Reinhardt launches “Community Gathering” series

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The premier event in Reinhardt’s “Community Gathering” initiative launched this week with mixed success, but great hope for the future of the series.

Faculty, staff and students gathered in the Falany Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, Sept. 14 to hear Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs, Dr. Mark Roberts, present “Rooted Cosmopolitanism: Placing Yourself in the World.”

Roberts introduced the concept of Rooted Cosmopolitanism and explained his hopes that the Reinhardt community might adopt these ideas as a way to frame our purpose and how we approach the world as citizens.

“Rooted Cosmopolitanism is a concept that I think describes what many people feel here at Reinhardt and probably across the world,” Roberts said. “I’m hoping that by talking about Rooted Cosmopolitanism that we’ll all be able to have the same language to describe how we feel about our citizenship in the world and our citizenship in local places.”

Reinhardt senior Justin Hawkins found Dr. Roberts’ message to be powerful.

“In general, as a community, we need to learn how to come together as a group of people and not let any other type of barriers get in the way of people who enjoy being around other people; during class or anywhere out in the world in general,” Hawkins said.

Roberts presented a condensed version of his presentation to allow time for the audience to engage in conversation. Following questions and comments about the presentation by several faculty members, Reinhardt University President, Dr. Kina Mallard, expressed her satisfaction that the faculty members were able to demonstrate for the students how people can engage with new information, something that is part of the overall vision for these events.

“This is the group right here, that this is designed for,” Mallard said as she pointed to a group of students in attendance.

The majority of the students were part of an Intercultural Communication course that attended with their professor. Turnout of students attending of their own volition was lower than anticipated by the leadership team.

Dr. Mallard expressed her hope that the number of students who attend these events will grow with time as they learn more about the series.

“It’s new and nobody really knows what it is or what it’s for,” Mallard said.

Dr. Mallard asked attendees for suggestions on how to inform students about the intent of this new series. These talks, according to an email sent on Sept. 13 by Dr. Mallard, are, “An opportunity for all of us to gather together, in community, for 45 minutes, to help fulfill our mission of growing intellectually, socially, personally, vocationally, spiritually and physically.”

Four more Community Gathering events are planned for this semester and planning is in the works for the spring series. The fall semester schedule is:

  • Sept. 28. Dr. Davis Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology & Public Life at Mercer University will present: “The Elusive Quest for Racial Justice in America”
  • Oct. 19 Audrey Haynes, a Professor at the University of Georgia, will present: “Media Influence on Voters’ Behavior.”
  • Nov. 2. Sachi Koto, Former CNN news anchor, Reinhardt Alumna and Valedictorian will present: “Breaking Barriers: First Female Asian on-air Talent in the Southeast.”
  • Nov. 16. Rev. Ted Goshorn, Reinhardt University Minister to Students will present, “Thanksgiving Community Worship.”


Written By: Aaron Simmons and Madeline Hervey. Photo Credit: Aaron Simmons

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