Over the next few days, a group of seven Manresa Scholars and several staff members will participate in the Manresa Urban Immersion Spring Break Service Project. Taking place from Wednesday evening through Saturday afternoon, the group will use the first portion of their spring break to engage in a variety of Community-Engaged Learning programs and events in the model of simple living and Ignatian solidarity. Scholars participating will ultimately fulfil their entire Shared Expectations spring requirement through the experiences presented to them throughout the four-day project. Scholars are unaware of the details of project, allowing them to be challenged and intellectually bothered through the unfolding schedule of events.
Tonight’s Urban Immersion theme was “Examening NYC Urban Challenges,” in which the group participated in a Community-Engaged Learning reflection centered around structures of injustice found in a familiar New York City location. We welcomed Emily Horihan, FCRH 2014, a staff member in the FCRH Dean’s Office and a Manresa alumna, who presented the Scholars with an HBO documentary film, Class Divide. Produced in 2016, the documentary focuses on the neighborhood gentrification of the West Chelsea area that surrounds the High Line. As this is an area these Fordham students are familiar with from their city explorations, it was a unique experience to see and discuss the contrasting identities within the area that were most likely not seen to the naked eye of a New York college student.
The documentary focused specifically on the public housing that ultimately fell in the shadows of Avenues, a private school, and the high-priced real estate and housing developments that have occurred since the development and popularity of the High Line. The ideas of gentrification, socioeconomic status, and human nature in correlation with money and mindsets were the main takeaways discussed and reflected upon. Scholars and staff commented on the specific storylines followed, of young children and families either growing up in public housing or attending the private school in this area, and how the contrasts of socioeconomic status, race, and personal responsibility determined the outcomes of these everyday experiences. To close the discussion, Dean Parmach had the Scholars self-reflect on “hopeful messages” to those of different “class divides” featured in the film.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s full day of events!
Lindsey Register, FCRH 2020
Manresa Programming & Marketing Fellow, 2017-2018