Research Project #2 Carly Kraybill

Since my freshman year I have volunteered at a local church in downtown Fredericksburg. Since I began how I have experienced it has changed. Originally I enjoyed it because I could take a break from being on campus and interacting with peers. As time as gone on, why I enjoy it has grown. The people that organize the soup kitchen are wonderful. I didn’t know very much about them originally, however each year I learn more and more. By now I have learned that not all of the regular volunteers attend the church where it is held. Not all of them are religious, and none of them sign up to come. They each choose to come weekly. At this point the community members who come for the meal are familiar with all of the regular volunteers. They notice if people are missing and ask where “*insert first name*” is. The relationship between the volunteers and those coming for food is amazing. The soup kitchen pulls in volunteers from local high schools, businesses, UMW, and community residents. A volunteer told me that a university in Richmond did a study on how this operation is managed.

When I attend the soup kitchen I don’t simply feel as though I’m “helping others” I feel as though I am being an active participant in the Fredericksburg community. Since people of all ages, classes, and walks of life attend it feels as though relationships are being built through interaction rather than pity. While I have conflicting thoughts on soup kitchens in general, I can absolutely say that this one is making a difference and building community within Fredericksburg. My conflicting feelings stem from my frustration that soup kitchens are a “band-aid” so to speak to help with the present issues. But these issues arise from larger community, state, and national issues. Many of the people attending the soup kitchen are an older generation. They are lazy people who haven’t worked hard in their life. They are past their prime for jobs and haven’t entered into careers that accommodate their aging bodies. While I don’t have answers for how to directly change the situation many of the people are in, I feel as though relationships with others in the community are a wonderful and meaningful place to start. And my hope is that through those relationships people can find a better way of living. Perhaps not through material things, but at least through a meal with a friend.

I had a friend ask me whether there are services available that offer support and resources for those in need of them. Services and resources such as job training, resume or interview assistance, shelters, financial guidance, and health related support. As of now I am not aware of what those resources are and if there are any directly related to the soup kitchen. I was intrigued with the question and will certainly do some digging into it. Those kinds of services and support seem very important in working towards making a significant change in the life of those attending the soup kitchen. My hope is those who may find a way out of their current situation continue to carry on the relationships they built and create more with others coming. I feel as though this kind of program bridges the power relationship between members within the same community. While there are still areas to work on, at least this is a group focusing on interactions rather than simply donating money and not being involved with the cause.


Trend in Avenues of Change At UMW: Carly Kraybill

Reaction Paper #3

Carly Kraybill

These days UMW feels as though it is changing quite rapidly. While change itself isn’t a bad thing, the approach that is taking place to forward the change hasn’t felt positive; at least for the students. In class, we’ve talked a lot about issues and changes occurring here at school and the potential outcomes of those. A common trend I keep finding myself rounding back to is the lack of student involvement or consideration in these changes and issues. I don’t mean that students are choosing to opt out of the discussion or are not considering the different sides, effects, and feelings on given topics. Rather I mean that the school seems to be having a lot of discussions outside the realm of the student discussions and opinions.

As a student myself, it feels so easy to say that they “school” is making all these changes, but really there are people assigned to them. Three different areas stand out as big “change initiators” that fail to pull in student involvement; such areas include the strategic plan, the budget, and the alternate course model. The Budget Development Process and Operating Budget is lead by the University Budget Advisory Committee. The Alternate Course Model is directed by a Task Force consisting of various department professors. Lastly, the Strategic Plan task force is made up of various department professors and a few other roles.

In this paper the three areas will be analyzed based on the committees, their duties, as well as the presence of student involvement. The Strategic Plan appears to be the leader of the three, in other words, other decisions are based off on the Strategic Plan. The goal of the Task Force is to “review the current strengths and weaknesses of the institution and develop goals and objectives that take both in to consideration (provost).” What the Task Force considers ‘strengths and weaknesses’ students may not be in agreement. The plan mentions a lot about lowered enrollment, providing means to increase it as well as be more supportive to the current students, enhancing distinctiveness, and actively working to keep up with ways to evolve with the students. While that all sounds good, the reader can begin to feel as though the strategies are being implemented to pull in numbers rather than satisfy the current student body. The Task Force includes one student amongst the faculty and staff. While the faculty and staff should have a strong voice and concerns and wishes be voiced, the students input should be present. After all, University’s always claim to be acting upon the best interest of the students. Weighing in the opinion or suggestions of students could potentially save the university money as well as build a stronger foundation in the community; one that incorporates more ideas and draws from larger groups to shape the future. If that is the case then why aren’t more students involved in the budget process? Whether positively influential or not, finances play a huge role in shaping universities.

