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In association with Making Sense of Diversity: An Exploration, a world wide conversation
This session began with an exercise called "connections," in which we were asked to say out "what Posse is." The answers were various:
The origins of Posse were explained; then we divided into small groups for a second exercise called "microlab." Each participant was given one minute to answer two questions: "What is your experience of Posse?" and "Is Posse congruent with Bryn Mawr values?" We came back to the large group to share our impressions of what stood out in our conversations:
- a culture group
- a family
- change agents
- a phenomena that has changed the way I experience walking across campus
- incredibly strong women
- remarkable leadership
- something I want to learn more about
- potential conflict between individual and group identities
- dynamic perceptions
- each with its own character
- face for redefining success at Bryn Mawr
- my sisters
- liberatory: it removes some constraints on the traditional process of recruiting
- a blessing.
Feeling "honored to be in a space where such tough questions can be brought out," participants were asked to go away and "think from their roles on campus" about what other dialogues and events can build from this one. In the interim, the discussion is invited to continue on line.
a "delayed general education": I finally know what it is!
- it facilitates empowerment and so realizes Bryn Mawr's mission
- it fits and does not fit Bryn Mawr's values
- there are ideals, and there are obstacles
- Posse is not contrary to Bryn Mawr values, but it challenges us to make our ideals real
- Posse students work very hard, and that work is overlooked
- Posse is finding a way to make Bryn Mawr feel more comfortable
- Posse's "group identity" doesn't fit Bryn Mawr's "individualistic education"
- how can we learn to be proud to be part of a group and to be an individual?
- Posse "comes as a group," and so forces others to see the groups they are part of (and may not want to be associated with?)
- Posse members wanted to be known as individuals--but they were scared, and so they stuck together
- there were fears that the "Posse" label had negative assumptions that had to be worked around
- can we "have our cake and eat it too"? an unexpected contribtuion of Posse to campus has been its modeling the ways in which group formation and support can contribute to the expression of cussed rugged individualism
- Posse contributes to the ideal of community
- Posse invites us not to judge, but to understand more and "see why," by talking with one another about our past experiences, telling how it looks from our own perspectives
- there are misconceptions about differences in background (among Posse students; between Posse and the rest of campus)
- we "don't have to be the same"; we can all work together and support one another
- Posse is a family; "I want to be a member of the family!"
- Why do I feel that the institution is not honored to have Posse here? How can that be changed?
- Bryn Mawr has "lots of catching up to do": it needs to get beyond the individualistic ethos of "getting MY work done," and re-evaluate what it means to be a community of strong women
- We have hesitated to talk about the financial issues and differences in access which money makes on campus.
"Making Sense of Diversity" will resume in person at noon on Friday, December 3, when
Annelise Butler and Paul Grobstein will be talking about "Re-imagining Culture."
| Return to Schedule for Friday Noon Conversations
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