Two weeks ago, 150 Native American, Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian students came to Penn’s campus for College Horizons, a week-long program that immerses students in workshops focused on applying to college. College Horizons students, interns and faculty formed a tight-knit community, the third of the 4 C’s, as they attended workshops, a college fair, and social events celebrating Penn and the city of Philadelphia.
To the right is a picture from Traditional Night, where students shared the songs, dances, and stories of their communities in the nation’s first student union, Houston Hall, and under the flags of Ivy League institutions. In their enthusiasm and willingness to learn, we saw how supportive the group was of each individual as they brought their heritage to the stage.
Everyone also saw how layered – and nuanced – the definition of community can be. Each student brought their family and pride for their tribal identity to our awareness. Attendees learned about the four sacred mountains of the Navajo Nation, a Pueblo feast day, and enjoyed a traditional welcome from Hawaiian students. Through the lens of this event, we see how complex campus communities can be… I now ask each of you to find a space where you can tell your story while being part of overlapping communities in a supportive environment.
Thank you to Executive Director Carmen Lopez for bringing College Horizons to Penn and Penn’s Valerie De Cruz, Tina Fragoso, Camille Green, Vanessa Iyua, Megan Red Shirt-Shaw, Teran Tadal, and Sean Vereen for their integral role in planning and implementing the program.