The Budget plan is an excellent example of how finances are heavily tied to the Strategic Plan, which is playing a large role in the shaping of the university. The priority in the Budget Plan is based on building and remodeling space for students to pursue their education. In many aspects, that can be an impactful dynamic however, where students learn isn’t going to make the greatest difference. Rather the depth and engagement of what they are learning and who is teaching them will determine the knowledge and success of the students. Mary Washington has character and part of that comes from the historical feeling the school has. It is possible for UMW to pull in more students and retain current ones all the while doing so in the given space. That doesn’t mean that new buildings and remodeling can’t happen or are discouraged, but rather that the depth of relationships and knowledge sharing can be driven deeper in means other than new buildings.  The Budget Advisory Committee has its duties posted on their webpage and not once does it mention the role or voice of the student. The duties are as follows:


2.6.2 The committee’s duties are to:

.1 Work in an advisory fashion with the Provost and Chief Academic Officer (CAO), the Vice President for Administration and Finance (CFO), the Vice President for Advancement and University Relations, and the Chief Executive Officer and President of the UMW Foundation on short- and long-term University budget priorities, broadly conceived, including planning, the operating budget and capital improvements, fundraising, and development. The recommendations for priorities will be communicated to the President via the CFO or the CAO;

.2 Indicate the committee’s priorities for the present budgeting year through an annual review process and summarize their priorities on future budgets to the CFO, CAO, and the UFC in a report due no later than mid-November;

.3 Communicate the committee’s recommendations to the UFC in a report no later than mid March and the results of the President’s decisions to the UFC in a report as soon as possible;

.4 In times of financial exigency, the Budget Advisory Committee assists the President, Provost, and Vice Presidents in developing principles and setting priorities for budget reductions; and

.5 Perform other duties as assigned by the University Faculty Council.


Lastly, in regards to the Alternate Course Model, the lack of student involvement was so prevalent that most students had never heard word mentioned regarding it. While the budget and new strategic plans for the school often feel out of reach to students, the alternate course model is centered on something students are all too familiar with: credits, registration, and requirements. Even though the change didn’t occur, the fact that students weren’t given the opportunity to listen to the potential change is disheartening. The impacts students would have felt from such a change would have been huge. If nothing else, it could have been beneficial to know the conversation is going on even if it is out of the realm of student sought opinions.

It is easy to argue that students won’t be able to keep up with logistics or are simply not interested in keeping up with the discussion. However, presenting a suggested, rough draft of each of the three areas to the students could allow for a more interpretable assessment of what larger ideas are being discussed. Reading through the three reports, Budget Plan, Alternate Course Model, and Strategic Plan was attainable and possible to understand. What’s unfortunate is that I’m reading them after they are all in action or the discussion has already been tabled. Where were the opportunities to have the changes or suggested changes laid out clearly in front of me and my fellow students and provide a space for suggestions and comments?

The Real Deal With Fall Hill Avenue, Carly Kraybill

After several years of driving on, or at certain points around Fall Hill Avenue, I thought it would be interesting to better understand what was going on with the construction process. Hearing that a low income housing complex was positioned along Fall Hill Avenue and that often people were walking along the avenue without a sidewalk, intrigued me. Through a compilation of various online sources, VDOT plans, social medias, and pictures I work through the process of the Fall Hill plan, at least based on what is available online to the average person. What is interesting, I found, that the opportunity for resident’s responses before and after the project began were difficult to find. While it appears the changes have been helpful and useful to many, the structure of decision making lacked the involvement or opportunity for involvement by those the changes would directly effect. And this wasn’t because they didn’t want to have a voice, those leading the project seemed to give off the impression they wanted feedback throughout the whole process, yet they didn’t go about doing so as well as they could have.

Link to the PDF:

The Real Deal With Fall Hill Avenue (1)


White Crime

Someone recently showed this song to me. I thought of this class. It’s not completely in relation to what we have been talking about, but it made me think of dynamics within large cities. In particular racial dynamics. As well as what kinds of crime are prevalent or acknowledged by officials. I will add a side note that it is a pretty sexually explicit song and arguable inappropriate, so just a heads up! Sex, drugs, and profanity are present. It’s supposed to be a comedic song but I think it points out issues present in society today. I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on it!

Exactly Who Is Carl D. Silver?

We all recognize the name Carl D. Silver; but when we hear it we think of the road: route 3. However, there is quite an interesting history surrounding the fellow, Carl D. Silver. Carl wasn’t born in Fredericksburg, however he did move here at an early age and opened a car sales business downtown. He saw potential with the land surrounding I-95 and transitioned into the real estate game and went on to become a huge developer in the area and one of Virginia’s wealthiest resident’s. Central Park exists because of his successful business. The horrible traffic also exists because of his successful business.

