Volume 5, Issue 6 – May 2009
The Periclean Progress is a publication of Project Pericles, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that encourages and facilitates commitments by colleges and universities to include education for social responsibility and participatory citizenship as an essential part of their educational programs, in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community.
Periclean Students in Action
Berea College student Beth Coleman (Left) and Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change in the Obama Administration, met in April to discuss mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia.
In April 2009, Periclean students from Allegheny College (Sam Rigotti and Megan Sullivan) and Berea College (Beth Coleman, Ken Johnson, Triston Jones, Sean Owsley, and Jamoria Reed) spent a week speaking to members of Congress and their staff, White House senior staff, and leaders of environmental advocacy organizations to urge action on legislation to end mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. Beth Coleman, a senior at Berea College and a member of the team that won the 2008 Debating for Democracy (D4D) legislative proposal competition, used a portion of Berea's $4,000 award from Project Pericles to fund the trip. During the week, the students participated in a number of meetings:
Beth Coleman met with Carol Browner, the Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, at the White House. They discussed the devastating health, economic, and environmental effects of mountaintop removal. Beth urged Ms. Browner to ask the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to put a moratorium on new mountaintop removal permits until the EPA can conduct a more intense internal review of their policies and the environmental effects of those operations. At the end of the meeting, Ms. Browner offered to arrange a meeting for Beth with the Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ), the White House office that oversees mountaintop removal. Beth will be meeting with Matt Klasen from the CEQ office on June 1.
The students met with Mary Anne Hitt, the Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign and J.W. Randolph, a lobbyist for Appalachia Voices.
Beth Coleman and Ken Johnson met with former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford, a Project Pericles Board member. Senator Wofford told the students about his involvement in creating the Peace Corps and other stories from his distinguished career. Beth said that "meeting one of the foremost public servants in the United States was a very honorable experience for us."
The students divided into teams and met with 4 Senators or their staff and 4 House of Representatives members or their staff. The students urged support of Senate Bill 696 or House Bill 1310. These bills would restrict mountaintop removal. The students met with Representative Jason Altmire (D-PA), Senator Robert Casey (D-PA), Representative Ben Chandler (D-KY) , Representative Geoff Davis (R-KY), Senator Jim Demint (R-SC), Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA), Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), and Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
To read an article that Beth Coleman wrote about her exciting journey from the Debating for Democracy (D4D) National Event in New York in 2008 to the corridors of power in Washington, DC in 2009, click here.
National Office Announcements
New Program Associate at Project Pericles: Sarah Roberts will be joining Project Pericles as the new Program Associate in mid-June. Sarah recently graduated from Harvard College with an AB in Government. She completed an Honors thesis in 2009: "Depart to Serve Better Thy Country: Preparing Undergraduates for Citizenship at Harvard and in Democratic Theory." Sarah will be replacing Liz Kaziunas who is leaving Project Pericles to attend Syracuse University for a Masters in Information Management, focusing on human-computer interaction. Project Pericles thanks Liz for all of the wonderful work she has done during her two year tenure. We wish her well with her future pursuits.
Swarthmore Will Host Program Directors Meeting: President-Designate Rebecca Chopp, Program Director Joy Charlton and the entire Swarthmore College community will be hosting the 2009 Project Pericles Program Directors meeting at their campus in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. The conference will be held on November 2 and 3. Widener University President Jim Harris and Program Directors Marcine Pickron-Davis and Jim Vike are helping to organize the conference.
This annual meeting is an opportunity for Periclean schools to share information about program development and activities, network with fellow Pericleans, discuss current and future opportunities for collaborations, and inject new insights and ideas for future initiatives.
Widener Celebrates Students' Civic Engagement Achievements: Widener University Student Project Day on April 17 featured student presentations on community-based research and course-related service projects in a range of disciplines. Science students presented on their use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to aid wildlife support and water quality efforts on a local subsistence farm, and also to generate GIS-supported recommendations to guide the Chester Shade Tree Commission. Communication Studies students delivered customized marketing and promotional campaign materials to three different area non-profit organizations. Business students in the senior management seminar presented their market research and business plans for two local start-up ventures and four existing small businesses. The interdependent relationships with local businesses were coordinated through the Widener Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
Social Action Projects Completed at Swarthmore: The Eugene M. Lang Opportunity Scholarship Program at Swarthmore College supports six students from each class year over a three-year period. Lang Scholars receive advising and peer support as well as funding for a summer internship and the implementation of a major social action project. Projects completed by Lang Scholars graduating this June include:
Chinatown Youth Radio Philadelphia (ChYRP)
Hansi Lo Wang, a senior producer at Swarthmore War News Radio, engaged young people from Philadelphia's Chinatown community in radio production, journalism, and leadership development. Hansi forged successful partnerships with the Asian Arts Initiative, the Learning Lab at radio station WHYY, and the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation.
Saludable Project, San Francisco de Yarinacocha, Peru
Diego Garcia-Montufar worked to establish a sustainable waste management program in the Peruvian Amazon by introducing techniques of composting, waste separation, recycling, micro sanitary landfills, and community clean-ups. He also developed an environmental education component in local schools.
Young Women's Resource Center, Chester PA
Operating out of the YWCA in local Chester, PA, Kylah Field created a space committed to the wellbeing of young women that offers daily programs including computer and financial literary, confidence building, health, nutrition, and exercise.
