I’m having a really hard time stepping back and giving Festival of Scholars the good ol’ reflection it deserves. It’s so hard to assess something I’m so deeply entrenched in, and I don’t feel like this project has ended at all. It’s kind of absurd, but this project has become my way of life this semester. Divest was already a part of my life, despite my reservations, and then this project was Divest, and then it wasn’t but it was something bigger, and then it was this nebulous mass of inquiry with little defined path. I’ve spent so much time stewing in it, in “activism”, because there’s something in it that’s intriguing (and really annoying and frustrating). It’s not like it’s something I could compartmentalize within my life because it just connected to everything I’m doing, even though I literally don’t know what activism means! From Divest, to SEED, to all the readings in Environmental Studies and Philosophy of the Environment, to the “activist” climate we find ourselves in today (there are so many marches in Portland, wow (I don’t go to them (I don’t do any activism(?)))), to my own critiques of activism and fatalism… Yeah, it’s everywhere and I can’t stand it, honestly. Maybe if I wasn’t taking 19 credits I’d be able to process it all. Maybe.
So what have I gotten out of this? And what have others gotten out of it? Through my engagement, I was able to see where people are coming from, and withhold judgments. I was able to see that many people are curious and critical of “activism,” even as they partake in it, and see opportunities for strengthening our tools. That’s cool. Now I just feel like we need to do something with the knowledge that we’re unsettled with this omnipresent idea that small actions don’t add up to much. And I sound like a ridiculous broken record and I can’t stand that. I’m such a trope.
Ok, pity-party over. The Outcomes page summarizes my main take-aways, those of substance, particularly relating to FoS. I like the idea of situating this “research” somehow next semester, in my own personal way, or assisting a future Engagement Project. Since so many students were interested in workshops, I’m tempted to follow up on that. It would have to start with something like a forum, and getting insight from student organizations on campus. Bridging these groups and learning from each other sounds so important, but obviously this isn’t something everyone is going to want or have time for. I’ve always felt like I’m creating something out of nothing with this project (not in a good way… in a meaningless way), but that people were so enthusiastic about it during FoS leads me to believe something can and should happen. If I get out of my circle of SEED and ENVS, I think this path might become more clear.
Perhaps I’ll chew on that later.