“If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” This is the epigraph that set the initial connections between Octavia Blake’s Bloodchild and us students in INTD-105. When I first began my course in INTD-105, I expanded my knowledge and applications of such through my goal setting essay. After not even delving too deep into the class, I already was having to speak about the partnerships I was about to be having with Professor McCoy, my classmates, and even more so, the partnerships that Professor McCoy would choose to bring into the light. As I stated in my goal setting essay, myself and thousands of other students have embarked on numerous kinds of partnerships since the day they have applied to SUNY Geneseo, but many of them have not even realized it.
The epigraph from Bloodchild forms a through line for the conversations we have had this semester, especially since we’ve have had to frequently relate the book to our own establishments of partnership. Through our discussions as a class, we have analyzed the different risks and rewards within a partnership, having to identify them, elaborate on them, and reflect on them. On the first day of class in INTD-105, we, as a class, looked at the syllabus and talked in groups about what it was going to mean for our class, and that was just the start of our reflective journey.
To begin to reflect, we first had to be given information. Professor McCoy had carefully selected three guest speakers who are a part of SUNY Geneseo to aid us in the initiation of our reflective learning process. Through verbal conversation, we had the ability to ask these speakers questions, throwing “what-if” scenarios at them in order to gain a better understanding of the risks and rewards of their partnerships in order to better understand our own. From the outside looking in, we do not see every process gone through within a partnership. But these processes are important, as they can unknowingly affect us. In saying this, our guest speakers frequently touched on the topic of knowing and unknowing consent, and what that means in a partnership setting. For instance, our guest speaker Joe Cope, the Associate Provost for Student Success, introduced to us the idea of a college syllabus as a form of contract. With a syllabus, a partnership between a student and a professor is made. By comparing a syllabus to a contract, Joe was able to initiate us to think about the kinds of risks and rewards this type of partnership could hold. By being a student, you do not have the consent to what does and does not go into the syllabus, but that itself just serves as a risk in that kind of partnership. Even though this risk exists, there is still the found reward that you have all the terms of the partnership laid out in front of you, in which even the professor must oblige by. Another example of unknowing consent was brought to our attention by robbie routenberg, the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. During our discussion, robbie had brought up the various plays that students must watch during freshman orientation, which teach about the dangers that could occur at a college campus. To watch these plays, SUNY Geneseo does not receive consent from the freshman students to perform them. Instead, this is just another example of accepting the terms of a partnership to engage in them. Our third guest speaker, Dr. Sasha Eloi-Evans, the Director of Multicultural Programs and Services, had spoken about knowing consent within bias-related incidents. When she gets informed of a bias-related incident, in order to have a meeting with the students, she has to first gain the consent of the accused and the victim to continue. She has to gain consent to both parties because if the accused was actually being biased and hateful, and they do not consent to the restorative justice conversation, it leaves room for the victim to become more upset if the accused does not take the conversation seriously. The possibility of these situations told by Sasha is different than the situations told by the other two guest speakers, in that they are allowed upfront consent before even beginning their partnership. Even so, the option for consent coming from both parties makes them aware of their risks and/or rewards, and if they accept, they also accept the terms just as students do with their professors in class and during freshman orientation.
Above I have spoken about different kinds of consent: consent in which you are formally saying that you will engage, and consent in which you indirectly accept the terms of a partnership. In both instances, you are accepting risks and rewards that affect you. Accepting risks is a revolving idea that has emerged from these speakers, and I find that idea reinforced in the class’ epigraph as well. From my own personal experiences from INTD-105 and through connections from the epigraph, I was able to identify the partnership between Gan and T’Gatoi, and find parallels between their acceptance with one another and the acceptance I give in my own partnerships.
Reflecting upon what you learn gives the material you learn purpose. If you are knowledgeable about something, why is that important? If your knowledge cannot be applied, what is the point of it? I am asking these questions because that is what this class has taught me to do. INTD-105 has challenged me to discover the importance of all my ideas in my writing, and to write everything with a purpose behind it. The constant asking and answering of “so what?” and putting my thoughts into the reflective cycle has resulted in many improvements within my writing, and the intricate feedback given to me to make revisions has made writing each time a bit easier, as I learned from my past mistakes. To be well-rounded and thoughtful shows your true understanding of the world, therefore, I fully support GLOBE’s insistence on Geneseo students reflecting upon their learning, as I have first-hand experienced a positive outcome from it.