In many newspaper articles, Silver is praised for his humor, kindness, and generosity. Everyone that worked with him felt honored and appreciated Silver’s derive and work ethic. Co-workers didn’t seem to mind Silver’s demanding standards or expectations, even if they had to work an average of 80 hours per week (Freehling). Bill Freehling, a writer for the Free Lance-Star, created a list of memorable elements that Silver incorporated, such as; “your word is your bond”, “outwork your competitors”, “do what you love”, “give back without fanfare”, “treat people well”, “look to the future”, and “be results-driven”. Silver is credited with saving Fredericksburg as it headed towards bankruptcy (Boorstein). Many looked at Silver as a herald bringing in jobs, revitalizing the economy and providing the city with new tax money to put back in the schools and fix the roads (Boorstein). While those principles and community opinions appear to belong to community conscious business-man, not all felt such a loving connection with Silver.

After sliding into such a public spotlight Silver began to feel more opposition. One of the largest complaints residents expressed was over the increased level of traffic that Central Park created. Gone were the days of farm roads rolling through the land. As Silver continued to buy and sell property to large company’s the area continued to grow; attracting more people, more companies and more traffic.

While in many aspects Carl Silver rejuvenated Fredericksburg, it appears as though he was going to quantity over quality. It is true that he brought in lots of businesses and more people and he himself made loads of money off of all his work. On the flip side, he failed to truly ask and incorporate the community in the rejuvenation process. “Although the city wants to be known for its rich Civil War history, today it takes in the second-highest revenue per capita among Virginia jurisdictions for meal and sales taxes — thanks to its malls. The new council members say they are concerned that Fredericksburg is too dependent on retail and dissatisfied with the low-paying jobs provided by stores and restaurants (Boorstein)”. The aftermath of Silver’s ambition is leaving Fredericksburg officials and residents feeling ignored and some what concerned with the direction the Silver has projected Fredericksburg to move towards.

The community felt many positive impacts, however, could there have been even stronger and more sustainable results? This study of Central Park reminds me of the “Brooklyn Matters” film we watched in class. The Central Park situation doesn’t quite fully align with either situation however it entails elements of both. Through analysis it would appear as though the New York case would align closer to the Fredericksburg situation. Ratner, the developer in “Brooklyn Matters”, and Silver do not fall into the same category. Silver had grown up in Fredericksburg, he has started at the bottom and worked his way up. Thus allowing Silver a better insight of the community from the get-go. However, they are similar in the fact that in the end neither fully had the community’s best interest in mind as they planned the new development. In both situations, elected and un-elected officials were kept out of the loop, side stepped, or encouraged to support the new development. While both projects had positive impacts on the respective community neither took the time or initiative to draw in the community’s opinions and really work with them to move in a more sustainable direction. Both were focused on the business/money-making side of it. And in the cases seen in New York and Fredericksburg the impacts were not purely on the immediate community, but rather had a much larger scope. Both could have had much more influential and positive outcomes in terms of quality rather than quantity.

A few differences between Silver and Ratner are present and should be acknowledged. Silver was a businessman through and through and that was where much of his decision making stemmed from. That being said, Silver was a part of many projects around Fredericksburg and Central Park, unlike Ratner who was brought in from outside of town to development one large project. However, he did believe in contributing to the community and contributed much of his money to non-profits as well as land to local organizations.

If Silver had invested half of his time, energy, resources, and money towards initiatives such as PUSH in Buffalo, then the present day Fredericksburg would function and rely upon very different industries and companies than those in Central Park. PUSH worked within a local community and addressed issues that residents were clearly passionate about. Meanwhile, Silver pushed Fredericksburg and surrounding areas away from community values and towards a much larger and nationally tied area. Huge companies were brought in rather than encouraging local, small businesses.

In the end, I would argue that Silver and his company had machine-like qualities without being a complete and operating machine within Fredericksburg. While they pushed for development, and growth through urbanization, they were really taking advantage of a financially successful opportunity. The outcome created urbanization, however that wasn’t completely the intended goal of the Central Park project. Silver benefited a huge amount through his business savvy intelligent and the city ended up benefitting from the tax dollars. The impacts that Central Park is having on its surrounding areas are huge and arguable not as beneficial as they could have been.


Boorstein, Michelle. “Mending Fences Before Building; Fredericksburg Takes Circumspect Approach To Tourism Project.” The Washington Post. January 12, 2003.

Freehling, Bill. Bill Freehling Column. The Free Lance-Star. November, 20, 2011.

Freehling, Bill. “GETTING TO KNOW: Jud Honaker, who heads a Silver Cos. Division.” The Free Lance-Star. October 26, 2013.

Some other interesting articles in relation to Central Park and Carl D. Silver if interested:

Political Machines in Chicago and Richmond

Carly Kraybill

Reaction Paper #1

Even though political machines are outdated the effects continue to carry on. Within the cities of Richmond and Chicago the form of municipal government played a role into the presence of political machines, however it isn’t quite as simple as that. The corruption that accompanies political machines sets up cities to integrate dishonesty and criminal activity in the organization of the community. This leads to a few actually feeling represented and many without a voice. The importance of voting decreases significantly and the changes present are only those that the political machine leaders approve of. Today we are still seeing the impacts of the machines, whether we choose to acknowledge them or not.

Reaction Paper #1