lehigh, and do other events around campus to raise awareness throughout the year.
Hello, my name is Casey Urban, and I am a first year student in the IDEAS program at Lehigh University this fall, and will be making frequent blog posts about my experience. For my major I will likely be integrating chemical or biological engineering and something in the natural sciences arena, yet that is all subject to change. The benefit of being in this program is that the options for integration are endless, so thankfully no one expects an IDEAS student to know for sure what they want to do just yet.
The club selection at Lehigh seem limitless and overwhelming—at the club fair students sign up for groups that catch their eye, and afterward students can decide the degree of involvement that they wish to have. One group that caught my interest was the Art, Architecture, and Design Club; in high school I had taken many art classes and for a while considered minoring in art in college (the option for which is still open of course). Keeping up with individual passions outside of the academic curriculum is encouraged, especially as an IDEAS student; with so wide a range of interests, and so many avenues available, it is important to not get stuck in one train of thought and activity.
The club hosts group art projects (fun things like painting and tie-dying), as well as takes trips to art museums, sculpture gardens, and other areas of artistic interest. There is a “First Friday” event on the first Friday of every month at the Banana Factory Arts Center in South Bethlehem (a short walk off campus), which is a free open house of the art galleries of local artists. Visitors are welcome to walk through the three story building at their leisure, and have the opportunity to meet the artists in person, stepping into their studios and discussing their passions with them firsthand. It is a nice opportunity to venture off campus with a group of people from Lehigh who enjoy similar things and to see a part of Bethlehem that might otherwise remain unknown. This was the trip taken on Friday September 4, and the students really enjoyed being able to take part in this outing. Each club at Lehigh offers many ways to get involved in and off campus, and serve as ways to make students feel like not only a part of the Lehigh community but of the Bethlehem one, as they simultaneously involve themselves in an area of life that they have an interest in.
I came across this group on campus and thought it was amazing! Team GR2OW, made up of IDEAS students, is working to make Lehigh’s campus more sustainable by implementing composting on campus. Their initiative to decrease not only Lehigh’s carbon footprint but also the community around Lehigh, is one that should inspire others to make a change where they live. As Ali Lang on Team GR2OW worded it perfectly, “just because your an engineer doesn’t mean you have to work with math and science, engineering is so much more than just numbers and theories, engineering is failure and growth… engineering is problem solving.” This idea that engineering are more than numbers is what the IDEAS program is all about. Engineers are problem solvers and problem solvers need to know more than numbers, they need diverse knowledge to help them develop a product that benefits all parties.