Put simply by educator Terry Heick, “Learning is unifying seemingly divergent ideas.” Diversity in education is a valuable, enriching experience that creates a greater perspective for any student, yet so few are ever able to explore beyond their majors. That’s where Collins excels - creating an environment for incoming and returning students to engage with a vibrant array of subjects, topics, and vocations. Within the LLC, our academic publication The Pipe and the Barrow works to encourage research, analysis, and exploration of any and all academic subjects, from the fine arts to the natural sciences. Our theme this year aligns with our mission as a journal and with the mission of Collins to give students an open range of study and experiences: Explore Academia.
Grateful for the loosening of COVID restrictions in 2021-22, the Pipe and the Barrow team jumped on the chance to interact directly with our fellow Collinsites; our efforts culminated in a week of events, intended to cover six different areas of study: the Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Formal Sciences, Applied Studies, and Fine Arts. A week of programming allowed Collinsites to explore these fields through various activities, from Spotify playlists to a choose-your-own-adventure quiz! The week - aptly titled Academia Week and completed in collaboration with additional student groups - featured a specific academic subjects, hot topics, and research boards.
The first day, a collaboration with Heidi Dargle, editor of the Dancing Star, featured a walk-around exhibit of the 12 Jungian Archetypes to explore literature, a Humanities discipline. Each ‘piece’ in the exhibit included a famous painting to represent a given archetype, a description of the archetype’s goals and beliefs, characters in popular media that fall under the label, and a specially-made Spotify playlist! Research covered psychologist Carl Jung, archetypes in psychology and corporate branding, and archetypes as they exist in literature. The Jungian archetypes serve as a basis for character taxonomy in literature, representing universally familiar narrative roles like the Hero, the Lover, and the Outlaw (among others). Collinsites were encouraged to think outside of these traditional roles to examine how archetypes can create unexpected dynamics in a story.
The second day featured a personality quiz and correlating goody bags to explore pop psychology and the science of personality, under the rubric of Social Science. The “Which Explorer Are You?” personality quiz had three possible results (Land Explorer, Sea Explorer, and Space Explorer), and bags contained items to match each (compasses, shark bracelets, and galaxy stress balls, for instance). Research covered pop psychology, the connection between personality labels and individualism, and the Big Five spectrum of personality. The quiz and people’s reactions to their results - whether it be satisfaction or disagreement - encouraged Collinsites to examine the arbitrary labels assigned by pop assessments, and what those labels truly mean to people.
The third day, in collaboration with Collins’ E-Force, featured a choose-your-own-adventure quiz to explore inedible wild plants, under Natural Science. The quiz included six different plants, some edible and some wildly toxic; with eight possible endings and a handmade ‘guidebook’ hung up around the Coffeehouse for reference throughout, the quiz encouraged students to explore a range of edible and inedible plants. There were pictures, physical descriptions, and fun facts about each. Research covered phytotoxicology as a field of study, poisonous plants in history and fiction, and poison as medicine.
The fourth day featured an exploration of Technology, under the Formal Sciences, through an alternate reality game about Qimi Swyndlure, an evil space-gnome-thief created by The Pipe and the Barrow team ourselves! Collinsites played as a recruited bounty hunter, hired to help hunt down a stolen artifact and catch Qimi Swyndlure for good. ARGs utilize various media platforms to tell a story and engage players directly; research covered ARGs as storytelling and a player taxonomy called the Bartle Quotient.
The fifth day, a collaboration with the Philanthropy and Action Council, featured a mini-donation drive and an event to make coloring pages for the children of Middle Way House, allowing students to engage with public service under Applied Studies. Information about student involvement in nonprofits in Bloomington accompanied a discussion with Monte Simonton, including his program at Middle Way House, Spring Break for Kids. Research covered Middle Way House, public and community service, and various nonprofit groups taking donations in Bloomington.
The sixth day, a collaboration with Theatre Arts coordinator Levi Gettleman, encouraged students to engage with iconic plays from various historical eras, from Shakespeare to the Tectonic Theatre Project. Students rewrote handpicked scenes with randomized elements (perhaps the setting changed to Mars or the time period changed to the year 3000) and performed their new pieces for each other! Research covered the origin of theater, the art of adaptation, and a special word from Levi about how impactful and significant a role theatre plays in our lives.
The final day of Academia Week featured a team trivia night, with questions reviewing material from the prior six days of events. To draw the week to a close, the teams competed brilliantly across six disciplines. The event truly encapsulated the spirit of The Pipe and the Barrow - vibrancy and excitement as it exists in academia!
Two months of work and preparation led up to Academia Week, from creating the archetype posters and wild plant guidebook to planning events with our lovely collaborators, from assembling goodie bags to creating a wanted poster for a fictional space gnome. Research is deeply important to many students, both for fun and as a career prospect, and we aimed to create an opportunity for Collinsites to explore a wide range of subjects in a casual setting and to understand just how applicable academic study is to daily life. Collins is a wonderful hub for artists and creative expression, but our LLC is also built on a rich foundation of scholarship and community involvement. Academia Week showed how easy and fun it is to mix academics and art, and how any subject can be studied and explored limitlessly.
And, of course, it encouraged students to submit to The Pipe and the Barrow!