by, Alexa Schmidt, A&E Editor
On Saturday, Sept. 26, the Multicultural Center sponsored the socially distanced in-person, “All of Us” retreat in Kelly Commons. In past years, this retreat allowed participants to stay overnight for the weekend, but due to health and safety guidelines, the retreat was turned into one day filled with discussions and fun activities.
Small groups, deep discussions and self-reflection was possible due to the smaller number of participants. Jana Clark, a junior communication major, was one of the attendees.
“The purpose of the retreat was to participate in small group discussions and activities in which we talked about social justice, diversity and exploring our personal and individual identities which was really cool,” Clark said.
The retreat was open to all students, including those that have previously participated. Sophomore Cal Lepkowski attended last year, and made the decision to attend this year’s as well.
“Last year I just wanted to get to know and meet people,” Lepkowski said. “Also I know how diverse the Multicultural Center is and fortunately I was able to grow up in a diverse town so it was kind of nice to get that refresher basically.”
In addition to group activities, the retreat opened up people’s perspectives through guided topics and free-flowing conversations.
“It’s important to learn about this kind of stuff because even if you just say things as a joke, who knows what certain way a person can take it, so that’s the lesson I took from it,” Lepkowski said.
Clark is no stranger to self-reflection and getting involved. A previous Lasallian Outreach Volunteer Experience leader, Kairos participant and volunteer work with the CMSA, Clark embraced the retreat with open arms.
“I think doing a lot of self-reflection, like learning about what your values are and how you can be more effective as a leader, and being aware of people’s different backgrounds and that everyone may not believe the same things that you do,” Clark said. “Everyone just comes from so many different walks of life that always remembering that and keeping that in mind I think is really important, just in life in general.”
Clark loves constantly learning about social justice issues, and continuing the conversation with others.
“I guess for a while I’ve always just been very interested in the nonprofit sector but it wasn’t until I got to college that I was actually able to dive really deeply into environmentalism and women’s rights and really learn about those things,” Clark said. “From then on I’ve wanted to keep doing it, keep exploring it, and so I guess my passion really just started then and I’ve just been riding that since.”
While it is important to be in the present at retreats like this, there are takeaways that participants can practice in their daily lives. Junior attendee Ben Bagbek learned a lot about the connection between leadership and perspective.
“One thing I’m definitely going to take away is that not everybody understands the same stuff as you do and I learned how to be a better leader in all of the involvements I have, like being more clear with instructions, just being more patient, because not everyone has the same access to information,” Bagbek said.