CEE Travel Grant Recipient, Mike Williams (Dr. J. Michael Williams), will facilitate a workshop that will focus on how to establish a service-immersion program and/or a study abroad experience that allows faculty and students to collaborate with communities on sustainable development projects. In particular, we will discuss how such a program was initiated in South Africa. There is the potential for this type of program to offer students another method to engage in civic participation that is consistent with the “change making” mission of the University. The advantages and disadvantages of this type of experience will be considered and discussed. John Loggins, Associate Director of CSL and CASA Advisor, will also discuss how CSL and CASA support faculty and implement a community development model that encourages deep cultural immersion.
Thoughts from John Loggins about Monday’s Cultural Immersion, Service, and Civic Participation
When we go abroad we “do” too much. We do things with the expectation that relationships will emerge. Project-based relationships are created and although the project may be successful, the relationship is unsustainable and will have to be renegotiated.
What if we start with “being”? Immerse ourselves, just be, and wait to see what naturally emerges. When our “doings” emerge this way, based on our connection, shared interests, and being present; remarkably whether we succeed or fail, we’ve created a shared experience that serves to strengthen the relationship.
We’ve done this in Jamaica and have learned that real connection equals real change.