Member Feature: Lansing Community College

Lansing Community College is delighted to be a new Imagining America member. Humanities and Arts faculty, staff and students are working on a number of community engaged interdisciplinary projects, a few highlighted here, and look forward to furthering this work through our participation with Imagining America.

Inspired by Andrew Sullivan’s Fall 2017 Imagining America workshop on community generated poetry and the IA conference poem she helped construct, English Prof. Barb Clauer is leading a similar project at LCC this spring. Students in several History, Philosophy, English, Graphic Design and Theatre classes will respond to prompts around the question: “Using what you’ve learned at LCC, how will you engage the larger community?” Clauer’s English class will take the responses and collage the poem, with guidance for students from Lansing’s poet laureate, Dennis Hinrichsen. A variety of presentations are being considered: in April at Starscapes, a showcase of student scholarship and innovation held fall and spring semesters, in performance by Theatre and other students at community poetry readings and the annual Renegade Theatre Festival, and in an Art class-designed chapbook and/or website.

A discussion about homelessness in Prof. Judy Allen’s Spring 2015 Honors Comp II class led her to create a service learning project for her students with the Volunteers of America (VOA), a Lansing shelter. Under the guidance of Allen and VOA volunteers, students helped homeless men and women write their stories, later shared with the public at LCC’s Starscapes. Not only did students gain interviewing and storytelling experiences, they developed relationships and a new understanding of the often-silenced voices of the homeless. Allen is now working to expand the project by collaborating with other LCC disciplines including Photography and Performing Arts.

In Spring 2017, Photography Prof. Roxanne Frith, Performing Arts Producer Melissa Kaplan, and several LCC alumni volunteered for the Refuge Lansing storytelling project. Pairing professional photographer-writer teams with Lansing area refugees, the resulting stories of resettlement in the United States are shared in a traveling exhibit for schools, community and faith-based organizations ( Kaplan and Frith saw an opportunity to involve LCC students in something similar, and are teaming with Anthropology Prof. Krishnakali Majumdar to pilot “I Am LCC” this semester. Students in Cultural Anthropology and Photography-Visual Literacy will interview and document each others’ stories of cultural heritage and migration, making the exotic familiar and the familiar exotic. The work will initially be presented at LCC’s Starscapes, and the team will seek future outlets to share with the community.


Pictured, left to right: Professor Judy Allen, Megan Bassette, and Larry Weir.
Photo credit: Michelle Adams