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The Chautauqua Fellowship enables undergraduate students to attend a week of immersive summer programming at the Chautauqua Institution in the countryside of southwestern New York. Upon returning to ASU, fellows serve on a student advisory committee and draw on their experience to devise similar public programing tailored to the ASU community.
What is the Chautauqua Institution?
The Chautauqua Institution is a not-for-profit, 750-acre community on Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state. Approximately 7,500 persons are in residence on any day during the nine-week season, and during the summer season there are over 100,000 scheduled public events.
The Institution is dedicated to the exploration of the best in human values and the enrichment of life through programming that explores the important religious, social, and political issues of our times; stimulates provocative, thoughtful involvement of individuals and families in creative response to such issues; and promotes excellence and creativity in the appreciation, performance, and teaching of the arts.
What is the summer experience like?
The Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics hosts fellows at the Chautauqua Institution for one week of programming, and the fellowship covers travel, lodging, gate pass, and per diem while at the Institution. Fellows share a rented cottage that is minutes away from dozens of daily lectures, classes, and performances—or some lakeside recreation.
Fellows are expected to attend the daily morning lecture on the week's theme, and come together for dinner every evening. Scroll down to see what our 2018 cohort of Chautauqua Fellows thought of their time at the Institution.
What is expected of me on the student advisory committee once I return?
As experts on the Chautauqua experience, our fellows help brainstorm topics, presenters, and activities that transform the best of their experience for inclusive public audiences. Students meet regularly throughout the semester to offer their opinions and share their knowledge.
Fellows in 2019 will be attending week five (7/20-7/27) of the Chautauqua Institution's programming, focused on the Life of the Spoken Word:
"As consumers, creators and critics, we are experiencing a renaissance of the spoken word. We join together the history and modernity of compelling oratory to explore broader themes of social and intergenerational connectedness and the ways that our speech, our stories, bring us together. From political rhetoric and civil discourse, to the arts of theater and poetry, to podcasts and stories told around the campfire, what is the power of the spoken word? Throughout the week, as we look to the future of the spoken word, we present ways to use technology to preserve our past, our history, our stories. The week begins with "This American Life" host and storyteller extraordinaire Ira Glass, in a Saturday evening Amphitheater special."
The first prompt is designed to examine how immersive exposure to a week of programming on the week's theme will help to advance your scholarship, research, and/or personal growth:
1. "Explain how receiving a scholarship will assist you in achieving your education and career goals. Please limit your response to 3000 characters (~500 words)."
The second prompt asks you to engage in the type of reflective exploration you will be exposed to at the Chautauqua Institution:
2. "Describe a passion you have for a specific social issue or concern and, given the opportunity, how you would address it if you had access to resources and support. Please limit your response to 4000 characters (~650 words)."
Prior to leaving on the trip, fellows must attend two mandatory meetings: an orientation to learn more about the fellowship, and a travel planning meeting to book their travel after the awards are dispersed. All attempts will be made to ensure that these meetings align with fellows’ spring semester schedules. Recurring social mixers will also be planned so fellows can get acquainted prior to sharing lodging over the summer.
International Letters and Cultures (Classical Civilization), College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
History, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
"My week at the Chautauqua Institution was a very new experience for me. Stepping out of the shuttle from the airport was like stepping out of a time machine, witnessing a part of America that I did not know still exists. Chautauqua is a place where people go to learn and to adhere to the principles of the original Chautauqua education movement, with the intention of engaging with new ideas. I enjoyed being a part of this community, if just for a short period of time; it was a valuable opportunity to interact with a group of largely older people who are intellectually curious and politically active. For our week in Chautauqua, we were immersed in an idea that is as important today as ever. How does one properly confront injustice? What is the place for political dissent in our society? To what extent should resistance to tyranny be taken? These are some of the eternal questions that were encapsulated in the week's theme of the Ethics of Dissent. For a society to function properly, it needs dissenters. It needs people who will go against the grain, based on what they believe is right. The talks, given by speakers like Ralph Young, Shaun King, Sally Kohn, and Ersula Ore were edifying, as were the conversations around the dinner table each night. In addition to the educational benefits of our week in Chautauqua, we found time to attend the opera, to kayak, and to enjoy the bucolic nature of Upstate New York. To be able to engage in the tradition of the Chautauqua Movement was a privilege, as was participating in the activities of the week."
