Increasing Cultural Awareness On-Campus

Logan Elie '24, Contributor

What’s a new way to raise cultural awareness on campus? Serena Kim ’23 is an International Student Ambassador (ISA) who has worked to find an answer to this question. Trained by the organization Narrative Four, Khushi Mahajan ’22 will instruct the ISA to connect with others and learn about various experiences using a telling system.
So how did this all start? ISA members recognized the campus-wide problem of microaggressions targeted towards international students and wanted to help.
“We were all thinking there should be a chance for international students to share cultural awareness on campus,” Serena said.
The ISAs recognized the existence of students on campus who aren’t exposed to different cultures and wondered how they could spread this throughout the Loomis community.
The ISAs wanted to first start off with bringing this to the freshman seminars. Serena reached out
to several faculty members on campus to discuss the possibility of bringing the topic of international cultures to the seminars.
To this suggestion, Director of the Alvord Center for Global & Environmental Studies Marley Matlack offered “Narrative Four”.
“Narrative Four” is a global organization that uses story exchanges to help students
understand that their voices, stories, and actions matter. The program is guided by a prompt that tells a story that the reader repeats back in first person.
Ms. Matlack brought “Narrative Four” training programs to rising seniors who plan to receive the Global and Environmental Students Certificate (GESC) as a way for them to fill out their requirements.
“Khushi jumped at the opportunity to do this,” says Mrs. Matlack. Over the summer, Khushi was tasked with applying “Narrative Four” to the school’s community. “You literally put yourself in the other person’s shoes,” Khushi said.
As ISAs needed a way to bring cultural awareness to the freshman seminars, Mrs. Matlack suggested that Serena and Khushi work together. To raise cultural awareness on campus, the freshman seminars will hold “Narrative Four” conversations with questions around culture, race, and individuality.
Ting-yo Tan ‘22, a freshman seminar facilitator, hopes to bring “Narrative Four” not only to freshman seminars but also to sophomores and upperclassmen dorms.
“Hopefully after March we can incorporate both,” said Ting-yo.
With this program kicking off in early February, the ISA aims for positive outcomes.
“It’s definitely going to bring a wider sense of awareness in the community as well as empathy,”
Serena said.
“It really depends on who is more vulnerable or not. You make a new friend
you learn something new about someone,” Khushi said.