I was at a talk last night given by iO Tillett Wright, she has a popular TED talk (that I have not seen) but she spoke on gender equality. She used this extended metaphor about circles, and she quoted Chimamanda Adichie from another TED talk. The one by Adichie is one that I had seen in high school, and it was cool to see this connection. They both discussed the problem of a single story, and how in doing so you rob someone of his or her dignity and right to his or her own story.
Its amazing how the same TED talk came up in these two very different contexts, but still worked very well in these situations. This just speaks to the generality of some ideas, and how there are many different ways to look at people and stories.
That’s what iO’s whole talk was about, expanding your own world and what you’re used to by getting comfortable around people who are not exactly like you, and in doing so making the world a more accepting place to live in.
Lehigh has had an Ethics Speakers Series for a little while now, and it is concluding this fall. One of the last people to speak was Dr. Ed Freeman from the University of Virginia, speaking of business and its reputation and place and future within society. He discussed the bad reputation that business has had, and explained how in actually it serves a greater positive influence within society. It has to power to do a lot of good, but also a lot of bad, and some companies are really trying to enhance the good.
He discussed future business leaders, and the goals and passions that they may have within their company.
Business was never an area that I was particularly interested in, partially for the reputation of it being competitive and sneaky, but also just because it was out of my interest. It allowed me a better view of business in society and of the positive power it may have, which is something everyone should know about. Whether you’re in the business school or not, his ideas and arguments are influential for anyone living in our capitalist and business driven society.
As I recently mentioned the student body at Lehigh finds itself immersed in the exam process. We schedule are weeks (and work schedules) around the days we don’t have exams. This makes sense and is intuitive. You would not plan to do something on a day when you’re suffering from pre-exam pain and suffering.
I find myself thinking about the great feeling I had last semester when exams were finally over. Sure, I spent entire days rereading past lecture notes to study. However, in the end, when that moment finally hits you and you realize you are free; pure ecstasy. Strangely though this semester has been a bit rougher and I’ve been trying to figure out why. It hit me today. Like a brick.
Now this isn’t really a life-changing epiphany, and it also may be a bit obvious. That said, the difference between these two semesters is that in the current one, my exams are spread out. Initially, this might seem great. Cramming for two exams at once is like pulling teeth. Yet, my exam week has turned into three. For the past three weeks all I think about is the exam I had to study for that week. In this way, I’ve been stressed about exams for this entire time. Last semester I only had one week, and sure it was brutal; but it was quick. Note to future self: a week with three exams may hurt like the dickens, but freedom is just around the corner.
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?
It’s funny walking around campus and seeing tours going on, because it puts you in a totally different perspective. Now you’re the mysterious and interesting college students that you stared at just a year ago. You’re fortunately done with the whole college application process, you’re not scared and wondering where to go next year to begin your independent adult life. It looks like we have it all figured out, or at least just a step closer, and so it puts you in an interesting place. Now, when we talk to potential students, it’s exciting thinking of the influence we may have.
I remember when I came to Lehigh for an IDEAS info session, a student said to me “IDEAS is the reason I am at Lehigh”, and now I’m in the same position and would say the same thing to a potential student. It’s amazing to have that type of influence and to affect students’ lives in the way that yours was. It’s exciting to be able to say, “Come to Lehigh, I love it here and you will too.”
Professor Best encouraged us to go to a lecture on Social Science, saying it’ll definitely be intriguing for those “STS” (Science Technology in Society) types. As a program and a set of students, we represent something on campus by being in IDEAS. We have interests that go beyond just the College of Arts and Sciences or Engineering, and instead fuse both of them together, which some lectures around campus already do.
The College of Arts and Sciences is so broad and diverse, its hard to choose what to do! As registration for the next fall quickly approaches, figuring out the avenue you want to take is important. That is why talks and lectures like that help, because they give insight into different areas other people are exploring and that you might want to as well.
It’d be great if more students got involved and sought out all that Lehigh has to offer. There are so many opportunities, and really where most of my blogging inspiration comes from. You’re not just at college to go to class and get good grades and hang out with friends. So much learning and opportunity exists outside of the classroom if you know where to look for it.
A three day conference happened at Lehigh this past week called Feminisms Beyond the Secular, and I wish I had been able to see more of it. Women from across the country and world came to share their insight and research from within their area of specialty and study. It was interesting to see how they all came together and discussed feminism and how it can be used in religions and races as a tool and language.
I say I wish I had been able to see more because I came during the last panel discussion they had. Not many students were there, and I guess its hard when people have class and everything. But I could tell just from their wrap ups and summaries that a great deal had been talked about the days before, and that they were really important topics that more students should have been interested in. Lehigh has so many great speakers and opportunities– yet nothing of course is mandatory, and not everything fits in with the busy undergrad schedule.You have to just keep an ear out for anything that may spark your interest, and even if it doesn’t seem like it is worth it, and would be something that you could easily skip to watch Netflix instead, usually you’ll be really happy that you went. You leave thinking about new ideas from different perspectives, and have a subject of conversation when someone asks you how your Tuesday night was.