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Thursday, February 20, 2014

On the precipice

How so very hard it is to record the change as it happens. Right now, SUSTAIN is about to "step off" somewhat of an edge.  Perhaps this is overly dramatic.  We are in the midst of evaluating whether we want to take the gift of partnership that has been offered to us by the VP of Student Affairs: an entire dormitory for 2014-2015.
The dorm comes in the form of a "living learning" experience.  This feels like a turning point for us because it could really take us to a new level and it is not clear if that level is up or down.  This weekend we will meet in a team of past-SUSTAINers, some faculty, our trusty Kylie and our potential student housing partner, Ben, who is in charge of the people who are in charge of the R.A.s.

The precipice for me feels like this: I think I can finally say that I could let go of SUSTAIN now. I can really "not do it" next year. I am not sure how I arrived at this point, but it feels like a much better place to be than feeling as if there was some necessity about it.

The work with the faculty continues to be a beautiful gift. The work with the students is absolutely lovely. The responsibility of the logistics are a total nightmare.  It consists of begging, borrowing and stealing at every turn. It really may be that I am creating this nightmare in my head because of my sense of scarcity.

One of our efforts of borrowing (space) has caused a genuine increase in oppression and suffering for Liz. Her department chair has taken a series of unilateral actions against her that began with having the locks to her laboratory changed without any prior consultation with her.  I will write about this in another posting, but it is this kind of violence that people are acting toward one another that we seem to be swimming in. This is particularly the case in our college of engineering where people have unconsciously adopted values of 1900's corporate America: efficiency, productivity, concentration of profit (for a few), consumption.

It is the case that SUSTAIN seems to be "under attack".  When I look closely, this attack is really the college of engineering. It is not other parts of campus.  We are finding an unprecedented level of cooperation in other parts of the campus. Our hope is to turn this into collaboration.

1 comment:

  1. Linda, the fact that resistance and violence comes from within (for you college of engineering) is also something we have observed and experienced. Outsiders are able to remain objective and assess the effort for what it is. Insiders, on the other hand, have an additional pressure knowing that this might/is bound to affect them affect their routines and activities.