Colgate Students Working to Promote the Humanities

This semester, three Colgate students are working with the NY6 Fellowship Program to promote the Arts & Humanities discipline through the use of social media accounts. A part of the New York 6 Think Tank that brings together six top universities in Upstate New York, this program looks to reshape the negative mindsets associated with pursuing an education or career in the humanities. Using unique tactics within social media platforms, seniors Miri Reinhold, Danielle Iwata and Timmera Whaley are attempting to garner the attention of prospective college students, parents, alumni and others to see the benefits that the Arts and Humanities discipline provides.

“The NY6 Fellowship Program is all about creating projects such as art, blogs and social media campaigns to promote the humanities in academia. Too often, students are discouraged by parents or high school guidance counselors from pursuing studies in the humanities because the subject is seen as ‘impractical’ or unlikely to result in high-paying jobs,” Reinhold said.

For Reinhold’s project, she has created an Instagram campaign titled “Humans of the Humanities,” which highlights people, events and articles associated with the humanities. Iwata has combined her passion for dance with her love of the humanities, creating a blog that includes interviews with students, professors and alumni to discuss the skills that are gained from involvement in dance.

“It is my belief that you gain transferable skills that go beyond the dance studio and can help you in any situation. You develop confidence, trust, collaboration, self-awareness, determination and discipline. What I have loved so far is interviewing students and hearing their stories. What they have learned gives me new insight into different ways I can experience and express various things,” Iwata said.

The program runs from February 10 to May 1, 2015, with students participating from Colgate University, Hamilton College, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, Skidmore College, St. Lawrence University and Union College.

“There has always been a discussion of technology in the classroom, and I think this project addresses the disconnect between the two. I believe it will be an effective way of reaching new audiences and hope that it will result in a wider appreciation for the arts and humanities,” Iwata said.

By combining their passion for the humanities with social media, these students from all six universities are making their adoration for the subject known to anyone who is interested, helping to widen the scope of academia to people outside of its realm. 

“Through these projects, we want to reverse the stigma. We want to show that above all else, the humanities are about doing what you love,” Reinhold said.“The people who study the humanities love what they’re studying and go on to love what they do after graduation. We want to encourage students who are passionate about the humanities to pursue their interests.”