Culinary House Suspended, other letters
To the Editors:
The members of the Culinary Program House have enjoyed a fruitful and fulfilling year, holding many successful events and dedicating themselves to food-related pursuits. Because we have had much pleasure from participating in this program, we are saddened that we will be unable to share our experiences with future program members, as Residential Education has decided not to continue the program for the 2007-2008 academic year.
To our understanding, ResEd’s decision is based mainly on an incident last semester in which their policies were violated. Members of the house, as well as a visitor, accessed a restricted area of the house, which under city ordinances and ResEd rules, is not to be occupied due to lack of proper exits.
We are dismayed that ResEd has chosen to punish would-be future CPH members instead of taking action against the individuals directly involved in the incident. However, we accept their decision and will not attempt to further appeal the matter. But what troubles us most is the manner in which ResEd has handled the situation.
Neither before the incident occurred, nor around the time that it happened, was it made clear to members of the CPH that the consequence of accessing the restricted area would be the termination of the program. Following the incident, we were only informed that our actions would be taken into consideration when applying to renew the program for next year. It was not until earlier this semester, when we tried to reapply, that ResEd notified us that the decision to cancel the program had already been made.
Additionally, grossly exaggerated and unsubstantiated statements and accusations were made by members of the ResEd staff during meetings to discuss the issue that we feel represents a high degree of unprofessionality. And at the time of this letter, ResEd has failed to provide us with a formal written statement fully explaining the reasons for their decision, as we requested. These actions reflect the unwillingness of ResEd to deal with the matter in a fair and judicious manner.
It seems that this is hardly the first time in recent memory that ResEd has responded to problems that have arisen in a way deemed inappropriate or unsatisfactory by students. We urge that the ResEd bureaucracy be improved so as to quell the general sense of discontent with this organization that exists on campus.
Although the CPH will not return next year, it is a possibility that the program will be allowed to start up again in the future. The former and current members of the house hope that this is not the end of student-led initiatives to promote the culinary arts in Oberlin and would be more than happy to assist students in reforming the program.–Deborah Galaski, OC ’06
–Nathan Leamy, OC ’06
To the Editors:
Apathy toward global issues critically affects college campuses across the nation. Since catalyzing civil rights and anti-war movements in the 1960s, many college campuses have evolved into passive atmospheres where students are often unaware of important issues, such as global poverty, climate change and globalization. Due to the complexity and scale of these problems, many students feel powerless to make a difference.
Students attempt to expand their understanding of global issues by studying abroad in developed countries while spending social time amongst fellow Americans. This all-too-common experience fails to deliver an understanding of the factors that result in poverty for almost half of the world’s population.
According to the Institute of International Education (IIE), the top five study abroad destinations last year were the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France and Australia. While learning in these angelic destinations is very appealing, it fails to actively engage students where their passion and energy is needed most. This perpetuation of Western nations sharing knowledge, resources and privilege does little for the one billion people that cannot read or write. Without students seeing the reality of the developing world, is there truly any wonder why they suffer from apathy?
Fortunately, an increasing number of universities are working to tackle global poverty by sending their students abroad to intern and volunteer with under-served communities. The recently opened Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California at Berkeley is one example of a prominent school using faculty, students and immense resources to implement projects in developing countries. It joins a growing list of schools like Stanford, Northwestern, Princeton, Notre Dame and many others that are shifting their students away from traditional study abroad programs and toward active engagement in the developing world.
“Colleges are slowly responding to a growing number of students who want the resume builders and skills needed to enter a very competitive job market. If one expects to work in a global profession like international development, they must have active experience abroad. Study abroad doesn’t deliver enough experience,” says Alex Michel, Outreach Director of the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD). FSD provides students with hands-on training and project implementation with almost 200 grassroots development organizations in Latin America, East Africa and India.
Participants of their programs often gain college credit for their internships, but most importantly, they gain experience and the relationships that allow for entry into a challenging career field. Their internship program involves students and professionals being trained and given the opportunity to collaboratively design and implement projects that are funded directly by FSD. Fundamental to FSD’s development philosophy is intense cultural immersion and ensuring that all funded projects respond to community needs and avoid imposing western ideals on developing communities.
Success stories of FSD’s internship program are impressive. A student from Princeton University who interned in Uganda in 2005 with FSD recently won a $25,000 fellowship to continue her library project at a rural primary school. Another student, after completing an FSD internship in Peru, received a full-tuition scholarship to the NYU School of Law. The scholarship is awarded to students who show an active commitment to public interest. While completing a Master’s degree in social work, another student expanded on her FSD internship in Kenya to create her own international non-profit, called Projects of Hope. The organization supports education and health programs for children affected by HIV/AIDS.
In 2007, FSD has received a 400 percent increase in applications for their internship programs. Most applications come from students who, without university help, looked past study abroad options to find hands-on development experience. These students yearn to make a difference where it is critically needed and FSD is one of the very few organizations that go beyond international volunteerism to offer comprehensive development training and work experience. If the trend continues and interest in global poverty by students and universities catches fire, we may see the mobilization of incalculable resources to developing countries, along with a return to the golden era of campus life, a time when students responded to world events by demanding change.–Josh Schellenberg
Public Relations Coordinator for Foundation for Sustainable Development
To the Editors:
As an avid reader of Benjamin Zilber’s food blog (friedlove.blogspot.com) I have become extremely disappointed in the uncontrolled and over-the-top editing of his articles. Ben has an extremely distinct and personal style of writing and when reading the articles that have appeared in the Review, I feel like they have not been written by Ben at all.
I encourage you to let your contributors have their own voice in their pieces. It gives the paper something it dearly needs, originality.
To the Editors:
The letter [in last week’s Review] regarding the Heart Project stated the event would be on April 28 in Tappan Square. The actual date will be on April 14, 2007 (the Pagan Awareness group has Tappan on the 28). Please note this correction. Thanks!
Chair of Oberlin Heart Project
To the Editors:
As the Review’s front page March 2 story “Sen. Barack Obama Speaks” mentioned, Oberlin turned out more than 120 students for the Obama rally in Cleveland on February 26 and brought a buzz about Obama back to campus.
We are not stopping there, though. The rally’s momentum has created something which will last through the general elections in November 2008.
The students who coordinated the rally turnout have created Oberlin for Obama, an organization devoted to facilitating the involvement of Oberlin College students in Sen. Obama’s presidential campaign. Our focus right now is on planning for the future. Some of the exciting activities in the works include:
Part of planning for the future is ensuring sustainability. Oberlin for Obama is lucky enough to have many dedicated and talented first-year students who will be at Oberlin through the general elections in November of 2008.
Oberlin for Obama meets at 9:30 p.m. every Tuesday evening at 190 Woodland (the house next to the gym).
We can be reached through our Facebook group, Oberlin for Obama!, or via e-mail at email@example.com.–Brendan Kelley
Oberlin for Obama
To the Editors:
Thank you so much for covering our conference, Margins & Spaces: (Re)presentation and Responsibility in the Arts. We appreciate all of the well-written articles and the photographs. We would like to correct one point, however: While we organized our conference on a very small budget, we were in no way disappointed by the contributions of our program. If the Creative Writing Program was unable to donate more to our efforts, it was not from lack of investment in our conference, but rather because of the small budget allotted to the program as a whole. If anyone has any questions about the conference, future programming or Creative Writing in general, please feel free to contact us at CWreps@oberlin.edu.–Talia Cooper
Creative Writing Student Representatives 2006-2007