Outside the Classroom Learning Experience
A common question that I get asked on tour is “what are CLPs”. CLPs are Cultural Life Programs. CLPs are ways for students to explore a variety of different subject disciplines including culture, history, politics, artistic expression in music, film, and theatre, local/national issues, and agriculture as a way to enhance an out of classroom learning experience that one may not experience in the classroom setting. Taken directly from the Furman University website, CLPs are “events [that] foster a sense of community on campus and help those in attendance see multiple compelling and legitimate views on cultural issues, inspiring a life-long pursuit of intellectual fulfillment and cultural engagement.”
Students need a total of thirty-two before graduating from Furman. Attached here is the schedule for the year. My friends and I have a designated day that we always go and attend a lecture (unless something else strikes our interest on a different day). So, for the last four years every Thursday night, my friends and I go to the P-Den and get an extra steak stack from Moes and a sweet Arnold Palmer before heading to a CLP. There are a wide range of learning opportunities that students can partake in to learn more about food, movies, history, music, and comedy that last approximately an hour.
Any organization can apply to sponsor a CLP, and there are a few guidelines such as contributing to the academic formation of students by exploring significant issues or questions that are respectful for all persons in accordance with the university’s mission statement and strategic plan. Recently, my student organization, Furman University Student Activities Board (FUSAB) hosted an event. Our event was What will life be like in the next 100 years? This CLP was a back and forth conversation with six professors. We asked six professors from six different majors and tasked them to give an insight from their respective disciplines in Economics, Mathematics, Classics, Sustainability Science, Biology, and Art, to discuss what the most important field major for our future generations’ lives to study should be. In the next 100 years debate, the six professors came passionately prepared make a case for why their area of study will be the most important in our future. The students in attendance listened and then talked among themselves regarding who had made the best argument. Students then voted and the winner was… Dr. Karen Allen from the Sustainability Sciences!
Another CLP was called the History of Elections. This CLP discussed partisan polarization featured in American congressional elections during the 20th and 21st century. Two of Furman’s Political Science Professors, Dr. David Fleming and Dr. Danielle Vinson walked us through the history of parties and elections to help us understand how we got to where we are today. Dr. Fleming teaches courses on American Government, including Campaigns and Elections. Dr. Vinson teaches courses on American Government, including American Congress (I took last semester), and she has done extensive research on the role of parties in elections.
These are just two of the many CLP events I have gone to this semester. These two were the ones that have stuck out to me personally. I encourage you to look at CLPs as an opportunity to learn and engage in topics you are interested in. If you have any questions about CLP’s or the requirements for them, please feel free to reach out.
– Justin Perez