By Courtney Bottazzi
There was a tangible frustration when the Campus Climate Report was presented to the University community: students wanted their voices heard. An open microphone at a forum is one way to become part of the conversation, but it is not the only way. Christina Cody ’12, a theatre major, has created a different outlet through her senior thesis, The Double Take Project. The Double Take Project is a collaboration of different dialogues that revolve around one important concept: students communicating with other students.
“My whole philosophy is that there’s no end product to change,” Cody said. For a long time, Cody has focused on the idea of theatre creating a social change, a concept often described as Applied Theater.
Cody began her project by conducting anonymous interviews with both students and professors, asking for recommendations about who would be a good person to speak to next. This past summer, Cody was trained in conducting workshops for social justice. Although these workshops are typically used to help people in third world countries, Cody realized this method could also help students on college campuses.
“I wanted to see why things happen the way they do,” she said. “The existence of this outlet can be seen as a challenge to the student community – now’s our chance to be heard, to take initiative.”
Cody is currently collecting research through three simultaneous projects: ongoing workshops, anonymous interviews and a social scene confessional. In her workshops, Cody will give fun scenarios and prompts (for example: pretend everyone is made out of clay and show us what a house party looks like to you). In this way, the dialogue is formed visually rather than conversationally. This form of communication allows students to express their opinions without over-thinking. At the workshops, there has been a valuable variety of perspectives from different students, including fraternity and sorority members, athletes, independent students and first-years.
The benefits of such a variety of students have also been seen during the anonymous interviews. In these interviews, Cody takes great care in shaping her questions; she is not trying to promote a negative or positive view–-she simply wants to listen to what you have to say.
“It’s important to me that I’m not saying ‘This is how you should live,’” Cody said.
The interviewees, thus far, have responded with a somewhat balanced response of positive and negative aspects of the social scene on campus. Students have laughed, recalling stories, and have adamantly expressed certain desires for change. Cody is giving the student community a chance at reflection while talking to someone who will not judge you on what you find. Her third project, the social scene confessional, is another easily accessible outlet to have someone hear what you have to say, whether it be a story you’ve already told to your entire hall or something you have been too afraid to share with your best friend. Christina is there to listen as an unbiased peer.
With her collective research, Cody hopes to make a change–-regardless of whether it is on a personal scale or as part of the next campus climate report.
“Every opportunity is going to a different place. I’m on this path with the rest of Bucknell,” Cody said. “At the end of the day, I gave students a place to talk.”
Additionally, Cody is hoping to have these creative workshops performed as Plan For Prominence (P4P) events so Greek members can get philanthropy credit for participating.
Want to see some of the findings? Cody and other students will be performing some of the interviews at the beginning of the Take Back the Night Rally. She will also be filming actors reading the interviews and showing these clips throughout the Bison. By sharing these stories, she hopes other students will begin to reach out.
“Know that you’re not alone,” she said.
Want to get involved? Contact Cody via email or on the Double Take Project Facebook page. Or you can find Cody in the LC Mall every day from 11-12 pm, carrying a sign that says “Tell me a story about the social scene.”