Greeting everyone with a warm handshake and recognizing everyone’s presence in the room, Professor Sharon Lane-Getaz of the Statistics & Education Departments, created a safe space to start the first Cultural Conversation of the year on Exploring Class and Classism. After a brief introduction on class and classism, based on her attendance at a workshop over the summer on the topic, Professor Lane-Getaz asked the group to participate in a motion-survey that would show everyone’s social and economic class type. Around the classroom walls, she placed the numbers one through six. Based on their answers to the survey, students were asked to stand by the number that corresponded with their answer. The people in every numbered station realized that there might have been fewer people in some categories, but no one was alone in their social and economic status. Professor Lane-Getaz then asked the group in each numbered station to share and discuss their personal benefits and limitations of their class. The conversation openly guided a large group of diverse students to share and understand the benefits and struggles of each class identity. As a member of the low-class group, I was really surprised that almost everyone in my group went through similar struggles as I.
In concluding the conversation, Professor Lane-Getaz brought everyone back to share the main points they had discussed in their group. After this Cultural Conversation, Professor Lane-Getaz hopes that students and participants will be more “conscious about how class and classism color our perception of others.”