On Monday, April 22nd, students and faculty will gather to participate in a campus outreach program. In My Shoes is a program created two years ago from a senior class assignment.
In that course, I was asked to study how men in our society are influenced to grow up and be “tough”, learning that to express emotion is considered “weak” or “feminine.” While in this course, I started thinking about the fact that men really never stop hearing this message, even after they grow up and move away from home. I wanted to create a space to talk about some of the messages they receive throughout their lives and find out how difficult it is to perform under the roles dictated to them by society.
Wanting to take this program and put it into practice, I realized that I couldn’t make the event solely around the issues men face; instead, I needed to make it an open event for all students to listen and share.
What In My Shoes has become is a place for students and faculty (known as facilitators) to strip down the layers that separate us and form an alliance in spite of those differences. Whether that be the teacher/student dichotomy, appearance, religious beliefs, political affiliation, or sexual orientation, we all have a human connection that is deeper than any of these potential divisions.
In My Shoes is a 3 hour extensive team teambuilding event that eases each participant into trusting one another. The title comes from the final teambuilding exercise “In My Shoes”, where students and facilitators sit in small groups and discuss what life is like in their shoes. I have heard some wonderfully personal testimonies from the last two years that have really changed the perspective of those participating.
This years event is centered on family dynamics. Whether you live in a foster family, have two moms and/or two dads, or identify your college community as your family, we all have a story to share! The theme was created by my very talented co-host, Micala, who will be taking over for me as Program Coordinator when I graduate. She has been really great to work with and I cannot wait to see where she takes the event in the future.
If you feel like having a life-changing evening and forming a wonderful bond, come to the Event Center on Monday, April 22nd from 6pm-9pm. If you’re nervous about sharing, please know that the event is designed for individual comfort, meaning do not feel pressured to share anything you do not want! If you want to come, but have class, come to the event after!
Thanks for reading and I hope to see everyone on Monday!