By: Madonna Borde ’21, staff writer
LVC held the 8th annual Symposium on Inclusive Excellence on Feb. 25, however, it was the first ever virtual Symposium due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s keynote speaker was Tim Wise.
“Everyone has work to do when it comes to breaking down what they think about race and how they interact with the world around them,” Claire Benesch, senior English major said. “For an overall introduction to what his thought process is in regard to race and the problems in America when it comes to institutionalized racism, he gave a very good sample platter.”
The afternoon sessions were divided into either educational double or single sessions. The double sessions included: Poverty Simulation, Disturbing the Silence with Khalil Brim and LVC student project participants, Crime + Punishment Film Discussion with Dr. Alladin and Democracy Under Seige. The single sessions consisted of: The Human Library at LVC in Bishop Library, Genres of Photography: Social Documentary, Storytelling & Activism with Barbara McNulty and Dr. Guzman-Zavala and many more.
Benesch has attended about three Symposiums while attending LVC, including this one. However, this has been the sole Symposium where Benesch took part in other sessions besides attending the keynote.
“I enjoyed it probably more than I have in years past,” Benesch said. “I think that has something to do with the speaker. It was actually an engaging speaker.”
She registered to attend the Human Library. However, she did express her frustration with the limited time period for registration. Benesch also expressed an interest in wanting to attend the Poverty Simulation.
“What [the Human Library] sounded like was a bunch of people getting together with lots of different points of views and you could go up to individual people and say ‘I’ve always thought ‘this,’ what do you have to say about it?’ and they could have a dialogue with you,” Benesch said. “The reason I was interested in attending that specifically was because I am very interested in other points of views that are not my own. I feel like when I spend a lot of time around my friends or family or people that generally just agree with me on everything, I don’t learn anything new and talking to people who don’t share your life experience is the way you do that.”
The Symposium is normally open to the public; however, with the use of web platforms, it was a little less accessible this year. On the other hand, Benesch said that although she will be graduating soon, there is a benefit to the virtual Symposium. That way, she can attend no matter where she may be in the world.