Mayfields and Immigration
First, as promised, here is a little insight into the Mayfield Project here at Vanderbilt!
While I was not able to take good photos of the orientation, I certainly recall the event well. Mostly, it was a meet-and-greet; that is, each Mayfield was present and got to interact with the students of other Mayfields through introductions, competitions, and the ever-classic mixer games.
The most elaborate game we played involved scrambling to find a group of ten people of a particular identity: at least four people from a different Mayfield, five guys and five girls, etc. Of course, the actual rush to find people wasn’t an altogether bonding experience, but in the moments between tasks, we chatted lightheartedly and about ourselves, our backgrounds, and naturally, our projects.
The diversity of interests I discovered is fascinating. My own Mayfield, as I have mentioned, is about exploring a variety of cultures; we’re not alone in this effort. Many Mayfields are focused on volunteering, though. I recall one particular project that regularly tutors middle school students from inner-city schools. There is another group that focuses on planting gardens for inner-city schools and neighborhoods. The sheer diversity of people and passions has me so excited for the coming year!
Shifting gears yet still in relation to diversity, I recently attended a lecture by Sonia Nazario, an award-winning journalist and author of Enrique’s Journey, a novel detailing the immigration life of an eleven-year-old boy from Honduras. Her account was genuinely moving, and I truly mean genuine–she went to Honduras and made the journey herself. Her story was amazing in the truest sense of the word. There was a woman, coming from an immigrant background, who knew there was more to the story of immigration than the one privileged Americans commonly hear, who knew what that life is like, and who knew she could tell people about it. She’s an inspirational person, and I got to hear her talk for nothing more than an hour of my time.
This was an amazing experience, and what’s more, I know I’ll be able to witness people like her speak again, I’ll have the opportunity to engage with people like her, and, who knows, maybe I’ll have people like her gradually dot my contact list, able to discuss the complexities of the world. At Vanderbilt, excellence is never too far away.