Courtesy Converge Lecture Series
George Saunders will be Converge's second speaker.
In October of 2016, Converge Lecture Series
began with a bang, bringing poet Marie Howe to Colorado Springs to give a lecture on the subject of moral beauty. In February, Converge will host writer George Saunders, with appearances by Richard Blanco, Junot Díaz and Edwige Danticat planned for the rest of the year.
And though the lectures are going to be impressive enough, Converge founder Samuel Stephenson has recently revealed to the Indy
(in advance of the official announcement at Saunders’ lecture) the details of a new program that will extend the influence of these speakers as well as the Converge series as a whole.
In partnership with Harrison High School, Converge has created a one-year fellowship program for six lucky junior students, “to engage in intensive programming intended to generate exposure to the life of the mind and action in the public square.”
There will be two fellowship tracks to choose from: politics and social action, or creative writing and the arts. Students will be paired with a mentor from one of the Springs’ higher education institutions, enjoy enriching education, spend some individual time with Converge speakers, and work toward creating a capstone project.
The capstone task is simple: “bring a bit of beauty to Colorado Springs.” When that has been accomplished, and however it is interpreted, each student will receive scholarship money to the school of their choice, though Stephenson couldn’t pin down an exact amount just yet.
In all respects, it should be a fascinating opportunity for these students, and hopefully one that will grow in future years.
“I grew up in the Springs,” Stephenson says, “and literature is where I found myself — so I think this project is a hopeful attempt at that. ... My hope is that this is what we start pushing into in terms of the work of Converge.”
The six fellowship recipients will be decided by a board in May. In the meantime, Harrison will be bringing some of its students to Saunders’ lecture, scheduled for Feb. 2 at the Pinery at the Hill.