February 10, 2011 - 2:30 PM
Between launching buildOn, planning a service project for National Volunteer Week, and working on my study abroad application for the Buenos Aires program, my life is just full of projects, deadlines, and many sheets with meticulously drawn out timelines. It's a lot to manage, and I feel like I've had way too many 3 AM bedtimes this week. Luckily, my application to be a FIG Assistant was a success, and I made it to the interview, which I have next week! We'll see how that all turns out.
For my service project during National Volunteer Week, I'm currently in communication with the Volunteer Coordinators at the Relief Nursery and Sheltercare to work on those logistics. With my study abroad application, I've started to work on the essays and track down professors for letters of recommendation. I love being busy, so once I put everything in perspective, my 3AM bedtimes don't bother me that much.
February 5, 2011 - 10:30 PM
Wow, time is flying! Another busy Week Six is upon me. I don't know where the last five weeks went, but I do know that they have been busy. Lucky for me, I only had one actual midterm test in my 400-Level Planning and Public Policy seminar on Urban Revitalization. Boy, was it tough! I used up an entire green book to write my essays if that's any indication. What I've realized in that in the PPPM program, students tend to jump from intro level classes right into upper division concentration focused classes. In this case, Urban Planning is my focus so the seminar on Urban Revitalization has been a great fit. Now I'm onto another week of meetings, shifts at the Annual Giving program, and many a paper writing session. In a blink of an eye, I'll be packing my bags for the Alternative Spring Break trip to Negril, Jamaica. I can't wait!
February 4, 2011 - 12:00 PM
Wow, I think I realized this week just how much work starting a new student organization on campus really takes. buildOn is a national organization that engages students around the country in a dynamic three part program: local community service, education about different global issues, and fundraising to build schools in developing countries.
My efforts to bring buildOn to UO have been on the radar screen for the past year and a half, with the planting of different "seeds" all over campus. I knew I wanted to bring buildOn to campus as soon as I finished the Holden Leadership Center's (HLC) "Leadership for the 21st Century" class as a young, eager freshman.
In the past year and a half, I have had many meetings with different staff on campus to share my vision and build support for it. John Duncan, the Executive Director of the HLC, has been an amazing resource, and a big inspiration in the face of challenging times. He's reminded to keep going when I was too overwhelmed by the prospect of handling all the nitty gritty logistical details, or when I was feeling discouraged by the low turnout at interest meetings.
Now I have big, exciting news: BuildOn just hired Tom Silverman to be their Global Chapters Manager. His sole job is to work with anyone who wants to start a chapter outside of the typical high school program model. This is a huge step in the right direction because it means that the organization now has the resources to support chapters in a more holistic and sustainable way. Me and my fellow Ducks are SO excited for Tom to help us kickstart buildOn when he visits during National Volunteer Week in April!
January 30, 2011 - 9:15 PM
Oh, what a wonderful weekend! Thanks to the super cheap Allegiant Air, I scored a round trip ticket from Eugene to Oakland for $150 and was able to fly home for the Berkeley YMCA's Teen Center grand opening on Friday night. For two years, during my junior and senior years in High School, I was a part of the Teen Task Force, whose job was to partner with a team of industry professionals to oversee the development of the Teen Center.
Our group worked on all aspects of the project, including hiring the architects and sub consultants, doing outreach to city officials and program partners, and engaging with donors. In the two years that I was involved, I really got to see the project develop from the ground up. If it wasn't for my work with the Teen Center, I probably wouldn't have gotten interested in planning and public policy, which probably means I wouldn't be here at Oregon, which means I wouldn't have had access to all the wonderful programs I've been a part of in the last year and a half that are so generously supported by alumni and donors. It's strange to think about how me being at UO is so connected to my involvement in this project.
It was really exciting to come back and literally be standing in the fruits of my labor, well really, the fruits of our labor because without the support of PG&E who donated the building, none of this would've been possible. Walking into the building and seeing the space alive and buzzing with the energy of so many teens, with a full calendar of programming scheduled for February, was a deeply gratifying feeling. Wow, I'm just so incredibly honored to have been a part of this whole project.
Other than the Teen Center opening, my weekend was filled with lots of delicious home cooked meals, long nights of rest in my own bed, sunshine, and many hugs from my very best friends. I'm feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle Week Five. Winter Term is flying by!
January 24, 2011 - 8:24 PM
Today Van Jones, President Obama's former Green Jobs advisor, visited campus to give a lecture on his book the "Green Collar Economy." His visit was a part of the Oregon Humanities Center's Sustenance Lecture series. As part of my Transformative Leadership class, I was also invited to a student coffee hour before his talk, which was an amazing experience.
To actually be sitting around a table with ten other students while listening to one of society's most influential environmental and social activists was really a once in a life opportunity that I feel honored to have been a part of.
He candidly answered our questions without shying away from being brutally honest about the country my generation is inheriting. My favorite quote from his hour and a half long talk with the group was, " Quit waiting for Barack Obama. This is real shit. If you think help is on the way, it's not. You are the help."
Hearing about how he got his start in campus politics and worked his way into the White House was really inspiring even though it's not something I aspire to be a part of. Most of the students in attendance at the coffee hour were members of the Climate Justice League, a popular environmental group on campus.
In his speech later that night in the EMU Ballroom, he spoke extensively on how he thinks creating job training programs to train people to install solar panels and work on wind turbines is one way to pull the country back together in the midst of a severe economic downturn. All in all, I really enjoyed hearing from such an inspiring and visionary world leader.