Archive for April, 2010

The Democracy Project: Battlefield Experience 101

Re-posted from this website.

Active and veteran members of the armed forces who understand the serious demands of academic and military life were featured in a forum held during the Honors Conference this week.

“Soldier-Citizens and Academia: Engaging Democracy and Learning at NGCSU in a Time of War” was held Wednesday at the Library and Technology Center on campus.

The veterans who spoke were John Risley (Army), Alexander Gupton (Marines), Sterling Baldwin (Army), Steven Hugon (Marines) and Thomas Scott Level (Army).

The five covered a variety of topics, including what democracy is, what made them join the military and what role education plays in a member of the armed forces experience on the battlefield.

Gupton said, “Education can help you, but it can also hinder you. Enlightened ideals can keep you from making good decisions. Sometimes you just have to respond on instinct, because over thinking can get you into trouble.”

Risley added, “If you see a civilian that looks like a farmer, you have to consider the fact that he’s coming to kill you. You can’t just blindly follow orders [i.e. shoot on sight]- that’s a recipe for disaster. Sometimes you have to use your discretion.”

Another topic discussed was the importance of leadership and the lack of awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“Learn about the symptoms of PSTD. Learn about the disease,” Risley said. “Because chances are somebody in your platoon is going to have it.”

Level said that “You have to set an example and be an advocate for everyone in your platoon.”

The Soldier-Citizens and Academia forum was sponsored by The American Democracy Project, Phi Alpha Theta, and the Political Science Students Association.

University of Central Missouri Hosts its First Earth Week Celebration

Contributed by Innovative Public Relations of UCM.

This has been a year of firsts for the University of Central Missouri (UCM). UCM started its first campus-wide recycling program and became the first university in the area to kick off a $36.1 million project to reduce energy consumption. UCM also sponsored its first full week of activities celebrating Earth Day.

A campus committee consisting of faculty and student organizations developed the week of events based on the theme “Change your behavior, change our world.” The week’s events focused on celebrating sustainability and recycling efforts on campus while providing information on the importance of living green.

ADP members at UCM played a large role in Earth Week 2010, sponsoring many of the week’s events and speakers including: “Green Luncheon” featuring Daniel Wallach from Greensburg, Kansas; a Volunteer Service Day; a Green Short-film Festival; and speakers John Hess an evolutionary biologist, and Robert Mann, co-director of Shadowcliff.

To kick off the week of events more than 80 community participants came together on Saturday, April 17, for the Volunteer Service Day.  Some of the service projects included cleaning up nature trails, helping build a Habitat for Humanity House, and volunteering at Nature Central.  More than 125 audience members attended Monday’s Haute Trash Fashion Show, and several students, faculty, staff, and community members participated as models. On Wednesday, Green Energy at Central brought more than 30 Kansas City area business leaders to participate in a round table discussion that will be featured in the May issue of Ingram’s business magazine.

Ed Begley, Jr. was the highlight of the week, speaking about living sustainably, not only on Earth Day, but also on the other 364 days of the year.  Begley also encouraged everyone to start with inexpensive practices such as riding bikes, recycling, and using cloth grocery bags.

The UCM plans to make the Earth Week celebration an annual event. As a leading university in sustainability, UCM anticipates continued support from the local community and area sponsors including Trane, the contractor for UCM’s Energy Savings Contract (ESCO) project.

Innovative Public Relations (IPR), a student-led public relations firm, is under the direction of the University of Central Missouri Office of University Relations in Warrensburg, Mo.  Founded in January 2010, the firm consists of six public relations students, all of whom are committed to professional development and public relations initiatives.  IPR is committed to providing clients with quality public relations in a timely, accurate and ethical manner.  IPR’s future goals include opening its doors to prospective clients affiliated with the university.  For more information, visit http://www.ucmo.edu/ur/studentpr or contact IPR at studentpr@ucmo.edu or 660-543-8557.

May 4 is the Last Day to Submit a Nomination for the Bill Plater Award for Provosts

Nominations are now being sought for the William Plater Award.

The Plater Award is given to chief academic officers (Provosts, Vice Presidents or Vice Chancellors for Academic Affairs) in recognition of their exemplary leadership in advancing the civic learning of undergraduates.  The Plater Award is designed to recognize the critical role of the chief academic officer in advancing the civic mission of the campus through curricular reform, public advocacy, accountability for institutional citizenship, faculty development and recruitment, and partnerships with community organizations.

