Pride Talks Lecture Series Provides a Feeling of Belonging
By: Damon Markiewicz
Pride Talks, a series of short, powerful talks by Springfield College faculty, staff, and students on issues connected to "belonging," are free and open to the Springfield College community and the public.
Initiated in the fall of 2018 by the Division of Inclusion and Community Engagement, the series was launched in a series of TED-style talks taking place on the Springfield College campus.
"The Pride Talks series has become a very powerful series on the campus," said Springfield College Vice President for Inclusion and Community Engagement Calvin Hill. "It's inspiring to witness the impressive discussions led by members of our campus community, and we welcome everyone to feel a sense of belonging as we continues this series."
Pride Talk #1
"Stuck in the Middle" Presented by Chelsea Mensah, Class of 2024, Sociology Major
My whole life, I have never felt like I truly belonged anywhere. I have never really fit in any standard. I was born in the U.S. but I grew up in Ghana. I have spent my life living in different spaces, different cultures, different societies. Coming to the U.S., I found that there is a completely different culture here than from the one I grew up in. To my family and friends in Ghana, I was never really Ghanaian enough, and to my family and friends here, I’m not really American enough. I see a division between the Africans and our African diaspora brethren. My talk is about exploring the differences and talking about the many similarities between Afro-diasporan cultures and African cultures. I would also talk about finding a way to bridge a gap, as well as defeating impossible standards and making your own standard. If one is not able to find a space where they belong, then one must create their own space of belonging as I have done for myself at Springfield College.
Pride Talk #2
"A Lost Boy: In Search of Self-Identity and Belongingness" presented by Kushal Bhandari, Class of 2025, Business Management and Computer and Information Sciences Double Major
My Pride Talk will be a walkthrough of the aftermath of a lost boy's displacement; alienated in a faraway place. His realization of his true abilities and attributes serves as a voice for many other lost people who experience a similar sense of alienation on campus. A distinct approach to belonging that sparks discussion about security, fairness, and isolation. The talk will be heavily weighted with somber personal experiences that, in turn, stimulate the listeners' sense of benevolence and empathy.
Pride Talk #3
"Belonging to Myself" presented by Kyle Higney, Academic Advisor, Academic Counseling Center
This talk is about how a self-focused approach to finding meaning and purpose serves as a coping mechanism in the face of loss, crisis, and adversity.
Pride Talk #4
“Cultivating an Environment of Belonging!” presented by Anthony Hill '92, MSW, EdD, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Social Work
How do we help students know that we care about them? How do we show care and understanding to students about central aspects of their identity and still hold students accountable? Are there unconscious attitudes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in our educational system that privilege some students over others? How do we as an institution address microaggressions—subtle verbal and nonverbal insults directed at others often automatically or unconsciously done by adults or peers? This talk will address how to deal with controversial topics when microaggressions occur in the classroom and on campus and how to create a sense of belonging.
Pride Talk #5
“Defining Your Mission Statement” presented by Ashley McNeill, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Director of Pre-health Professions Advising
As a member of the Springfield College community, most of us are highly aware of the College’s mission statement: To educate the whole person in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others. While that is a common vision that binds us together as a community, very few of us stop to think about our personal missions in our daily lives. In this talk, McNeill will challenge you to consider what your mission is in your personal and professional life. She will discuss values and strengths and encourage you to identify a few of your own. Finally, she will describe how better understanding our own missions and goals can help us come together as a stronger, more effective community to better fulfill our shared Humanics mission.