May 30, 2009 - 3:00 PM
I have stated in previous posts that I have found my true love - the library. Yes, it sounds nerdy, but it is kind of a special place with amazing resources. This past week, I have spent an extraordinary amount of time in the Knight Library. It should be less enjoyable than it has been. However, although the stress is real, the excitement of the process mostly outweighs it.
I have two large research papers due this term - both on the same day. My first one is in my nonprofit class. I am writing that one on how public schools can benefit from cooperation with local nonprofit organizations. My second paper is for my Honors College literature class. For that one, I am writing about how settings in the novel Maud Martha by Gwendolyn Brooks help the reader better understand Chicago city living during the 1930's and 1940's.
My nonprofit paper is primarily interview-based. However, I need several types of resources for my Honors College paper. I was initially frustrated when I started my research process for this one because every book I wanted from the library was checked out already. Our library happens to have an amazing service for if this should happen though. It is called Summit and it saved me this week!
Summit is a service offered on the UO library website. It searches for the book you want in several different universities throughout the northwest. Then, if it is available in one of those libraries, you can request to have it sent to you. It arrives in about two to three days and you get to keep it for about a month. I requested about eight books from Summit last week and they have all arrived!
Besides offering the amazing service of Summit, the UO library also understands a student's need for late night inspiration. The Knight Library is open 24 hours. This past week, I spent many days in the library until somewhere between the hours of 1:00am and 3:00am. Some of my best work came from those wee hours of the morning.
Research can be quite tedious and is definitely time consuming. However, it kind of pays off when you realize that you're sitting there in the library reading the actual manuscript of a housing conference held in Chicago in 1939. So cool! The library houses amazing things.
I have most of the research done, so now comes the writing of the two papers, both due the Monday of finals week. Week 10 is going to be exhausting...
May 24, 2009 - 4:24 PM
Last Monday, I met with my introduction to nonprofit management class in Willamette 110 instead of in Gerlinger like we normally would. In this class, we have a different speaker once each week who comes in and talks about his or her involvement in the nonprofit sector. We have had speakers come in from Committed Partners for Youth, Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts, Peace Corps, and many others. On Monday, we had Mark Holloway, Executive Director of Social Venture Partners Portland (SVPP), speak to us about social venture philanthropy. The way he came to speak to us, however, was not the normal way a speaker might stop by. It was a day that gave a glimpse into the future of education.
The reason we met for class in Willamette 110 was so that we could use the technology located in that room to have a videoconference with Mr. Holloway. Mark Holloway works in the University of Oregon White Stag Building in Portland and spoke to us from a room there. All of us sat in the classroom as Mr. Holloway popped up on a large screen in front of us. His PowerPoint presentation appeared on another screen in front of us and he was in control of its every move, despite being all the way up in Portland! He could also see us and we were able to ask questions to him. The camera in the room would automatically focus in on the student speaking. It was crazy! It was basically like a normal presentation by a speaker only this speaker happened to be a digital image on a large television screen.
It was a little awkward at first and I think that a lot of the students struggled more with coming up with questions and such because it was such a new way of going about learning for us. However, it was pretty amazing too and I could see how students could get used to the medium more and more as an excellent compliment to classroom learning. This tool allows students access to a wide variety of speakers from all over the world. It helps to expand the realm of learning and gives students better access to cutting edge information and research.
I never knew that the University of Oregon had this kind of technology until just Monday. The UO continues to amaze me with its many resources. I watched the future of education happen right before my eyes on Monday. Technology just continues to advance and there is so much you can do with it. I'm glad that the UO keeps up with these new tools and provides students with the opportunity to broaden their horizons more and more. It's going to be very interesting some day when I have children of my own go to college. I wonder exactly how much learning will just become digitized. It will be fun saying, "When I was your age, you know, we had real people come teach us about these things, not just these screen people!"
