Blog

Blog Author:
Sean Novak and India Pierce

 

Collaboration & Change for a Common Good
A Reflection on Collaboration in Campus Life
India Pierce and Sean Novak

 

One way that we can work effectively to create change for a common good is to work collaboratively across communities. With this in mind, India Pierce from the Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity (CSGD) came together with Sean Novak from the Center for Multicultural Affairs (CMA) to create a program that explored the intersections of race and sexual orientation. As part of the CMA’s En/Countering Racism series (E/C), they created a program for students to gather and explore intersectionality. This was done in order to deepen participants’ understanding of themselves and others as a means to building stronger coalitions for social justice.

For this blog post, some of the interns at the Women’s Center decided to share our personal history with feminism. We have all had different experiences and there isn’t a singular theme among our stories, but we hope that our experiences encourage others in the Duke community to explore what feminism means to them.

 

From Colleen O’Connor (Community Building and Organizing Intern): `

 

"I realized that by basing judgments about people off numbers (the statistics of 'illegals' who don't have documents) we take away the personal histories of this collection of people with different experiences.  It's like saying, 'You are just a number.  You are not who you think you are.  You do not deserve your own personality.  You are a number that I can manipulate as I please in an equation.  I can reduce you.  I can find your lmits.  I can eliminiate you.' "  Leslie Niiro, Duke Univ. Class of 2016

There are those who talk and there are those who do.  WHO (Women's Housing Option) does.  This living group has set themself apart as more than just a place for women to live.  Concepts like "safe space", "social advocacy" and "community efficacy" come to mind when looking at the stirring and dynamic new campaign that was launched last week.  Body image issues are a reality in many of our lives.  The statistics that support this truth are alarming as words are spoken with little or no thought given to the lasting psychological impact that is left in the wake of commentaries on women's bodies.  It is encouraging to see that, with the photo expertise of Ashley Tsai, this group of women has created space to invite conversation, expand thought provoking images and develop the tools to initiate positive change.  All of our lives are affected when even one life is disrupted by the inability

One of last year's seniors (and a former DUWELL intern), Rose O'Connor, was inspired to write this blog in the spring of 2012, her last semester at Duke.  As we approach Thanksgiving time, it seems especially appropriate to consider gratitude and how to appreciate the small things in life...

My name is Kimberly McCrae and I recently transitioned to the Women's Center, as the Program Coordinator.  My beginning date was August 1, 2012 and things have been moving at a rapid pace ever since!  One of my first official engagements in this new chapter in my life was co-teaching a workshop with Sean Novak, a man of many talents, (Did you know he can rap?) for Project Change.  This small group of incoming Freshmen was somewhat omnipresent during their week-long experience in the program...they were EVERYWHERE!  They had a full week of immersion experiences, explicitly intended to prepare them for life here at Duke, in Durham and in the world at large.  I must say that these P-Changers were energetic, inquisitive, intelligent, bold, talkative and creative.  There are many ways to be a leader and this group held within it many great examples of leadership that I'm sure will emerge m

The students are always asking me what I do over the summer when they are not here on campus.  Indeed….what does the staff do when they are not around?  This summer, my Duke loves, I was introduced to impermanence and the power of steadfast resolve.

I was hiking and camping in Utah with friends.   For 5 days, Marty, more like a brother than colleague, would say “Sheila, all it takes is wind, water and time” when I would remark on the leveling of the mountains into oceans of sand.  These flat dessert sands interrupted by tall humanoid mountains reminded me of the power of patiently waiting.  All it took to create this unfamiliar Utah landscape was wind, water and time.