Ready to UnLearn: CISD to host 22nd annual UnLearn Week


Emilia Shokoohi

This week’s UnLearn Week theme is “Identity, Citizenship, and the American Dream?”

UnLearn 365 is in full swing at Calvin, with this year’s UnLearn Week beginning on Oct. 4 and ending on Oct. 9. 

UnLearn Week, according to Center for Intercultural Student Development Director Jane Bruin, serves as the kickoff event for the year-round UnLearn 365 program series. The UnLearn pairing serves as a safe haven for campus-wide forums focusing on unlearning biases, promoting biblical antiracism and diving into issues including diversity and inclusion. 

The 16 events scheduled for UnLearn Week this year will examine themes of identity, citizenship and the American dream and what these themes mean for many groups that make up the Calvin community. 

All 16 events bring a unique addition to the week. “There isn’t one that should/can be missed,” said Bruin.

UnLearn Week will include four student-led events: a chapel service, 2 discussions and a screening of the movie “Selma.” Throughout the week, Calvin staff and faculty will also participate in a variety of sessions. 

Guest speakers will include the Antioch Podcast team, which will hold an event focusing on justice and unity in Christian spaces. Hosted by members of Madison Church in Grand Rapids, the Antioch Podcast team includes Executive Associate to the President for Diversity & Inclusion Michelle Loyd-Paige as well as adjunct professor Eric Nykamp. Other guest speakers set to present during UnLearn Week include Kai Ton Chu and Lyonel LaGrone.

On Oct. 6 and 7, there will be an interactive event on Commons Lawn that will combine the idea of belonging with art. Presented by Amanda Impens, Shelly DeJong, Erin Petty and Amy White, this interactive session allows guests to contribute to an art project in which participants can visually show what belonging means to them on a paper tile. 

The majority of the UnLearn Week events will take place in person, with a handful taking place completely online and some taking place in person with a livestream component. Although a few UnLearn Week events were hosted in person last year, owing to COVID constraints, most UnLearn Week events were held online or in a hybrid format. The CISD was encouraged by increased audience attendance as a result of more accessible alternatives, and chose to maintain a broad array of audience attendance options this year despite decreasing COVID limitations.

“We didn’t change much because of lessening restrictions because of the feedback we got that it was nice to still livestream in-person events,” said Bruin. “We try to livestream or record all of our events. The only change is that we worry less about in-person room capacity.”

According to Shelton Rodriguez, one of the directors of the Multicultural Student Advisory Board, UnLearn Week allows students to reflect on their personal biases in order to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the school year. 

“UnLearn Week is important because I get it wrong often. I let the stereotypes and generalizations of my mind blend into my actions,” Rodriguez told Chimes in an email.  “I know that the only way I can be better is by rewriting the script in my mind. Which means UnLearning the nonsensical, xenophobic, prejudicial teachings fed to me as a youngster, and even now.” 

Students are encouraged to participate in UnLearn week events, which will kick off on Monday, Oct. 4 with an Open House at the CISD office. Students can earn a free UnLearn t-shirt by attending three events and completing the survey through the QR codes available at each event.

For more information and to see the full list of events for this year’s UnLearn week, visit or contact the CISD with any questions or concerns.