Tag: inclusion

Equity and inclusion focus of Lawrence’s annual Report to the Community

Collaborations between Lawrence University and local organizations to create a more just, equitable and inclusive community in which to live, work and learn will be celebrated Thursday, Feb. 8 at the college’s ninth annual Report to the Community. The program begins at 4 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center.

Kimnberly Barrett
Kimberly Barrett

The report will underscore ways in which Lawrence engages in mutually beneficial partnerships to enhance the well-being and vibrancy of the greater Fox Valley while also strengthening the educational experience it provides its students. Kimberly Barrett, vice president for diversity and inclusion at Lawrence, will be the keynote speaker. More than 150 civic and community leaders are expected to attend.

“One of the important things we’re seeing nationally as well as in our own community, is a need to understand how do we create communities where everyone feels like they are a part, they belong and that they can contribute,” said Barrett. “We’ve been active on many fronts to make sure that’s the case. With the business community, it’s looking at talent attraction and retention. With schools, its looking at diversity issues, inclusion, reducing bullying and harassment, which unfortunately we saw an uptick in right around the election with all of the polarized political rhetoric. With community members, we want to make sure we have a place that is welcoming and where everyone can get what they need to thrive.

“We’ve seen positive movement in this area and Lawrence has been a part of a lot of it,” Barrett added. “We want to celebrate those efforts and the ways we are engaged in mutually beneficial partnerships as we present our annual report to the community.”

Highlighting the program will be the presentation of the eighth annual Lawrence University Collaboration in Action Award by Lawrence President Mark Burstein to three local organizations: ThedaCare’s Community Health Action Team (CHAT); The Fox Cities Diversity Officers Collaborative; and The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

The award recognizes an individual or organization, who, in partnership with Lawrence, has provided exemplary service to the Fox Cities community through strategic vision, leadership influence, long-standing commitment and enthusiasm, financial contributions and/or volunteerism.

Two students speaking at a Voices of Men event
The Fox Valley Voices of Men project is one of the initiatives the ThedaCare Community Health Action Team (CHAT) is involved with.

Beyond its role as a regional leader in healthcare, ThedaCare, through its CHAT initiative, has launched a series it calls “the plunge,” innovative, collaborative community projects that lead to change. Since 2001, CHAT has conducted plunges on various issues that impact community health, including affordable housing, understanding the LGBTQ population, childhood obesity, diversity, mental health, poverty, the Voices of Men program and the issue of being black in the Fox Cities, among others.

“Our faculty and staff have been involved with the plunges in a number of ways, providing expertise, being a part of some of the focus groups or the organizing groups,” said Barrett, who is a new member of the group. “I’m particularly interested, given my role at Lawrence, in the way that CHAT meets the needs of a variety of different diverse communities in the Appleton area.”

“We all have a role to play in creating the kind of community that we want to be a part of, a just community, an equitable community, an inclusive community.”
Kimberly Barrett

One of the programs Lawrence is particularly involved with is an offshoot of the CHAT plunges that is looking at helping reduce the “opportunity gap” — the difference in graduation rates in high school and college attendance rates for African American students in the Appleton schools.

“We’re proud to be collaborating with and honoring the work of the ThedaCare community health action teams,” said Barrett.

The Fox Cities Diversity Officers Collaborative features nearly two dozen leaders from business and industry, municipalities, schools and local non-profit organizations. Formed in early 2017, collaborative members meet quarterly to discuss issues relating to recruiting, retaining people within the various organizations and providing the education needed to create the kind of inclusive climate they hope to have in each organization.

The collaborative grew out of Barrett’s own desire to create a network to support people who are engaged locally in diversity and inclusion work after she joined the Lawrence administration in the summer of 2016.

“We share best practices. We share problems and work through them together,” said Barrett, who hosted the collaborative’s first meeting. “It’s really a brain-trust for those of us who are engaged in this work.”

