New project opens door for expressions of diversity

In an effort to promote diversity and multiculturalism within the campus and city of Wooster, the College has initiated a new collaborative project titled, ìA Community of Voices: Reflections on Identity and Diversity.” The project will be composed of written essays, short stories, poems and artistic pieces written by members of the community and students centered on the theme of diversity.

William Macauley, associate professor of English and director of The Writing Center at the College recalls that the idea for this project began in the fall of 2007, as a way in which the department of writing could team up with the office of Off-Campus Studies and the Center for Diversity and Global Engagement. †††††††††† †††††††††††††From there, Macauley devised a committee consisting of himself, Jessica DuPlaga, the director of Off-Campus Studies, Nicola Kille, the coordinator of the Ambassador Program and finally Anne Gates, the associate dean of students for academic success and retention. The committee will be responsible for reviewing and editing all the submissions received from students and area residents.

The promotion of diversity as well as the showcasing of written and artistic talent within this project is an ideal goal, but Macauley also hopes this collection will ìenable consideration of and reflection on the wonderfully multivariant community in which we live by providing one option for seeing others who are both like and unlike ourselves.”

Although the recognition and promotion of diversity within a community is important, Macauley agrees that diversity must ìbe accompanied by a collective openness to difference, willingness to consider others and a community premium on reflection through learning about others, other cultures and other perspectives. My experience has been that Wooster and the College are just those sorts of communities, both together and separately.”

There is no question that the students at Wooster have an ample amount of knowledge and an array of diverse experiences to share, and Macauley feels very strongly that the members of the community will bring a wealth of experience and valuable insight to the project as well. ìWe would be very foolish not to bring these voices together for our project,” he said.

The schedule for this project is structured in a manner that will hopefully have the final manuscripts sent to the printer this coming March. For those interested in writing, an initial proposal and finished pieces, if possible, are due by Oct. 7 The English Department is also offering a course during the second half of this semester, called ìEnglish: Tutorial in Community Writing and Publishing,” which will† count as a half-credit course. For students interested in the course, it is best to contact Macauley directly.

Wooster residents have already acknowledged the project through an array of posters around town as well as a press release featured in The Daily Record and talks of a radio broadcast are also in the works.

Although the initial edited collection has Macauley and the rest of the committee very optimistic, they do hope to eventually build on this collection to make this ongoing project digitally available via the Internet.

ìDiversity is essential to a healthy community, whether that diversity be racial, political, socio-economic or some other kind of diversity. If you think about it, one of the greatest opportunities inherent in diversity is the diverse ways that one might discuss or participate in it,” said Macauley.

Hopefully ìA Community of Voices” will prove to be a successful medium for the Wooster campus and community to come together, voice their opinions and share their experiences with diversity. ìFinally, we can all take some pride in a publication that celebrates us,” said Macauley.