Spring Creative Audience series brings diversity to campus

The spring semester’s Creative Audience programming kicked off with speaker Penny Patch and looks forward to many more events in the coming months.

 “Honestly, I could talk about every one of these events and why I’m excited for it,” says Matt Hayes, coordinator of first year events. “There’s something so cool about each of these events.”

 The Office of First-Year Experience researches and selects Creative Audience events with input from various other departments on campus to ensure that the selection connects with other campus programs, while also offering important new viewpoints to its attendees and broadening the scope of JSC’s liberal arts education.

 “These events either introduce or further explore the importance of a diverse and dynamic world,” says Hayes. “They serve as a community calling to come together and experience new things.”

 With consideration for our current political climate, many of this semester’s Creative Audience events will relate to current and past issues of social justice and diversity.

 On Tuesday, Feb. 7, Ava DuVernay’s film “13th,” a documentary addressing mass incarceration in the United States, will be screened in Bentley 207. After the film, representatives from local police forces and other panelists will lead a discussion.

 Speaker Dr. Simon Howard will be coming to JSC on Wednesday, March 15, to talk about his work on stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination.

 “It comes back to that idea that . . . we have diversity in our world,” says Hayes. “We need to really celebrate that. And not only celebrate it, but we need to look at the injustices and figure out how to also make change. So in terms of that, I’m really excited about that programming.”

 In addition to events focused specifically on social justice, this semester’s Creative Audience menu offers diversity in the variety of its options.

 JSC will be welcoming a bigger name on Wednesday, Feb. 1, when comedian Dave Hill speaks in the Stearns Performance Space about forging your own creative path. Hill has appeared on HBO and Comedy Central, traveled with his own stand-up, authored two books and played with many bands.

 On Wednesday, Feb. 15, Burlington Taiko will bring their powerful, synchronized drumming to the Dibden stage.

 Dr. Jane Guiltanan, a long-time practicing naturopathic physician, will be in the Stearns Performance Space on Tuesday, March 21, to discuss her work in women’s health, primary care, disease prevention and wellness promotion.

 Monday, April 10, will see “Pattern Behavior” in Dibden. The band is an electronic duo who pair their music with visuals “to create what many have called ‘music designed for the mind,’” according to the Creative Audience arts and events pamphlet. They also use a Moog synthesizer, which sounds fun enough to attract my attention.

 These are only a handful of this semester’s Creative Audience offerings. Hayes encourages students to look into all of them, and even do a little bit of research ahead of time.

 “Don’t just use [the menu] as all the information you need to know,” he says. “If you’re on the fence about, ‘Why should I go to this,’ then come into our office and talk to us about the event. Send me an email . . . I can give anyone clear, and probably too much rationale, of why that event is taking place, because there’s a reason why it’s on the menu.”

 He also encourages students who don’t think they will be able to meet the class’s requirement of attending six events — due to busy schedules, jobs or other restrictions — to contact him or others in the Office of First-Year Experience. “It’s really easy to be overwhelmed and look at it and say, ‘This isn’t going to work,’” he says. “But it’s a conversation . . . I would say to definitely have that conversation.”

 Ultimately, Creative Audience is meant to broaden the diversity of, not only students with a requirement still to meet, but the campus as a whole.

 “Embrace the opportunity of being a part of something and avoid closing doors that may lead you to something important in your present and future. It can be easy to only focus on things that feel comfortable and familiar,” says Hayes. “Attending these events may make you rethink or consider something new, ultimately expanding your understanding and connection with others.”