Our sixth pair of the Fall 2018 Semester features Cole Johnston ’20 and staff member and recent grad Sydney Mann ‘18. This power pair is currently facilitating an SES dialogue. Here’s what they have to say about IDP:
Cole: IDP has been an experience unlike anything else in my lifetime. It has given me skills and insights that have reshaped the way I approach my relationships with family, friends, peers, and coworkers. Far and away, the strongest benefit I’ve received is pride in who I am and where I come from and being comfortable addressing how certain aspects of my identity may give me societal advantages. I feel that identity is everything in today’s society, and gaining the tools to work with identity has been invaluable. I especially love facilitating the course because it allows me the opportunity to give back to a program that has given me so much and changed my outlook on life and Cornell.
Sydney: After participating in an SES dialogue at the end of my Sophomore Year, I knew IDP was an organization that I not only believed in but also wanted to be a part of for a long time. Year after year, IDP has taught me the power of empathy when engaging in difficult conversations, as well as the importance of challenging my own assumptions. Above all, IDP has provided me with a community that has empowered me to believe in myself, especially as an agent of change. IDP is such a beautiful program because it not only equips its participants with the necessary tools to meaningfully combat systems of oppression, but also endows its students, staff, and facilitators with the encouragement and motivation to keep growing. I can confidently say that I wouldn’t be where I am without IDP, and I am so grateful to have been a part of this program throughout (and even after) my Cornell experience.
What is your favorite thing about your co-facilitator?
Cole: I don’t even know where to begin with Sydney. I am most appreciative of her ability to identify any given issues and be honest and direct with addressing them. In the dialogue space, she is my anchor to the topic at hand and excels at paraphrasing my thoughts into cohesive and digestible ideas. Beyond that, she is always a high energy, affirming force inside and outside the classroom. I am so thankful to have her with me this semester.
Sydney: I think I could write a dissertation about Cole, but I’ll refrain. Cole has this amazing ability to tell you attributes about yourself that you didn’t even know. Cole’s commitment to this program continues to impress and motivate me, whether it’s in our dialogue space or his recent appointment as IFC’s Vice President for Citizenship, Diversity, and Inclusion. He has such a powerful presence, and I cannot wait to see where life takes him. Cole is the true example of a teacher and learner, an ally, and an incredible friend, and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime.