We have completed our first two sessions in the inaugural year of the 11/12 program. The September corridor meetings focused on stress management. In October, the co-ed small group discussions on tolerance were successful; many groups brought up challenges with racial, socioeconomic and cultural differences.
We have received much feedback: some positive, some negative. George Reich ’13 told me, “I enjoyed the sessions and they have brought our hall together.” Daniel Rivera ’13 said, “I think that the simple act of talking with others and creating a relationship with them outweighs the time commitment of twenty minutes. Connect4 is meant to create a similar experience between all upperclassman, which is meant to get people relating with each other.”
While we have attempted not to make these sessions feel additive, asking that they account for the “feed” for that week, we understand the time it takes out of our busy schedules.
The one criticism is that these are “forced” discussion. While the students say these discussions would/should just happen organically, we beg to differ. As critical learners, you are all entitled to your opinions, but we ask for your help in taking advantage of an opportunity (as faculty often encourage students to do, every period of the day, in fact, in “forced” discussions in the classroom).
A senior girl immediately following an October session said, “I enjoyed that, I never would have had the opportunity to talk about these things with those boys if this had not been arranged.” Many more students stated that having these discussions was one way to foster respect and tolerance as well as an opportunity to hear opinions different from their own.