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Bridging Along Beall program hosts final event

Zoe Covey
Contributing Writer

The final meeting of the Bridging Along Beall Avenue program was held on April 4. This pilot program to foster interaction between students and members of the Wooster community began in January.

Denise Bostdorff, professor of communication studies, said that the pilot program had been successful and called for its spirit to be continued.

“A single pilot program can’t bring deep, lasting change, but Bridging Beall this year was a definite start,” Bostdorff said. “A number of participants also said they intend to continue with service started in the program and are already making plans to meet with one another again now that the program has concluded.”

Bostdorff said that change had been visible in the participants after the program.

“Some people from the greater community were surprised to learn that we have students on campus with conservative views, for instance, and some conservative students learned that members of the larger community who had liberal views often felt in the minority there, just like conservative students sometimes do on campus,” said Bostdorff.

Participants coming from the Wooster community are enthusiastic about a continuation of this type of work.

“One of our community participants is a local public school teacher and he is already looking to bring College of Wooster Students to his classroom for presentations to begin bridging the divide in his area of influence. [Other participants] have expressed a desire to have immediate conversations with others that work for the county and the city,” said Nate Addington, the College’s director of civic engagement.

Plans for continuing the program next year are not yet complete, but participants have made many suggestions, including having participants read articles reporting on Beall Ave. incidents, according to Rohini Singh, assistant professor of communication studies.

Addington said that program organizers accepted nominations for students and Wooster residents to participate in the next iteration of the program next fall from this semester’s participants. He also agreed that the program had begun to effect change.

“[This program] won’t solve the situation overnight, but there are now 36 voices for change here in Wooster,” Addington said.

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