The benefits of participating in the University Honors Program include some things that may be considered more abstract such as our interdisciplinary emphasis, strong community, and focus on personal, professional and intellectual development (see this link: https://tx.ag/HonorsBenefits).
Other benefits are more concrete, such as our partnership with other programs on campus that provide special access to campus conferences that assist our students in their personal, professional, and intellectual development. In the post below, six University Honors students from different disciplines–Brady Allen, Gabrielle Beauregard, Angelica Benitez, Hannah Borland, Janki Patel, and Nathan Ramsey–share their reflections on going to see “Seven” by L.A. Theatre Works, a riveting documentary play by seven female writers based on personal interviews with seven remarkable women who faced life-threatening obstacles before bringing heroic changes to their home countries. The play was presented by the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness, MSC OPAS, the College of Liberal Arts, the Scowcroft Institute, and LAUNCH.
Brady Allen ’21, junior aerospace engineering major from Dallas, TX
I am very thankful for LAUNCH sponsoring my attendance of the documentary play, Seven, on October 22nd, 2019. As a student who had read the stories of the 7 women portrayed in this performance ahead of time, listening to the actors from LA Theatre Works helped make them more real to me. I truly believe that this event, detailing the lives of seven women from around the world who fought or overcame high-stakes societal obstacles, increased my global perspective. Though it may be difficult for me to effect change from my place as a student on campus, it is events like these that increase my personal awareness of world issues and better prepare me to contribute to the future.
Gabrielle Beauregard ’22, sophomore economics major from Plano, TX
I had the privilege of attending L.A. Theatre Works’ production of Seven on October 22 in Rudder Theatre. This documentary play told the stories of seven women around the globe. It was extremely interesting and thought-provoking to be able to hear the similarities between these women’s stories. One part of this documentary play that struck me was Mukhtar Mai’s life experience of speaking up after surviving a gang-rape, on the orders of a tribal council. I was also interested to hear about the advocacy work that these women are still doing during the Q&A with the actors after the play.
Angelica Benitz ’22, sophomore mathematics major from Raymondsville, TX
The performance of Seven was chilling. Chilling in the way that scares you, but also enlightens you. Seven is about women from different parts of the world who were living in a culture where something about them, made them different and because they were different, they were faced with the most part, violence. With just the use of a PowerPoint video and a few sound effects, the actors were able to make us feel like we were there, like we were watching from the side lines of what really happened. This made us realize, that it could have been us. If we had been born in just a different place, to a different set of parents, a different culture, we could have easily been in their shoes. We would have experiences their experiences, but the take away was, would we have reacted the same? Would we have just let those bad things happen, and succumb to the pressure of society? Or would we have stepped up to actually do something the way these extraordinary women have?
From Ireland to Iran, these women faced completely different things, but they were able to portray that there a bond between them, a connection that bought them together even in the worst of times. Going into the performance, I can honestly say that I did not know that Seven was based on the real stories of those women around the world, in fact, I didn’t even know those Women existed until I read the fine print. I learned that for a long time in Russia, domestic violence did not exist on paper. There was no word in Russia that could be used to explain it, the way we can say ‘domestic violence’ in English and every English speaker would know exactly what we were talking about. There was no word for it in Russia, and when women were first asked about being victims of domestic violence, they shuddered at the fact that there was something to be called. Each story tells how one woman was able to stand up in the face of inequity and fight bravely. I think it’s important to take away how even though these women were able to do great accomplishments of activism, they were able to inspire the audience that any part of activism, as small as protesting on the street, can play a huge part in standing up.
I was fortunate enough to see this performance through the Honors benefits. I had seen other benefits offered through out the year, but I never used them. I thought they were pointless, but after seeing the performance that I would have never seen otherwise, I realized that there’s a great importance to these benefits. The Honors benefits allows for us to see new thing, listen to new voice, and understand that we are not alone in our perspectives. There are others out there who challenge or agree with out minds, and the benefits helped me realize this. I’m sure I will take advantage of these in the future, and I’m grateful that I have them at all to advance my self-awareness through out my college experience.
Hannah Borland ’22, sophomore public health major from Schertz, TX
I really enjoyed the performance of Seven. The fact that the stories told were from real women’s lives, and that those women are still making a difference today was so inspiring. As a public health major, I really connected with the storyline of Marina Pisklakova-Parker combatting domestic violence in Russia. She saw a need in her own community for support of victims of abuse and she was passionate enough about it to persevere and expand her support line to help thousands of women across Russia. I also particularly enjoyed the diversity of the seven women’s experiences and how the authors of the play drew similarities between events that were happening in different countries, different cultures, and different political climates. I think it is so important for students to have opportunities like this one to get a glimpse into experiences vastly different from their own. This play also showed that life isn’t always easy, but that passion, dedication, and perseverance are the driving forces behind making a difference in the world.
Janki Patel ’22, sophomore genetics major from Katy, TX
L.A. Theatre Works came to A&M with the documentary play Seven. Seven stories of seven women around the world were heard in Rudder theatre. These women have and are continuing to fight: in Nigeria and Pakistan, to increase women’s education; in Russia, to fight against domestic violence; in Afghanistan, to empower rural mothers and daughters; in Cambodia, to rescue girls against human trafficking; in Northern Ireland, to bring peace and equality; in Guatemala, to bring power to the women. Any person could have done what they did, but what made them different was that they actually did something. They saw inequality not just on themselves but around their country too, and they acted to change that for the better. If I want to become a doctor, I need to act on my purpose, no matter how small, to bring awareness of the issues I see in the medical field. This play reminded me why I get up every day and go to school and volunteer. Future students should take advantage of Honors Benefits because they never know when one event can change their outlook on life. This play told me I was not doing enough with the dream that I have, and that was enough for me to push forward, try new things, and put my voice out in the medical field where it matters most.
Nathan Ramsey ’21, junior psychology major from Bedford, TX
The Honors program gave me the opportunity to attend the L.A showing of SEVEN this
semester by offering free tickets to any student in Honors. Having the opportunity to attend this play,
and hearing the powerful stories of seven women who overcame tremendous odds against domestic
violence, human trafficking, and discrimination was truly inspiring. These women went on to
become advocates for women’s rights and have changed countless lives since. I also had the
opportunity to talk to one of the actresses after the show, and seeing the passion they had for their
character was just as powerful as the stories. I have always wanted to make a positive impact in the
world and seeing how these women were doing it right in front of me was amazing. I encourage
everyone who has the chance to take advantage of the benefits the Honors program has to offer.
Opportunities such as these are made possible through the generous support we receive from The Association of Former Students. Opportunities are advertised to University Honors Program students in good standing. If you’re interested in participating, be sure to check your email!