Smith ReAct: IDP 400 Reflection
Encouraging a sense of belonging at Smith is a challenge like no other. How do you even begin to address histories of exclusions that are so central to the core of an elite institution like Smith College? As 11 students with different experiences and understandings of what belonging means, we spent the semester digging deeper into the concepts of belonging. Our various prototypes throughout the semester helped us explore different ways to express how our campus is connected and similar.
It is no secret that 2016 has been a year full of challenges, of circumstances in our country that have made many people feel unsafe, afraid, and angry. Despite the social and political mayhem, or maybe because of it, we knew that inspiring a time and sense of belonging at Smith was critical, now more than ever. Through our Design Thinking course, we decided to take on the challenge of designing an interactive art installation that would inspire a sense of belonging through participation. However, after the 2016 presidential election results, we shifted our focus from belonging to action, specifically reaction. Our project still included much of the things we learned through testing this semester, but grew from creating one single interactive display, to an event. Our event prototype combined new and old ideas and was set up as a way for individuals to choose which projects helped them express their own or just see others’ feelings. We believed our event, Smith ReAct was a good way for individuals to share something, leave something, and feel something.