Public Service and Public Policy (American Indian Studies), Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions
"The community is plastered with extravagant and vibrant-colored houses with amazing Victorian-style architecture. Each house and public area seemed to have a master-level “green thumb” touch to it, displaying the most beautiful floral landscapes I’ve ever seen. Overall what I enjoyed most was the fellowship itself, our professor Erica was amazing and made you feel “at home” away from home. She led thought provoking discussions over dinner as we wrapped up our day’s adventures. She encouraged us to step outside our comfort zones and explore by attending religious meetings, yoga, kayaking, opera, and various lectures. The group of ASU students who attended were of various backgrounds and programs, which brought interesting and dynamic perspectives to the experience."
Business (Sustainability), W.P. Carey School of Business
"My experience at Chautauqua was truly one of the most interesting and eye-opening experiences I’ve ever had. Everyone I met was interested in discussing contemporary issues, and I appreciated that everyone was welcoming and openminded. The whole environment was comfortable and relaxed, and I felt free to explore and learn on my own as well as in more structured group settings. Aside from the daily lectures about the ethics of dissent, some of the events I attended include an opera performance of Candide and a symphony performance in an open-air amphitheater, which were both new for me! I also participated in kundalini yoga and meditation, enjoyed talking with other Chautauqua fellows on the docks at the lake, and explored the community and its architecture. I even went to a farmer’s market and brought back homemade jams for my family. While there were so many fun activities to be a part of at Chautauqua, some of my favorite parts of the experience are the talks I ended up having with the other Chautauqua fellows after our dinners each night. We would all sit and talk for hours, getting to know more about each other and about each of our experiences at Chautauqua, since we were able to personalize our schedules to cater to our own personal interests. Sharing a space with other individuals who sometimes shared my opinion and sometimes didn’t helped me to see the world from new perspectives, and we were all able to learn from each other. Without a doubt, the most valuable part of this experience for me are the friendships I cultivated during my time at Chautauqua, and I am grateful I was able to share such a unique experience with such a great group of people."
Sociology, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences
"My experience at the Chautauqua Institution was foremost one of meditation through immersion. I found myself with an abundance of free time the likes of which I had not enjoyed since the summer began. This free time was not aimless, but strategically positioned amidst academic lectures, religious ceremonies, and artistic showcases that permeated every aspect of living there. I could attend a morning lecture and spend the rest of the day thinking about it. Moreover, the outside landscape of trees, beaches and unassuming buildings meant that while I was learning I was not in an environment that fought for my attention or sought to distract me as do the bright advertisements and loud machinery endemic to life outside the Institution. Chautauqua was as much a place to clear my mind as it was to fill it, and I partook in both. My housemates, however, certainly taught me the most, as we were six people put into the same living quarters whose lives would have otherwise not intersected. I spent late nights listening to their life experiences and perspectives as they, like me, reckoned with uncertain futures and the competing and contradictory demands of family, work, education, and justice. With my fellows I considered and discussed rhetoric on Henry David Thoreau, racism in America, and the power of representation in comic books, among other topics."
Public Service and Public Policy (Sustainability), Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions
"Attending the Chautauqua Institution has been an eye-opening and life changing experience. I am forever grateful to have participated in this fellowship. I have walked away from this experience with a new sense of self and a motivation to be the change I want to see in the world. One change I have made is my exposure to the Black Lives Matter movement, the #MeToo movement, and other social justice issues. After hearing Shaun King, Tamika Mallory, and Edwin Long speak on the issues affecting the Black and Latino communities I knew I could no longer sit back and be ignorant. When I came back from the trip I began to educate myself in an effort to acknowledge my biases and assumptions to be able to eliminate them. This trip also allowed me to interact with students from very different backgrounds. I was not sure how that would turn out, but it was one of the most impactful experiences on the trip. I specifically remember having discussions at dinner about real world problems and issues and gaining a different perspective."