GCS- What?

You might have noticed that the phrase “GCSP” is popping up much more frequently around campus. GCSP – the “Grand Challenges Scholars Program” – is an initiative started by the college to encourage and support students who are concerned about the world beyond the Olin bubble. Though GCSP began over five years ago, it is only now becoming fully active. It’s a fairly exciting time to be starting a program – Are you interested about global affairs? Sustainability? Social justice? Do you wish you had more chances to talk about these topics? Do you wish you had more time to think and learn about these problems? Do you already feel stretched-thin from your current coursework? Well, you are not alone. Your goals are the goals of GCSP.
Essentially, GCSP is a framework for creating individualized learning plans centered on the major issues you want to solve. That is to say, the goal is to make it easier for students to focus on the issues – social, political, environmental, etc. – that feel meaningful and relevant, without adding tons of extra work to their existing schedules. We’re still trying to figure out how to best accomplish this; some of it involves already-underway curriculum integration (for example, modifying projects to be more relevant in the real world), while some of it involves nudging Olin’s culture. Anyway, if you’re excited about this space and want to learn more, there are some events coming up:
​Interesting Conversations with Olin faculty, staff, and alums. GCSP has been holding these in EH1 on weeknights, or at SLAC, on a semi-regular bi-weekly basis for over four years, and they’ve always provided an excellent opportunity to discuss new ideas about people’s lives at and outside of Olin. At one recent Interesting Conversation, Professor Jason Woodard brought homemade carrot cake and we discussed, among other things, Jason’s globe-trotting adventures and the democratization of higher education.
Council on Foreign Relations conference calls and discussions. Olin has access to the CFR’s bi-weekly academic conference calls, which include 30-minute presentations from experts on given topics and questions phoned in from students. We’ll have some snacks/refreshments, and after the call we’ll keep the discussion going. We think this might provide a good space for students who want to get out of the bubble.
GCSP@Foundry Stand-Up. We’re using the typical two-minute mini-pitch format of Stand-Up Fridays to give students a chance to talk about their goals for making a difference. The prompt is “What will you do to change the world?” This is going to be a really exciting opportunity for people to share their ideas on topics they might not otherwise discuss.
With all of these events, the hope is that we can not only spur on conversations about the issues themselves, but also open up discussion of how the Olin community thinks and talks about these issues. If any of these events seem exciting to you, subscribe to gcsp@lists.olin.edu for more information and updates. Also, if you’d like to get involved with the planning process, come to the student steering meetings on Mondays from 5:30 – 6:00 in CC210!

+ posts

Leave a Reply