Discussion with students and members of Spectrum Dance Theater
Members of the Spectrum Dance Theater and Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence conservatory of music (standing far right), collaborated on a discussion with students during Spectrum’s residency in the Fox Cities last spring.

The Performing Arts Center is being recognized for its efforts to enhance the arts’ relationship to social justice, diversity and inclusion. One example was its work with the Seattle-based Spectrum Dance Theater last February. Lawrence partnered with the PAC in planning the arts group local residency and coordinating some of its curricular activities while they were here, including speaking with members of Lawrence’s dance team, a performance at the Lawrence Memorial Chapel that focused on using the arts to encourage conversations about race and a community conversation at the Trout Museum of Art, of which Barrett was a panelist.

“The Spectrum Dance Theater residency really spoke to the issue of how do we look at creating a community in which everyone feels like they belong, how we can talk to each other across our differences and try to empathize and understand the perspectives of others,” said Barrett.

One new element of this year’s report to the community will be table conversations among the attendees facilitated by Barrett.

“Our annual report is an opportunity for us not only to share with the community how we’ve been engaged with the community, but it’s also an opportunity for us to get feedback from the community about the ways we can be even more effectively engaged,” said Barrett. “Given the theme is equity and inclusion, we’re going to ask people for input about how Lawrence can expand its role as  a thought leader on these issues.

“We all have a role to play in creating the kind of community that we want to be a part of, a just community, an equitable community, an inclusive community,” Barrett added. “We’re sharing some ways in which we and community partners have started to engage in this work. While much work remains to be done, we’re taking this opportunity to acknowledge our progress.”

Past recipients of Lawrence’s Collaboration in Action Award include the Community Early Learning Center (2016), Mile of Music (2015), Riverview Gardens (2014), Boys & Girls Club of the Fox Cities (2013), the Appleton Area School District (2012), the YMCA of the Fox Cities (2011) and the Mielke Family Foundation (2010).

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

“Those Who Have Been Left Out” focus of annual Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration

Senegal native Aly Wane, an undocumented organizer living in Syracuse, N.Y., shares his message for the need to fight inequality in all its forms as the keynote speaker at the 27th annual Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration.

Aly Wane
Organizer Aly Wane will deliver the keynote address at the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King community celebration.

Focusing on the need for a better understanding of the concept of citizenship and global citizenship, Wane will deliver the address “Those Who Have Been Left Out.” The celebration commemorating Dr. King’s life and legacy will be held Monday, Jan. 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public and will include a sign language interpreter.

Two community members will be honored during the celebration with a reception immediately following the program in Shattuck Hall 163.

Wane’s message is inspired by a passage from a 1966 speech in which King said, “I choose to identify with the underprivileged. I choose to identify with the poor. I choose to give my life for the hungry. I choose to give my life for those who have been left out of the sunlight of opportunity. I choose to live for those who find themselves seeing life as a long and desolate corridor with no exit sign. This is the way I’m going. If it means suffering a little bit, I’m going that way. If it means sacrificing, I’m going that way. If it means dying for them, I’m going that way, because I heard a voice saying, ‘Do something for others.’”

Wane, whose work is at the intersection of race and migration, is active with a variety of organizations, working with the Syracuse Peace Council, the country’s oldest grassroots antiwar group, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, the Undocumented and Black Network and the Black Immigration Network.

In a 2017 interview with The Progressive, Wane spoke of the need to make the immigration conversation a racial justice conversation.

“When folks still think about undocumented folks, they still think about Latinos,” Wane told the magazine. “I don’t want to say ‘privilege’ that I have had, but I have had U.S. citizen Latino friends stopped by Border Patrol and ICE and I have been able to get away with it because I don’t look Latino. Of course, I am black and therefore I am always getting stopped by cops anyway. But, I think that it would be a lie to have an analysis of the immigration system that doesn’t speak very directly about the influence of race in this country.”