May 21, 2009 - 4:00 PM
So, I have this bike. I bought it when I went to college because I assumed I would just bike everywhere all the time because that's what all of the cool kids do. However, like a lot of things, I haven't actually used my bike quite as much as I would like to. This could be partially due to the fact that there is this huge chunk of the year that is absolutely freezing and filled with fierce winter rains. I love Eugene! Anyway, the point is that whenever I do actually use my bike, take it out for a spin, it's amazing and Eugene is such a great place to do it.
Eugene is very bike friendly. I am amazed at all of the wonderful bike and pedestrian trails it has. Last Sunday, I rode my bike along the Fern Ridge Path. This bike path is about seven miles long, paved, and runs east to west. The path starts in downtown Eugene and stretches all the way out to some wetlands located in the outskirts of Eugene. It is a relaxing ride on a beautiful sunny day.
Sunday was just that. In just a t-shirt and some shorts I was still feeling the heat as I ventured out to the path. I was soon cruising along though. It was great seeing so many other people out walking and biking the path as well. Eugene really comes alive once the freezing rains finally decide to leave us alone for a while! I biked past people gardening and some just enjoying a moment on a park bench. Everything was beautiful. The path goes right alongside the Amazon Creek for a lot of it, so I kept looking over and seeing ducks splashing about in the water. I even saw a blue heron!
Eventually, I decided I needed a break, so I biked over to Monroe Park and laid down in the grass. I love people watching and it was a good day for people watching. Many people were playing Frisbee while others were tanning. A couple of music groups started up on different ends of the park, so I got to listen to drumming, banjo playing, and even a little trumpet. I have decided that I'm going to learn how to play a mean harmonica this summer, so who knows? Maybe I'll have to go join these park players some day! I laid there for quite sometime just basking in the day's glory.
Then, it was finally time to bike back home. I took a longer way and went in a few circles because I wasn't quite ready for my peaceful biking to end. I went through Westmoreland Community Park where lots of people were out playing Frisbee golf. It was fun to see. Then, as I came nearer to the street I live on, a raccoon waddled its way out in front of me! It was very random and all I could think way how I really did not want to get rabies today. It was kind of cute though with all of its fluffy fur, although also very hot I would imagine, since I was sweating in just shorts and a tee.
I finally got home and finished with a cold shower. I felt peaceful and relaxed and once again reminded myself (like I do every time I go on a bike ride) that I should do this more often because it just makes me feel so good.
May 17, 2009 - 4:00 PM
Something has finally made its way into to that part of my life that is reserved for the over-consumption of chocolate and the listening of cheesy pop music from Jesse McCartney. It is something relatively new to society and people seem to either love it or despise it. I resisted for quite some time, but it's official now. I have a new guilty pleasure and it goes by the name of Twitter.
Twitter seems pretty ridiculous, right? I mean, who cares what you are doing throughout the day? Well, perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself. I think I need to have a brief description of it for my readers who are not entirely up on their social networking devices. For those unfamiliar with what it means to tweet, Twitter is a social networking tool that allows its users to send short updates on what's going on in their lives to anyone who subscribes to receive them. Therefore, if you decide to follow your friend, Bertha, every time Bertha types a new "tweet" onto her Twitter page, you will be informed of what it is. It could be something philosophical or it could just be something like, "I'm going to the store to buy more yogurt."
So, now that Twitter, or the act of tweeting, has been explained, it sounds a little ridiculous, right? You may ask, do people really need to know or care what I'm doing throughout the day? Can't they just call and ask if they care so much? The answer is, yes, they could, but it's just so fun to tweet it!
My roommate and I decided to sign up for Twitter about a week ago and it led to one of the most fun nights we've had. My roommate decided to sign up for Twitter because she heard she could talk to celebrities on it. I kind of just signed up for a lack of something better to do. Well, my roommate ended up chatting it up with Ashton Kutcher and I ended up having a blast just thinking up random, funny things I could tweet to the rest of the world. I guess you would've had to have been there the night we succumbed to Twitter in order to really understand, but the main point is that we spent the evening cracking up and tweeting to our heart's content. Good times.
