Defining Community: Concepts, Cultures, and Practices

Through this theme, we will explore what it means to be in community and experiment with new ways of bringing people together. We will delve into the tensions between individuals and communities in today’s seemingly fractured world, and learn skills to create dialogue across differences.

What do we mean when we refer to the “Goucher community?” Common definitions of community include a place that fosters a sense of belonging, a geographic location, or a sense of camaraderie around a common interest or goal. Does our association with Goucher just bring us together geographically, or is there some larger purpose that holds us together? We celebrate individuality and diversity; what tensions does this place on our aspiration to be a place of belonging? And how do we engage in the various communities with which we are affiliated, including the communities we call “home,” our identity and faith-based communities, the larger Baltimore community, and international communities?

The theme will include an intellectual exploration of the biological basis for coming together in groups, as well as the darker side of that human impulse. We will investigate models of healthy, sustainable, and intentional communities. We will experiment with new ways of practicing community through various activities, including play, dialogue, spirituality, immersion in nature, and new ways of exploring shared interests.