Juniors in Aaron Lopez’s American Authors class presented their Social Experience Papers Tuesday, October 23rd, in the Rose Auditorium. In conjunction with reading The Scarlet Letter, students were asked to learn about a social issue of their choosing by doing both academic and immersive experiential research. We heard from ten students about a wide variety of topics ranging from mental illness to plastic waste.
Instead of trying to get his class to understand and relate to the themes of adultery and ostracization found in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Mr. Lopez asked them to step outside their comfort zone and live an experience they wouldn’t otherwise encounter while thinking about and reflecting on the social and political paradigms found in mid-19th century America. Their experiment needed to offer a unique learning experience that focused on a social or political issue found in today’s society.
First, they picked an issue they were passionate about, whether it was Islamophobia, the pink tax, or social anxiety. Then they developed a social experiment around it that highlighted how isolating the experience could be and wrote a paper about their findings. Each of the ten presenters introduced the topic they chose and walked us through their experiment. As they concluded their discussion, it was clear just how much the experience affected their perspective. They offered ways in which we can combat these social issues and help outliers in our community.
It was an immersive and engaging project that had a profound impact on the students. They learned just what it meant to be deemed a social outcast and came up with ways to improve how our society views those we find “other.”
Rachel Balaj – Social Anxiety
Ella Florkey – Food Deserts
Jack Scott – Handicap/Disability Rights
Jordan Vandersluis – Social Media
David Smalley – Homelessness
Victoria Osborne – The Pink Tax
Shraya Sandhir – Mental Illness
Mollie Choo – Sleep Deprivation
Lexi Detrick – Plastic Waste
Liberty Endres – Islamophobia