Pa Lee Moua
Pa Lee Moua

Pa Lee Moua, associate dean of students for diversity at Lawrence, said the theme of this year’s community celebration, “Those Who Have Been Left Out,” struck a personal chord with her.

“As a refugee child, adapting to another world was extremely hard — hard on my family, myself and my outlook on the future,” said Moua, a member of the MLK celebration planning committee. “As much as I wanted to adapt, I did not want to change who I was in order to be accepted by others. No one should judge another person, assumptions create exclusions. When you choose to exclude others, you create additional unnecessary barriers and burdens for them to carry, sometimes for a lifetime. Therefore, before you act, think about your actions. The smallest act of kindness goes a long way.  As Dr. King once said, ‘I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.’”

Wane, 41, who considers himself a global citizen, is the son of a Muslim father from Senegal and a Catholic mother from Mali, who met each other while studying in France. They separated when Wane was young and his father passed away at the age of 38. He came to the United States when he was almost nine with his mother after she landed a position with the United Nations Development Program.

He’s lived in Rwanda and Gabon with his mother who was on assignments there before he returned to the U.S. when he was 13. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2001 from Le Moyne College in Syracuse.

His older sister and only living relative, who was able to obtain H-1B status through her work, established permanent residency and eventual citizenship, is sponsoring Wane for legalization, a process that could take 10 years.

Yee Lee Vue, the adult services engagement librarian at the Appleton Public Library, will be recognized as the 24th recipient of the Jane LaChapelle McCarty Community Leader Award.

Maysa Pasayes, manager, Scholars for Success program, Diversity and Inclusion Services at Fox Valley Technical College, will be presented the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Educator Award.

The celebration also will feature student winners of the annual MLK essay contest reading their entries. This year’s winning student essayists are:

Portia Hah, 3rd grade, Woodland Elementary School

Kate Jannette, 4th grade, St. Francis Xavier Elementary School

La Lee Yang, 8th grade, James Madison Middle School

The celebration will include a music performances by Anthony Gonzalez, B-Lilly and the Soul Brothers and university organist Kathrine Handford.

Martin Luther Kind DAy of Service logoPrior to the evening celebration, members of the Lawrence community will make the MLK holiday a day of service by participating in a variety of volunteer activities throughout the Fox Cities, including sorting and tagging items at Appleton’s Bethesda Thrift Store, providing arts programming with students at the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley, packaging, labeling, sorting at the Feeding America food bank and weeding, planting and prepping beds in hoop houses at Riverview Gardens.

In addition to the off-campus efforts, student spend part of the day involved with on-campus service projects including baking treats for local shelters,
making blankets for community members without housing, writing letters of encouragement to patients going through chemotherapy, creating dog toys and treats for animals at local shelters and making laundry detergent for a local shelter.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Self-care focus of opening 2017-18 cultural competency lecture issues

Erin Buenzli
Erin Buenzli

A lecture series examining issues related to cultural competency launched last year by Lawrence University returns Thursday, Sept. 21 with the opening program of the 2017-18 academic year.

Erin Buenzli, Lawrence’s director of wellness and recreation, presents “A Community of Self-Care” at 11:30 a.m. in the Esch-Hurvis Room of the Warch Campus Center. The program is free and open to the public.

Underscoring the importance of taking care of ourselves as well as others for the betterment of the campus community and society, Buenzli, will discuss campus resources available for creating an inclusive wellness culture where each person’s unique needs are recognized and nurtured in their individual pursuit of wellness.

a icon for the cultural compency lecture seriesShe also will examine ways each members of the Lawrence community can take part in the shared responsibility of creating a culture of compassion, empathy and self-care.

The cultural competency lecture series is sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Diversity conference focuses on effective, inclusive teaching methods

Amid increasingly diverse classrooms, Lawrence University is sponsoring a conference focused on inclusive pedagogy.

Head shot of Derald Wing Sue
Multicultural scholar Derald Wing Sue

Lawrence’s inaugural diversity conference — “Teaching All Students Well: Preparing an Educated Citizenry for Wise Participation in a Diverse Democracy” — will be held Aug. 17-18 on the Lawrence campus.

