A few weeks ago, I was informed that my shoes were deeply uncool. For one thing, they weren’t Nike’s, but mostly, they just weren’t cool. I happen to like my shoes, but I brushed it off because the speaker, a fifteen-year-old resident of the Phoenix Program and a member of the Serbu book club, is book club’s shoe expert. Every group needs one. The two of us were in a group with another university student, supposedly discussing issues of advertising and identity. Instead, the other university student and I were learning all about proper shoe selection and care, the benefits of various shoe styles, and the general importance of shoe fashion.
The project was to work in small groups to develop a 30-minute activity and lesson plan on a chosen topic. Small groups worked together to think through activity development and then had the chance to facilitate their activity for the larger group. The topics, chosen jointly, were dumpster diving, sports and culture, poetry, and advertising/identity (the latter was known as “shoe group”).
Each group had time to think through their topic and decide upon the most effective way to convey their point to the larger group. “Shoe group,” eventually disbanded due to a few graduations from the Phoenix program, discussed putting a clean, new shoe on a podium in the center of the room and just having everyone admire it for 30 minutes.
Other groups got serious more quickly, and dove into discussing poetry writing activities, environmental problems due to food waste, and the competitive mentality often associated with sports, respectively. I’ll write more later about how the projects turned out, but for now suffice it to say that it was fun to see Phoenix and UO students collaborating on a joint leadership project. It’s not the first time that has happened in book club (see http://insideoutoregon.com/2012/03/26/monday-post-serbu-book-club-hosts-a-special-guest/) but it was a rewarding moment nonetheless. Although “shoe group” never had a chance to see its own project to fruition (its members joined up with other groups), I have no doubt that with a little time, we would have come up with something meaningful to say about, well, shoes.