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Connecting with common values: Lecture links miners, students by shared virtues

Manuel Guapo/The Et Cetera
Manuel Guapo/The Et Cetera
Manuel Guapo/The Et Cetera

Basic virtues of scholarship, success, person-centeredness, stewardship, innovation, collaboration and diversity all played a role in the successful rescue of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground, according to ambassadors from the Chilean consulate in Dallas.

The ambassadors spoke at Eastfield’s Pleasant Grove campus during a common book event that challenged students to find values that connected them with the characters of the book, “Deep Down Dark.”

“Deep Down Dark,” the common book for the 2017-2018 academic year, tells the true story of 33 miners who were trapped in a Chilean mine from Aug. 4, 2010, to Oct. 13, 2010.

Carolina Selvidge, incoming consul to the consulate, and Horacio Marull, outgoing consul, said the two major themes in the common book are the human condition and the human spirit.

Selvidge said the virtues listed, which she took from Eastfield’s core values list, highlight some important parts of the human spirit.

“With the human condition, there’s a give and take,” Selvidge said. “We give time to our community. We take the resources we need to survive. In the case of the human spirit, we have a chance to step away from our individuality and maybe find things that we have in common.”

Selvidge said that the human spirit played a large role in the success of the rescue mission, and that Eastfield’s core values embody the human spirit.

By finding a common personality trait with the characters of the book, students can begin to relate to the situations, Selvidge said.

Marull said that the book also does a good job of placing readers in the setting.

The descriptions of the desert, the mine, the people and feelings were very accurate.

“It happens in this long and narrow country that is the southern-most country in South America,” Marull said. “I am from that area, so I can tell you from firsthand experience what it is like to live in a place like that. … Everything is so very well described in the book.”

Hector Tobar, the author of “Deep Down Dark,” is a journalist and was the only author allowed by the miners to interview and write a book about their experiences and those of the rescue teams and  families.

Javier Olguin, director of the Pleasant Grove campus, said he hopes more events and activities like the common book event will come to campus because they are easy for Pleasant Grove students to attend.

“The majority of our students are working adults,” Olguin said. “Most of our students are females with families. I would say a good 70 percent of them. So it’s hard for them to linger on campus after classes.”

Olguin said events like the common book lecture allow professors to incorporate the event with classes  so students can get involved.

“I want to be able to incorporate student services, academic services with community outreach, which means that a better way for us to serve our students is to be a part of a larger festival, community oriented approach,” Olguin said.

The common book allows this to happen, he said.

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