The conference is organized by Kimberly Barrett, vice president for diversity and inclusion and associate dean of the faculty, and the professional development committee of the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs.

The conference is designed to help all educators strengthen their individual learning communities through effective and inclusive teaching methods.

Highlighting the conference will be a keynote address by multicultural scholar Derald Wing Sue, professor of psychology and education in the department of counseling and clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Sue also holds an appointment with Columbia’s School of Social Work.

The author of 19 books, Sue has written on topics ranging from cultural diversity and psychology of racism and antiracism to multicultural competencies and racial macroaggressions. His most recent books are 2015’s “Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues in Race” and 2013’s “Case Studies in Multicultural Counseling and Therapy.”

Sue was honored by the American Psychological Foundation in 2015 with the APF’s Gold Medal for Life Achievement in Psychology in the Public Interest, an award that recognizes distinguished careers and enduring contributions to the application of psychology in the public interest.

Registration for the conference prior to June 19 is $135. From June 20 to Aug. 11, when registration closes, registration is $175. Any non-Lawrence student can attend for $25. Registration includes a networking reception, lunch and conference materials.

Interested parties can register online to attend the conference. For questions or additional information, contact Michelle Lasecki-Jahnke at 920-832-67454 or  michelle.l.lasecki-jahnke@lawrence.edu.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Diversity program aims to help individuals find “their authentic self”

Photo of Sandy Eichel
Sandy Eichel

Professional diversity and inclusion consultant Sandy Eichel leads the community program “Finding Your Voice” Wednesday, April 19 at 4:30 p.m. in Lawrence University’s Warch Campus Center cinema. The event is free and open to the public.

Eichel’s presentation will focus on ways for individuals to let go of the past, break free from a life of people pleasing, build a positive future and find your “authentic self.” An engaging speaker, Eichel uses humor and her own personal vulnerabilities to broach difficult topics and expose the audience to perspectives outside of their comfort zone.

The former wife of a Lutheran pastor, a one-time professional opera singer and a consummate perfectionist, Eichel’s seemingly perfect life was anything but. When it became intolerable, she decided to change…everything.

After years of looking outside of herself for answers, she decided to focus internally and seek them from within. She changed her name and her career. She became a financial advisor and discovered an industry in which she saw much need for change. It led to her work as a leadership, diversity and inclusion consultant and facilitator.

Based in Madison, Eichel is active in a variety of nonprofit organizations, including serving on the board of O.P.E.N. (Out Professional Engagement Network), C.A.S.A. (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and MadREP (Madison.Regional Economic Partnership).

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Critical Issues Forum series explores “The Purpose of Higher Education”

A Head shot of Lawrence University President Mark Burstein
President Mark Burstein

Lawrence University President Mark Burstein leads a panel discussion examining the issues and challenges facing higher education as part of the university’s ongoing Critical Issues Forum series.

The program “The Purpose of Higher Education,” Friday, April 14 at 11:10 a.m. in the Thomas Steitz Hall of Science atrium, is free and open to the public.

A Head shot of Lawrence Provost David Burrows
Provost David Burrows
A Head shot of Lawrence vice president for diversity and inclusion Kimberly Barrett
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Kimberly Barrett

Burstein will be joined on the panel by Provost and Dean of the Faculty David Burrows and Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Kimberly Barrett. Together they will explore the role education plays in addressing the challenges of our day and discuss university and community practices related to higher education. Audience members will be encouraged to share their perspective and opinions on the topic and their input will be used to inform future university decision making and practices.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence hosts weekend reunion for Black Alumni Network

A photo of Lawrence University alumna.Lawrence University welcomes members of its Black Alumni Network to campus Sept. 30-Oct. 2 for its second reunion. The weekend-long event is designed to provide opportunities to reconnect with former classmates and the college as well as interact with current students.

