C3 Program Expands College’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Cross Cultural Connections replaces Cross-Cultural Living Experience Program

October 25, 2012 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — In an effort to foster a broader sense of community and encourage students to interact with one another on a wider scale, The College of Wooster’s Center for Diversity and Global Engagement has established Cross Cultural Connections (C3). The new structure (and name change) replaces the Cross-Cultural Living Experience Program (CCLEP), and will continue to create what Wooster President Grant Cornwell describes as “a dynamic lab for intercultural living and learning.”

Danny Ha, the new program coordinator for the office of multicultural student affairs, and Susan Lee, associate dean of students for multicultural affairs, have been working diligently to engage everyone in understanding and appreciating one another’s differences in culture, background, and tradition. Ha hopes that students see the good in the diverse backgrounds of their fellow classmates and that with these realizations comes the desire to participate in C3. He also would like to see the program tackle some of the more difficult and controversial topics by providing a safe environment for members to share opinions and ideas without concern for backlash. In addition, he hopes students will be able to discuss and debate issues without attacking one other.

“C3 won’t be just another student group,” says Ha. The program will require a certain amount of social responsibility and engagement from the students and community. He suggests that participants can be involved at one of three levels, ranging from (1) basic attendance at two C3 events per semester to (2) participation in workshops throughout the semester to develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of issues of identity, social justice, diversity, and global engagement to (3) joining the C3 executive team, which will be responsible for planning and organizing C3 events, both for Babcock Hall and the wider-community.

Other goals include encouraging students to interact and learn about one another so that they are known by name and character rather than by stereotype. Ha is also working to reach beyond the confines of Babcock so as to include as many venues and students on campus as possible. A range of formal and casual events will be held around campus on different days and at different times to maximize opportunity for involvement.

Because of the already wide range of student programs that exist on campus, Ha is trying to partner C3 with other organizations in order to cut back on overlap and to further cooperation. This, in combination with partnerships with City of Wooster community programs, will help to build student relationships by providing scenarios where students of different backgrounds and beliefs will be able to work together toward a common goal.

“C3 will be fully formed and successful when it is a living learning center,” says Lee, adding that the program will eventually include courses that will be taught in Babcock by faculty, staff, and students. These courses will start out in a workshop format and evolve from there into formal lessons.

- Story by Libby Fackler ‘13