The Award recipient will receive an engraved commemorative and a check for $1,000.  The recipient will be announced at the annual meeting of the American Democracy Project in Baltimore in June; at the awardee’s discretion, the Award can also is presented at a suitable occasion on the recipient’s campus, ordinarily in the fall semester following selection.

Chief academic officers may be nominated by anyone on the campus; the president or chancellor must endorse the nomination.  Any AASCU chief academic officer is eligible, whether or not their campus is an active participant in the American Democracy Project.

The nomination consists of the following:  a complete cover sheet, a vitae or resume no longer than five (5) pages; and no more than five (5) additional pages of documentation in the form of a description of the nominee’s achievements, supporting letters, etc.  The materials must be sent to George L. Mehaffy (mehaffyg@aascu.org), and must be received no later than May 4, 2009.

For more information, please see the Plater Award information and application form on the American Democracy Project website.

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for the Campus and Friends Showcase at the ADP National Meeting!

Would you like to promote your ADP campus activities? Here’s a great opportunity to share and celebrate your work and help others learn how to promote civic engagement on their campuses. For the sixth year in a row, we will feature the ever-popular Campus and Friends Showcase!  There is no cost.  Simply complete this very quick registration form no later than May 15th, 2010.

The Campus and Friends Showcase will take place on Friday, June 18th 10:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. We will be available to help you set up your materials beginning at 9:00 a.m. that day. The Showcase is designed as an exhibit hall, with tables available for presenters. Boxed lunches will be served in this room to guarantee high visibility. Last year, the Campus and Friends Showcases was one of the most popular parts of our program. People loved to see what other campuses have done with the American Democracy Project.  The Showcase also serves as an important networking opportunity for project participants.

Information about materials you should provide, the set-up, and the structure of the showcase are available upon request. Please contact Cecilia M. Orphan to learn more.

If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to register for the American Democracy Project National Meeting, June 17-19, 2010. To register for the meeting visit this website.

UNF Hosts Jacksonville Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau Forum

Written by Erin Dupree, University of North Florida

“Laziness.” This was the first response offered when Tamara Patton, an AmeriCorps VISTA working with the Emergency Services and Homeless Coalition (ESHC), asked over 100 people for words that represented common perceptions of homeless people. Through her “Jacksonville Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau,” Ms. Patton guided a dialogue that would challenge common misconceptions about homelessness. She provided a forum for three formerly homeless individuals to share their experiences.

The idea for this event, sponsored by the American Democracy Project, began in November 2009 when the University of North Florida sent four students to attend the student-organized “National Resolve to Fight Poverty Conference” at Loyola University at Chicago. There, Cody Spencer, Elizabeth Bittel, Katrina Norbom, and Erin Dupree networked with students from around the country who were serving the impoverished and homeless within their communities. Upon returning to campus, the four were informed, inspired, and energized.

The students met with faculty advisors and local service providers and decided that hosting the “Jacksonville Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau” would offer an opportunity for a dialogue about homelessness within the Jacksonville community. The Speakers’ Bureau is a joint project of ESHC of Jacksonville, Inc. and the National Coalition for the Homeless. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, there are dozens of Speakers’ Bureaus around the nation.

The students scheduled the event on the University’s calendar and promoted it within the University and the community at-large. They conferred with the University’s Media Relations Division in the making of a press release. They posted countless fliers around the campus and the community, promoted a Facebook page for the event, and recruited a volunteer videographer.

The event took place Monday, March 22, 2010. Through stories of strength, shame, compassion and misfortune, there were laughter, sighs of empathy, and tears shared between the speakers and the enthralled audience. A question-and-answer period followed, which included ways students could help homeless individuals. These ranged from contacting legislators, to donating apparel suitable for job interviews, to simply saying “Hello” to homeless people one encounters. Over $150 in donations was raised.

While this event was through, it was only the first chapter of their work as activists. More students have since expressed interest, and they are embarking upon new endeavors, both individually and as a group, to ease poverty and homelessness within their community, with this valuable experience as a springboard.

From Burma to Fort Wayne: Film and Discussion

Re-posted from this article.

Several IPFW departments and Fort Wayne organizations are promoting the Cinema Center’s showing of “Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country.”
The May 2 event, “From Burma to Fort Wayne: Film and Discussion” is being held at the Cinema Center at Indiana Tech.

Signs barring Burmese from the Ricker’s laundry on Calhoun Street – and the subsequent apology by the owner – prompted showing the movie as a way to bring cultural understanding of what the Burmese have been through and why they are here.

“The event came together because we had an opportunity to bring the film here about the same time all the negative press about Ricker’s Laundromat and the Burmese community was going on,” said Nancy Virtue, Cinema Center board member and IPFW associate professor of French.

Minn Myint Nan Tin, Executive Director of the Burmese Advocacy Center, one of the event’s sponsors, says the film is just the start of a series of meetings that will be open to the community. The advocacy center is planning a series of potluck dinners where Burmese students and former Burmese political leaders will share personal experiences and stories about their journey from Burma to Fort Wayne.

Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2010, the film is directed by Anders Ostergaard. It follows the September 2007 uprisings against the military government that rules the country. It was shot with handheld video cameras and smuggled from the country.

The event will start with a reception at 4 p.m., with Burmese-themed refreshments. The movie will start at 4:30. After the movie, several Burmese community advocates will talk about the film and their experiences in Fort Wayne, followed by a question-and-answer session for the audience.

Groups sponsoring the events are the Burmese Advocacy Center, Cinema Center, IPFW Diversity Council, College of Arts and Sciences, Office of International Programs, American Democracy Project, International Studies program, and International Language and Culture Studies Department.

Portland State’s Student Leaders for Service Program Wins MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship

Written by Emily Hoffer, Portland State University.

Student Leaders for Service (SLS) at Portland State University was recently honored with third place in the Talloires Network’s MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship. The MacJannet Prize recognizes exceptional student civic engagement initiatives around the world.

The SLS program provides students with opportunities to significantly address community concerns in surrounding communities while simultaneously preparing future civic leaders by providing opportunities for students to:

  1. explore theoretical and practical approaches to service;
  2. engage in democratic citizenship and community building;
  3. engage in critically self-reflective placements with local organizations; and
  4. develop effective communication skills, as well as teamwork, community leadership, and diversity awareness skills.

Through SLS, 25 students make a commitment to serve ten hours a week throughout the academic year at a local organization where they provide direct service to address community needs. Currently, SLS serves as an entry point for community-based organizations to partner with the university and provides resources and opportunities for students interested in community engagement to partner with organizations. Partners and students create year-long student leadership work plans that help guide the work of SLS students as they work with their community partner. All SLS students act as liaisons between the community organization and PSU, working to increase the number of students and faculty that work with that community site. The program is increasingly known among local community organizations as an innovative and effective way to connect students and the university’s resources to community needs and partner organizations in an effort to build their capacity. Since 1999, over 6,000 SLS students and volunteers have provided 82,000 hours of service, to 88 projects in the Portland community. Over 125 faculty and staff have participated in SLS programming. In recent years, SLS has diversified its activities to include global projects at the American University in Cairo and the University of Science in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Sixty-six programs from 54 universities in 27 countries around the world were nominated. The geographic diversity of the winning programs demonstrates the global scope of the movement to incorporate civic engagement within higher education. In all regions of the world, higher education institutions are responding to pressing social issues, and students in particular are championing the idea of global citizenship. The MacJannet Prize recognizes the winning programs as models for universities worldwide and will continue to encourage community engagement within higher education.

More information about SLS, please visit this website.

An ADP Student Describes the Ups and Downs of Public Work

Re-posted from the By the People blog of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship.

The reflection below was written by John Fogelman about his experience coaching Public Achievement at Oak Hill Middle School  in Milledgeville, Georgia, last fall. Fogelman is a student at Georgia College and State University and is coaching Public Achievement at Oak Hill again this spring.(What is Public Achievement?)

John Fogelman coaches Public Achievement at Oak Hill Middle School in Milledgeville, Georgia

During my past semester coaching Public Achievement, I went through a variety of different feelings, emotions, expectations, and unexpected outcomes. After reading through the journal entries that I made every week after my coaching sessions, I was able to see the slow but definite progression that my group made on a weekly basis. My journals were filled with disappointments and successes, but the content spoke more to me than just successes and failures:  my journals showed me that I was making change.

I came into the Public Achievement program with a very idealistic attitude. In my mind, I was going to go into the middle school and change lives and enlighten young minds as to how the world works, proceeding to take on great amounts of public change. Little did I know that I was in for a rude awakening.

The beginning of the semester was filled with failed agendas, rowdy kids, and little visible progress. I realized that my idealistic strategy of teaching and agenda making would have to be thrown out the window.

I am much more of a people person that an active, authoritative teacher. Due to this, it was hard for me to step into a classroom and be the strict coach I thought I was supposed to be. I learned, however, that my people skills would be the most important part of being a coach. There was no way I would be able to reach the kids without getting to know them and see where their passions and understand their lives first. As I spent more time with the students at Oak Hill, I realized that what they craved more than anything was the ability to talk and be listened to, and that my friendly and relaxed personality allowed me to get on the inside and begin to understand them better.