“This reunion provides a wonderful opportunity for Lawrence to support this engaged and successful group of graduates,” said Kimberly Barrett, vice president of diversity and inclusion and associate dean of the faculty. “It also provides a way for these individuals to give back to the institution by contributing to the success of current students, particular those who identify as African-American.

Alumni attending the reunion can relive their college days by sitting in on one of three Fall Term classes with current students: “Democracy in Comparative Perspective,” “Introduction to Gender Studies” and “Literature and the Environment.”

Other reunion activities include campus tours, a lunch with small group conversations addressing campus issues related to identity development and diversity with Pa Lee Moua, associate dean of students for diversity and students, a screening of author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2015 Lawrence convocation “Race in America: A Deeper Black” followed by group discussion and a Diversity Circle program offering a contemporary approach to diversity training moderated by current Lawrence students.

A photo of Lawrence University alumnus.As part of the weekend festivities, the president and other senior administrators will join the alumni for lunch on Oct. 1, members of Lawrence’s Black Student Union will host an open house at Sankofa House for the alumni Saturday evening and members of the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs will host a question-and-answer session in conjunction with a Sunday brunch.

“Those attending the reunion will be able to share key insights with university administrators to assist in our efforts to create a more inclusive Lawrence,” said Barrett. “I feel extremely fortunate to have access to this brain trust to inform my work as I begin my tenure at Lawrence as the college’s first chief diversity officer.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Young alumni-driven crowdfunding initiative looks to enhance Lawrence Diversity Center

A $10,000 crowdfunding effort to support Lawrence University’s Diversity Center and enhance campus life for students is in the home stretch.

Diversity-Ccenter_newsblog-3Organized by the Viking Gift Committee and led by Lawrence alumni Erin Campbell Watson ’09 and Gayatri Malhotra ’14, the effort is targeting young alumni in an effort to help current and future Lawrentians. The campaign, which runs through Monday, April 18, has generated nearly $2,600 to date.

“We thought it would be meaningful to explore fundraising opportunities related to campus inclusivity and the student organizations involved,” said Watson. “This is a powerful way for young alumni to show current students that we support them while making an impact on the campus climate that really demonstrates the meaning of our donations, no matter how small.”

Gail Watson '09
Erin Campbell Watson ’09

The Diversity Center, which will be relocating this summer from the lower level of Memorial Hall to the main floor, provides a safe, welcoming place for students to be aware, educated, and engaged with cultural competency and building a more inclusive community.  It provides resources that are often taken for granted, such as cultural support, campus wide programming, connections to student organizations, community collaborations, as well as a comfortable space that is “home” for many students.

The Diversity Center currently has one full-time staff member, a part-time program coordinator and 18 student workers. An additional full-time staff person is expected to be added this spring.

Funds raised through the crowdfunding effort will be earmarked to support professional development opportunities for student workers, provide additional educational programming to campus and establish a monetary reserve to assist students in times of emergency need. In addition, they will enhance the environment of the new location with artwork and visuals to represent a transparent diverse community.

Pa Lee Moua
Pa Lee Moua

“As our Lawrence community continues to grow and become more diverse, we also need to enhance the necessary resources and services that foster student success,” said Pa Lee Moua, associate dean of students for multicultural affairs. “The Diversity Center is much more than a department or location. For many, it’s home. It’s a supportive community. It’s personal growth. It’s leadership development. It’s education, awareness and knowledge, which are all essential components in retention and overall academic success.”

All donations go directly to the Diversity Center’s annual budget. They will not count as a gift to the Lawrence Fund. For more information, contact Kari Swason, assistant director of annual giving, 920-842-7307 or kari.e.swanson@lawrence.edu.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Expressions of Acceptance: Micro-opera event celebrates community unity

As part of his first production at Lawrence University last spring, Copeland Woodruff, the college’s new director of opera studies, surveyed his audience, asking them to share instances of feeling unwelcomed or as an outsider.

