Thomas Jenkins awarded grant for his work on Trinity’s first year “Reflections” seminar

Lisa Jasinski, Special Projects Coordinator, and Thomas Jenkins, associate professor and chair of classical studies, embarked on an ambitious project two years ago to bring change to Trinity.

After visiting several universities across the country, they found a group of people in some universities who were regularly active in weekly discussions about thought-provoking concepts such as “What is life?” and “What makes you happy?” These concepts were brought together by a facilitator (usually a trained faculty member or senior student), and discussions were free-flowing.

Stanford University had a program called “Stanford 101″ or “Reflections,” which was made up of many volunteer students. Harvard University also had its own group that was labeled “Reflecting on your Life.”

“Trinity students are really similar to Stanford students, as both are really involved within their campus and aware of the external world,” Jasinski said.

Since it was assimilated so well at Stanford, Jasinski and Jenkins wanted to try it out with a similar audience. According to student surveys, this project was an immediate and major success with last year’s students here at Trinity.

Trinity’s version of the project received a $4,000 grant from the Associated Colleges of the South. They also received a $50,000 grant from the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) that flew in someone from Stanford to help train Trinity faculty and students.

Jasinski noted that professors and staff want to build a foundational relationship with the students, and the “Reflections” program helped encourage this environment.

Jasinski was mulling over an idea about making another program called “Transitions,” which would incorporate more of the upperclassmen that suffer from personal issues and adjusting to campus life after study abroad.

First year Chloe Phea is currently a member of this semester’s “Reflections” seminar. She expressed an interest in the proposed “Transitions program.”

“It was really wonderful to associate myself with the members of the “˜Reflections’ group and do all the activities that we do. I really liked the spatial activity that we do about where we stand and how content we are with ourselves. People stand around a relevant distance based on the degree of contentedness,” Phea said. “I really want to do the “˜Transitions’ group if it ever gets hatched. I know my friend who goes with me is really happy that I forced him into going.”