Trepte Spre Noi Insince (Steps to Ourselves), Romania
Liz Crow founded a cultural revitalization arts project in Romania that focuses on youth, historic monuments, and a mural of personally reflective artworks. Liz has also been involved in the establishment of the Ethnographic House Museum of Arbore.
Wagner Announces Civic Engagement Awards: The Wagner College 2009 Civic Engagement Awards were announced at a ceremony on April 23. The awards recognize and honor exceptional individuals and community partners who exemplify a sense of caring and responsibility for others and work to address community problems. The awards are given in five categories: Wagner faculty, Wagner staff, Wagner community partner, Wagner student, and Wagner department. Professor Patricia Moynagh, the Project Pericles Program Director at Wagner College, received the faculty award. In addition to the Civic Engagement Awards, Project Pericles gave its Senior Awards for "socially responsible and participatory citizenship" to David Hammill '09. During his tenure at Wagner, David was very involved in a number of Periclean activities including Debating for Democracy (D4D).
Busy Spring Semester at Eugene Lang College: Eugene Lang College at The New School kicked the semester off by hosting a Debating for Democracy (D4D) on the Road workshop in February. In March, 14 students went to New Orleans to work with a local community partner, The Urban Conservancy. Students worked on projects around urban issues and interviewed community members and worked with grassroots organizations. In April, a student debate team from Eugene Lang College had their first match with the Arthur Kill debate team, a group of incarcerated men at a prison in Staten Island. In May, students unveiled a mural they worked on with residents of the Chelsea Elliott Housing Project. Students have also been working with the same community to develop a sustainable community garden. Finally, Eugene Lang College will be sending a delegation of 17 students to South Dakota to build houses and learn about communities in the Cheyenne River Reservation through Habitat for Humanity.
Alternative Spring Break at Macalester: Macalester College has sponsored four consecutive hurricane relief alternative break trips. In addition to a service component, the alternative breaks sponsored by Macalester have included opportunities to connect with Macalester alumni in both Gulfport and New Orleans, a Geology of Katrina Tour with the Chair of the Earth & Environmental Science Department at Tulane, and significant pre & post-trip preparation. Each group has shared their experiences and insights with the Macalester community after their return to campus.
Exciting Year for Civic Engagement at New England College: This year, students at New England College have taken the lead on a number of important issues and now better understand the importance of civic engagement. The Environmental Action Committee (EAC) successfully reinvigorated the school's recycling program by monitoring the recycling in 20 buildings across campus. They have started to take this recycling program outside of NEC to the community and plan to work with the town of Henniker to get a community wide recycling program in place. They also worked with Chartwells, the campus food provider, to reduce waste in the dining hall.
The Center of Civic Engagement at New England College created a student group called CiviCorps that organized two Congressional debates between US Senate and House candidates and organized a voter registration drive. In addition, they have been active with the refugee community in Concord, New Hampshire.
Elon Students Increase Solar Cooking Throughout Ghana: Solar cooking has been dubbed, "The Simple Tool That Saves Women's Lives" and was recently featured in PARADE magazine, prompting a surge of interest in the topic. But for 2010 Periclean Scholars Kristin Shulz and Allison Brooks, solar cooking has been the topic of conversation for quite a while. The two students have teamed up to form a partnership with Ho Polytechnic to promote the use of solar cookers throughout the surrounding communities in and around Ho, Ghana. For Schulz, the prospect of learning about a different culture while devoting her time to service was a perfect fit. "In the past, I've been all over the place," says Schulz. "I always thought it would be neat to see how much I could accomplish if I focused all my energy on one project while working with a group of people." The idea of solar cooking was originally proposed to her by Dr. Brian Digre, director of the International Studies Program at Elon University and recipient of the Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility in 2008.
Chatham University Welcomes State Representative to Discuss Anti-Discrimination Legislation: Chatham's Project Pericles program recently teamed up with the Social Work Department to present "A Conversation with Representative Dan Frankel". About 50 members of the Chatham community attended and many were able to talk one-on-one with Representative Frankel. Representative Frankel visited campus to discuss HB300, anti-discrimination legislation currently in the appropriations committee of the PA State House. This bill amends the 1955 PA Human Relations Act, to include "freedom from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression." Students were given an insiders view into the workings of legislation. Representative Frankel discussed the legislative process and the politics involved with negotiating the passage of a bill. His staff also provided tips on advocating to government officials. Social work students and others interested in the legislation attended and were able to ask the Representative questions about the bill as well as other current pieces of legislation.
Bates Convenes "PWIPs": One of the core goals at the Harward Center at Bates College is to convene discussions that share the work of campus-community partnerships. The Public Works In Progress series (PWIPs) has been a key venue for such sharing and reflection. Now in its third year, PWIPs are lunch-hour talks by Bates faculty and staff about community-based research, project partnerships, or service-learning courses in which they are involved. The Center hosted 14 PWIPs in 2008-2009. The talks continue to draw about 25 participants a week, including a great mix of Bates faculty, staff, students, and community partners.
The year in PWIPs included a diversity of disciplines, projects, and topics, from educational policy analysis to climate change research on the Maine coast to a video of a community meal created in an Anthropology class. The Harward Center was especially pleased to include presentations not only by Bates faculty and staff, but also by colleagues from Bowdoin College, Colby College, and the University of Southern Maine.
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Periclean Colleges & Universities
Allegheny College • Bates College • Berea College • Bethune-Cookman University
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