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Skidmore College
Honors Forum

Past Make a Difference Proposal Example #1

Project Title: In Our Own Bodies

Faculty Sponsor: Jennifer Mueller

Student 1 First Name: Stuti

Student 1 Last Name: Bagri

Student 1 Email:

Student 1 Class Year: 2021

Student 1 Major: Psychology

Student 2 First Name: Cinthia

Student 2 Last Name: Duran Larrea

Student 2 Email:

Student 2 Class Year: 2019

Student 2 Major: International Affairs

Student 3 First Name:

Student 3 Last Name:

Student 3 Email:

Student 3 Class Year:

Student 3 Major:

Overview: My proposal for the Civic Life project is helping host a week-long festival from 1st-6th April (tentative) on the intersection between dance, diversity, and social justice activism, which includes a series of workshops, dialogues, and performances by three guest artistes. This project, titled In Our Own Bodies is the brainchild of my friend, Cinthia Duran Larrea (not a member of the Honors Forum), a senior at Skidmore whose experience as a non-Western dancer in a Western training regime has remodeled the way she perceives the treatment of diversity of culture and expression on this campus. Having trained in an Afro-contemporary style of dance, she approaches dance with a different intention and spirit than her peers. Her focus rests predominantly on the meaning of the movement and the cultural history it represents, not the technical infallibility of the steps. Her intention to put together this festival is a simple one— expose students to t! he different ways of approaching art and respect the diversity of these approaches. Being an Indian classical dancer, the goals of this festival perfectly align with my experience in this community. I was approached by Cinthia to help her organize this project and ensure that it takes shape in the manner that she envisioned.

Timeline: This project will be held during the 1st-6th of April (dates are still tentative), at multiple venues like the Tang, the dance studios, and Davis auditorium.

The list of responsibilities are as follows:

  1. Reach out to potential guest artistes, negotiate costs, and arrange the logistics of the travel.
  2. Contact different academic and non-academic departments to secure funding to bring the guest artistes.
  3. Book spaces to host the workshops, dialogues, and performances.
  4. Create a schedule of the events for the week.
  5. Oversee students who are in charge of different aspects of this event to ensure that the festival runs smoothly.
  6. Create posters for advertisements, ask different departments to send out emails informing students about the series of events, and individually contact people to spread the word about the event.
  7. Plan and lead student-led workshops on different styles of dance.

Cinthia has spearheaded the planning and I have helped her draft budget proposals, choose the selection of guest artistes, secure spaces to conduct workshops, and meet with people in charge of overseeing the event. We are still in the early stages of our planning, and haven’t clearly defined individual responsibilities yet. So far I have spent five hours working on her with this, and will probably spend much more than ten hours in the weeks to come!

Goals: The concept of "the life of the mind" is all about thinking critically and engaging in ideas that merit discussion. This shouldn't be practiced in a singular setting and forgotten otherwise. Education is not restricted to the classroom it encompasses the world in which we live in, and that world exists beyond America. We want students on this campus to get a taste of the study and practice of cross-cultural perspectives on dance. The term diversity has been reduced to an attractive buzzword, a term tossed casually around to give respect to the heterogeneity that exists within the world. But is that heterogeneity really respected? A diverse student body shouldn't just refer to the presence of international students on a campus. It should boast of what those students have to offer that can broaden the perspective of others. This is our initiative to proudly showcase that diversity and share our identities as dancers with thos! e around us.

Academic Quality: Although this festival is not overtly academic, it is intended to change the way students think about diversity and culture, which can manifest as an increased degree of curiosity in learning about non-Western culture. This festival also gives students an opportunity to think critically and open-mindedly about the post-colonial world. The company that the keynote artistes hail from, Dancing Earth, was one of the two dance organizations that Cinthia based her International Affairs Senior Capstone Project on. For more information on the company, refer to:

Additional Comments: Last spring semester, Cinthia and I were given the chance to teach a Dance Experience class for one day. We both split the time given to us equally, and gave a crash course in Afro-Contemporary and Bharatnatyam (an Indian Classical Dance form) to novice dancers. I was approached by students after the class telling me how much they enjoyed being taught something different and new, a method of dancing that they would otherwise never be exposed to. It was such a wonderful feeling to be able to hear their feedback, and that teaching experience has given me an immense amount of confidence in the scope and impact of this project.

Past Make a Difference Proposal Example #2

Project Title: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Soccer in the Americas

Faculty Sponsor:

Student 1 First Name: Dane

Student 1 Last Name: Ford-Roshon

Student 1 Email:

Student 1 Class Year: 2020

Student 1 Major: Neuroscience

Student 2 First Name: Olivia

Student 2 Last Name: Dieterich

Student 2 Email:

Student 2 Class Year: 2020

Student 2 Major: International Affairs

Student 3 First Name: Sarah

Student 3 Last Name: Goulding

Student 3 Email:

Student 3 Class Year: 2019

Student 3 Major: Neuroscience, computer science

Student 4 First Name: Reagan

Student 4 Last Name: Reed

Student 4 Email:

Student 4 Class Year: 2020

Student 4 Major: Biology; classics

Student 5 First Name: Ted

Student 5 Last Name: Roach

Student 5 Email:

Student 5 Class Year: 2020

Student 5 Major: Business

Skidmore academics have examined soccer before through classes in business, economics, anthropology, and sociology. While these disciplines are obviously linked to the study of soccer, they have historically been contained within a single department, often at the 300 level. Our project is interested in the thematic, cross-disciplinarity of soccer. We want to use medicine, cultural politics, technology, history, and business to understand how soccer has morphed into something more than the world’s most popular sport.

Proposing a multi-faceted study of ta single theme accords with the founding values of the Periclean Honors Forum (HF) and Skidmore as a whole. It isn’t feasible for a single class to be able to tackle both biomedical sports science and the cultural impacts of soccer, but it feasible as a student lead initiative with support from the HF. We believe that this project allows us the opportunity to explore an important passion through an academic framework not otherwise available.

We hope, over the course of this semester, to better understand the cross-academic field connections that exist in soccer. The goal is to understand the sport as an industry, cultural phenomenon, and science study that crosses international boundaries and language barriers. To do so, we will each bring to the table our personal experiences/knowledge to add to the group. There are 5 group members, each of whom will be responsible for leading the rest of the group for a presentation and discussion related to their specific academic focus.
Different academic lenses overlap with one another and connect to other perspectives. We will identify and use unifying themes to connect these seemingly disparate academics by focusing on a single issue, soccer, and looking for points of connection. For instance, one discussion might prompt the question of how soccer transformed the cultures of the Americas as a rite of unification. The next week’s discussion might discuss the unification of communities via shared sports experiences. We hope to use different fields to find common points of agreement, reduce the arbitrary lines drawn between different fields and better understand the cultural force of soccer.

We believe that our project can further the goals of the HF by using soccer as a framework for intellectual inquiry. Skidmore has chosen to emphasize it commitment to interdisciplinary study and our collective values continue to be exemplified by the Periclean Honors Forum. The Honors Forum (HF) was formed to promote dialogue and conversation centered around interdisciplinary topics. According to our mission statement, the HF was designed to provide extra support for the academic interests and goals of its members, and to relate passion to curriculum, thereby deepening existing passions.

The passion people feel for soccer is obvious and consistent across cultures, but the academic opportunities offered by a thematic view of soccer are less clear. However, it is a well-researched topic with applications to virtually every type of study. Each of us has proposed a primary academic article, most of them peer reviewed, in order to represent the depth of study within our chosen field. We are all upperclassmen in various majors, which allows us to crowdsource a wide range of specialization, while our shared passion provides a focusing element. Individually, we are able to bring depth to our perspective while as a collective unit we can other a broad, nuanced account of an important social phenomenon.         

Discussions - Week 1:
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) risk and mitigation - Dane

Guiding Questions:
What is the risk for short-term and long-term head injuries in soccer?
How do small impacts accumulate over time?
What is the mechanism of cognitive decline as a result of CTE?
What changes to the sport might be expected in the future as a result of CTE research?

Pre-discussion Article:
Nitrini R. (2017). Soccer (Football Association) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy: A short review and recommendation. Dementia & neuropsychologia, 11(3), 218â??220. doi:10.1590/1980-57642016dn11-030002

Documentary Resources:

Week 2:
Culture of Politics: Soccer in Latin America - Olivia

Guiding Questions:
How do soccer and the culture of politics have a symbiotic relationship?
How has foreign policy been impacted by tensions/relationships forged through soccer?
Does soccer create cultural communities or do already-existing social groups/communities polarize around soccer?

Pre-discussion Article :
Globalization, Culture Wars, and Attitudes Toward Soccer in America: An Empirical Assessment of How Soccer Explains the World. Andrew Lindner and Daniel Hawkins

Documentary Resources:

Week 3:
Technological advances and trends in American soccer - Sarah

Guiding Questions:
Does improved technology allow for optimal performance in soccer?
Does technology allow for greater inequality?
What are some new advances in sports technology and how do they affect soccer?
How does technology affect the interaction between fans and players?

Pre-discussion Article:
Boyle, R., Haynes, R. (2004). Football in the New Media Age. London: Routledge,

Documentary Resources:

Week 4:
The global sport as a globalizing force - Ted

Guiding Questions:
What have been some effects on the game of soccer due to globalization?
Does foreign direct investment into soccer clubs lead to success?
How does soccer act as a mechanism to perpetuate corruption in Latin America?

Pre-discussion Article:

Documentary Resources:

Week 5:
Origins and History of soccer in the Americas - Reagan

Guiding Questions:
Where did soccer come from?
What do we know about games that existed before soccer in the Americas?
How did soccer come to the Americas? What factors contributed to its early popularity?
What early variants of soccer existed in the Americas?
How did modern soccer rules become standardized?

Pre-discussion Article:
Miller, M. (1989). The Ballgame. Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University, 48(2), 22-31. doi:10.2307/3774731

Documentary Resources:
Golazo!: The Beautiful Game from the Aztecs to the World Cup: The Complete History of How Soccer Shaped Latin America.
God is Brazilian: Charles Miller - The Man Who Brought Football to Brazil

We're excited to do this project through the Honors Forum, especially because much of our project focus on the sciences. Too often, the Honors Forum is viewed as primarily serving the interest of humanities and social sciences, and we hope to show that science has a place in dialogues and discussions of culturally relevant themes.