Seeds of Service Newsletter

Fall 2010

www.oberlin.edu/bcsl

Oberlin College Bonner Center For Service & Learning, Fall 2010 Newsletter

Message from the Director, Beth Blissman
Dear Friends of Civic Engagement: Thank you for your interest in the work of the Bonner Center for Service and Learning. We are excited about the growth in civic engagement during the 2010-11 academic year, and want to give special thanks to the organizers of the “Clean it Up, Oberlin” Service Bonner Center For Service & Day on 10/10/2010 – what a Learning Director Beth Blissman great way to participate in the national call to action from 350.org! Many forces are aligning that make this an exciting time for community-based work at the BCSL. We have been settled in our new location, 145 West Lorain Street (Daub House), for almost a year now, and loving it! We are excited to continue sharing our space with students and community partners. We have welcomed three new staff members to the Bonner CSL, and you can find more information about them in this newsletter. Please stop by to meet them! In this highly student-focused issue, I hope that you will enjoy reading about our Community Service Resource Center from the perspective of the CSRC student assistants themselves. Robin Baird, a student assistant at the Bonner CSL, and Cole Scholar, shares some intriguing insights into her experiences this summer as a follow up to her spring 2010 article. The Bonner CSL is always excited to hear about any community service or community-based learning opportunities you are involved with, so please let us know about the great things you do! We promise to do our best to connect Oberlin College students, faculty and alumni with non-profit organizations in Lorain County and beyond. Best Wishes as we enter 2011!

New Staff Member Profile: Julia Nieves
Julia Nieves’ passion for community work, youth development and education was cultivated from childhood by parents that were deeply committed to social justice and community involvement.  This passion for just and fair educational and social practices has been an organizing thread in Julia’s personal and professional life for more than twenty years.  Julia has worked in leadership positions in grassroots youth organizations in New York City and in Oberlin and Elyria, OH.  In Elyria, Julia served for almost six years as Executive Director of Save Our Children, impacting more than 120 low-income children and youth each year with quality educational and youth-focused programming.  For two years following the events of September 11th, Julia served Spanish-speaking individuals and families that were directly affected by the fall of the World Trade Center through financial and case-management support.  Julia also previously had the privilege of working with the Multicultural Resource Center at Oberlin College.  In her spare time, Julia designs hats, bags and jewelry using repurposed and recycled materials.  She also teaches sewing to community youth.  She and her family are deeply committed to environmentally sound and sane living including collecting rain water to wash clothing, stacking firewood for the winter and growing, eating and preserving as much local produce as they can.  She loves to swim, run, write, cook and spend time with her family. page 1 bcsl@oberlin.edu

Oberlin College Bonner Center for Service & Learning

Seeds of Service Newsletter

Fall 2010

www.oberlin.edu/bcsl

What is the CSRC?
Interested in service but not sure what you want to do? Do you want to start a service project but you don't know where to begin? Come visit us at the CSRC! The Community Service Resource Center vows to match students seeking community service opportunities with local organizations in need of student volunteers. Our mission is to serve as a resource for Oberlin College students and the surrounding community. Stop by our office, shoot us an email at community.service@oberlin.edu or take our Community Service Resource Center Volunteer Interest Questionnaire and we can help you out!

Student Staff Members

Walta Yoseph, CSRC Staff member What is the CSRC? Mark Mckee, CSRC Staff member What is the CSRC? "We serve as a directory for students who want to link their community service interest with service opportunities in the community.” What do you do in the CSRC? “I’m the Outreach Coordinator and I organize CSRC specific distribution of media. and other various tasks.” How long have you been with the CSRC? “One semester.” How did you hear about and begin working at the CSRC? “I was talking with Beth about an idea for a community service project in my home town and then I heard about the position.” “The project was a jazz workshop for middle and high school students in Tennessee” How do you feel working at the CSRC impacts you? “It makes me more aware of the community service that gets put on through the college and makes me think about my own community service.” What is your favorite part of working in the CSRC? “The tea and the people.”
Oberlin College Bonner Center for Service & Learning

