I attended the talk, "The Museum of the Bible & The Politics of Interpretation." This event was about how the Museum of the Bible became a billion-dollar institution created by the Green Family (owners of Hobby Lobby). The speakers outlined how historical figures have constructed "the Bible" and then argued that the museum itself constructs "the Bible." They assessed the technologies that people develop to interpret the text and how that materializes across time. I thought this was a though-provoking lecture that analyzed a museum in a way I have never thought about before. It shows the power of the collective in interpreting and developing technologies. Especially coming from an Evangelical background, this was a fresh understanding of a museum I've been to before.
I attended the Celebration of Active Citizenship with the Office of Community Engagement. This was a really fun event to celebrate the accomplishments of our community. I enjoyed seeing new and familiar faces and getting to see people rewarded for their hard work. I thought the activities were affirming and were a good way to connect with others. This event made me reflect on all the community engagement work that goes on behind the scenes. Everyone at the event was involved in the community in some way, which goes to show how many people are working to make Williamsburg a better place.
I attended a talk entitled "Period Poverty" that was hosted in collaboration between the campus organizations Vox and BLOT. I learned about how menstruators in poverty have to handle their period. I listened to stories of people who try to use as much toilet paper as possible and others who try to ration out pads/tampons. I also learned about the relationship between globalization and period poverty. Many corporations have taken on period justice initiatives to redirect attention from accusations and allegations regarding sexism. Corporations also make a point to show how "backward" non-western approaches to menstruation are and imply that their products are the remedy to these injustices. However, this mindset neglects western culture's "menstrual closet" which associates periods with shame.
I volunteered for Day For Admitted Students and answered questions for prospective students! During this experience, I was able to meet and hear the stories of potential new members of the tribe. I linked my own experiences and knowledge about the university with the students' interests. This opportunity made me reflect on what makes up a community. Although DFAS is a heavily curated event with inorganic elements, it still shows the power of a group of people working together to make others feel included. I'm glad that I decided to volunteer and will definitely do it again next year.
Altogether, I went to three community quilt workshops with Steve Prince. Two of them were part of my classes and the third workshop was through Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. I can't emphasize enough how impactful these workshops are. It is really special to just have time set apart to do something with your hands and create something unique; let alone do this alongside other people. I was so moved by the stories that other people had to share and it felt very powerful to share my own stories through quilt squares. This experience shows how art brings community together and I can't wait to see how it all comes together.