Undergraduate students

Humans of IDP #30: Malia ’19 & Ruju ’22

By May 7, 2019 October 11th, 2021 No Comments

Our next pair for Humans of IDP are Malia Kennedy ’19 and Ruju Dani ’22.

These two co-facilitate a dialogue about SES.

Here’s what they have to say about IDP and each other.

Why IDP?

Malia: IDP has not made me who I am, but made me learn who I am. My experience with IDP will forever be a reason I do the work that I do in the world.


Ruju: I really hate small talk. I hate small talk with a passion deeper than Sia lyrics. I also anticipated that I would have to engage in it a lot as a college student. Though I took it because I had heard too-good-to-be-true things from older friends, I stayed because it allows me to learn about people in a way that becomes introspective for all parties involved. Quite disorienting. My classroom became a sanctuary to escape the superficial and repetitive conversations in which I kept finding myself during my first semester. Since becoming a facilitator, I feel even more disorientation as I learn to find balances between exploring my own life experience and inspiring reflection in others. Simultaneously, I learned the importance of questioning norms and realities to not only embrace diversity and inclusion, but also equity and justice. IDP’s ability to create meaningful and resonating peer-facilitated dialogue about how we interact with our society amazes me.

What is your favorite thing about your co-facilitator?

Malia: As this being my last co-facilitator, this question leaves me speechless. Had it not been for Natasha’s strategic planning, I don’t believe I would have ever crossed paths with Ruju. She’s a piece of sunshine that you’d have to sit patiently and lean in real closely to feel her warmth; and when you feel it, you feel it. My favorite thing about my co is her ability to warm places you didn’t even realize were cold. In my 4 semesters (whew) of facilitating, I’ve never been paired with someone who keeps me so grounded in the fundamentals of IDP. This semester has not been the smoothest for me, personally, but each time I step into the classroom with Ruju, she reminds me of how important it is to slow down and spend time on the fundamental things in life. She may not even realize it, but watching her curiosity and engagement in section really humbles me as both a teacher and learner in the space. It inspires me to apply that same energy to all aspects of my life, even the tough experiences that I struggle to bring to class. Watching her grow as a first-year student and as an IDP facilitator has been such a pleasure and I couldn’t have imagined my last semester with anyone else..

Ruju: Malia is the most amazing first co-facilitator I could ask for. As someone trying to understand both Cornell campus culture and my personal culture, Malia supported me through every step of the facilitating journey. My favorite thing about her is how she radiates curiosity and compassion for all forms of life she encounters as you can almost see the rays! Whether she’s discussing how to best support someone in the classroom, the unique lifestyle patterns of sloths, or checking in with me about how I’m feeling, Malia distributes her enthusiasm strategically.