Honors Students Participate in 23rd Annual Honors Dialogue on Culture and Society

David Finkelstein, Annique Mclune and Andrew Loeschner participate in the honors dialogue. (Photo: Victoria Fennell)

The 23rd annual Sophia and Joseph Ables Honors Dialogue on Culture and Society took place at WCC in the Technology Building on Wednesday, April 26. This year’s topic was ”What is America Today? An Interactive Exploration.”

Sponsored by the WCC Foundation’s Endowment for the Honors Program, the dialogue is, according to  Honors Program Co-Director Dr. Mira Sakrajda, “To provide a forum for campus-wide discussion of current issues and showcase the talents of the Honors Program students.”

The forum consisted of four student presenters, each writing about a different topic relating to the overall question of what is America today.

Annique Mclune welcomed students at the start of the dialogue with Silvana Frangaj moderating the event.

“It’s very true that people around the world don’t just dream of coming to America—they dream of becoming Americans. What does that really mean? What does it mean to be an American? What constitutes our national identity?” Frangaj said.

The presenters’ subjects took the forum through different examinations of the current and past state of affairs of America and our changing environment politically and culturally.

Andrew Loeschner wrote his presentation on “American Identity” that explored what people consider to be a national identity, what culture, customs and traditions are really American?

David Finkelstein wrote on “The American Dream” and asked students the question, “What is the modern American dream in your perception and what do you believe the dream will be considered in future?”

Crysfarrakha Kapio explored “Social Equity” and how the American Dream requires equal opportunity and how we still deal with issues of “systematic discrimination and marginalization.”

Ryan Dwyer talked on “The Role of America in the World”, a look at how America became a world power and its influence, both in the past and today.

Each student presented their view and opinion in their paper and at the end of their presentations invited an open dialogue with all the students who attended.

“A lot of people have very different ideas on what America actually is,” said Frangaj. “I’m really proud of all the presenters and they did really well. All the hard work showed today. I’m also really glad with the turn out, the audience really participated.”

The students, despite initial shyness, had an active open dialogue in which they discussed the topics and questions of what America means to themselves, immigrants and our changing perspective on what this country is doing to and for others.

“I believe some of the questions that were raised were important for us as college students and just American people,” said WCC student Juanes Rubio.

“The American dream is something we struggle with especially nowadays with the president. All of these things we thought were dormant and probably that ceased to exist are starting to really be revealed in light.” – Juanes Rubio

For information about the WCC Honors Program, contact Dr. Mira Sakrajda or Dr. Anne D’Orazio.

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