October 30, 2023 | Matt Kucinski

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UnLearn Week is the kickoff event for the year-round program series: UnLearn 365.

While a lot of learning happens at Calvin University in any given week, the week of October 30—November 6, 2023, takes a different twist. Jane Bruin, director of the center for intercultural student development (CISD), shares about UnLearn Week, an intentional week designed to provide students, faculty, staff, and the wider community an opportunity to unlearn biases and promote biblical antiracism.

For someone who has never heard of UnLearn Week, how would you summarize it?

UnLearn Week is a series of conversations, panels, and learning opportunities that help us think deeply about our biblical mandate to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. In particular, it allows us to know who our neighbors are and how they feel that they are loved and belong in the community. As we think about our diverse community, we include content on various lines of difference, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, disability, and gender. Our offerings depend on who is available to speak. The main goal is to UnLearn the biases, stereotypes, and forms of racism we unintentionally hold and learn new things about all God's people.

How are students involved in the planning?

The Multicultural Student Advisory Board helps us plan, organize, and execute UnLearn Week. Generally, students help us evaluate our sessions and provide feedback for the next planning season. 

What would you hope someone takes away from this week?

Things are not as simple as we would like them to be, and there is always an opportunity to learn more, no matter how much we already know. 

How does UnLearn Week fit with Calvin's diversity and inclusion commitments?

UnLearn Week fits into the FEN (From Every Nation) document's vision under the sections “A Critical Analysis of Racism,” and “Anti-Racism Reconciliation and the Way Forward.” The themes we fit into are multicultural citizenship, anti-racism and accountability, and reconciliation and restoration. We also strive to cultivate students who have sharpened their multicultural leadership skills to prepare them to lead many different types of people after they leave Calvin.

Why should Christian institutions, especially a place like Calvin, be a leader in this space?

Because we are called to love our neighbors, and we are called to seek justice for the oppressed.

What are some of the topics or themes that UnLearn Week is covering?

Multicultural leadership and listening to each other's stories are a couple of the themes. Check out the UnLearn Week full schedule of events.

What are you most excited about? Anything unique this year that you haven't done in previous years?

I am excited about all the learning that is going to happen. Some unique features are Nikki Lerner and her chapel and talks on multicultural leadership and Rasool Berry's documentary Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom.

International Education Week

In conjunction with UnLearn Week, CISD is also observing International Education Week (IEW). From November 3-6, Calvin has a series of events planned that support IEW, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education. The goal of IEW is to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.

See Calvin’s full lineup of events.

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