Community Power Sec. 1
Research Paper #2
4 December 2015
Community Engagement – Girl Scout Volunteer Work
For my community engagement I am going to discuss my current involvement with a Girl Scout Troop in my hometown, Falls Church, VA. I have been volunteering with this troop since my senior year of high school, and continue to help out occasionally on weekends and holidays. Over Thanksgiving Break on Tuesday night when I got home, I attended a troop meeting, the girls were making gingerbread houses for an elderly community, Winter Hill. This was just one meeting to make gingerbread houses they usually make houses a multiple meetings close to the holidays. Closer to the holidays in mid December we will take the houses to the elderly and host a holiday party. For now they are just making the house that will be decorated in the closer to the party date. My involvement this year was helping make the houses and then once I get home after exams I plan to help decorate the houses and help them in hosting the holiday party.
I became involved with this form of community engagement through my own Girl Scout troop, this was an activity we use to partake in, and before graduating we helped a younger troop get involved in making houses and hosting a holiday party, passing the baton essentially. I felt it was important to continue my involvement with the troop and have been able to help out on some weekends and holidays since coming to college. I loved my time as a Girl Scout and I am still good friends with most of the members of my old troop. I feel that the Scouts promote good values and provide great opportunities to young girls.
This involvement and community outreach allowed the girls and I to impact the elderly in our community. Providing them with a little holiday cheer is wonderful especially at a time of year that can often be harder for older individuals as they may not have family or friends in the area to celebrate this joyous time of year. It also allowed me to show the girls just how important giving back to the community can be! I hope my involvement not only brought joy to the elderly but also to the young girls in the troop.
This experience showed they different power structures involved: the Girl Scouts organization has the most power is this case, that organization is the governing body for troops, then there is the actual troop (leaders, girls scouts, and other volunteers like myself) I worked with has power to make decisions in how they involve themselves with the local community, they had the power to decide to work with the elderly. Beneath the troop is the elderly population at Winter Hill, they are receiving the outreach from the troop and have the decision as to whether or not they partake in the holiday party. This is the power structure I have seen from my experience in volunteering with the local Girl Scout troop.
As a junior on the Mary Washington campus I have made connections with several students and faculty through my role as an Orientation Leader/Peer Mentor. This campus has become a central location in my community. A community to me is a place that carries a sense of identity. When a person steps onto UMW they are automatically given a role, either as student, professor, resident, commuter, guest, etc. My role in making this community better is to blur the lines of this divide. To create connections between commuter students and resident students, between transfer students and their faculty.
I was able to make this possible through my role as Peer Mentor this fall semester. I have been working with two freshman seminar classes and helping them navigate the waters of UMW. One of my freshman classes is comprised of a 50/50 split between commuter and resident students. The other was 99% resident 1% commuter. Throughout the semester I made myself available to my students via email, text, calling, and events. I hosted game nights, study parties, and passed out snacks on holidays.
This was made possible through the office of Students Activities and Engagement. An organization on campus that heads the Orientation crew. The power that was been given to me is from the title they created. Without it I simply become an upperclassmen with a lot of freshmen friends. The power dynamic enabled by SAE creates the appearance that I help my community because it is my job and not because I want to. The fact that I get paid to help others gives me not only power but position.
The impact of my role on campus and that of my employer is mixed. For some of my students (transfers) my role was unnecessary and a nuisance while for others I was a crutch to rely on (first years). However, just the presence of Orientation Leaders/Peer Mentors on this campus gives incoming students a sense of security in their community that other college campuses fail to create.
With the community engagement project in mind, I set out to the Moss Free Clinic in Fredericksburg to find out how this non-profit benefits the Fredericksburg community. What I found was a series of power distributions that has left a community, specifically the uninsured, disempowered. This community within Fredericksburg has exclusive disadvantages in terms of access to health care for the greater Fredericksburg community. Dissimilarly to my first research project, which examined broad gentrification for the city of Cork, Ireland, I intend with this project to examine a clinic program that targets a direct community, and how it works to empower them.
research project 2
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a new series on Netflix, and is critically acclaimed. It has an all-star cast, with characters from both The Office and 30 Rock. The show even has Tina Fey as one of its main writers. But even with all of those accolades, it has a serious problem: a race issue. The show is a comedy with an interestingly weird plot, amazing and relatable characters, and a lot of freedom to do whatever with, but still finds an excuse to use lazy, poorly executed racism as humor. I decided to write about this to analyze the use of blatant racism, the acknowledgement of white privilege, and racist stereotypes and why there is absolutely a race problem deeply rooted in the new series.
Reaction Project 2
Through engaging at the Goodwill I was able to interact with members of the community that lack resources and possess many barriers that prevent them from receiving opportunities that people more well of have access to. Engaging with disadvantage members of my community has made my interest in addressing the disproportionate distribution of resources that is prevalent in marginalized communities.
December 2, 2015
Volunteering At The SPCA
For my final research project, Julia and I decided to team up together and get involved in some community engagement! We chose to do our volunteering at the SPCA, which is a non-profit, no-kill humane organization dedicated to the principle that every life is unique and worthy of protection. Julia and I decided on working with the SPCA because of our shared love of animals. While we were there we learned a lot about the SPCA and what goes on around the organization. We also got first hand experience at what the volunteers do everyday.
Being that the SPCA is a non- profit, self-regulatory organization, the government has no say in the decisions they make because there is no government funding. The SPCA is completely independent from the government. With that being said the SPCA has their own say and power. Some things that they have the power to decide are who to hire, whether or not they are a kill shelter, how much emphasis goes into the screening of families who are adopting, and how to decide to run the facility in general.
