HumanitiesX Fellows Speak About Community Engagement

HumanitiesX
4 min readJun 23, 2022

By Emerson Sherbourne

Sergio Godinez and Juliana Zanubi spoke at the Service Speaks event on May 20 (Lauren Rosenfeld).

On May 20, 2022, the third floor of DePaul’s Student Center buzzed with presentations highlighting the university’s community-engaged learning and service opportunities, at the annual conference Service Speaks.

Among the presenters were Juliana Zanubi and Sergio Godinez, two 2021–22 HumanitiesX (HX) student fellows. Zanubi and Godinez highlighted how the courses designed through the HX initiative — all focused this year on the theme of Immigration and Migration — engage and serve communities beyond the university.

Zanubi spoke first, describing the course that I work with as a student fellow, “Children Seeking Asylum: Creating Digital Media to Support Human Rights.” The course partners with the Midwest Human Rights Consortium (MHRC), for whom students are making a series of digital videos about MHRC’s work and the asylum process. Students are interviewing asylum professionals in MHRC’s network, learning in the process about the systems at play in the US asylum process.

The students in this course have done an amazing job piecing together informational, engaging digital videos that explain key aspects of MHRC’s work and unpack many issues within asylum processes in the United States.

Zanubi presented next on the class she works with, “Sharing Their Stories: Latinx Immigrant Activists’ Oral Histories,” which partners with the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC). The course connects students with community activists affiliated with BPNC to conduct oral histories about the work these activists do to advance the rights of undocumented immigrants. From Zanubi’s perspective, the course “gives students the unique opportunity to engage with their community, deepen understanding of the immigrant experience, and create a sense of belonging and responsibility.” Students have also had the opportunity to learn new skills as they conduct, transcribe, and synthesize oral histories that accurately speak to the activists’ lives.

Zanubi and Godinez answer a question during the Q&A (Lauren Rosenfeld).

Godinez spoke next, describing the course he’s paired with, “Geographies of Displacement: Migration and Immigration in Atomic-Age Art.” The course is partnered with the Japanese Arts Foundation and highlights the utility, beauty, and complexity of art as a means of expression for immigrants. Godinez quoted from his conversation with the other student fellow for the course, Yessica Pineda:

“Students are engaging with art as a powerful form of communication. Through the lantern-making process they are understanding the ability of artistic expression to communicate pain, joy, prosperity, history, and the hopes of tomorrow. We are looking beyond the textbook to learn about the tools humans have used to tell their stories.”

Zanubi and Godinez closed the presentation by emphasizing again the priorities of HumanitiesX this year, which are to offer students interdisciplinary approaches to explore the theme of migration and immigration, to engage students with community members who work in and have experiences related to this theme, and to create useful projects for community partner organizations.

Service Speaks was a wonderful opportunity to feature the amazing work that can done when DePaul students work with and learn beside community partners. It also served to showcase the work of the students in each of the HumanitiesX courses, as their work speaks volumes about the care, dedication, and creativity of DePaul students.

Emerson Sherbourne is a 2021–22 Student Fellow with HumanitiesX.

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HumanitiesX

DePaul University’s Experiential Humanities Collaborative