March 4, 2013

Posse Plus Retreat 2013

So, turns out that readjusting to campus life is much more difficult than I expected. I have a general sense of sluggishness that continually surprises me. I am happy to be back at Lafayette. I am happy to take rigorous courses in my majors again, and I am happy to see my friends and have a regular routine. But it is a bit tough.

Still, there have been a couple things that have helped root me back at Lafayette again. One was two weeks ago, the Posse Plus Retreat. I won’t go into much detail about the Posse Foundation, except to say that it partners colleges and universities with talented, driven, and smart high schoolers from urban areas around the country. At Lafayette, ten students from both NYC and D.C. receive leadership scholarships for their four years of study. For more information about the Posse foundation, check out the website: http://www.possefoundation.org/

Something I really love about Posse is that each school holds an annual Posse Plus Retreat for their Posse scholars.

Students gather on campus before leaving for the Posse Plus Retreat

Getting ready to leave Laf

And each scholar gets to have a “plus one,” which means they can invite someone from their campus to join them on the retreat. I’ve had the very great privilege of being invited twice now, both last year and this year, and I can say that it easily is one of my favorite weekends of the year. In part, I love it so much because of its intensity. Last year’s subject was Gender & Sexuality, and this year’s was Class, Power, & Privilege, and, from Friday evening to Sunday at noon, trained facilitators walk students, faculty, and staff members from the Lafayette community through different exercises, discussions, and games regarding the retreat’s subject.

The result is often overwhelming. I’ve cried both years.

Students listen to a speaker carrying a microphone during the Posse Plus Retreat

Posse Plus Retreat 2013: Class, Power, & Privilege

And both years I’ve also learned so much about myself, my family, my friends, and my communities at Lafayette and at home. What is great is the safe and welcoming space that envelops the retreat, usually by the end of the first evening. People open up and stories are shared and sometimes disagreements happen. But always there is a sense that these 100 or so people, many of whom I had never seen before and others who are close friends, are all part of a suddenly tight community that will protect all of its members. It’s amazing how fast that can happen.

And to even out the sometimes difficult discussions, we also have lighter moments. I never eat as much as I do during the retreats, as often I end up having long conversations with friends, new or old, around hot chocolate and cookies. I also don’t think I ever laugh as much as I do during the No-Talent Talent Show on Saturday night, which includes both incredibly talented performers and, well, those who need a little more practice. And I never feel as content and appreciated as when writing and receiving Warm & Fuzzies, little notes that participants of the retreat write to one another.

So, while I’ll admit that it’s been tough to get back to campus life, I’ve been welcomed back much more warmly than I expected to. And the Posse Plus Retreat tugged me to remember who and what I love so much on this campus.

Images courtesy of Jessica London ’13

posted in Madeline Gambino

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1 Comment

  1. Welcome to the family “Plus-er” !!!!

    says Ashley Boyd
    March 4, 2013 at 10:31 pm
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