Barnard offering 8-week 'social justice education' program

Next semester, students at Barnard College will be treated to an 8-week “social justice education” program addressing topics such as “power, privilege, allyship, and identity exploration.”

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Applications for the program, officially titled “Barnard BLUEPrint,” have just been released, and promotional flyers have been posted throughout campus advertising the 8-week series, which takes place one evening per week starting in February.

“Through facilitated dialogue, we will focus on the ways in which identity affects systems, as well as our everyday lives,” states the program application, which is currently only available to Barnard students. “The ultimate goal of BLUEPrint is to allow students the space for challenging conversations by highlighting a multitude of voices and experiences of students on Barnard's campus.”

The program is part of an ongoing series sponsored by the Barnard Student Life Office called Barnard BLUE, which “includes workshops, dialogues, and a summit around leadership development and social justice education.”

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While “blue” may have been chosen because Barnard’s official color is blue (in line with Columbia University’s official color, denoting Barnard’s affiliation with that institution), it also stood for “Building Leadership and Understanding Equity” last semester, although that acronym has fallen out of use this academic year.

According to Barnard spokesperson Alli Cook, “the office [of Student Life] considers “multicultural and social justice education” to be one of the ways it pursues its mission to “foster a respectful and inclusive community on campus.”

Indeed, Barnard’s Student Life office has played host to a number of social justice-oriented events this semester, including one called “Health at the Cost of Cultural Appropriation: Yoga and Zumba” and another titled “Unmasking the Past: Thanksgiving?”

In addition to discussion events, Barnard Student Life has also hosted a number of socials exclusively for students of underrepresented identities, such as the people-of-color only “Solidarity in Communities of Color” event and a “SociaLGBTQ” gala for “all faculty, staff, and students who identify with the LGBTQIAP community.”

[RELATED: Emory looking to establish regular POC-only social events]

Conversely, the application for the BLUEPrint program, which asks students for their preferred pronouns and whether they have any disabilities, ends by asserting that “any Barnard student is welcome to apply, regardless of knowledge of social justice related topics.”

Applications for the Barnard BLUEPrint Program will close in January.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen