WU 175 Day of Service

IMG_0027Students, alumni, and staff of Willamette were out in full force last Saturday, March 11th, for the WU 175 Day of Service and Social Pow wow. With 11 different service trips available, many of which filled up, those who volunteered were able to impact the community in a variety of ways, from cleaning up the youth homeless shelter to working with horses.

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Volunteers from the Horses for Hope WU 175 Service Trip

An impressive 228 volunteers from the university dedicated 4 hours of a rainy Saturday to improving several aspects of the Salem community by doing hands-on work in support of local causes.

At the Audubon Nature Reserve, students carried out several projects including laying gravel  in order to maintain a trail on the reserve.

I was fortunate enough to interview freshman Lydia Savelli (pictured below), an avid volunteer and intern for the office of CSL. We discussed the nature of the service performed and Lydia informed me that the trail had been flooded and as a result was rendered useless of runners park-goers.

“There aren’t a lot of resources to upkeep Bush Park, so having volunteers come do the work of maintaining the park and making it a place people can be and enjoy is very important. Now people can run on the trail and it just looks much nicer than it did.”

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Photograph from Audubon Nature Reserve trip

Meanwhile, other volunteers aided Catholic Commmunity Services in painting the interior of homes for intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals. There are 15 homes around the Salem area, all of which provide 24/7 support to their residents. Thanks to our diligent volunteers, residents and workers in theses homes can now enjoy a new, colorful interior.

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Photograph from the Catholic Community Services volunteer trip

Other volunteers packaged bulk food supplies for the Marion Polk Food Share’s warehouse. For volunteers at the Food Share, which has firmly established roots as a member of the Salem community since 1968, with over 100 partner agencies, there was much work to be done in packaging food for distribution, but those on the service trip approached the challenge with smiling faces nonetheless and enjoyed a successful trip.

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Photoraph from the Marion Polk Food Share trip

Additionally several alumni chapters from Seattle to Los Angeles organized for days of service to show their support for WU. However, the event did not just occur nationally, as several students studying abroad in Ireland participated in a WU 175 beach clean up, making this an international service event.

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WU 175 Irish beach cleanup

Other trips included: Willamette Humane Society, Shangri-La, Salem Keizer Education Foundation, Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network, HOME Youth Homeless Shelter, City of Salem Parks, and Community Garden.

Service Saturday 2/11 Recap: Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary

This past Saturday, a group of Willamette students volunteered at Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary, an organization that is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating farm animals that have experienced abuse. They have a variety of animals that they are currently taking care of, from a group of pigs to a flock of geese to Helen the bison. Through having volunteers, Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary hopes that people will begin to view nonhuman animals in a more personable light.

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During their trip, the Willamette volunteers cleaned out the main barn and filled it with new hay, unloaded a delivery of hay in record time, and cleaned out the chicken coops. They also were able to spend time socializing with the animals, making friends with ones such as Crackerjack the sheep and Willis the goat.

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After the service portion was over, some of the volunteers discussed how visiting the farm had encouraged them to start looking at where their food was coming from; they didn’t want to unintentionally continue to support those who unfairly treated animals now that they were more aware of the issue. All of the volunteers agreed that the visit, despite involving manual labor, had been therapeutic because of the way the different farm animals had approached them and enjoyed being petted.

If you would like to volunteer with Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary, they invite people to stop by on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10AM to 1 PM.

January 20th Service Recap: MLK Into The Streets

This past Friday, 165 Willamette students chose to spend their afternoons participating in service events across the Salem community, as a means of showing resistance to structural oppression. Groups of students volunteered at 13 organizations for 3 hours, which means that, all together, they contributed a total of 495 hours of service. Two organizations that were volunteered at were the Marion-Polk Food Share and the Willamette Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society.

Students at the Marion-Polk Food Share filled bags with frozen potatoes for emergency food packages, which will be distributed to low income families in the near future. For every student volunteer that worked at Marion-Polk for MLK Into The Streets, 254 families will be receiving a bag of potatoes in their food packages.

At the Bush’s Pasture Park, student volunteers helped the American Rhododendron Society by moving downed wood, renovating gravel trails, and participating in other activities that helped to upkeep the park. The students’ focus was maintaining the beauty of Rhododendron Hillside.

Thank you to all those who chose to volunteer their time for MLK Into The Streets this past Friday, and thank you to the 13 organizations that provided places for the Willamette community to volunteer for this annual event.

Taku, Daisho, and Chihana: A Recap Of Their Time With The CSL Office

We work in Community Service Learning especially for two working: first we made some plan as a Community Service Learning coordinator and second we are trying to be bridge between Community Service Learning  and American Studies Program because we know about CSL’s activity and great point, also we want to give opportunity that they can learn about American culture, Salem Community and Community Service. If you want to know about American Study Program more, you can ask to CSL coordinator who join american study program. When we are working on those jobs, we could learn a lot and it’s very great experience for our future! We really appreciate that we are here and feel [great working] together.

We have three favorite events that we planned in CSL. One of them is picking up garbage. We did it in july. What we did is we organized picking up garbage in a park with CA living in Kaneko for ASP students because in summer, most of all Willamette students are not here. As a result, we could pick up lots of garbage. Next one is beach clean-up project. We did it at the beginning of fall semester. What we did is we organized cleaning up Oregon beach working with other CSL coordinators. We mainly organized it for ASP students. So, many ASP students participated in this event, some other Willamette students participated as well, and we went there by bus and we cleaned up an Oregon beach.

Last one is Onigiri action. We did it at the end of fall semester. There is an organization which is organizing this event which for every Onigiri photos, 5 school meals will be delivered. We prepared lots of rice and some stuffs to make Onigiri, and advertised it to Willamette students and ASP students using poster, announcement, etc. As a result, we collected 75 pictures and we could [help] deliver 375 school meals for children living in poverty.

We learned a lot from CSL about the Salem community. Salem has many types of organizations to help people who are minority or vulnerable people and to support Salem city. I am proud of the Salem community because I think this city is supported by each person. While we are organizing those events, we learned about how to proceed event. It would be helpful for us to work in our future. We felt again how people [here are] warm.

Thank you Community Service Learning!

Taku Sato, Daisho Kato, and Chihana Imai served as CSL Coordinators for Community Service Learning from March-December, 2016. All three were recognized by the American Studies Program for each contributing over 100 hours of community service during their time here. In addition to their CSL Coordinator roles, Sato participated in the Take a Break program and Kato participated in the Service, Leadership, & Sustainability Jump Start program and Take a Break.

The English Language/American Studies Program offers a custom-designed academic program for sophomores and juniors from Tokyo International University (Kawagoe, Japan). Students participate for either one year (February-December) or for one semester (August-December). Willamette University and Tokyo International University have been sister universities since 1965 and this program, begun in 1989, was created by Willamette and TIU in order to broaden and deepen their educational exchange. Students enroll in both language and liberal arts courses, with all credit transferable to their degree programs at TIU. (http://willamette.edu/cla/catalog/disciplines/e_h/elas/)

Oct. 29th Service Saturday Recap: Salem City Parks

Student volunteers started their day with a trip to Salem’s Royal Oaks park. We teamed up with Salem City Parks Department to help maintain the park, work that ensures a safe and enjoyable place for local kids to spend time outdoors. We met up with a Salem city parks employee and he directed us to a number of tasks we could do to improve the park. My favorite part about the trip was hearing the way he talked about the tasks in relation to the kids who play there and explained each maintenance task through how the kids play.  First, we shoveled pebbles around the playground back into a play pit. While doing this, I wondered how these rocks got all the way across to the other side of the playground. Honestly, it was an impressive distance for so many immobile objects to have travelled. So while shoveling I couldn’t help but imagine the innumerable pairs of tiny feet that must be running through them every day. So many tiny feet, running and yelling and laughing and exploring.  There weren’t kids at the park this morning but you could still see where they dragged their feet under the swings and the spot they all fall out of the slide onto.

After we filled in some of those holes and reshaped some horseshoe pits we took some time to reflect as a group. In our reflection we talked a little bit about why parks matter to communities and some of the tangible benefits living next to a park has for people. It was nice to connect the simple tasks we did to the more complex benefits that they can have. These connections are often unrecognized but this trip allowed us to take some time to consider them a little more. It got me thinking about how experiential learning is often put in the background of modern pedagogy, behind academics. This is the learning that happens outside of the classroom when kids practice the independent mobility and environmental learning that can help them develop skills and resilience they will need later in life. More and more research is providing evidence of the critical role experiential learning plays in child development. Children who engage in this kind of learning have “higher grades, greater levels of fitness, motor skill development, increased confidence and Self esteem, show leadership qualities are socially competent and more environmentally responsible”(Malone, 2008). In her report, Every Experience Matters, Dr Karen Malone confirms that if “children experience the world through explorative play and environmental learning more, they are more likely to develop sound foundations for growing knowledge, confidence and identity” (Malone 2008). Development that has long term implications for their future and wellbeing.  While we know this, I think people often forget about the logistics and work that goes into creating time and spaces for kids to have these experiences. There is so much work put in by local parks departments that goes unrecognized and underfunded. It was great to take some time last Saturday to help out and appreciate the impact these people, and parks departments all around, have on communities. Some of the most important ways we help others can feel indirect like this but it’s these interactions and the people that dedicate their lives to them that make a true difference.

Olivia Orosco, Class of 2019: Student on Campus Job Spotlight

I work in the Office of Community Service Learning in two capacities; first as a general coordinator and second as the head of Language in Motion (LiM is a program that allows students with international experience to share their culture and language knowledge with students in the Salem-Keizer School District.) My duties as CSL coordinator include planning and facilitating Service Saturday trips for Willamette throughout the year as well as larger events such as the upcoming Community Thanksgiving Feast that Willamette puts on with FUMC. You can sign-up to volunteer here.

For Language in Motion, my job seems ever-evolving, as the program is transitioning into being student-run this year. I, along with three amazing liaisons work to engage everyone from international students to study abroad returnees and coordinate with the community to get students into classrooms and sharing with the community. I often feel that Willamette is this bubble of resources that is insulated from the surrounding community, a community that all students are, in actuality, a part of. The Office of Community Service Learning works to bridge this gap and immerse students in their community, tackling local issues and learning about what being an active citizen in the Salem community entails.

Some of the skills that have been fostered through my jobs within CSL are organization, communication, time management, adaptability and the ability to work as part of team. The positions have developed my sense of self-confidence and belief in myself professionally so that I am capable of successfully seeing ideas and plans through to fruition. To any individual looking to work in a position that allows them the autonomy to create opportunities while maintaining the ability to be part of a larger team and goal, I highly recommend a position within the Office of Community Service Learning. There are all kinds of positions available!

(Originally posted in the Career Services Newsletter)

Marshall Curry ’13 Blog Series, Post 1: GET OUT AND VOTE!

As I watch the 2nd presidential debate, I want to take a moment and suggest something to folks who are busy studying at Willamette.

My experience at WU and after graduating, showed me that choosing to build relationship with people different from myself, was just as important as my choice to improve my own individual well-being through studying.

I graduated with a BA in Sociology in 2013. While in school I succeeded academically. I enjoyed classes in my major but also minored in Chemistry and Spanish. It was a great experience. Duvall, Stanislov, and Vargas, Blano-Ernejo were favorites. After receiving some amazing mentorship from upperclassmen about inclusion, respect, oppression, and with some help from peers I started a few student organizations (Kaneko Community Partnership Committee, Colleges Against Cancer Willamette Chapter, Leadership Consultants) and helped carry on the traditions of some others (Kaneko Partnership Committee, Interfraternity Council, Farm Club).

At this point you may be like this guy:

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or this guy

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What does my history at Willamette have to do with the elections and political burnout?

Politics are hard to watch. Even school elections are emotionally tough. I would argue they all inspire a reaction. I usually have a reaction of some kind…even if it is an upset stomach. I want you to remember, that even during the national election you are responsible for how you channel that reaction! You could do amazing things to help yourself and others! You could post funny memes in a blog post to Willamette students. You could go volunteer to get more folks registered to vote, or at the local food bank instead.

In my graduate program I am learning more about politics, I am seeing just how hard to make positive change in community can be.

Federal government is so far from removed from our day-to-day. Yes, voting matters (If you are not registered yet, get it done tonight!).

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Here’s the link for Oregon voters. DEADLINE IN OREGON IS OCTOBER 18, AT MIDNIGHT!

Here’s the link for national registration if you don’t know how your state works.

Whatever you choose, just choose something that involves DIFFERENT people around you. I was able to accomplish some great things while at WU, but they poorly compared to some of the work done by my peers. They got out of the Willamette Bubble and made positive impacts on the community members around them affected by policy. Learning about my peers/community members and what they did different with their reaction to politics impacted the way I am acting now.

There is something about government to take pride in, to be observant of…it is that you are directly impacting your local government every single day. Every day, you step out of your door or onto your Facebook page, and you begin to change the environment you live in. You are a vibrant part of the community. By not voting you are impacting your community.

So, now I’ll pose a question to the reader,

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what kind of personal and community impact are you going to have?

Now, if your goal is to dramatically change the well-being of a large population where you live…it  will be slow. It requires patience as Yasmine described in her post. To change local politics there are commissions, there are councils, there are proposals, there are neighbors. Most importantly there are people who you have not met who will be impacted by your changes. So, how do you begin to learn about these systems and meet those who might not agree with the impact you want to have on your community?

I suggest we have the goal of positively impacting those around us who are different than ourselves, as well as our own selves.

SO! Get out and vote!!! AND become friends with someone really different from you.