Third Annual Engage! Day Focused on Anti-racism, Social Justice, and Inclusion
Hundreds of Hampshire students, staff, and faculty gathered for the College’s third annual Engage! Community Day of Education on Thursday, October 24.
Classes were cancelled and all community members were invited to workshops and events with the goal of strengthening relationships, celebrating diversity, and healing hurt and division caused by last spring’s debate over the future of the College.
Attendees joined in nearly 20 workshops and events throughout the day facilitated by fellow Hampshire staff, students, faculty, and alums as well as guest facilitators from the surrounding Five College and Amherst communities. Workshop themes included communicating across differences, committing to anti-racism, countering white supremacy culture, promoting social justice, practicing resiliency and wellness, and increasing accessibility.
The day-long events culminated with a community theater performance in the afternoon titled NEX(US): Hampshire Voices, featuring students, staff, faculty and alums reflecting on their diverse experiences at and perspectives of Hampshire. Topics ranged from this year’s difficulties on campus to the love and joy inspired by fellow community members and the College’s natural beauty and resources. The reality-theater production was created from interviews and story circles with Hampshire community members and directed by nationally acclaimed theater artist and activist Marty Pottenger, who spent a week on campus in residence developing the production.
The Engage! Community Day of Education was organized by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, led by Dean of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion Natalie Sowell, and made possible by funding and support from the following offices and programs: Ethics and the Common Good Program; The Culture, Brain, and Development Program; The Community Commons; Critical Studies of Childhood, Youth, and Learning; The President's Office; and Student Life.
Hampshire College values diversity – it enriches our campus community and advances our intellectual and creative endeavors. Diversity encompasses multiple and intersecting identities including but not limited to race, class, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, religious expression, physical and mental abilities, military/veteran status, and political expression.
Hampshire aspires to foster a welcoming community inclusive of individuals from an array of backgrounds and perspectives who share a commitment to all forms of anti-oppression, social justice, respectful discourse and engagement. We believe that diversity is central to the academic and work experience and campus culture and therefore, we recognize that recruitment, retention, and support of a diverse community are fundamental responsibilities related to the sustainability of the College.
Diversity is at the core of our collaborative, creative, inquiry-based model of education. Our pedagogy depends upon the free and open exchange of ideas informed by different perspectives, fields, and methodologies. We offer an interdisciplinary education that is inclusive of the knowledges and experiences of groups who have been historically underrepresented in academy. Together, we strive to be a community of scholars and artists engaged in respectful exchange of different perspectives and ways of being, and critical and analytical thought: essential factors for transformative learning.
Photo by student Eelly Zhang