Julia and I’s work with the SPCA did not directly impact the community but it did help us get a better understanding of how much the SPCA relies on the community and volunteers. Since the shelter is non- profit, the organization relies greatly on the volunteers. The Fredericksburg SPCA has about 15 different volunteers working with them right now. Some tasks that they do on a day -to -day basis are laundry, clean the kennels, do dishes, feed and walk animals, and host events around the community. Another thing that the SPCA relies on is donation. They get donations at least once a day. The range of things that people donate is very large. Donations can vary from small things like food and cleaning supplies to big donations of money.
Another way the SPCA makes up for being a non profit organization is holding many events around the community to help fundraise and also to spread the word. For example, one event that they hold annually is the “Walk For Animals” which is a 5k walk/run to help fundraise for the organization. While these events are happening they bring the animals out and set up a stand so that the cats and dogs could be adopted right then and there. The worker who spoke with Julia and I noted that most of their animals get adopted from events like this. The SPCA also holds educational classes for children to help them become more aware of the organization. This is a great method because the children are our future and it’s important to be aware of what’s going on around their own community.
Working at the Fredericksburg SPCA was a great experienced. I learned that since the SPCA has no government funding they have all the power to do what they want and make their own decisions. This experience had a great impact on my life.
Alternative Research Project – Sequoi Phipps – Section 2
For the alternative research project, I chose to present student opinions of dining on campus to UMW Dining Services staff. I circulated a survey among students that contained questions about dining on campus this semester. The survey inquired about topics regarding what type of dining plan the respondents had, where they most frequently ate, their opinions on the changes to dining this semester, what they felt is working well and what they felt needs attention or improvement. There were 61 student responses to this survey from 1st to 4th year undergraduate students.
In order to use this information to make some type of community impact, I sent the data to dining services with explanations and analysis of each diagram. I also included some of the free responses to questions regarding what each respondent thought is working well and what needs improvement. I also attached a letter explaining what I was sending them and why I wanted to share this information with them (that letter is attached to this post).
In relation to power, I wanted to take this opportunity because I believe that, though I often feel as a student of the University of Mary Washington that my voice and opinions are not heard, that decision making departments do not often consider the opinions of the students, and that I do not have much pull as an individual student. However, I decided to use this survey to harness the voice of as many students as I could, and present those responses as one concerned voice. Though I do think that we, the students, fall very low on the ladder in reference to power on our campus, I do also think that we have a unique experience to express our opinion to those higher up and at least get some recognition.
Abstract: This paper will look at NFL expansion and will look at in depth roles of owners, players, and the community. This paper will outline the power structure of the NFL, especially in regards to relocation of teams and expansion of the league. There are some proposals on the floor and we will dive into both the pros and cons of these proposals.
In order to engage with my community, I decided to participate in collective action. I find that when large groups of people gather and directly face power dynamics, there is a large chance of being heard. This is in comparison to individual effort or a single organization. So, on Sunday November 29th, I made my way to D.C in front of the White House and joined the Global Climate March. Meeting up with 300- 500 people, we chanted and listened to speakers in front of the White House. Then, we walked around the white house on the street, stopping traffic and smiling to people recording from the sidewalk. Our goal was to gather before the U.N conference met in Paris and make sure that the leaders knew the United States supports strong climate action. Our gathering at the White House was only one of over 2,000 events worldwide. The march supports renewable, clean energy and the reduced use of fossil fuels. I enjoyed participating in the march because I like to see how a large city like D.C can organize. Living in Rockville, events of similar nature are small scale and I do not feel they have a large impact on power dynamics. Participating in a larger collective action allowed me to see if size can make an impact on power relations.
In order to organize an event this big there were two main actors. Avaaz and 360 are large internet based organizations that allow people from all over the world connect and organize action. Avaaz allows its members to focus its objectives through online polls, ensuring how time and resources are used is based on the members themselves. 360, whose goals are divestment in fossil fuel, relies on grassroots effort by allowing branches of the organization to have control over regional efforts. Both have a very large amount of people associated with the organizations due to their easy access and internet presence. These groups were essential in the Global Climate March due to the communication needed to organize a collective action. Since this march was directed towards a global meeting, collective action of similar scale was important. The internet has opened communication to connect people everywhere giving collective action the opportunity to become a larger effort than ever thought before. International problems no longer have to be individually address or solved in small meeting with a few country representatives. It is now possible for average people to be involved as well. Pictures of the events were posted throughout the internet and delegates in the conference were presented with these powerful images showing collective action throughout the world asking for stronger climate action against fossil fuels and country emissions. When the international community comes together looking for similar solutions, it is hard not to be considered in the decision making process. The large participation in the Global Climate March will pressure governments to take the conference seriously and commit to action plans in order to combat climate change.
Even though climate change should be considered a serious issue, there is still a struggle to get governments to seriously commit to cutting emissions and investing in alternative energies, in some countries more than others. Industries still have the money and lobbying to keep politicians from fighting climate change aggressively. However, an international effort could change that. The industry’s influence in United States politics do not hold as much power in international negotiations, especially when the community fighting for climate action is far more organized on the larger scale. Events such as the Global Climate March and further efforts from multiple international organizations working together can change the power dynamics so that emission policy will reflect what the people want instead of industry. This will especially come true when these large organizations can get enough people to out resource these companies invested in fossil fuels. I am glad to be part of such an event and hope that when the conference concludes next week, there will be plans to protect the future generation and reduce the dangerous consequences of climate change.
Power of the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank!
I decided for my community engagement to volunteer with Kam at the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank! We weighed items, stocked shelves, and talked to many kind people. We learned a lot about where the Regional Food Bank is on the level of power; we also saw how vital this food bank is for the surrounding areas due to these food insecure regions. If you want to read more about what the Regional Food Bank does and the levels of power, check below!
Research Paper #2