Many times when we look to do community service, we come in thinking we are doing some great and heroic service to a community in need. But what happens when the community does a service to our learning and our growth in a way that catches us off guard and follows us everywhere we go in each and every interaction we have?

When I was in high school, I received an amazing opportunity to go Nan Colo, Haiti with my church and family to help rebuild a community bathroom – bearing four walls, a roof, and a hole in the ground – that was used by approximately two hundred people. We also collected and donated shoes and clothes for kids, most of whom had worn down their shoes with years of scrapping them and beating them over rough rocks as they traveled back and forth to school and played soccer in the uneven grounds of the mountainsides.  With very little education on the history behind this strong and beautiful country, I knew it was one of the most impoverished places I could go.  I also knew I was committed to being there, feet planted on the soil and anxious to gain a month of experiential knowledge of what it is like to be in a third world country.

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Walking through the streets of Port Au Prince, I was surprised to actually see concrete buildings holding up like worn out sponges with so many porous fifty caliber holes soaked through it. I became more and more proud of the people of Haiti for their continued strength and resistance despite everything they had gone through. AfteH2r making the longest journey through white rock riverbeds, the searing heat of the reflecting sun felt like razors cutting back into my skin (For those of you who know me, understand that this was some serious heat on my back).  In arriving to the village in the mountains, I could already imagine the national geographic or discovery channel episode – sweeping mountains of emerald green overlooking the small capital I had just come from. One of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life and yet this beauty was not separate from the people or the degradation that both, the land and the people, had been through.

What most changed me were my efforts to change the people. To attempt to at least momentarily take away the pain by gifting them with our recycled clothes and valuables. Initially, I patted myself on the back and crudely expected this moment to be a life changing moment for them.  While I do not doubt that they appreciated the so-called “community service” that we offered, their faces did not brighten up the same way as after I had spent weeks with them trying to understand and learn their language, their politics and the shibboleths of their culture.  I sat down with kids that were just around my age. When I listened, I heard them talking about similar struggles – boyfriends and girlfriends, parents in their ear, school.  This is not to say they were all the same as me, but that we could connect with each other by taking out the time to listen and understand each other. We could connect despite living in different countries, with different cultures and even religions. It became such a moving experience because they came out of people’s voices, into the reality of my fingers and more so, my conversations.

The service that the Nan Colo and Haitian community offered me, was to learn to understand people.  Connecting with people on a deeper relational level is important whether we are listening to the people of Nancolo, Haiti or students on campus.  Reflecting on this life changing experience and the conversations I had in Haiti makes me think about how I am on campus now. My perspective in how I show up in various spaces or when I meet new students, start a new class or join a new committee has been changed.  While there are many differences among us I now know I must first take initiative by working to listen to what is going on around me.

What are the conversations that are being had or need to take place?   Hopefully you too will engage in what matters to you and share your experiences.

Anderson DuBoise – SEAC Event Specialist

CHECK OUT BEAVS HELPING KIDS FOR THIS WEEK’S STUDENT ORG SPOTLIGHT!!! Congrats on their accomplishments within the community!

