Welcome to “Transforming Our World”

Published by Lytton Smith on

Welcome to the 2021 iteration of The Geneseo Experience: Transforming Our World. This virtual course, beginning in July, will help you discover how a public liberal arts approach to college at SUNY Geneseo brings together the knowledge and skills of many disciplines in order to make a positive difference on the world around us, locally and globally.

If we want to make positive change, we have to start by noticing, observing, listening – all actions that are essential to understanding where we are. At SUNY Geneseo, that begins by acknowledging our college stands in the historic homeland of the Seneca Nation of Indians and the Tonawanda Seneca Nation. If you like, head to native-land.ca to explore the history of the land you are on as you read this; Native Land aims to “create and foster conversations about the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations.” 

As two recent graduates from SUNY Geneseo, Hannah McSorely and Jack Kitzen, point out in this website they created for a course called Hidden Pasts and Indian Lands: Transfer, Dispossession, Reclamation course, you’ll notice residence halls on campus are named after counties in New York State, many of which are named after Haudenosaunee and other area tribes: Seneca, Genesee, Onondaga, etc. You’ll also notice buildings name for those of European descent who settled the area, including James Wadsworth, who in 1867 helped charter the Wadsworth Normal School which would become SUNY Geneseo in 1871; we celebrate our 150th this coming academic year, your first year with us.

To situate ourselves in the Genesee Valley, then, means being aware of who and what is part of our environment, today and historically. Scientist and storyteller Robin Wall Kimmerer connects the Seneca Creation Myth to our relationship to the world we live in during this video, Questions for a Resilient Future; we invite you to watch at least the first seven minutes to hear her tell that story.

As Distinguished Teaching Professor of History and scholar of Native American Studies Dr. Michael Oberg has written, “territorial acknowledgment is not enough.” Such recognition must lead to action – and as this course takes you though ideas in business, economics, psychology, women’s and gender studies, sustainability, and more, it will ask you to notice the world around it, to think about how we’re changing it, and to create your own, informed ideas about transforming it for the better.

Welcome! We’re looking forward to learning about you and helping you on your SUNY Geneseo journey.

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