A Fresh View: Learning Outside the Classroom

Me holding an adorable pug on the Main Green at Heavy Petting, one of the myriad of wonderful events at Brown

Hello friends! I am Yuzuka Akasaka, the ineffably ecstatic first-year blogger for A Fresh View. As I happily stumble through the beautiful hot mess that is the first chapter of my college life, I hope y’all will enjoy the Brown experience with me through the blog posts. I am sending love and good vibes to every single one of you from my new home, Providence, Rhode Island. 

Before I even moved onto campus, I was determined to take advantage of the variety of events hosted by Brown. At first, I had difficulty understanding that the tales of incredibly interesting events students attend are not merely myths.

Since I have come here, I have attended:

  • TWTP Open Mic Night-This was an open mic night hosted by the Brown Center for Students of Color. I had never attended an open mic night, so I was curious as to how it would function. I brought two of my friends who had not participated in TWTP, and they enjoyed it greatly; they both performed (though they were not planning to do so), and I was very proud of them. People shared spoken word poetry, personal narratives, songs, etc. Some of the topics performers touched on were related to the topics discussed during TWTP, and some were not. I appreciated the safe space established for the performances.
  • Brown vs. Siena Men’s Soccer Game-This was the soccer home opener. I arrived early and received a slice of pizza and a scarf (many college events have free goodies and food, especially pizza). I ended up leaving before the game ended to attend a talent show hosted by the Orientation Welcoming Committee.
  • Read Between the Lines || Press Pause: An Investigation of Race in Contemporary Film and Literature (an MPC Workshop) – This workshop was hosted by several Minority Peer Counselors (including my amazing MPC) about the influence, portrayal, and response concerning characters of different races in contemporary media. The presentation format was similar to that of the TWTP workshops, which I found nostalgic. I greatly enjoyed the learning experience and the discussions.
  • Ferguson Teach-In-This was an event presented by the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA), the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions, and the Watson Institute for International Studies. The purpose was for members of Brown to discuss and learn about the events surrounding the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri led by several distinguished Brown faculty members (including my wonderful professor/advisor). The faculty members each discussed a perspective of the events from their field of expertise and then opened up the floor for discussion questions from the audience. I had been loosely following news from Ferguson, and I appreciated that this provided various aspects of the events and responses surrounding Ferguson.
  • Sweeney Todd-Directed by Curt Columbus (Artistic Director or Trinity Rep), Brown undergraduates performed Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The tickets sold out, so my friend kindly invited me to a dress rehearsal of the classic musical.
  • Brown vs. Harvard Football Game-This weekend was a continuation of Brown’s 250th Anniversary celebration. My parents visited me on the weekend that this game took place, and they enjoyed the college football atmosphere. The game unfortunately ended in a loss, but the fireworks afterward were beautiful.
  • Nudity in the Upspace– This excerpt from the mission statement gives a great explanation of the event and its purpose: “Nudity In the Upspace is a week of workshops and performances with the goal of deepening peoples’ understandings of bodies–their own and those around them…The week aims to create safe spaces where participants can explore the intersections of identities including race, gender, sexuality, beauty, and physical and mental health. The nude body is used as a medium to begin critical discussion around these issues.” When I first heard about this weeklong event a few months ago, I was intrigued, and decided that I would attend it; I attended “A Piece of Devised Nudity” performance, and I found it to be incredibly powerful.
  • Ivy Film Festival showing of Men, Women& Children-As part of Ivy Film Festival’s Octoberfest, the Brown group hosted a free advance screening of Men, Women & Children at the Avon Theater. I am happy to have been part of an exclusive group that watched this movie before it was released to the general public. This movie caused me to audibly chuckle many times.
  • Heavy Petting on the Main Green-I miss my dog, so this event hosted by BWELL Health Promotion and Health Services helped me feel better. Brown faculty and staff members brought their dogs to the Main Green for students to pet, and I had the opportunity to hold a pug, which was the highlight of my day (large pugs are my weakness).

I have heard on a college campus tour before that students learn just as much outside the classroom as they do inside the classroom, and I am very pleased to confirm the veracity of this statement. Each event has taught me something, whether it was a continuation of topics I learned in class or an idea that had never crossed my mind.

And the icing on the cake: all of these events were free.


Yuzuka Akasaka

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for my next blog post, feel free to email me at yuzuka_akasaka@brown.edu. Have a lovely day!



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