RED Talks: Student Engagement

Averi Amsterdam, Staff Writer

The first Red Talk of the semester took place on February 3, discussing the topic of student engagement, hosted by Linda Dake from the Community Service Resource Center (CSRC).

“Dancing on the Path to Awesome” was the first presentation given by Monica Grau, Director of New Student Services. By following a three step process, she believes individuals can find their passion, and graduate — the goal of every student on this campus. She said the first step is to learn with joy. Grau began by telling the story of her college career and how learning didn’t just come from the professors in her major related courses. She encouraged students to never stop learning, whether in a classroom or anywhere else.

This brought us to her second step: don’t be boring. College is the time to step outside of your comfort zone to create yourself. Grau paired this step with her story of becoming a cheerleader in college even though she was inexperienced. By going to campus events and joining different organizations, students are able to network and make connections. Welcome new faces, expand your networks, and don’t take these connections for granted.

Her final piece of advice was to show your pride, whether it is in school, your work, your job, or in your peers’ work; commit to the full experience.

Theresa Russo, a professor in the Human Ecology department, gave the next presentation titled, “What is This Thing Called Engagement?” She began by defining student engagement as one of the most important factors in student learning and personal development. Being engaged is more than just being involved. In order to be actively engaged, students need motivation to generate, direct, and sustain what they do learn.

“Through Community Engagement, We are Teacher, Learner, Contributor, and Beneficiary” was the final presentation of this Red Talk. Led by Meg Nowak, the Vice President of Student Affairs at Hartwick College, she followed a similar theme as the first presentation. Like Grau, Nowak encouraged students to step outside their comfort zone. Students only have a finite amount of time in college, and while people are wired to seek comfort, it is okay to be slightly uncomfortable. Challenging yourself can help you perform at your highest ability.

The next Red Talk event, Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship, is scheduled for March 2.

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