October 25, 2017 The Signal page 17
Students shed light on feminist movement By Corinne Castaldo Correspondent
Feminism — a pressing issue in today’s society that affects all people, young and old, student and faculty, male and female. Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. hosted Feminism 101 on Oct. 18, in the Library Auditorium to discuss the important matter of feminism with students at the College. Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority and Women In Learning Leadership also co-sponsored the event. A panel with one person from each organization was set on stage. The speakers opened the event by asking members in the audience to take out their cell phones and participate in a Kahoot! Kahoot! is an online quiz creator that allows users to answer questions and submit their answers anonymously. Some of the questions included, “what is feminism?” After each question, the panel discussed their own opinions on why feminism is an important issue to them. “Feminism has always been important to me,” said Christiana Buz, a sophomore communication studies major. “I think that it’s crazy that it hasn’t been a topic of discussion until recently.” The Kahoot! activity was a successful way to shed light on the topics of feminism, and engaged the audience with an interactive experience. One of the main discussions of the event focused on the misconceptions of feminism itself. The panel was quick to dispel certain misunderstandings of the feminist movement, such as the exclusion and hatred of men. “It isn’t about excluding men from the conversation of feminist topics,” said Luisanna Lugo, a member of Chi Upsilon Sigma.
Panelists discuss misconceptions of feminism. “But women are the focus of discussions like these because when we (women) leave, men become the focus.” The panel continued to highlight the fundamental need for discussions where women are the sole focus, because in most spaces — such as classrooms and in the workplace — the focus is primarily on men. These misconceptions are a crucial part of why feminism is a topic that is often shied away from. “I think that it’s crazy for (feminism) to not be important in everyone’s life,” Buz said. The discussion led to many different topics of feminism — such as social media, racial perspective and how discussions about feminism often become unfocused. Members of the panel touched upon the issues that social media brings into the feminist movement, such as the effects of radical feminists. “There is not just one social media,” said Cidney Robinson, member of Chi Upsilon
Emily Lo / Staff Photographer
Sigma. “Consumers of media should not take every piece of information from radicals and attribute that to the feminist movement as a whole.” The panel was quick to point out that the majority of social media users are radicals, and that students should use caution when deciding who and what to follow so that the goals of the movement do not become lost in the mix. Radical feminism is often the cause of common misconceptions regarding men, making them believe that they have no place in the feminist movement. Men can get involved by stepping into spaces such as these and actively thinking about the perspective of women and their roles in society today. The racial perspective of feminism was also a topic that was heavily discussed at the event. With the members of the panel from diverse backgrounds, they were able to share
their opinions on how race has impacted their experience with feminism. The overwhelming majority of both the panel and the students agreed that the opinions of colored women did not matter as much as the opinions of white women in classroom environments. Also featured in the discussion was the unfocused nature of many feminist conversations that exist today. Conversations that are solely focused on women and women’s issues can often lead to the assumption that feminism excludes men, or that men do not have a place among feminists. Discussions such as the ones that took place at the event are aimed to target issues that oppress women in society such as misogyny, rape and wage gaps, according to the panel. The discussion brought to the surface many important issues regarding the representation of women in society, while also engaging the audience with an interactive platform. While we still have great strides to make in the journey of equality, discussing the issues is an important first step.
“I think that it’s crazy for (feminism) to not be important in everyone’s life.” —Christiana Buz
Sophomore communication studies major
College partners with migrants from Myanmar By Grace Gottschling Staff Writer Surrounded by the Grecian-accented, pale green walls of the First Baptist Church of Trenton, students from the College and immigrant children filled the pews in preparation to practice their conversational English skills. Students enrolled in the College’s American English and World English courses are partnering with immigrants from Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma. English professor Felicia Steele, who teaches the courses, said the program was established roughly 10 years ago. “The goal is to provide (the immigrants) with an opportunity where they are not feeling judged for their English language use,” Steele said. “Research shows that the way you learn a language is by using it. We are trying to provide an opportunity to these students to use English.” Adam Sibley, the program coordinator for the Advanced Center for Engaged Learning, said Steele is one of the many faculty members at the College who believes learning is enhanced when
students get out of the classroom and into the community. “The project is borne as much out of her (Steele’s) desire to challenge students to think and act critically as her passion for service,” Sibley said. Since the start of the program, Steele has worked with a number of different sites to fulfil her classes’s engaged learning component. The most successful site she found has been working with the First Baptist Church of Trenton with the church’s reverend, Calvin Powell. The Rev. Powell has allowed Steele’s classes to work as conversation partners with the immigrants from Myanmar in his church. This is the fourth time Steele has worked with Rev. Powell’s church in the past six years. The current immigrants are between the ages of eight and 20 years old. Together, the students and immigrants are able to foster and learn new skills, whether that be through practicing English or studying how it’s acquired as a second language. “I’ve learned it’s so important to give some of your time to children in communities like these, with the goal of improving their
spoken English, providing them with a conversation and a friend,” said Meriah Murphy, a senior English major. There are currently five or six children from immigrant families who are working with students at the church. In the first year of Steele’s program, there were about a dozen. The smaller class size makes it easier for students to work in a oneon-one setting. “Making sure they feel heard and understood can go a long way in boosting their confidence,” Murphy said. “I’m grateful I’ve had the opportunity to connect with this issue on a level beyond the textbook.” Twice a semester, Steele sends four students to meet with the immigrants, and the program has left its mark on those who have taken the class. “The kids were much more outgoing than I expected,” Murphy said. “They were happy to have us, which made the experience all the more rewarding.” Steele’s model focuses on establishing new experiences for the betterment of both her students in the class and the young immigrants. “That’s part of the reason that we do this, so that (students at the
College) can develop empathy for English language learners,” Steele said. According to Steele, the classes’ goal is to examine the materials for teaching English as a second language and evaluate what kinds of ideologies are embedded and reproduced through learning English as a second language. “The class gets to see English language learners as they are struggling to make sense of American English,” Steele said. Steele, along with the Center
for Community Engaged Learning and Research, is making strides toward establishing an immersion model that will greatly advance students by giving them tangible methods to better understand and prepare for practical application in the real world. “Through programs like Advanced Community Engaged Learning, the College is creating a generation of graduates who, no matter their choice of profession, is prepared to live civically engaged lives,” Sibley said.
Immigrants practice their English speaking skills.
The 10/25/17 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey’s student newspaper