I like Twitter because you can sign up to receive updates from places like CNN, the Daily Emerald, the EMU Ticket Office, or even the UO Annual Giving Program. It is a great way to keep up on fun events happening in Eugene soon or just the nation's current events. I also like it because it is so much simpler than something like Facebook. Facebook soon turns into an abyss of information, full of photos, wall posts, and personal biographies. Twitter is just a quick way to stay connected. There are no quizzes to take, no photos to comment on. It's just an update from the lives of those people you choose to care about.
I know there are and probably will be for a while, a lot of Twitter haters out there. It's understandable. I used to question the device myself. However, now I find it fun and informative. Guilty pleasures are great. Maybe one of these nights I'll sit and tweet about how I'm eating chocolate and listening to Jesse McCartney's new song "How Do You Sleep?"
May 17, 2009 - 4:00 PM
This weekend I partook in a prom-inspired event that turned out to have its own very unique moments throughout the night. The event was called SustainaBALL 2009 and was put on by the Planning, Public Policy, and Management Student Advisory Committee. The theme was public transportation, creative reuse, and the procession of all species. The event was held at the BRING Recycling Center and attendees were asked to ride their bikes or take the EMX bus to the event because they were going to purposefully not provide any public parking.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. I have to start at the beginning. The day of the event, I got crafty. I needed to make some awesome accessories out of recycled materials for the event. When my mom was recently in town, we did a little shopping, so I was left with a few shoeboxes and some colorful, plastic shopping bags. I looked at them and became inspired. Scissors and hot glue gun in hand, I began to create. First, I made my date a boutonniere. With some basic cutting of a shoe box, a Gap bag, and a Wet Seal bag, and the perfect placement of the pieces, my first creation was done. I glued it all to a safety pin and sat back to admire it. By this time, I was in full craft mode and so I started on my corsage. Using the same materials, I cut and glued away. I found an old hair tie to glue the recycled flower to so that I could wear it. Next, I found an old broken pair of earrings in my room, so I took off the old parts of them so that only the hooks were left. I then created two mini flowers that looked like the big one I had made for my corsage and glued them onto the earring hooks. I was pretty stoked looking at all of my recycled creations. It made me feel like I should do recycled art more often! Never underestimate what you can do when you have a hot glue gun in hand. The possibilities are truly endless. All dressed up with my recycled accessories, I was ready for SustainaBALL.
My date and I went to dinner first at Kabuki's, a Japanese restaurant in Eugene that does the type of grilling of food that involves all sorts of fancy flips and tricks while the chef cooks. It was a lot of fun and turned out to be rather funny as well because it happened to be Springfield High School's actual prom night on Saturday. So, we were sat at one of the tables with eight high schoolers all dressed up in their formal attire, discussing events of the world in a way that only high schoolers can. One of them also had brought their baby with them on their prom adventure. It was a first for me seeing a high school girl with her baby as her prom date. I thought of the many children I've worked with in my jobs that come from rough backgrounds and contemplated the incredible importance of condoms and good health education classes.
Next, it was off to the ball! The BRING Recycling Center is kind of in the middle of nowhere. BRING is a nonprofit recycling organization that finds creative ways to reuse materials and also teaches local kids on the importance of recycling and reducing waste. All of the proceeds from the SustainaBALL went to help fund BRING's education programs. When we got there, the event was just getting started. First, we got our prom picture taken with their creative background and then headed toward the dance floor. All it took was for Rick Astley's infamous "Never Gonna Give You Up" to get the dancing going. Wow, I always forget how good that song and music video are. I happen to be watching it while I write the blog post. Haha. The DJ spun a lot of fun nineties music throughout the night and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Some people just had little recycled accessories on like me, but others had gone all out with things like newspaper suits or wigs made from plastic bags. It was a very creative, silly event and I definitely think it was probably better than the high school proms going on. The event ended at 10:30pm, so that everyone could catch the EMX back into town before it stopped running for the night. Overall, good times and now I'm left with some pretty awesome earrings that I'm pretty sure I'll wear again sometime soon because they're so cool!