What I learned – May 24

Had a chance to meet with a graduating student for coffee today. The first time we met was fall 2013, in the Prelusion program I used to run called, “ArtsAlive.” The program was an opportunity for students of any major to come to campus a few days before the full orientation and experience activities in a particular theme.

This program focused on the arts district and lots of hands on making in music, dance, theatre and art. We explored the Southside venues, met local artists, and took a trip to Martin Guitar. It was a good program.

She told me she was glad she did that program because it helped her find a path during her time at Lehigh that would have been more difficult to find otherwise. As a female computer science major, she already had social challenges.

For some students, finding a social group where you can let your guard down, or feel connected is really hard. In a campus not particularly known for its social arts scene, it takes a bit of work.

This student is a listener, and she took in what I showed her, found other groups, and crafted her own way. But more than finding her way on campus, she is happy to continue to find her creative way post graduation. She’s made a big impact on me. I am so proud of her.

What I’ve learned from students like her, is that there are many who seek arts experiences, nurture their creative side, and want to know more about the world, even if they can’t fit in the humanities courses in a strict engineering program. These students will find what they seek.

In whatever way I can, I will keep inviting students to learn about the arts scene in Bethlehem. Because students like this are worth the effort.

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