In a move towards a more inclusive community, the Lyon College Student Life Office has launched the Diversity Recognizes Everyone’s Actions in the Movement (DREAM) campaign, and it has already seen an enthusiastic response from the Lyon community. Spearheading the movement is Associate Dean of Student Life and Director of Diversity, Lai-Monté Hunter, who has prepared several events and activities for DREAM.
“We hope that DREAM will ignite everyone to become actively engaged in creating a campus environment that values the contributions of all community members,” said Hunter.
One of DREAM’s events is a “Diversity Lunch and Learn” series, and it has already proven quite popular—originally only 24 seats were available per event, but due to high interest, the number of seats was increased to 60, and all spots have been filled.
According to the Student Life Office, the series is “an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to actively engage in facilitated dialogue to increase multicultural competencies within an informal setting.” Each month, the series will host a session during lunch that discusses a diversity topic.
The first “Lunch and Learn” was Wednesday, September 12, and its topic was “Identity and Discrimination.” Hunter facilitated a discussion on how a person’s name shapes their identity and how Social Identity Theory affects diversity.
Hunter shared that there will be more DREAM events as the school year continues. The Student Life Office will share information about upcoming events through its new electronic newsletter, Diversity Digest. The newsletter “will communicate our ongoing commitment to diversity, cultural appreciation, and collective responsibility to uphold the true idea of an inclusive community,” said Hunter.
Hunter recently joined Lyon College in his new role, and DREAM is one of his first projects. Hunter has been in higher education for over a decade, and he is most excited for how his role will help students and the Lyon community.
“I applied for this position because it allows me to collaborate with faculty, staff, and students to create intentional opportunities that will foster a true appreciation for the contributions of all community members,” he said.
This year, the Lyon College Disc Golf Club will compete in college matches as part of its joining the Southern Collegiate Disc Golf Association (SCDGA). The club has grown into a team of eight members, with Andrew Hyde, ’19, as the team captain.
Disc golf is part of the Lyon Education Adventure Program (LEAP)’s activities. Disc golf has become popular enough on campus that LEAP is needing to purchase more disc golf rental sets for students.
Director of Outdoor Education and Recreation Austin Smith is excited Lyon’s disc golf club will compete at the collegiate level and notes that the disc golf club has helped with disc golf’s popularity on campus.
“The club has promoted a disc golf culture on campus, and we have seen a huge growth in the number of students playing disc golf,” said Smith. “LEAP's mission is to provide opportunities for students to have fun, learn, grow, and develop outdoor skills, increased leadership, and an appreciation for the environment. Through the creation of the Club and disc golf culture on campus our disc rentals and student participation have been much higher than past years.”
View the SCDGA schedule here.
Hello from Hong Kong!
Here’s a brief tutorial on Cantonese, one of the spoken forms of the Chinese language. To say “good morning,” you say jóu-sàhn. But there’s no equivalent for “good afternoon” or “good evening.” Instead, one asks “have you eaten rice yet?”: sikh-faahn meih a. The answer may come in the affirmative or the negative, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s a formal convention, an empty question kind of like “how are you?” in the U.S. It’s such a placeholder that you can even ask it as you’re meeting someone for lunch or dinner!
With a range of six inflections and a character system that I haven’t studied before, Cantonese is a tall order. There are several places where I’ve found myself grasping at straws to make communication happen.
For instance, at a streetfood stall in the Mong Kok district, I tried to understand what was in a particular fried-ball-on-a-stick. I made fishgill hand motions on my neck and whatever else I could think of to communicate with the vendor. I’m still not 100% what was in that skewer, but it was tasty. Anyway, it hurts my left-brain pride to know that I won’t even scratch the surface of Cantonese before I leave Hong Kong.
However, there’s something comforting about immersion in an unknown tongue. The pressure is off to find the right word. Sometimes here it comes down to a handful of terms, some nods, pantomime and gesticulation. Gossip and smalltalk ebb away (Though of course they have their place. So friends and colleagues, please don’t be shy about sending gossip and smalltalk while I’m away!).
Here’s a picture from my ride on a double-decker tram, or a “ding-ding,” as they call it in Hong Kong. Named for the sound of its bell, the tram lines run east-west along the Central and Western districts, often tracing Hong Kong Island’s original shoreline, which is forever inching into the harbor thanks to insatiable developers. One ride costs under $0.33US, offering a reprieve for tired legs as well as a range of city views.
Until next time.
Wesley Beal is an associate professor of English at Lyon College. This fall he is serving as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar at the University of Hong Kong, where he teaches two courses in American literature and continues a study of the campus novel genre. Please reach out to him at email@example.com if you have Hong Kong- or Fulbright-related questions for him to investigate. He’ll do his best to oblige in subsequent blog posts.
On Tuesday, August 28 the Lyon College Career Center held the Summer Experience Fair (SEF), an event that Annette Castleberry, Lyon’s Director of Career Services, describes as a “casual, interactive forum where younger students learn from upperclassmen how they found summertime career-building opportunities.” Such opportunities include internships, research assistantships, academic travel and more.
Student presenter Melanie Beehler, who spent her summer doing research in Fayetteville, first arrived at Lyon knowing little about internships except that they were integral to success. Beehler hopes that her presentation at the SEF will “help other students know how to get [an internship] and what to expect from it.”
Patrick Mulick, Dean of Students, is also excited to see students helping each other, saying, “I think this is a valuable experience because students get to bring back to the college the experiences they had while they were away. Without an event like this, those experiences are often lost. They may learn something or may have gained an experience, but to get to share those experiences with the rest of the students perpetuates that cycle of more and more students going out and getting internships.”
Taylor Donnerson, a senior who spent her summer working on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., found herself in this once-in-a-lifetime position when a member of her Lyon College family nominated her for the Arkansas Leadership Forum. This nomination set off a chain reaction that landed Donnerson in Washington D.C., where she worked alongside senators and advocated for Arkansas. Donnerson described her experience working with peers and mentors in Washington as being “like a wave.” The SEF strives to help Lyon students collaborate and, together, make waves of their own.
Donnerson won the 2018 Summer Experience Fair Scholarship prize of $1,000.
On Friday, August 17, over 200 freshmen started their academic careers at Lyon College. To help the students settle into their new home, Lyon hosted Weeks of Welcome (WOW), a week-long lineup of events beginning after freshmen move onto campus.
Freshmen participated in an assortment of activities ranging from a community art project to a part-time job fair. Students continued the tradition of competing in the annual freshman raft race across Bryan Lake. WOW also hosted several informational events including residential hall meetings and an alcohol and drugs safety speaker.
Student Activities Director Unswella Ankton facilitated the events, and she found that WOW’s service project event was one of the most popular and successful among students. For this year’s service project, the freshmen assembled over 21,000 meals for local hunger relief programs in only two hours.
“Overall, I think Weeks of Welcome went very, very well,” said Ankton. “Everybody had their hands in this year for the service project. We reached out on social media to ask students to tell us what events they enjoyed so far, and about 90 percent of students said the service project was their favorite event.”
Upperclassmen also helped with WOW activities. Many wanted to help with the events that they also participated in when they were freshmen.
“WOW is important for freshmen because it provides a way for them to get to know each other, and it’s facilitated with the help and support of their new community,” said student Hannah Smithee.
“I bonded with my roommate during WOW and now I have a forever friend,” said student Laura Mendez.
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