A New Perspective on Bloodchild

Integrative learning is a teaching method that promotes the unification of subjects and encourages students to engage in more realistic situations. According to The Association of American Colleges and Universities, “Integrative experiences often occur as learners address real-world problems, unscripted and sufficiently broad, to require multiple areas of knowledge and multiple modes of inquiry, offering multiple solutions and benefiting from multiple perspectives.” This type of learning is arguably different from the traditional setting, in which subjects would be taught separate from each other and offer no connection. Integrative learning allows students to utilize multiple viewpoints to further their understanding of the connections of Geneseo’s Facilities Services and Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild. By teaching in this setting, students are more likely to understand content because they are able to make real world connections and view scenarios from multiple positions. In this essay alone, students were encouraged to apply multiple viewpoints and resources to a single common theme. The Geneseo Facilities Services Department, along with the characters in Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild, contribute to different levels of academic partnership, and using both sources can maximize our understanding of their impacts.   After analyzing the Facilities Service’s initiatives and comparing them to Bloodchild, I can more accurately see the true relationship of the Tlic and Terran.

Facilities Services contributes to academic partnership, like students and professors do. The Geneseo Facilities Service’s homepage included specific Geneseo Facility employees, who displayed positivity and optimism in their work. Rick Carnavis and Karen Rockwell showed motivation and positive attitudes towards their job. They spoke with integrity and offered advice to the viewers. The Facility Services Department at Geneseo offered many more services than I had known and it is clear that the department is there for the students and likes to watch them grow.  From custodians, to locksmiths, to groundskeepers,  all of the services are in place to benefit Geneseo students. The Geneseo Facilities Service homepage states, “…The Department of Facilities Services provides quality maintenance services that assure safe, reliable, aesthetically pleasing building and grounds.” Students feel comfortable and secure when they feel safe, and this is exactly what The Geneseo Facilities Services strives to do. Nobody wants to live on an unkept campus or take cold showers, and the students at Geneseo do not have to because of the facilities employees. In addition, This demonstrates the dedication the Department of Facilities Services has in ensuring student’s happiness and satisfaction. In doing so, Facilities Services is contributing to academic partnership. The relationship between students and employees in the department is mutualistic because both parties are benefitting. The students benefit from the dedication and hard work facilities services supplies them with. And the department benefits with their constantly increasing knowledge and the ability to meet new people. The employees in the video discussed their opportunities to learn and both showed a desire for growth. Rick Carnavis offers the advice of always accepting other’s offers to learn something new. The department receives interaction with students and an abundance of knowledge, and is rewarded in this way. 

Behind the college union stands the heating plant of Suny Geneseo. According to the heating plant website, the heating plant is responsible for numerous jobs that most of us overlook everyday, including hot water. Energy consumption and conservation and the operation of the central heating plant are also important tasks that the plant employees take on. The site states “The Heating Plant staff is on site twenty-four hours a day/seven days a week. The staff is composed of highly trained engineers that work behind the scenes to operate and maintain the utilities that support the auditorium, library, academic buildings, residence halls, dining halls and athletic facilities.” The staff work to ensure the campus’ heating and electricity is always running smoothly. The employees work all day everyday to provide essential services that most students overlook. The heating plant staff contributes to academic partnership by ensuring the basic needs to maintain almost every building on campus. Their continuous efforts positively affect the students, teachers, and other staff members and it is clear that the university would not be able to function without this department. The Geneseo Facilities Services video mentions the staff being rewarded with learning experiences and growth opportunities, and the heating plant staff is no exception. They are offered the chance to meet new people and grow their careers. They are rewarded by these opportunities and in exchange they provide safe and reliable services for the students. However, the services can sometimes go unnoticed. I personally walked by the heating plant building and smokestack everyday, but never even wondered its purpose. The heating plant staff works very hard to satisfy the student’s needs, but most people overlook these tasks. This contributes to academic partnership because the faculty is willing to risk working these jobs for students, like me, who did not even know what the purpose of their building is. The staff is concerned about safety, learning opportunities, and meeting new people, but are not bothered that they do not often get praise for their job. I feel that these employees are often overlooked, when the university would not be able to function without them.

The Geneseo Facilities Services homepage discusses many of their objectives that allowed me to analyze their purpose at Geneseo. It is quite obvious that Facilities Services is essential to the success of SUNY Geneseo’s students, faculty, and campus, and that the students and college would not thrive without it. This concept can also be applied to the characters of Bloodchild, a short story written by Octavia Butler. In the story, Gan and the other Terrans experience harsh treatments from the Tlic, specifically T’Gatoi. The Terrans are forced to carry the Tlic’s children and act as a host animals for them, and they have no say in this matter. This is a very dangerous and risky process and it is clear why the Gan does not want to participate. After researching The Geneseo Facilities Services, I look at the Tlic and Terran relationship slightly differently. Initially after completing the story, I saw the relationship as unfair and generally sided with the Terran, and while I still acknowledge the unequal use of power between the Tlic and Terran, I understand the full reason the Terran are being forced to carry the Tlic’s offspring. Neither species would be able to survive without the other. In the story there is a brief, but crucial, part discussing the history of the relationship of the Terran and Tlic. It explains that the Tlic gave the Terran protection and reservation, while they were escaping their dangerous homeland. T’Gatoi states, “And your ancestors, fleeing from their home-world, from their own kind who would have killed or enslaved them-they survived because of us. We saw them as people and gave them the Preserve when they tried to kill us as worms” (p. 25). Because of this, they escaped death and slavery. In return, it seems fair that the Terran help the Tlic survive by carrying their young as there is no other convenient way to do so. While it has the potential to be dangerous, it is better than the life they were living. The Terran would not be able to thrive without the Tlic, just as Geneseo would not be able to thrive without the Facilities Services. By analyzing Geneseo’s Facilities Services, I was able to think about ideas in Bloodchild that I would have originally glanced over.The Geneseo Facilities Services and the heating plant work together to offer a better understanding of Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild. Using integrative learning in this way benefits student’s writing qualities and overall academic development. Students are encouraged to slow down and make connections between several perspectives. In doing so, they are also adapting their intellectual skills which promotes academic growth into a confident learner. This pushes us to adapt our intellectual skills, an internal change the AAC&U deems necessary. By using this process, we were able to include some aspects and goals of integrative learning.

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