I know this may be obvious, but I’m going to state it anyway: there’s way more to a university education than the stuff we learn in class and from books. Every time I make a new connection, learn something new about myself or try something I haven’t tried before, I’m reminded of that. It all counts!
Ok, maybe it’s also a way of justifying the fact that I’m probably not getting enough school work done… but am instead doing all sorts of interesting things which, at the end of the day, all contribute to my education/bettering as a person. Right? Hmm.
We’re really fortunate as university students because of the access we have to interesting people, talks, and events. In fact, I’m quite certain one could get away with being busy all day without doing any thesis-specific stuff. I swear.. every time I turn around there’s some interesting-sounding event I want to attend. It’s actually kind of overwhelming! I’ll admit that I find the balance hard to strike sometimes: EVERYTHING sounds so interesting, that I sometimes end up skipping it all, in favour of trying to whittle away my To-Do list.
But if you’re in Kingston today and tomorrow, I would encourage you to check out Instigate 2010: Anti-poverty Rant-In — an interdisciplinary, community/academic conference on poverty that is unfolding on campus and in various spots around the city. The organizers (fellow grad students Krystle Maki, Cara Fabre & David Thompson) are attempting to do something quite unique and important: create a space where activists and other members of the community can mingle with academics in a bid to get people outside of their respective bubbles — sharing ideas and building community.
Last night I attended a really inspiring opening at the Artel. As part of the conference, the community radio station, CFRC, commissioned a number of Kingston residents to make audio projects about their experiences with poverty. The project, called Below the Line gave people who might not otherwise have the opportunity, instruction in things like digital recording, multitrack editing and scriptwriting, then sent them into the world to produce their stories.
At last night’s opening, more than a few of us were moved by the results. I was most struck by the opening remarks, where the project participants talked briefly about their experiences with poverty and stigma, and what it meant to have their voices heard through this kind of project. Talking one-on-one with some of them afterwards, I was really struck by how little our communities ever mingle, and how much we really do have to learn from one another.
It was totally inspiring.
Here’s a TV news story about the project.
The audio projects will be aired on CFRC 101.9fm and on-line at http://www.cfrc.ca on Monday, October 18 and 25 from 4-5:30pm. You can also stop in at the Artel (205 Sydenham St.) until October 17 for the full audio experience.
Here’s to a weekend filled with interesting conversation, new connections and lots of other learning!
(oh- and thanks to those of you who have been posting comments, suggestions and general thoughts – it is all appreciated! I like to hear what you’re thinking…so keep ’em coming).