An eddy or whirlpool forms in a stream where the river bed is uneven, where rocks extrude, or where spaces on the side are carved out. Translated to the campus and community contexts, Eddy spaces are areas where people slow down to gather and engage with each other for a while. We believe that such spaces are a vital component of an educational institution. And we believe that we need more such spaces at SUNY New Paltz and in the wider community. Eddy spaces encourage a sense of belonging, creative expression, trans-disciplinary dialogue, and mental and physical health. If we don’t have adequate indoor and outdoor spaces (built with sustainable materials and practices) to meet up in a range of central locations…
- … we won’t come up with those transformative collaborative projects and ideas over tea or lunch.
- … we won’t have places to make our voices heard and our bodies seen.
- … we won’t have those difficult conversations about social justice, environmental justice, anti-racism, de-colonization, and climate change.
- … we won’t get to know each other personally across areas of campus and our diverse backgrounds.
- … we won’t build the trust needed to enter into real dialogue with each other.
- … we won’t get to relax and re-group between classes in a 5-minute ping pong match.
- … we won’t build the resilience we need to flow and grow with the many challenges ahead.
- … and we possibly won’t even know what we have been missing for a long time now.
When flowing through a pipe, water can only sense its own speed and the pipe walls. In a mountain stream, water interacts with and nourishes all that is in and around it. We imagine a campus and wider community in which we (the water in the metaphorical stream) are able to interact freely not only with each other, but also with all the different parts of the ecosystems that sustain us.
How can we actively experience and tend to the thriving biodiversity that makes life on this planet possible and halt the accelerating extinction of species happening silently all around us?
What does it take to learn to pay close attention to the materials and processes used to create the environments, systems, and spaces we inhabit?