"The Community Service Resource Center. It is located in the Bonner Center for Service and Learning. We serve as the link between students and community partners who are looking for volunteers. We have lots of resources and can help you find winter term internships, summer internships, study abroad opportunities and lots more!" What do you do in the CSRC? "I am the Listserve Intern. I send out a weekly emails with service opportunities, job opportunities, and training and enrichment events such as talks, conferences, and movie screenings. I also maintain the the Current Job and Volunteer Opportunities page on the Oberlinserves wiki." How long have you been with the CSRC? “Four semesters” How did you hear about and begin working at the CSRC? “I was having lunch with Emmanuel Magara, a fellow Bonner Scholar and past CSRC student intern, and he told me that the CSRC was hiring.” How do you feel working at the CSRC impacts you? “I feel more knowledgeable about what is going on in the community. I also feel more involved in the community. Working at the CSRC makes me aware of our community’s needs and gives me a much deeper understanding of the demographics of Oberlin.” What is your favorite part of working in the CSRC? The relationships I have formed with my colleagues. page 2 bcsl@oberlin.edu

Seeds of Service Newsletter

Fall 2010

www.oberlin.edu/bcsl

Environmental Stewardship and Community Service by Corey Patrick Harkins
Community service has always been a way for me to connect to larger issues through small actions. I am a part of the Community Service Work Study Program through the Bonner Center where I work with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and for Fifth and Sixth Transition mentor program. With the Land Conservancy, I am able to apply the knowledge I learn in environmental studies classes. I never thought that I would organize other students to get involved in service and environmental stewardship. That changed in October. With the guidance of the Bonner Center, I was able to organize a service event on October 10th (10/10/10) in concurrence with 350.org's global movement. Oberlin was just one of thousands of events across the world: 7,347 people in 188 different countries participated! On 10/10/10, I connected students with organizations around the college and community that deal with environmental issues. These groups included the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, George Jones Farm, Full Circle Fuels, the Bike Co-op, Oberlin College Grounds, the Resource Conservation Team, and the Johnson House Garden. The event began at 1:00 p.m when over 70 participants showed up to volunteer at sites or assist at the event! The students went to one of 10 sites where they removed invasive species, picked up litter in public natural areas, audited energy on campus, composted, gardened, designed a mural, or helped the organizations with miscellaneous work. Following the service, the groups were able to reflect on the importance of the work they completed. The event was a success! Our hard work paid off and we made lots of progress in Oberlin in less than 3 hours. One student wrote afterward, "The site helper guided us on finding answers to a long term solution - creating awareness." I am very grateful to those at the Bonner Center, including Sarah Ho, who helped make this event a great success. I look forward to working with the Bonner Center in the future in creating environmental awareness and stewardship through community service. -----------------------------------------------A complete list of service sites on the 10/10/10 Day of Service: • Invasive species removal (students removed Buckthorn, Rhamnus cathartica, behind the new sustainability dorm, Kahn) • George Jones Farm (students prepared the fields for winter by spreading alpaca dung) • J-House Garden (students winterized the garden) • Free Store art (students designed a mural for the Free Store that is educational and inspirational, concerning environmental issues) • Light bulb energy audit (students collected data on campus building on what light bulbs are old, inefficient models) • Exit sign energy audit (students collected data on exit signs throughout campus buildings in order to advance replacing inn inefficient ones) • Garbage cleanup (students went to the Arb to clean up a well-used public area) • Bike Co-op (students learned about bikes and helped the co-op find parts that are usable and parts that should be trashed) • Full Circle Fuels (students helped the local biodiesel company paint and beautify its area) • Union St Compost (students helped compost in a tumbler, then notified residence about the importance of using the tumbler and composting)
Oberlin College Bonner Center for Service & Learning

