20080226

Cause for an entry...

I found out at about 5:30PM today that one of my cousin's took his life late last night. I'm so overwhelmed already with school, work, life, my elbow that this is just too much. I don't even know what to think right now except that this really sucks. He is actually my "first cousin once-removed" according to wikipedia, but he is my age and a junior in college so I've always thought of him as my cousin.

I was looking at his facebook profile today and noting all the people that wrote on his wall since he died. (about 70 people since last I checked) What is the problem!! Is this it? Is it because we all write on eachother's goddamned facebook walls instead of actually talking to each other? As much as I'm wrapped up in this whole stupid system, am I part of the problem too?

I would like to go to his funeral, but I'm not sure it's financially feasible and it seems silly to try and express my sentiments after the fact.

I'm mad, and confused, and sad, and pissed off, and depressed, and angry, but more than anything...I just wish I would have know him better.

Nick, I hope you've found what you're looking for.

More Nader--Don't worry, I think I'm done for now...

20080225

Reflection

Probably one of my favoritest songs...

Look at me
You may think you see who I really am
But you'll never know me
Ev'ry day
It's as if I play a part
Now I see
If I wear a mask
I can fool the world
But I cannot fool my heart

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

I am now
In a world where I have to hide my heart
And what I believe in
But somehow
I will show the world
What's inside my heart
And be loved for who I am

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
Why is my reflection someone I don't know?
Must I pretend that I'm
Someone else for all time?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

There's a heart that must be free to fly
That burns with a need to know the reason why
Why must we all conceal
What we think
How we feel
Must there be a secret me
I'm forced to hide?

I won't pretend that I'm
Someone else
For all time
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

Nader for President?

Yesterday, on "Meet the Press" Ralph Nader announced his third bid for the white house. (You can watch it here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/23321310#23321310)

I wish our political system was a bit different--where the entrance of a third-party candidate isn't seen as them "stealing votes" from the "real candidates". Honestly, I don't know anything about Nader (except that he progressive and older than McCain), I just wish he had a chance.

Junk to Explore

This is an ongoing list of books and movies and stuff I need to watch/read/explore: (feel free to offer suggestions!)
-"Story of B"
-"The Old Ways", Gary Snyder
-"Compassion in Action"
-Mother Jones magazine, Jane Butcher
-"Catch 22"
-"Pedagogy of the Oppressed", Friere
-"Getting to Yes", Ury
-"Eat, Pray, Love"
-"Privilege, Power and Difference", Alan Johnson
-"Infidel", Ayan Hirisi Ali
-"A Different Mirror", Takaki
-"A Young People's History of the U.S.", Zinn
-"One Giant Leap", film
-www.isna.org
-Brandon Tina
-American History X
-But I'm a cheerleader
-The Harvey Milk Story, Kakow
-The Selfish Gene, Dawkins
-I Am America, Colbert
-Playful Mind, Downton
-Nanny State, Harsanyi
-a year of Living Biblically
-Winners Never Cheat: Everyday Values we learned as children but may have forgotten
-Peaceable Kingdom, movie
-The gospel of the flying spaghetti monster, book
-Lake of Fire, documentary
-The Parties Over, book
-Blue Gold, book
-40 days and 40 nights
-sons of men?, movie
-a wrinkle in time
-The satanic versus, Salman Rushdie, book
-There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.
-The Golden Compass, book and movie
-peace army of costa rica
-institute for heart math
-freedom is an endless meeting
-conflict web
-web of inner being
-apathy/empathy
-local communities versus global
-places not worth caring about
-fields of fuel, documentary
-dead men walking, movie
-bring it on, movie
-beyond the call, documentary
-life cycle of a non-profit
-god's problem, book
-traces of the trade, documentary
-dark matters, book, by paul levitt
-about war, children's book, alice walker
-nonviolence
-unweaving the rainbow
-Nothing: Something to Believe In by Nica Lali
-geography of nowhere, James Howard Kunstler
-Selzer reads an excerpt of "The Surgeon As Priest" from Mortal Lessons
-peace of cake, swati kaushal
-milan halek
-documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
-Everything You Always Wanted to Know about the Separation of Church and State … but Were Afraid to Ask!, documentary
-Be Kind Rewind, movie
-Myths to Live By, Joseph Campbell, book
-the giver
-Arthur C. Clark
-Night, Elie Wiesel
-plainsong-book/play
-40 days, 40 nights, dover trials
-post atheist
-science debate 2008
-woody allen
-JS/Craig Fergison
-WEB Debois
-human rights watch
-losing faith in faith
-spring poem-yip harbos
-inherit the wind, movie
-scopes trial
-sand oil
-new york times-feb 23, HNN
-the atheism tapes
-beyond the fringe
-a breif history of disbelief
-big daddy bagel shop-dustin
-arther miller (plays)
-the women's room", book
-labidinal
-gender neutral/unisex
-brinmar
heroes, rogues and lovers (book)
-populism
-warped passages, lisa randall, book
-Dinner with Osama, Marilyn Krysl
-Final Salute, A Story of Unfinished Lives

20080212

INVST Nationally Recognized, as CU-Boulder is named one of 3 schools to receive Presidential Award!

