College to host free event as part of One Story program

DOWAGIAC — With an upcoming panel, Southwestern Michigan College is hoping to teach communication between people of different generations.

Dowagiac’s One Story program, a collaborative program running until the end of May that involves a series of events relating to the theme of a chosen book, this year’s being Mitch Albom’s “Tuesdays with Morrie” and N.L. Sharp’s “Effie’s Image,” kicked off last month with an event at the Dowagiac History Museum.

The program’s next event will take place at SMC’s campus with a panel entitled: “Why are the numbers on Grandma’s watch so big? A panel discussion on aging.”

Dr. David Fleming

The event will take place at 1 p.m. Thursday at SMC’s Dowagiac campus. The panel will consist of members of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and SMC faculty. Dr. David Fleming, SMC’s vice president of instruction, will host and facilitate the event.

“The panel will focus on some of the tensions related to the aging of the young and the way technology plays a role in how it can make the aged feel more disconnected and the youth to feel more connected,” Fleming said. “I’m going to throw out questions to the panel and just get some different perspectives on the topic. … It should be pretty cool. It should be pretty fun.”

SMC has been involved with the One Story program since it began five years ago. However, Fleming said that he is particularly excited to participate this year, as he believes the theme, “connecting generations,” is something that the students can learn from.

“Lots of students, particularly nursing students and those in the healthcare field, will have to deal with communication across generations,” Fleming said. “Part of what we want is our students to be aware of these things in our society. Generally, we want our students to appreciate it.”

The panel will also tie in with some other instruction that students at SMC are receiving, as some professors in the English department have assigned students assignments to write about their place within their generation, Fleming said.

“We hope that will tie into One Story,” he said. “[Connecting generations] is an important topic that we feel students should be engaged with.”

However, Fleming said that he believes that community members will be able to enjoy and learn from the panel as well.

“One of problems we are having in society is an inability to understand people with different points of view,” Fleming said. “The panel will have different perspectives and views, which is valuable.”

Fleming said he hopes both SMC students and the greater Dowagiac community will come to Thursday’s panel and communicate with each other.

“It’s a great way for the Potawatomi community, the Dowagiac community and the SMC community to come together and share some things that matter,” he said. “It gets our students more aware of the community and it makes the community much more aware of the good things we do with our students.”

The next One Story event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 17 at the Pokagon Band Community Center.

For more information on the One Story program and for a full list of events, visit onestoryread.com.

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