He was so moved by the outpouring of responses he received, he knew he had to do something to further address some of the experiences that were shared.

Micro-opera_newsblogThat “something” became the  collaborative project “Expressions of Acceptance” that will feature more than 40 Lawrence student singers, including 30 from the Improvisational Group of Lawrence University (IGLU), and instrumentalists simultaneously performing 13 “micro-operas” — each about 5-8 minutes in length — in the lobby of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in downtown Appleton. Every nook and cranny of the four-story lobby will be utilized for performances, including stairwells, seating areas, the bars and even the elevator.

The performance, Monday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m., will be preceded by a walk through downtown Appleton by organizers and community partners starting at 7 p.m. in front of the Lawrence Memorial Chapel and ending at the PAC. Anyone is welcome to participate in the walk, which is designed to embrace community and celebrate Appleton.

Following the performances, the audience will meet the cast and creative team and spend time together digesting the experience with community leaders in the Kimberly-Clark theatre.

“I was so excited and inspired by the audiences’ need to reach out and tell their stories last spring, that I knew that we had to continue the dialogue,” said Woodruff, director of opera studies and associate professor of music. “We are all strangers, even to ourselves sometimes. When we recognize that, it gives us courage to reach out to another soul, who is also a stranger.”

“Expressions of Acceptance” grew out of Woodruff’s production of Aaron Copland’s “The Tender Land” last February, an opera written during the Senator Joseph McCarthy trials that explores themes of “the stranger among us” as well as “the stranger within.”

“I hope through this event we can find ways to reach out and connect with others regardless
of any perceived difference, either in others or ourselves and be open
to the miraculous, healing qualities that each of us possesses.”

— Copeland Woodruff

A collaboration between Lawrence’s student organization GLOW and Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities (CDFC), Riverview Gardens and COTS, the campus and local organizations hosted pre-show and post-show events. Each audience member was asked to complete a four-question survey that asked them to describe a time in their life when they felt like an outsider, why it’s common for people to be wary of strangers or newcomers, what can be done to help people feel welcome and accepted and what obstacles do newcomers to Lawrence or the Fox Cities face that might prevent them from enjoying all that the community can offer.

“I would like for us not only to celebrate our differences, but to find the common threads we all share: we all want to love, be loved, be accepted for who we are, and be allowed to grow with regard to our varied experiences,” said Woodruff. “I hope through this event we can find ways to reach out and connect with others regardless of any perceived difference, either in others or ourselves and be open to the miraculous, healing qualities that each of us possesses. We are so much more than what appears at first glance, or second glance, or one-thousandth glance.”

Copeland-Woodruff_newsblog_2
Copeland Woodruff

While Copeland has produced and directed walk-through events before coming to Lawrence, “the level of integrated involvement with so many different community and university organizations is a first for me.”

The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region is a co-sponsor of the “Expressions of Acceptance” project, supporting it with a $2,500 grant.

In addition to the partners who worked with Woodruff on “The Tender Land,” additional community collaborators assisting with the “Expressions of Acceptance” production are Kathy Flores, the diversity and inclusion coordinator for the city of Appleton, African Heritage, Inc., INCLUDE, Casa Hispana, E.S.T.H.E.R., Goodwill, and CODA.

“It has been a life-changing experience for me working together with Matt Turner, Margaret Paek and the IGLU students,” said Woodruff, who earned first-place honors in the prestigious National Opera Association’s Best Opera Production Competition, Division V last year for the  fifth time in the past eight years. “Many of the students didn’t know each other until this project and to see them learn from each other is mind-blowing. Watching them work together, reaching across many performance-practice boundaries to swim in the scary deep end of the improvisation and post-modern theatre pool has been a landmark in my career as an artist and an educator.”

“Getting out and working with the community has helped this outsider feel more a part of the conversation in Appleton and the surrounding area,” Woodruff added. “Finding similar and differing opinions and points of view, learning and growing from them, that’s what the human experience is for me.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.