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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

10th Annual Posse Plus Retreat

Retreat will provide forum for controversial topics

Published: March 14, 2008
Section: Arts, Etc.

This Friday March 14 is the commencement of the 10th annual Posse Plus Retreat. This retreat was started in 1993 at Vanderbilt University (the first University to become a partner of the Posse Program) by recipients of the Posse Scholarship who wanted to give people throughout campus, Posse and non-Posse, a chance to come together and discuss important things happening not only on campus but throughout the world.

This year’s theme is social responsibility. It seeks to remind us all that our goal as scholars and human beings is to not shrug our responsibilities to one another and to do our parts in challenging, innovating upon, and creating new ideas for social reform and positive change.

First off let me say a few words on the Posse Scholarship program. It is not a minority scholarship. For those of you who are reading this and are skeptics I would like to make a few enlightening points. Brandeis Posse Scholars are taken from a pool of students hailing from the public schools of New York City.

Naturally, any Posse that comes to Brandeis will have an extremely racially diverse pool of students as it reflects the best of what New York public schools have to offer. I know that in my Posse alone there are people from Bangledesh, the Phillipines, Colombia and Nicaragua just to name a few.

Secondly, the panel of judges that chooses Posse scholars which consist partially of deans from the respective schools, has no knowledge of your financial situation before you get the scholarship. Hence it is not a minority-based or financially-based scholarship.

There are people in Posse that are definitely raking in the dough, but everyone receives the same benefits as the scholarship is decided based on merit. In actuality Posse scholars, such as myself, are picked according to DAP, a Dynamic Assessment Program. This method of singling out top students focuses on a three traits, ability to work as a team, academics, and finally leadership.

These attributes tested in a plethora of challenges including, but not limited to, an intense grade by grade scanning of one’s transcript by the staff, and having to work with a team of strangers to recreate a model robot from memory. It was some intense stuff we had to go through to become Posse scholars, but we are all thankful to be here and ready to positively contribute like the Posses before us to the greater Brandeis community.

The Posse retreat is an invitation to this same community to become a closer part of our Posse family. The retreat takes place at a family owned resort in an area adjacent to Cape Cod. While at the resort, we relax of course, and participate in a number of workshops, dialogues and interactive projects in which people who were once strangers soon become the best of friends.

This year some very difficult subject matter will be addressed such as stem cell research, welfare, avian flu, global warming and more. The general theme of these conversations and interactions will center around the simple question, am I my brother’s keeper?

I myself have been to one Posse retreat so far and found it a truly fulfilling experience. I made new friends and learned thing about old friends that I’d never have guessed or been aware of, had it not been for the retreat.

This Friday those brave enough to embark with Posse, will go on a journey in which they inevitably will find themselves. The aim of the retreat, the ultimate goal of the unconditional, un-bordered, unlimited amount of free discourse and bonding that is bound to occur, is to make sure that, once people do find themselves, they find themselves changed for the better and ready to take on the injustices of the world.