February 29-March 1, 2008
Over a snowy weekend in February, thirty-five students attended the first Transforming Privilege Retreat, funded by the Lilly Sustainability Grant through the Center for Experiential Learning. The retreat was facilitated by a non-violence trainer Alejandra Tobar-Alatriz, Piper Center staff members, and student leaders from two honor houses: The Cooperative Justice House and the Diversity Awareness House.
The retreat was held at Good Earth Village near Rochester, MN.
The students get to know each other over hot chocolate and
conversations about where they witness privilege in their own lives.
The "River of Fire" activity helped participants explore their own
identities. Students were asked, "What or who is fueling you to be
here? What is your inspiration right now?" The activity was a
reminder to stay grounded in these things during the retreat.
Breaking for a fun activity!
At the end of the retreat we reflected on the weekend activities by
sharing with one another something that inspired us to create
change as we explore our vocational path.
- As I leave this retreat, my heart is heavy with responsibility, but even heavier with hope. I feel empowered and equipped to continue to press forward and strive for change and transformation.
- Learning to be a bridge to myself was the most important lesson that I learned this weekend. The initial step towards social change requires complete self awareness. This includes acknowledging what shuts you down and how you are both an agent and subject of oppression. Working in groups enhanced my self awareness through listening to others and discussion. After participating in this retreat it will be easier to leave my guilt behind and use my privilege as a tool for agency and social change.
- I have learned to redefine my perception and definition of privilege. We must build and nurture ourselves before we can build and nurture our community and society. I have learned the power of hope and community, and I have learned that guilt is a useless emotion.
- I learned that I have to not only accept my privilege, but I can utilize it. I realized that with acceptance comes responsibility. This retreat has influenced me to be stronger—to not accept my own excuses for not taking action.