Though the whole term at book club has been a fun, insightful experience, by far the most thought provoking activity we participated in this term was centered around identity. We posted categories around the room such as “religion,” “neighborhood,” “body image,” “education,” “gender,” “ethnicity,” and “health,” and a U of O student asked questions about which category we identified the most or the least with in a given scenario. For example, one of the questions was “I value this part of my identity the most.” Everyone was supposed to stand next to the category they chose for each question, and then we went around the room offering explanations for our choices if we felt comfortable doing so. The exercise was great for multiple reasons: it allowed us to move around, learn more about each other and, most importantly, open up and share more as we saw fit. The youth in particular shined when we were asked to share our choices. They were willing to speak about topics as personal as religion, the communities they grew up in, their families’ socioeconomic backgrounds, and how they perceive gender. I was surprised by how quickly and easily they shared with us, and how comfortable the atmosphere was in the room. It was one of the first activities we tried this term, and by the end of it I felt like I knew everybody so much better. This term presented some challenges, mainly because we typically only had two to four youth in the room at a time and they were regularly pulled out of the classroom, but this activity helped us get to know each other and feel closer despite these difficulties. It was a great exercise to start off with, and one that Book Club should keep in mind for the future! -Mackenzie M.
UO Inside-Out Alumna