A Look at Campus Life at Community Colleges
As a child, Cleveland State Community College (Tenn.) student Bianca Dedicatoria was bullied, and after working on her recent art exhibition, she realized she wasn’t alone. After interviewing 40 students and faculty members, Dedicatoria discovered that almost all of those interviewed had experienced some form of discrimination because of their ethnicity. Her collection of artwork titled “Cultural Diversity in America, 2016” renders an understanding of the cultural diversity in the U.S. Each photograph in the body of work includes a photograph that represents the cultural diversity as well as an inscription of the individual’s social, cultural and political views and experiences. “I have always been intrigued by how culturally different people are and yet they survive interacting with one another for a long period of time,” stated Dedicatoria. Each interview took anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to complete and through the interviews, Dedicatoria was able to get to know each individual’s character, the relationship with his or her family and how their cultural background has impacted their lives here in the United States. She also learned of various discrimination experiences encountered, and during the course of the interviews, each individual really opened up to her about these experiences. Although she has had other exhibitions as a student at CSCC, this was Dedicatoria’s first solo art exhibition, which made it special for her. Through this exhibition, Dedicatoria said she learned a lot. “I learned that whether a person is Asian, Latino, Hispanic, European or African-American, all had likely experienced various kinds of racism and criticism from people who are also culturally diverse…racism still exists no matter what your ethnicity.” Dedicatoria will graduate from Cleveland State in May with an associate degree in art. She plans to transfer to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the fall where she plans to continue her education in Art.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just ask members of the North Platte Community College (Neb) chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. They set up displays of tattoos, piercings and other body modifications in NPCC’s Learning Resource Center. It’s all part of a bigger, national project, Honors in Action, which is designed to engage honors students in actions that foster student success. The project also helps fulfill PTK’s mission of recognizing and encouraging scholarship in a lively exchange of ideas and developing leaders who serve their communities. According to PTK, the Honors in Action projects give students the chance to apply learning and practice real-world problem-solving. All chapters start with the same honors study topic, which this year is, “How the World Works: Global Perspectives.” They then pick one of eight themes to research and create an action project around. The NPCC chapter chose the theme, Beauty and Vulgarity. “It’s the first time our PTK chapter has ever done an Honors in Action project,” said Amy Taft, chapter president. “We chose to target something often considered taboo, body modification, to show that it is a form of art and to bring awareness and acceptance to the practice.” The group researched eight scholarly articles regarding the subject, jointly reviewed the findings, then set up the displays, featuring photos of both NPCC student tattoos and piercings and current trends in body modification. College faculty, staff and students have the option of filling out a survey after viewing the displays to voice their opinions about them. That feedback, combined with the PTK chapter’s research and a review will be posted on “The Yard Rake,” NPCC’s student-led webzine. The information will also be submitted to the Hallmark Awards program for recognition during Nerd- Nation, PTK’s annual convention.