  1. Name: Beavs Helping Kids (BHK)
  2. Reason for recognition: BHK is an organization at Oregon State University run by students who donate their time and energy into raising funds and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH). Everything this organization does is to help kids in the NICU and Pediatric ward at their local CMNH. Not many students are as selfless and dedicated as the ones within this organization. There are no words to describe the feeling of what it’s like to contribute in making miracles for children and their families.
  3. Background of the club: Beavs Helping Kids was started about four years ago by former OSU students. This organization was started here at OSU several years ago and it failed, however,  Beavs Helping Kids has brought this cause back. BeaverTHON is also known as Dance Marathon which is a national event at several universities who all raise money for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Some schools raise millions of dollars for their local CMNH. Beavs Helping Kids is looking to get our cause out into the OSU community and make our beaverTHON as successful as it can possibly be.
  4. Purpose of the club: The purpose of this organization is to raise money for the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, Sacred Heart at Riverbend Medical Center.
  5. Involvement and achievement in the community: Their organization plans several fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for CMNH. They’ve put on a 5k for the last two years here on campus; they have done several Krispy Kreme donut fundraisers as well as several community fundraisers at local businesses such as Yogurt Extreme and Panda Express; and their latest fundraiser was a day of Zumba. BHK’s next fundraiser that’s coming up is a Dodgeball tournament. The biggest fundraiser they’ve put on and spend all year planning is the beaverTHON. This is an all-day event that consists of dancing, prizes, games, food, fundraising, and miracle families coming to share their stories. This year’s beaverTHON will be on April 18, 2015 from 3pm to 9pm. All of these fundraisers allow them to reach out to students and the community and relay information about their cause. The more people they can recruit to help them meet their fundraising goal, the more miracles are possible.
  6. Interesting facts: Beavs Helping Kids is filled with a great group of students looking to make a difference. Using the funds they raise, they get the privilege of making miracles for kids and families at the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. They even get to meet and interact with some of the children and families when they get out of the hospital.
  7. Contact: If anyone would like to join their club or find out more information, email them at beavshelpingkids@gmail.com. If anyone would like to register for their upcoming beaverTHON, visit their event page at http://events.dancemarathon.com/event/beaverTHON/

 

Do you know a student org or club on campus who’s deserving to be in the spotlight? We need your help by nominating them!

Click here to nominate: http://sli.oregonstate.edu/webform/student-org-spotlight

 

Audrey A. & Joyce L. 

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We all know how precious the break is in the middle of a long lecture. Whether or not you are having a break during that class can affect your attitude towards the lecture.

We understand that not all lectures are interesting, but it’s important that you make the most of your time here. If you feel sleepy, drinking water is a great way to wake up.  Other drinks and snacks help too, so always keep some handy if you are prone to falling asleep in class.

Spring break is coming soon so hang in there! #beBEAVERBOLD

 

Audrey A. & Joyce L.

Congrats to this week’s Student Org Spotlight: Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, Inc. – Kappa Chapter!!! Watch their video interview or read more below to learn about their cool sorority chapter!

  1. Name: Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, Inc. – Kappa Chapter
  2. Reason for recognition: They are the first Native American Sorority founded in the continental United States. Their organization stands out because of the level of involvement each of the members takes on campus. They have three members who currently work in the Native American Longhouse Ena Haws and are heavily involved in serving the Native communities here at Oregon State University. Some of their sorority members has work on the ASOSU cabinet as well as serve their time in the office of Diversity Development as project or event coordinators. They have of other sisters who participate in the OSU annual Luau, with Athletic Programs, and with several other cultural resource centers on campus. They highly encourage their members to have self and school pride. They try to support the members in their service and involvement in campus activities and academic achievements.
  3. Background of the club: Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, Inc. was founded nationally on September 1, 1994 at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Alpha Pi Omega – Kappa Chapter was then established at Oregon State University on May 25, 2012 and received Chapter status on July 13, 2013. The sorority was founded based on key principles of Native American culture: traditionalism, education, spirituality, and contemporary issues. Although these are Native American core values, they are also shared values amongst many people. They have women who identify as not only Native American but as Jamaican, Tongan, Native Hawaiian, Vietnamese, and LBGTQ as well that share these values.
  4. Purpose of the club: The mission of Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, Inc. is to create a strong sisterhood that will serve as a support for college women in today’s society. The sisterhood shall support its members in their individual journeys towards a balanced life. The Alpha Pi Omega woman will always strive for greater scholarship, honesty, leadership, service, and personal integrity. The Sorority will work to preserve their Native American traditions and they become one with each other through celebration and practice of their cultural and spiritual heritage.
  5. Involvement and achievement in the community: Their Sorority is apart of the Unified Greek Council. This council is comprised mostly of Greek Organizations that identify themselves as multicultural or culturally based organizations. Their Alpha Pi Omega Chapter has done service work on campus as well as off campus. They participated in cultural celebrations such as the OSU Pow Wow, the annual OSU Luau, and the Salmon Bake. Additionally, they volunteered time with organizations such as Jackson Street Youth, CARDV, and the Habitat of Humanity; and each year they raise funds for the National Indian Education Association.
  6. Interesting facts: 
    • Their motto is “My Sister As Myself”
    • Kappa Chapter has more Native Hawaiian initiates than any other chapter.
    • Their sorority has more than 100 tribes represented nationwide.
    • Their national philanthropy is the National Indian Education Association.
    • As of Feb. 1, Kappa Chapter is the sorority’s western-most chapter.
    • They have professional chapters across the country that allow women the opportunity to be active after they complete a bachelor’s degree.
  7. Contact: Visit their National Website at http://alphapiomega.org/Home.html or the Kappa Chapter Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/OregonStateAlphaPiOmega. For any and all other inquiries, feel free to reach them through their Chapter email: kappachapter@gmail.com.

