Women's Creative Expression Group
This experience of participating in an inclusive women's dialogue about women's issues is something that has shaped my senior project. I came back from study abroad with an interest in something called "experiential learning," a way of learning about the world outside of traditional classroom structures. Personally, I wanted to continue this active learning style by becoming involved in the community outside Kalamazoo College. Since I already had an awareness of women's issues and wanted to add on to my knowledge of women's literature I believed I had the tools to organize and lead an all women's literary and writing circle. Women who typically would not have the chance to communicate in this forum would have the opportunity to tell their own stories, hear other women's stories and discover the women writers that I had been discovering since my time in this class. Why confine this type of women's community to the dank basements of Dow Science Center, the walls within the institution? bell hooks writes of this democratic teaching method. "Teachers who have a vision of democratic education assume that learning is never confined solely to an institutionalized classroom ... We share the knowledge gleaned in classrooms beyond these settings thereby working to challenge the construction of certain forms of knowledge as always and only available to the elite" Inside the classroom I felt lucky to have the luxury of studying and discussing literature because I saw my own critical views changing. I knew the power of being in a group setting and I believed that promoting discussions based on ideas presented in literature could be an education that would benefit individual women and the Kalamazoo community, something that should not be restricted to an institutional setting. I believed I could share what I had learned with women who could benefit from getting their own taste of women's literature and incorporate it into their own writing lives. For my personal goals and my goals for the community it was time for me to walk further than the cobblestone streets of K College.