Let’s face it: a lot of what you see when you pull up a college’s website has very little to do with the day-to-day experiences of the students who attend that college. Marketing, parking maps and guest lecturers do not a campus make.
Fortunately, many schools have given their students the chance to share their college experience in the form of student blogs. There are many genres of these blogs, covering a bunch of aspects of campus life. Here are some more examples of the types of student writing that our local schools have to offer. (Missed part one? Check it out here).
Study Abroad Journals:
Every school has study abroad programs, and many allow their explorers to chronicle their adventures on the campus website. Jenny, a student at Arcadia University who traveled to Tanzania through the College of Global Studies, uses her platform to describe her experiences at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where she saw a man convicted of acts of genocide. She discusses the moral discomfort she felt as she watched this man, who may well have been responsible for thousands of deaths, be convicted on evidence that she, and the other members of her group, felt was spotty.
In addition to these sorts of visceral and immediate experiences, studying abroad allows American students to immerse themselves in foreign cultures, and gain an understanding of the way that those cultures react to global stories and issues. Daniel Tedesco, a Drexel student spending time in China, took the time in April to examine the Jeremy Lin story from a Chinese perspective. His discussion of Chinese citizenship and nationalism would be impossible without the weeks and months he had spent being surrounded by the culture.
While many types of student writing are easily categorized into common types, sometimes you’ll stumble upon a blog that doesn’t fit so neatly. Such is the case with Moore College’s collection of Student Journals, which focus on giving their students a showcase for their artwork. Tessa Guze, a 2D fine arts major, has a collection of her paintings and sketches up on her blog, including more than a few that I’d love to have hanging on my wall (like this one, which seems like something out of an excellent children’s book.)
Another boundary-breaking (in more ways than one) student writing collection is Ursinus College’s LGBTQIA Connection blog. Here, members of the LGBTQIA community of all gender identities and sexual orientations find a safe space in which to discuss LGBTQIA issues on campus. Alexis, one of the bloggers, examines the social constructions of the Ursinus campus, and the ways in which LGBTQIA rights and concerns still lag behind, even on a campus that has made LGBTQIA advocacy a priority. These sorts of venues can allow for commentary that thoughtfully examines the strengths and weaknesses of a school’s equality efforts.
You can contact Wesley Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.