Centre College senior Hari Perišić hopes to bring the Danville-Boyle County and Centre communities together during an event he recently proposed to the Danville City Commission.
“The Boyle-Centre-Danville 3v3 (BCD 3v3) is aimed to diffuse the ‘Centre bubble’, Perišić said, “by establishing a platform for people to create a more integrated community through engagement and capacity building activities.”
Perišić explained that the inspiration for the proposal came from a combination of his own life and his Centre experiences and perspectives.
A primary experience occurred when Perišić pursued the role of Bonner Leader in the Bonner Scholars Program, a community service and social justice based organization. His inevitable immersion in the Danville community, through Bonner, helped establish numerous community connections.
To move the project forward, Perišić has been working with junior Johnny Chen, a fellow Posse Scholar from Boston, where they both grew up in diverse neighborhoods in which the local colleges had a close relationship with the community.
Chen sees the major problem as having to do “with immersion and inclusion combined with the prevailing ‘Centre bubble,’ where students are too reluctant to step out of their comfort zone and explore Danville. The interactions that need to happen are not happening.”
Perišić added, “I am doing precisely what Posse sent me here to do,” which is “to help these institutions build more interactive campus environments so that they can be more welcoming for people from all backgrounds.”
“We want to create a bridge between Danville and Centre because there needs to be one,” Chen said. “There are so many resources at Centre and there so many resources in Danville that we can all take advantage of and learn from.”
Since Perišić presented the proposal to the city commission, he said the feedback has been positive and constructive from city and College officials, as well as the communities.
The BCD 3v3 will take place on April 22 and feature a community basketball tournament, a community conversation and a street party on Walnut Street. The basketball game and the community conversation will be held in Sutcliffe Hall. Various outside activities will take place during the indoor activities.
The Centre Bonner Program has sponsored Hari Perišić’s father, Srdjan Perišić, a former Yugoslavian refugee, to give a speech concluding the community conversation.
“After the event, I would love to see Centre students make their way into Danville and explore what their town has to offer,” Perišić said. “The decisions we make day-to-day define our character. That being said, this event is just one step towards change, and we must actively work to ‘pop’ the bubble.”
Even though the idea for BCD 3v3 was generated by Perišić, the event is, and will remain, a community event, which he hopes becomes an annual fall activity.
“I believe this is the best time to host the event, because Centre first-year students, who have just started the process of acclimating to the community, have the capacity to move away from the culture that created the ‘Centre bubble’ and work towards creating a more integrated community,” he said.
“I just want to see the shrinking of the ‘Centre bubble,’ because I truly believe if Centre students got involved in the community, there would be so much mutual benefit,” Chen said. “Not only would we better ourselves as college students, we would be able to make an impact in the community that needs our involvement.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
April 3, 2017