Do you know a student org or club on campus who’s deserving to be in the spotlight? We need your help by nominating them!

Click here to nominate: http://sli.oregonstate.edu/webform/student-org-spotlight

 

Audrey A. & Joyce L. 

Yup! We are no longer in MU 103. SEAC moved to our new home – the Student Experience Center!

It is a sustainable building that also houses many student services like the Barometer, Greek Life, ASOSU, KBVR, ISOSU, MUPC, etc. It is a great place to study and hang out with friends! Come visit us and explore this new, beautiful building! #beBEAVERBOLD

 

Audrey A. & Joyce L.

M.E.Ch.A (Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán) at Oregon State University hosted their Regional Conference Somos la Semilla (We are the Seed) on Jan. 30-31, 2015. 16414657262_8a07c10316_o

MEChA is a student organization dedicated to promoting higher education, culture, and history and this year they welcomed students, ranging from middle school to college students, from all over Oregon to OSU’s campus. They had a variety of events planned for their two days of conference from a night of talent show, workshops and to inviting powerful keynote speakers.

 

 

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Day 1

The night was busy as students from all over Oregon began to file in for the MEChA’s talent show. A show that consisted of music, singing, dancing, spoken words, and jokes. With only a handful of performances planned for the night, the MC’s asked for impromptu performances from the audience, requesting each school to represent their spirit and pride by showcasing their skills. Though, most were unprepared for the sudden spotlight, they took the challenge with good humor and joy.

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Day 2

Th15795544943_940675e17f_oe conference continued on and the second day was dedicated to a whole day of workshops as well as having keynote speakers and after dance party. It was a day full of inspiration and the students had the option to attend two of the many workshops offered.

One of the workshops was led by a teacher from Woodburn. She did a workshop on Food & Justice and taught the students how to choose the right foods to eat and brought the awareness that not everyone have the access to organic foods.

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In addition, there was a workshop on the Chican@ Feminisim 101. The students who attended this workshop said that they wanted to learn more about this topic since it’s one of the heated subjects out there. In general, the students were given a variety of options on the workshops available to them and they left with a better understanding in some of the topics that they wished to learn more about coming into the MEChA conference.

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After the workshops, the students had some break time before the keynote speakers came in to give their talk. The rest of the night was full of inspiration as the keynote speakers gave their motivating speeches that empower the students to be the future leaders in their community and be involved in making positive changes. Afterwards the students had the chance to mingle one-on-one with the keynote speakers and the conference ended with positivity and a sense of community within MEChA.

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Meyee C. & Audrey A.

Rain, rain, rain…

Who’s loving the rainy Oregon weather lately? With this much rain, might as well get a good use out of it and spare the water in your apartment or house! (just kidding! You probably don’t want to do that… but feel free to do so by all means!)

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We still have to go to classes even with the immense amount of rain we’ve been getting this past week. Just because you claim to be an Oregonian, doesn’t mean you don’t need a rain jacket or an umbrella to prove how much you love Oregon.

So we hope you guys are staying dry and prepared to get out in the rain! Watch out for those puddles in the MU quad and all over campus. Nobody likes getting their feet wet or their favorite shoes destroyed.

And keep being awesome, beavs! #beBEAVERBOLD

 

Audrey A. & Joyce L.

Photo credit: Duncan Design