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Fri, Mar 28, 2014

Arts, Community, Featured, Student Life

Diversity “The Artist is Present”

BY lyanne

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For Maureen Maximos does Diversity really matter?

Since 1997, the first year that U.S. News & World Report began ranking colleges on the diversity of their student bodies, U.S. News has rated Rutgers Universit-Newark the most diverse national university in the United States; no other school has been so recognized.

Does graduating from the nation’s most diverse school really make a difference in a student’s overall academic experience? Is it possible to assign an educational value to the racial, ethnic and religious diversity of a college’s student body?

A resounding “yes” is the answer from thousands of graduating seniors and alumni at U.S. News & World Report’s most diverse national university in the United States, Rutgers University-Newark*. Every year hundreds of graduating seniors, responding to open-ended questions on R-N exit surveys, say that the diversity of the campus contributed profoundly to the quality of their Rutgers-Newark education. In fact, that aspect of their academic experience receives more positive comment than any other.

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How do we experience diversity at Rutgers-Newark? What can you learn about a person without the use of words? Come join Honor’s College student, Maureen Maximos, as she attempts to recreate the acclaimed performance artist Marina Abramović’s alluring work “The Artist is Present.”
The same theme is sounded repeatedly from alumni, especially those who have graduated in the last decade. Those who have gone into the business world report that diversity is widely recognized as integral to business creativity in the global marketplace. They tell us that the experiences they gained here, working with people from so many different backgrounds, have given them a competitive advantage in their careers.

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This work was one of Ms. Abramović’s many captivating performance pieces where she placed herself at the center of her own exhibit in the Museum of Modern Art, NYC. For two and a half months in 2010, Abramović sat silently fixed in the museum’s center room and allowed the viewers to take turns sitting opposite of her, so that she may learn about them through their silence.

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For one week, Rutger’s own Maureen Maximos invites all students, staff, faculty, and all members of the Rutgers community to participate in her experimental re-interpretation of this work, Present at Rutgers-Newark, aimed to discover her experience of diversity on this campus. She encourages all to sit opposite her and tell their own stories through nothing else but the belief that the human spirit can connect through close proximity, the eyes, and complete silence. Is it really possible to connect with people simply though silence? Come find out! She will continue the experiment Thursday between the hours of 2:00p.m. -4:00p.m.  We will follow-up with Maureen and report back as to what she took away from the artist experience.  Does Diversity matter to you?

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