Harvey. Irma. Jose. Maria. What are we supposed to do about them from Ohio? We have all heard about the devastating hurricanes that have swept through our country on several different fronts over the past several weeks, wreaking havoc in regions including, but not limited to, Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. How are we supposed to make an impact in aiding those affected from the destructive tropical storms?
Denison’s Alford Community Leadership and Involvement Center (CLIC) has taken a first step by hosting a “Civic Action Circle” open to all students and faculty and located in the Red Frame Lab (Slayter 200). The conversation is intended to jump-start the discussion on important issues within the Denison community. Susie Kalinoski, Associate Director of CLIC, and Trinidy Jeter ‘04, Assistant Director of CLIC, facilitated the discussion and are eager to host more Civic Action Circles in the coming weeks to engage in candid yet crucial conversations on campus.
Denison alumnus, Allen Schwartz ‘70, was a primary contributor throughout the discussion and agreed that these Civic Action Circles have the potential to serve as “great vehicle[s] for facilitating discussion”. Schwartz stressed the importance for students to invest their time and credibility to raise awareness around these discussions and to “invest their intellectual courage to really dive deeply into the questions.”
As the discussion progressed, they shifted to address individual accountability. Although students have varying levels of involvement and connections to these hurricanes, every single one is capable of making a difference. Schwartz reminded the group that “any dollar, can of food or blanket raised or sent to hurricane victims contributes to the total.” Perhaps we can make a difference all the way from Ohio after all.
The consensus agreement reached at the discussion was to use the Civic Action Circles as an forum for action, not just conversation. To that end, the second meeting of the Circle featured Rod Cook, the Executive Director of the Red Cross of East and South Central Ohio, who just returned from facilitating hurricane relief in the Florida Keys. Cook gave the advice that whether it comes through word of mouth, social media, or group messaging, students are well-equipped with the tools to spread information and take action.
Civic Action Circles have also been ongoing to work towards community solutions around education access and equity.
Written by Max Curtin '21 for The Denisonian