April 17—The Coalition Against Student Apathy at the University of Massachusetts Boston hosted their "Hear 2 Heal" event in the Campus Center.
The event kicked off at 5 p.m. and started with a sonic art making activity in which all of the participants were asked to pick a certain number and a color. Depending on what color that they picked they were given a paintbrush and collectively added to a large piece of paper in the center of a large table while responding to various commands by the host. Throughout this, they were moving around in the room just about shoulder to shoulder in a single collective spiral. Participants were asked to stand on one foot and to switch utensils with other people as well as ask for the names of each person close to them that they had never met before. The activity lasted for about ten minutes with new directions being handed out with the rotation of each song being played; selections came from Rex Orange County, Frank Ocean and Bryson Tiller.
After the icebreaker, participants were asked to return to their seats with a cut piece of the communal artwork to further decorate. The first tables to be done decorating their pieces were allowed to have the first crack at the taco bar where there were hard shell taco tortillas, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and shredded cheese waiting for them to enjoy. While the food was served, all of the now individually decorated pieces of art were then collected and put back together to form a new piece of art.
The Coalition handed out small pieces of paper to each of the attendees with questions on them. After this, the participants were asked to arrange their chairs into two different circles: an inside circle and an outside circle. The chairs were set up so that the inside and outside circles were facing each other one to one and some chairs were set for groups of three. Participants were then prompted to ask each other the questions that were on the papers that they had been given. The questions were different but all centered around the common theme of love. There were discussions about love, how people deal with and express love, as well as healing and self-care. After five rotations, the circles were then split into one wide circle and asked to debrief about their experiences and conversations.
When participants began speaking there was a great deal of affirmation and acknowledgement from those around the circle. Everyone had their own experiences with love and what it means to them and the room seemed to resound with agreement.
The Coalition Against Student Apathy is a student organization with the purpose of confronting and dismantling systemic oppression and prejudice as well as offering a platform for students of color to voice their concerns as well as offer solutions to the problems they see on campus that affect them. The Coalition commit themselves to educating students and faculty alike about the different ways that oppression can take root and the ways that it has in the past. "Hear 2 Heal" was their second event of the semester, and they intend to have many more! For more information on the Coalition and their future events, visit UMBeInvolved.