Thursday, December 17, 2015 by Tara Paras
If you’re a University of Vermont student who “self-identifies as white,” chances are, at some point you’ve been encouraged to attend a university-sponsored three-day retreat to, well, come to terms with your “white privilege.”
“Examining White Privilege: A Retreat for Undergraduate Students Who Self-Identify as White” is allegedly the university’s way of letting self-identifying white students “recognize and understand white privilege from an individual experience,” while at the same time giving them the opportunity to “conceptualize and articulate whiteness from a personal and systematic lense [sic].”
According to past attendees of the retreat, the event provided a “safe space” for them to confront tough life questions, such as “What does it mean to be white?” or “How does whiteness impact you?”
To add to the university’s list of race-specific retreats, The University of Vermont reportedly hosts a retreat for “women of color,” as well. However, instead of confronting one’s privileges, it focuses on building strength and leadership among attendees.
Additionally, the university’s Center for Cultural Pluralism recommends various readings for its students, including “The Invention of the White Race,” “White Privilege, Male Privilege in Race, Class, Gender,” “The Feminist Classroom,” and “The Abolition of Whiteness.”
This year’s retreat was held November 13–15, at the Common Ground Family Center in Starksboro, Vermont. According to the school’s website, the university offered the retreat at no cost to its students, covering all expenses, including meals.