The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Student Reactions from MLK Student Forum on Global Learning

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On January 20th, students, faculty and staff congregated together for a Student Forum on Global Learning. Student presenters reflected on their experiences in a global context and on how their understanding of global issues, other cultures, and/or personal perceptions were enhanced by their cross-cultural experiences. The Rockefeller Center was just one of several campus institutions that helped sponsor the event.

We encouraged many students to attend the Student Forum, which was held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and some were able to. Here is a small sampling of feedback students provided after attending a few of the day's sessions:  

Susanna Kalaris '16 (Hip Hop's Globalization, Black Life On, and Off, the Record):
The topics of the sessions I attended did resonate with me, which actually surprised me. Although I was interested in the topics and their presenters, I did not expect to continue thinking about the implications and ramifications of their research. Black history, as well as the history of hip-hop, is not a topic that I understand of know much about. The truly global nature of a group of people and genre of music that have both been marginalized by the majority populations caught me by surprise. In a society that is ever increasingly globalized, revealing the original global nature of Black voices was compelling. The presenters made me want to continue reading about or researching their topics, despite the limited amount of time they had to present their findings.

Tatyana Bills 'GR (Overcoming Global Challenges Through Mobile Technology):
I was impressed with the type of unconventional research that these students conducted in Haiti and Ghana. It really made me think outside the box in terms of what modern technologies, that are not even that advanced from the American point of view, can do for people in the developing countries. Ronald Bucca’s research on the use of cell phones and simple technology to enhance the mobile signal to help local doctors to connect with each other and other members of the community in the neighboring villages without having to walk over the mountain, was quite impressive. Sumeeta Kumar’s research was concentrated around proving reading opportunities to the children in Ghana through the use of cell phones and reading apps.

Jordan Kastrinsky '16 (Local Communities, Deconstructing Community Service):
I selected Local Communities and Deconstructing Community Service sessions based off of my summer, in which I travelled the country on the Big Green Bus learning about and promoting environmentalism, through talks, movie screenings, meetings, and community service. What's more we specifically looked at how local grassroots organizations and businesses are the ones making change. So, I wanted to see how their role would work in the larger scope than even America. In Local Communities, I found that most of what they had to say resonated with thoughts I had come to after my summer. Local communities are indeed key to making change but they have to be helped. In the other, I found it interesting how these individuals truly deconstructed service to show the ways to maximize one's "efficiency". I would say that what I learned in Local Communities will just help to reinforce my own thoughts regarding how best to serve the world stage, whether that be helping at large levels or small local levels. I was happy mainly to hear that others thought the same way. What's more, the other session helped me to see community service through a different lens of not just doing to do but doing for a cause and for true tangible results. It also seemed to emphasize helping locally first which connected my thoughts very well to the previous session I had attended. I hope to carry this idea of community service on through my life, as service will hopefully remain as close to my heart as it has been so far.

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