“Belonging Together” CAT Event

Written by Alexandra Lewis, Visitor Services Coordinator at the KAM

I experienced belonging, understanding, and grace at the Culture Action Team’s (CAT) Belonging Together event at the Kruizenga (KAM) this past September. 

As a staff person who is fairly new at Hope (celebrated my 1 year in Sept!), I can tell you firsthand how intimidating it can be to walk into a space or event and not know anyone else in the room. It can be terribly isolating. At the start of the event, discouraging thoughts were quickly whirling around in my head. What if I say the wrong thing? Will anyone want to talk to me?

Employees watching a CAT video

Within my first conversation, while picking out my CAT swag notepads and pens, these fears melted away. Attendees were eager to introduce themselves and connect with me. Common ground was easy to find and I was met with friendly explanations about anything I had yet to encounter on campus. A tidbit from one conversation I had, “How amazing that God brought you to Hope having so much passion for what you do.” 

The Hope community welcomed me, and my hidden worries, with open arms. Now, when I attend an event I seek out the “me” in the room, the person who is new and apprehensive, and I do as was done unto me – embrace them.  

For those who were not able to attend, I have attached a few photos and a synopsis below:

Sonja Trent-Brown speaking at a podium

The CAT event was centered around 3 different video screenings featuring stories of belonging, understanding, and grace by Culture Champions (staff and faculty who were nominated for embodying belonging, understanding, and grace). These videos were played throughout the day on a projector screen in KAM’s north gallery space. CAT also offered the opportunity for guests to write down their own ideas on how “Hope gets Culture right.” Delicious food was enjoyed by all and community was formed while attendees gathered around tables to relax and catch up with colleagues. Swag notepads and pens were a hot commodity – a fun yet functional perk!

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