page 3

bcsl@oberlin.edu

Seeds of Service Newsletter

Fall 2010

www.oberlin.edu/bcsl

Bringing Community Service to Residential Life at Oberlin by Tessa Cruz
Many people may not know that Dascomb, the central first-year experience residence hall on campus, has had a community service wing for over 4 years. Up until the fall of 2010 the wing has been dormant in its activity within the greater Oberlin community; however the community service wing has made a strong effort to establish a presence on campus by connecting with the Bonner Center for Service & Learning, and participating in various service events on campus. Through this participation on campus and within the community, the Wing aims to expose students to various social justice issues on a local, national and global basis. This exposure is meant to further connect the students to their peers living in the wing, the College, the Bonner Center for Service & Learning, and the larger Oberlin community.  Through active participation in community service and reflection, residents develop an understanding of their ability to impact change in the world. Residents of the Community Service Wing are engaged in a number of service sites ranging from America Reads, a tutoring program for students in Oberlin Public Schools, to Girls in Motion, a dance program at Langston Middle School. Some residents visit their sites weekly, or biweekly, while others visit sporadically throughout the semester. At the moment the wing does not have quotas for completing hours of community service because I, the Resident Assistant for the Wing, wanted to emphasize the importance of exposing the residents to various issues within the Oberlin community and connecting them to their passions, rather than setting numerical guidelines. Fueling students’ interest in community service through intrinsic incentives, the Community Service Wing has made vast improvements. Most residents have participated in community service throughout high school and are serious about continuously being involved in their community while here at Oberlin.

Dascomb Hall. The community service wing is located on the 3rd floor. Community service has always been a priority in my life because it gives me a grounding sense of purpose. When coming to Oberlin I was thrilled be accepted into the Bonner Scholars program, a four-year scholarship program focused on community involvement. It is often an assumption that students can only do community service if they are a part of the Bonner Scholars program; however, anyone can do service and anyone can use the Bonner Center for Service & Learning as a resource. Now that the Community Service Wing is revitalized it serves as a great opportunity to show the campus the need to perform community service comes from within rather than the need to fulfill a requirement. Although the Community Service Wing has accomplished a lot during this first semester, I do hope to take the students on a eco-social context tour that brings the residents to various areas in Lorain county to teach them more about the issues relevant to this area of Ohio. I also plan on creating more service field trips and even a campus wide project that brings people together to try and help one issue. Stay tuned so you can get involved, too!

Upcoming Events:

• Winter Term- January 5th- 31st • Winter Term Celebration Dinner- February 10th, 6:00p.m.8:00p.m. Peters Great Hall

• Spring Community Service Fair- February 15th, 4:30p.m.6:00p.m. Science Center Atrium • Dr. Seuss Day- Sunday, March 6th, 1:30p.m.- 4:30p.m. Oberlin Public Library • End of the Year Celebration- April 21st

Oberlin College Bonner Center for Service & Learning

page 4

bcsl@oberlin.edu

Seeds of Service Newsletter

Fall 2010

www.oberlin.edu/bcsl

Dealing with Defeat: Reflections from a Cole Scholar by Robin Baird
Around Midnight on Tuesday, November 2nd I suffered a personal and politically crushing defeat. The candidate that I worked for as a Cole Scholar this summer, Congressman Mark Schauer, lost his seat after one term in office. I can’t pretend like I’m not bitter, frustrated, and a bit fed-up with the American electorate. For a while I just didn’t know how to feel. When you know that one candidate is more capable, dedicated and deserving than their opponent, it is difficult to understand how voters could not choose such a representative. Granted I do realize my bias in thinking Mark is a better congressman than his opponent could ever be, but when one Congressman has done so much good for his constituents in just two years, it’s hard to see all that good go to waste. Despite the political loss that I along with most of my fellow Cole Scholars suffered, I still wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world. We fought for what and whom we believed in and cared so much that we sunk into a post-election funk for days. Finding something to care so deeply about and work so hard for was in itself a great reward; passion is hard to stumble upon. A couple weeks ago, past, current and previous Cole Scholars met with Governor Christine Todd Whitman to discuss the current state of politics and why we get involved. Governor Whitman was first to start off the Q&A by asking us why we applied to the Cole Scholar Program and what value we see in it. I hadn’t really thought about my reasons for applying since I did so in the fall of 2008 (I deferred for a year). After having gone through the program and (sadly) being mostly done with what it involves, I now realize that one of the greatest assets of the program is providing a time for political reflection. I have been involved in politics since I first started volunteering in high school. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of campaigns and internships that I have gone into without truly considering my motivations for doing so. After a semester of discussing electoral politics I am much more in touch with my own views, abilities and political aspirations. I love working in politics because it
Oberlin College Bonner Center for Service & Learning