While I was learning how to coach and relate to my team, I grew as a person. Being required to plan lessons and agendas every week helped me gain a sense of confidence in leading others. I also learned that I was good with working with a large variety of people, and with the profession I want—a small café owner—this skill is very important. This semester helped me realize that I want to be an active member in a community and be a leader at the same time. If it had not been for this class, I do not know where I would have learned these skills and recognized my abilities.

Next semester I will be taking the second part of Grassroots Community Organizing. Because of a reorganization of the program, all of the students that I have made large attempts to get close to this past semester will likely be in different groups and I will likely have a group working on a different issue. Although the reorganizing was done with the best intentions in mind, I anticipate that the time spent gaining trust and closeness with a new group will eat into quality time trying to make change.*

In all, however, I think that Grassroots Community Organizing is one of the best classes I have taken in all of my college experiences. The amount of personal, community-based, and professional leadership knowledge and experience this class has given me is irreplaceable. My journals have reflected the ups and downs of my experiences in the first class, and I cannot wait to see what they will show for the next. Change is a beautiful process, and I am eager to see the steps it will take in my life.

Editor’s note: The Georgia College and State University faculty coordinators were able to arrange for the middle school students to stay together in their Public Achievement groups spring semester even though their afterschool academic groups were rearranged.

L3: Live. Learn. Lead. A Fort Hays State University Learning Community

In the Fall of 2010, Fort Hays State University will welcome its inaugural class of the FHSU live and learn community L3: Live. Learn. Lead. A learning community is a group of 20-30 first-year students who share some common interests, take courses together as part of an integrated curriculum led by faculty, live on the same residential hall floor, and participate in activities together throughout the year. This particular learning community, L3, was designed for incoming freshman who have an interest in leadership development, civic engagement, service, and democracy.

The thirty FHSU students participating in the learning community will experience the following throughout their freshman year:

·         Live on the first floor of McMindes Hall

·         Participate in learning community integrated curriculum

Fall 2010

Current Political Issues

Sustainability and the Future:  The Seven Revolutions

Spring 2011

Introduction to Leadership Concepts

English Composition II

·         Participate in a trip to Washington, D.C. during Spring Break 2011.  During this trip, students will participate in workshops/simulations coordinated by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), creator of the 7 Revolutions; as well as experience the sites of DC.

·         Experience other unique co-curricular learning activities throughout the year

Here are some facts about our 2010-2011 Learning Community:

·         Pursuing different majors from 16 different FHSU academic departments/units

·         Students hail from Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Missouri

Visit www.fhsu.edu/lc to find more information about the learning community.

Be sure to read the guest editorial on civic engagement each evening in the Hays Daily News.

Lions Clubs International Offers a Unique Opportunity for College and University Students

By guest blogger Kim Heyne, Lions Club International

Most of us have heard of Lions clubs, either from the Lions club logo on the city welcome sign, helping in a homeless shelter or collecting eyeglasses. Although Lions are best known for preventing blindness, but they also participate in many types of projects, ranging from assisting the underprivileged to providing supplies to victims of natural disasters.

Did you know that Lions Clubs International offers colleges and universities a chance to form a club on campus? Campus Lions clubs give students, faculty, staff and the campus community the opportunity to participate in the largest service organization in the world. In addition to helping the community, students will strengthen business and management skills, build their resume and network with members of the community.

Campus club members have the freedom to determine the types of service projects their club will provide to help make a difference in the lives of others. Projects ideas range from alternative spring break missions, to food distribution for the needy or tutoring less privileged elementary students.

Members receive Pride, a bi-annual campus club newsletter. The newsletter highlights important information from Lions Clubs International, project ideas and featured projects from outstanding campus clubs. Another way to stay in touch is to become our Fan on Facebook.

Student Member Program

Students under 30 can participate in Lions clubs Student Member Program and receive an entrance/charter fee waiver and pay only half international dues of $19.50 (that’s only $1.63 per month). Students over the age of 30 have an entrance/charter fee of only $10 but pay full international dues.

Start a Club on Your Campus

Give your campus the opportunity to address the unique needs of the campus, local and worldwide communities. What you will need to start a club is the Campus Club Kit. These kit materials are available online and include the Guide to Developing Campus Lions Clubs (pdf), which has all the details you will need to get started.

For more information about Campus Lions clubs, to request a Campus Club Kit or if you have any questions, please contact campusclubs@lionsclubs.org. We look forward to hearing from you!


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