Did you feel that?

No, it’s not another post about yesterday’s east coast earthquake….

This post is about the experiences a few first year (new to Lehigh University) students are having before they begin their new life on campus and in South Bethlehem. ArtsLehigh has been participating in the ArtsAlive Pelusion program for 6 years. Each year, we have a chance to introduce students to a variety of venues, spaces, people and experiences to crack open their creativity and instill a sense of adventure. Participating students have a variety of activities packed into three days; hip hop dancing with Rennie Harris ensemble members, drumming with Moe Jerant, theatre make-up with professor Erica Hoelsher, trip to the Philadelphia museum and a cheesesteak experience at either Pat’s or Geno’s [R.I.P, Mr. Vento], Japanese painting led by Joshira Maduro (Lehigh student who recently returned from a study abroad program in Japan) and finally, glass blowing at the Banana Factory. In between the activities, the students were brought to a number of spaces on campus and in South Bethlehem to see landmarks and other special things that are sometimes “secret” or only know by a select few. It’s our turn to show some students interesting things to share with others.

The guiding principle for all activities of ArtsAlive are to learn by doing. Each activity is designed to emphasize the difference between learning and being taught. By doing, we have a greater appreciation for the discipline of the craft. By being present, we have a personal relationship with the spaces and people we meet face to face. We link the arts to learning and life by doing.

We want to thank the returning students for all of their help and enthusiasm. We hope it’s a sign of a good program that they all want to return. Special thanks to Danny Aguilera, Kimber-Lee Alston, Vanessa Arvidson, Alex Cardile, Josphira Maduro, Laura Mejia-Suarez, Cassandra Reilly, Kathryn Schall and Anna Warner. Thanks also to the many coordinators who open their spaces for activities and for helping out when we need it; especially Susan Shell, Terry Harnett and Jennifer Gold of the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs. Extra special thanks to professor James Peterson and Pamela Rickey for lending a hand (or a foot as the case may be!)

Also, special thanks to all of the local businesses that welcomed our group into their stores and took time to meet with the students. We hope we’ll see them frequent the local businesses throughout their time at Lehigh University.

Finally, a program of this complexity wouldn’t run as smoothly without the amazing abilities of ArtsLehigh program coordinator, Susan Scrima. She is often the muscle behind the scenes; deftly organizing all details with dexterity and grace. We are truly lucky to have Susan on board.

Good luck to all new and returning students. May your year be brilliant.  Keep seeking new experiences and opportunities to learn through doing. As always, ArtsLehigh is here to support you and your creative ideas.