Living With Uncertainty...

in a Complex World

Civic Engagement Day

Bluffton's men walked one mile in women's shoes to raise awareness of rape, sexual assault and gender discrimination.

The 2008-09  civic engagement theme, Living With Uncertainty in a Complex World,  grappled with the questions What do we need in order to live confidently in the world and how is each of us called to make that happen? What do we require in order to feel secure and how do those needs translate into actions in our communities and interactions with others?  

Consideration of "living with uncertainty" encompassed many practical and theoretical areas. Practical considerations included financial security, access to healthcare and freedom from violence. Theoretical reflections on the theme included public infrastructure, criminal justice system, media-manufactured fear and international dispute resolution, among others.

Activities throughout the year included:

Dr. Ronald J. Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action and professor of theology, holistic ministry and public policy at Palmer Theological Seminary, presented "A Historic Opportunity to End Poverty in America" at Opening Convocation. Sider is the author of Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America, which was summer reading for the incoming class of 2012.

Robin Wright, senior diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post, presented "Living with Uncertainty in a Complex World: Issues in Iran" in a special evening Forum presentation.

Bluffton University's theatre department performed Whatever Kindles, a fictional docudrama exploring the everyday experiences and struggles of members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). 

Men walked one mile in women's high-heeled shoes at the track at Bluffton University Salzman Stadium to raise awareness of rape, sexual assault and gender violence. The walk is a kick-off to Bluffton's second Civic Engagement Day on April 1.

Dr. Lamar Nisly, professor of English and Pathways Civic Engagement Scholar presented "Seeking Security, Accepting Vulnerability," as part of Bluffton University's weekly Forum series. Nisly explored the human tendency to allow our fears to lead us, often in inappropriate ways, to try to feel secure. In suggesting that a better response may be to accept a stance of vulnerability rather than fighting these fears.

The second annual Civic Engagement Day was held on April 1. The day was a culmination of the year-long civic engagement theme and was filled with speakers, activities and research that explored the theme.

Presentations at the 2009 civic engagement day included:
    • Immigration Summit report
    • MCC UN seminar on global security report
    • Dorcas House Orphanage - Mexico/California
    • Class presentation from Dsystopic Literature
    • Summer Dreaming Grant presentation from Guatamala 
    • Mediation 
    • Class presentations for Psychology, Faith & Ethics and Social Justice, Social Change
    • Presentation by John Mark Stratford  on summer experiences in Gaza/Palestine
    • Poverty Simulation Experience by Upthegrove Family Enrichment Center
    • Speeches by honors public speaking class on issues related to the theme.
    • Psychology 385 class presentations 
    • Presentations by Darryl and Cindy Byler, Mennonite Central Committee Middle East representatives