Cole Scholar Robin Baird

is a way to create change in your community in a constantly shifting environment. Voters and nonvoters alike may decry politics as a dirty business not worth their time, but when it comes down to it politicians work tirelessly to better their communities in a multitude of ways. Although we may not recognize how much elected officials do, their hard work does in fact pay off. The emergence of a wind energy industry in Northern Ohio and more funding for community colleges across the country are just a couple of examples of this work. This election was disappointing, but it was also highly motivating. In 2012 my political friends and I will be out of college and looking for full-time jobs. We will be the ones running the campaigns and after having our hearts broken this year, we are ready for revenge. I have learned and experienced so much thanks to the Cole program and the Initiative in Electoral Politics which sponsors it. Listening to what other politically active students had to say and also being forced to define my own opinions has shaped me into a better activist. I often feel that the American public is separated into two groups: those that take action and those that discuss action. The Cole program combines these two groups into thoughtful action, in which one is fully aware of their motivations and the impact of their actions. I am much better at making conscious choices about my future and what kind of impact I want to have on the world around me. Interacting with other students also interested in serving their community has provided me with a better understanding of how to handle and adjust to differences in viewpoint, background, and politics. Although my candidate didn’t win, I worked my butt off as promised and don’t regret a minute of my summer on the campaign trail. bcsl@oberlin.edu

page 5

Seeds of Service Newsletter

Fall 2010

www.oberlin.edu/bcsl

Ten Reasons to Stay in Oberlin for Winter Term by Walta Yoseph
1. Oberlin is quiet and peaceful. You can take long calming walks and enjoy the festive lights displayed downtown. 2. There is a smaller community on campus and you can make new friends, or get to know people better. 3. Have you ever wanted to explore, but never had the time? Well, here is your chance! The campus will be practically deserted, which gives you the perfect opportunity to explore exciting places. 4. Have you ever wanted to serve in the community, but never had the time during the school year? Here is your chance. You can spend a month in Oberlin getting to know community partners and residents, all while serving in your community. The Bonner Center for Service and Learning offers great service oriented Winter Term internships every year! Stop by the BCSL and we will set you up! 5. If you are here for Winter Term, and your roommate isn’t...you have a super single! For a month! Rearrange furniture, set up a tent, blow up a mini bouncy castle...have fun. 6. If you have seven people, you can start your own Winter Term coop!

A winter afternoon on Oberlin’s campus. 7. The Winter Term Opera:"The Turn of the Screw" is an opera by Benjamin Britten based on a short story by Henry James, itself the foundation behind the cult psychological thriller 'The Innocents' (1961). Perhaps the spookiest of all stories in the repertory, this Gothic two-act opera will be performed fully-staged at the end of the WT session. 8. This is the perfect time to relax and unwind from all the built up stress from finals. 9. You can take classes that are not usually offered during the school year. A wide variety of classes are offered during Winter Term. You can also take an intensive language course. 10. You should spend at least one Winter Term in Oberlin.

New Staff Member Profile: Ondrea Keith
Ondrea Keith (Oberlin College, '10) is the OASHF Americorps* VISTA at the Bonner Center for Service and Learning.  She also with The Benefit Bank, Second Harvest Foodbank, and Oberlin College to combat poverty and engage her fellows in community service.  She also collects data for the BCSL on student involvement in the community.   She maintains a BCSL blog at http://seedsofservice.blogspot.com. Ondrea hails from the South, but is thrilled she got to remain in Oberlin after graduation.  While at Oberlin she studied biology, religion, and studio art. She served as a Bonner Scholar for all four years at both the Oberlin Heritage Center and FAVA.  She also studied as an Oberlin College Research Fellow for two summers when she studied medical illustration and comics. A fan of the liberal arts education and life-long learning, her current hobbies include knitting, graphic design, hoarding library books and comics, creating and consuming tasty things, traveling to new places, sitting in the sun, and accumulating a hoard of pets (currently: reptiles and betta fish).
Oberlin College Bonner Center for Service & Learning

page 6

bcsl@oberlin.edu

Seeds of Service Newsletter

Fall 2010

www.oberlin.edu/bcsl

Oberlin College Bonner Center for Service & Learning

page 7

bcsl@oberlin.edu

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful