As the semester comes to a close, I think back to all of the lessons learned throughout the semester. A huge part of the learning experience for me came from the different group facilitations and exercises, and offsite visits to different locations that became learning spaces. Professor Spencer and Professor Provenzano were both great assets to the learning community. I was already familiar with Professor Spencer’s teaching style from last semester, it is one that always resonated with me. Professor Provenzano was an amazing addition to the class, and his presentations on mapping, and the evaluation and creation of programs from a systems approach were invaluable.
This undoubtedly was one of my favorite classes over the past few semesters. Not only because we were offsite, and had a small break away from Ann Arbor’s Large campus (Which at times can seem a bit pretentious), but it was also one of the most diverse courses that I’ve had to date. If only this class reflected the actual diversity within the School of Social Work, and the University as a whole. I consider myself lucky, to have been able to converse with so many great minds, and under such great leadership, during a time when our country is regressing back to a state of intolerance and widespread phobism. But what is most important, is the many ways in which I was challenged mentally, and the expansion of my sphere of understanding when it comes to community and social systems. Indeed, there is much turmoil in our world today, and many of us, including myself, ask where can we start? Well this course helped to illuminate the possibilities in showing me that we can easily begin to effect change right in our own communities. It’s easy to want to go where the attention is, where the focus of the social justice microscope has shifted. But there are atrocities happening every day in our own communities, right under our noses.
I believe that this course also took a very proactive approach, in that we were forced to look at problems, or potential problems, and also look at potential solutions. And I also believe that it has been embedded in our minds that we must always listen to the community that we are looking to service. We must hear her voice, and know her story. This experience, and the knowledge gained from this class will follow me throughout my career as an advocate for social justice.