The rewards for partnerships that are made within integrative learning may seem hidden, but they do exist, as integrative learning allows for students to potentially become more well-rounded individuals. As the Association of American Colleges & Universities defines it, integrated learning is “an understanding…that a student builds across the curriculum…from making simple connections among ideas and experiences to synthesizing and transferring learning to new, complex situations within and beyond the campus.” In other words, integrative learning is an in-depth learning process that applies its lessons directly towards real-world experiences, using self-reflection as a primary tool for learning and discovering. This process has specifically occurred through the informational sessions within INTD-105 (the Risks and Rewards of Academic Partnership) about SUNY Geneseo’s facilities and the connections being made to Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild. From these two, we can make strong connections from the many meaningful partnerships that they hold, which is done through the successful process of integrative learning.
Integrative learning has very much to do with the processes I have been engaging in within INTD-105. At SUNY Geneseo, there is no course offered to learn about the inner workings of the college’s facilities such as the heating plant. Therefore, the closest that we will most likely ever get to learn about them would be through a class such as this. By being exposed to these facilities through this course, we are able to see the moving parts of the campus and realize that there is more to its structure than just going to class and meeting with professors, because while colleges could not run without professors, there are many other factors that play into its success as well. When I first came to Geneseo for a tour, the tour guide pointed the heating plant out to us, so I’ve noticed it since before I even actually started going here. As the site that corresponds with the heating plant states, it is responsible for the central heating plant, campus satellite boiler system, energy consumption, and the conservation and upkeep of utility distribution systems. In simpler terms, this means that they provide the campus with hot water, heat, natural gas, and steam. The role of the staff at the campus heating plant is crucial to the academic partnership we have all embarked on because without it, all the students in the residence halls would not have heat or hot water to shower, wash dishes, do laundry, and many other daily activities. The SUNY Geneseo facilities workers also contribute to our course’s values of academic partnership because as stated a video about Geneseo’s facilities, there is lot of room for growth and learning in all the jobs that they have. As Karen Rockhill states, she started as just a custodian, and now she is the head custodial supervisor. Rick Canarvis also talks about how he started as just a custodian and worked his way up until one day, his boss asked if he would like to learn about being a locksmith. Now, he works as a locksmith on campus. The jobs in facilities are ones that you can climb the ladder towards as long as the workers are willing to take the risk of learning something new to be able to gain the reward of a promotion. This process is similar to the growth we can take as students. Starting out as a freshman student, we then climb the ladder every year by taking more classes and becoming more informed and experienced, which can eventually lead to our success.
Integrative learning was especially shown through the reflections having to be made through the book, Bloodchild, that we are required to read. Textbooks and novels are already part of general coursework for most classes, but in this specific class, we have been delving deeper into them by discovering sections from the book that connect to our own lives and the world around us that we would have never thought to have noticed before. All these discoveries thus far have been found through a process of self-reflection, which plays heavily into the role of integrative learning. An example of such reflections would be through making connections between Bloodchild and the SUNY Geneseo heating plant. The connection between the characters in Bloodchild and the facilities/heating plant at Geneseo lies within their goals and intentions. In Bloodchild, T’Gatoi performs transplant procedures on Terrans, but it is not something that she has to do. The eggs inside the Terrans could very easily eat them from the inside out, yet T’Gatoi and others like her instead perform a surgery so that the Terrans can have a chance of living and being able to help raise the child as a family. T’Gatoi’s care is also shown through the fact that she provides Gan’s family with sterile eggs for them to stay young and healthy, and even through fact that Gan was caged within T’Gatoi’s limbs within three minutes of his birth, which is something she does to make others feel safe. This concern for health and safety can also be seen through SUNY Geneseo’s facilities. The heating plants at Geneseo keep the college running smoothly, as many students would not be able to attend without a place to live, and without the heating plant, there would be no place to live. The facilities’ care is also shown through the fact that they are present twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week in the event that something goes wrong with their services. Overall, both the heating plant and Tlic like T’Gatoi aim to keep everyone alive. T’Gatoi does this so that families are able to stay together and reproduce so their species continues to exist, while the heating plant provides services that keep students warm and ensures their ability to stay on-campus living a healthy life.
Through the meaningful partnerships in both SUNY Geneseo’s facilities and the characters in Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild, myself and other students in INTD-105 are able to make connections between themselves and the two, the world around them and the two, and the two themselves. Of course, all would not have been made possible without the process of integrative learning, which has gone above and beyond to thoroughly investigate the creative connections that have been made.