By Cait Kemp
Humanics is an integral part of the Springfield College community. Members of the community all know and understand this, and they work towards achieving this common goal together.
It is seen daily in the way individuals say hello as they pass each other on the sidewalks, hold open the doors of Cheney for others, and it’s presented on a larger scale with the service projects students complete. Springfield College and Humanics are, in many ways, one in the same.
With society showing an immense push this past summer against racism after the murder of George Floyd, matters of racial equality and diversity have now come to the forefront of daily life. With its unique Humanics philosophy, Springfield College has the opportunity to weave these ideas of social justice into the work it already does.
Springfield College graduate student Charisse DelVecchio is ahead of the game.
Prior to the sudden increase of movements surrounding equality, DelVecchio, a graduate associate for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, had already thought up the idea for a diversity and inclusion workshop to showcase at Springfield College.
“The idea for SEAT at the Table actually was an idea that I had last year. I was thinking about this idea of Springfield College having the Humanics philosophy and the spirit, mind and body philosophy and how we could take that and include social justice initiatives into that framework that already existed, because it seemed like the one missing piece… and what we could do if we added that lens I thought would be really amazing as an institution,” DelVecchio said.
So what is DelVecchio’s “SEAT at the Table” and what does it mean? Everyone has heard the phrase “take your seat at the table,” so DelVecchio decided to play off of that. She made SEAT into an acronym standing for Social justice, Equity, Accountability, and Transformation, which acts as the four pillars for the program.
The workshop is not designed as a normal conference where students simply listen to a speaker, but as something that allows students to be directly involved within the workshop, having their own discussions and pieces to present.
“I think what people liked about it was the idea is basically to share power, share responsibility in learning… what do we all have a little expertise in and what can we teach each other,” DelVecchio said. “It requires us to all just take our seat at the table and offer what we have to help each other grow.”
SEAT at the Table will be a week-long conference that’ll occur during the final week in October, starting Monday, Oct. 26. It will consist of virtual meetings due to COVID-19, but sessions will be just as engaging and informative.
“A whole week long of different types of workshops, events, performances, dialogues, you name it. They are all just in the interest of social justice learning and community building,” said DelVecchio. “It’s really diverse in what is going to be offered as well, which is really exciting because again, that’s the vision of bringing what you have and helping each other learn.”
Some things that will be seen at SEAT are cultural dance classes, lectures, researchers, theater performances, and film. Community members are encouraged to submit proposals for these workshops to become a part of the event, but others are welcome to attend the classes as well, without having to actively participate in the teaching aspect. It is all about sharing experiences and learning from each other, however one may feel comfortable doing that.
“I think so many people at Springfield College are in love with Springfield College and this event is going to be an opportunity to really get to know the people around you even better,” DelVecchio said.
“No matter what career you’re planning to go into, it’s going to be important for you to understand how to work along with people who come from different places than you, who look different than you, who have different experiences than you and this event in so many ways is going to give you the tools to just be better at that in really simple ways.”
There are 26 different sessions proposed as of now, and the program is accepting proposals until Sept. 19. If you are interested in giving a proposal to become a presenter, contact Charisse DelVecchio at email@example.com. If you are interested in attending the SEAT at the Table conference, keep a look out for the registration form coming in the upcoming weeks.
Photo Courtesy of Charisse DelVecchio