As a student fellow for the Cruisers LC, I’ve had the pleasure of working with several faculty members, however, one, in particular, has affected me like no other. Jose Rodriguez, Chief Diversity Officer joined the Cruiser family in my first year of being a Student Fellow back in 2018. I was paired with him to help with his “Sense of Belonging” class in the spring of 2019.
The class was designed and modeled after his Diversity Retreat, something that was, at the time, pretty new to Cabrini, but had been a tradition at his previous institution. For several days, a group of students (always a new group since you can’t go more than once) would go out to Rehoboth Beach, DE, and learn about how they fit in the world but also who they are as an individual. The retreat house served as a safe space for participants to delve into these matters.
Having assisted with the class twice (my last time will be this spring 2021), experienced the retreat as a participant once, and facilitated once (the 2020 spring semester), I can say without a doubt the Diversity Retreat is one of my top 3 favorite experiences at Cabrini.
I’ve connected with so many students, learned more about my strengths, personal things I have to work on, and have been educated on topics like bystander intervention and the LGBT+ community. If I’m being honest, I’ve gone through these lessons numerous times but I still learn something new or come to understand something better.
COVID-19 has definitely caused a lot of events to be postponed or canceled. Given the circumstances, I’m not sure if we’ll be able to have the retreat in the spring semester but I hope an alternative will manifest especially since the topics covered are so relevant at this moment in society.
For the underclassmen who might be able to go in years to come, I definitely recommend it. For those who can’t go, nothing should stop you (especially not yourself) from becoming more mindful, aware, and connected to yourself and those around you.