by Kat Atherton, staff writer
Groups of students congregate, at the Centennial Campus Grove on Wednesdays and at the Rampart Range Atrium on Tuesdays–taking precious free time otherwise spent at jobs or immersed in more traditional scholastic pursuits–to engage in community discussions and expand their worldview.
You can hear their laughter echoing down the hallways and everyone gets a chance to speak their mind. No one pulls out their phones. This is the kind of experience you just can’t get online.
PPSC Associate Professor Martin Conrad precariously hangs a scroll poster on a wobbly tripod reading: “The Global Village Roundtable. Everyone welcome! Please join the conversation!” and places a basket of snacks on a small side table dragged into the middle of a circle of chairs and loveseats. He sits with the students, chiming in with an occasional idea or quip.
Mostly, he sits and listens, smiling.
The Global Village is one of PPSC’s High Impact Practice programs (HIPs) that is dedicated to providing substantial educational benefits to students through committed community conversations that inspire students to empower themself and participate effectively in a society that encompasses diverse experiences, perspectives, and realities.
These meetings are likened to therapy and jokingly referred to by regular participants as “Academics Anonymous.” Several students report deep feelings of appreciation for the meetups.
Stephany Fennell, a student participant in Global Village for the past 3 semesters, says, “You get to express your feelings with hard topics or any topic especially when other people have no one to talk about hard topics and it’ll have students try to learn from other people or see their point of view.”
Global Village is about seeking to first understand before being understood
and learning to disagree agreeably.
Lance Hinsley, who has also been involved in Global Village for the past three semesters, says he would recommend the gathering to any student or faculty. “Socializing is healthy and beneficial.There are people from different walks of life providing their own perspectives and people at least listen, understand, and tolerate the dialogue of the conversations,” he says.
Student Salome Carrasco, a participant in Global Village since December of 2021, says, “Global Village has impacted how I’ve interreacted with classmates on campus. Global Village affects communities by helping people open their eyes to global issues and helps them be more aware of their surroundings and the world they are living in.”
These meetings give students the opportunity to encounter a wide variety of ages, nationalities, gender-identities, academic interests, physical abilities and challenges, and levels of education while forming new connections. It gives people a chance to discuss difficult and nuanced topics in a healthy and guided environment, a social experience many have longed for since the onset of COVID-19 and subsequent restrictions in 2020.
Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, and avid HIPS liaison, Bruce McCluggage says, “HIPs. Global Village. Whatever… There just a here-and-now actualization of what we deeply need, and know that we need, to be better about for all of our lives. Its not a matter of survival. Its about how can we even more value faculty and students who live this way, and lift them up and value them.”
McCluggage values Global Village as a way to go beyond the classroom, “Let’s go to a group like Global Village and serve the community in it in a HIP, high impact practice, aspect. And let’s connect with people or folks that we wouldn’t normally connect with and seek to learn from them,” he says.
“I think the generation today really needs to get good content that you can get from a quick lecture, maybe take some notes, but I think there way more inspired to live that content if they could hear and see examples of it. Fleshed out in front of them. And if they are leaders, they will lead that way. A leader isnt just telling people what to do. Its inspiring them to get somewhere they normally wouldn’t get to,” he says.
The current leader and organizer of global Village, known as a Student Ambassador, is Will Settlage. He presides over the hour-long discussions with humor and finesse, keeping people on track and ensuring everyone has space to be heard. His dedication enabled the Rampart Range campus to have their Tuesday meeting, despite the very real chance he might not get paid for the job as promised.
He touched on his dedication, saying, “To say Global Village is significant is an understatement. It is what college should be! Building community while learning and meeting lifelong friends, mentors, etc. Global Village not only helps you develop speaking skills, it helps you learn to listen. There [is] an atmosphere that [is] welcoming to all. Your origin, religion, sexuality, identity, or political views, none of those mattered. At Global Village, you are seen as a friend, as a participant, with valuable insights and opinions.”
Global Village is about seeking to first understand before being understood and learning to disagree agreeably. More than that, it is about bringing community to our campuses. It challenges students to discuss, be vulnerable, make friends, learn, and bring all those things with them in everyday life.
As McCluggage says, “Everyone you meet, you have an opportunity. To build a wall or a bridge. Build the bridge. See what happens first.”
Global Village is held at the Rampart Range Atrium on Tuesdays at 11:30 am and the Centennial Campus Grove Wednesdays at 12:30 pm.
Students are also encouraged to attend the informal open table conversations hosted by Professor Conrad every Thursday at 12:30pm in the Centennial Campus Grove.