Dear Friends,

INVST is very pleased to share a wonderful honor with the other leadership civic engagement programs on campus! CU-Boulder has been named one of the top 3 schools in the country for student participation in community service! We have received a Presidential Award, signed by none other than the US president. To mark this very special occasion, I want to share the article released yesterday & featured on CU's home page, & thank all of you wholeheartedly, since this award is a testament to the many faculty, staff & students past & present who have dedicated countless hours, along with your energy & passion, to compassionate action & community-based changed. Along with being mentioned in the following news story, we anticipate that INVST students will be featured in a video that is being filmed on campus next Monday by the Corporation for National & Community Service. Hooray for us! CONGRATULATIONS, All! Thank you for being part of our movement to change this world we live in!

________________________

CU-Boulder Named One Of Three U.S. Schools To Receive Presidential Award For Exemplary Student Community Service
Feb. 11, 2008


University of Colorado at Boulder junior Andra Wilkinson stands in front of the Boulder County AIDS Project in downtown Boulder, where she volunteered during fall semester 2007. CU-Boulder was one of only three colleges and universities in the United States to receive a 2007 Presidential Award for General Community Service on Feb. 11, 2008.

Andra Wilkinson is one of 13,397 reasons the University of Colorado at Boulder is one of only three colleges and universities in the United States to receive a Presidential Award for General Community Service.

More than 530 universities and colleges competed in the 2007 awards program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a government agency in Washington, D.C. A total of 127 other schools received a "with distinction" designation and 391 were named to the honor roll, the agency announced today.

An estimated 13,397 CU-Boulder students participate in some form of community service and 3,512 are engaged in academic service-learning, a teaching strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction.

"The University of Colorado at Boulder is honored by this award," said CU-Boulder Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson. "We have a commitment to civic and ethical engagement that goes back more than four decades, when CU-Boulder students answered President John F. Kennedy's call to service by joining the Peace Corps in record numbers. Today, through efforts such as those marshaled by our Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement, we continue in that tradition, challenging our students to transform themselves, their communities and the world."

The Presidential Award for General Community Service was given to CU-Boulder, the University of Pennsylvania and Otterbein College in Columbus, Ohio.

The award was presented to Peterson at the 90th annual meeting of the American Council on Education in San Diego, held Feb. 9-12, and includes a certificate signed by President Bush. Attending the award ceremony with Peterson were Michael Grant, associate vice chancellor for undergraduate education, and CU-Boulder student Wilkinson, a 20-year-old junior and graduate of Lakewood High School, who is a stellar example of what the award is all about, according to Peter Simons, director of the CU-Boulder Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement.

"Andra exemplifies the passion that many of our students have for the importance of being socially responsible and civically engaged citizens," Simons said. "I'd also like to add that this award is a testament to the many faculty, staff and students at CU-Boulder who dedicate their time and expertise to helping our communities and to making ethical and civic engagement a defining characteristic of our educational community."

The purpose of the IECE, founded in 2005, is to encourage and nurture ethical and civic education at CU-Boulder, to prepare students for a lifetime of service to society as thoughtful, ethical and engaged citizens. It oversees seven programs and offers financial support to faculty members who integrate civic engagement into their coursework and academic projects. To date, IECE has funded the development and implementation of 21 civic engagement courses and projects.

Wilkinson volunteers at a health clinic primarily for Spanish-speaking patients, serves as a tri-chair of the Women's Resource Center advisory board and founded a campus discussion group for men to actively oppose sexual assault and rape. She is also an honors student, member of the President's Leadership Class and an El Pomar Scholar.

Some of her previous volunteer activities include working at a Minnesota camp for youth impacted by HIV/AIDS; shaving her head in support of and to raise money for pediatric oncology patients; working with others to build a house for an indigent family in Juarez, Mexico; participating in the Global Leadership Program with students from all over the world in Prague, Czech Republic; and tutoring Spanish-speaking elementary, middle and high school students at the Family Learning Center in Boulder.

"My outside work relates to what I'm passionate about, so what I'm studying is going to relate to what I'm pursuing outside of the classroom." she said. "It's not just giving, it's absolutely a mutual benefit. You can't overstate the power of an experience."

In addition to finding a passion, an important second step is to act on it, she said. This is "the idea of being accountable for what you're passionate about. A lot of students are passionate but think that the problems will get solved by someone else."

Wilkinson is a Puksta Scholar, a program in which CU-Boulder undergraduates develop and implement an intensive yearlong civic engagement project. One of Wilkinson's passions is women's health care in developing countries. When she learned that another Puksta Scholar was working on providing clean water in developing countries, she thought, "That's going to help my work."

"We get energy from each other's pursuits and you get this beautiful interconnecting of ideas and issues that we are working on," Wilkinson said. "It's like oooh -- what are you doing? I want to be a part of that! And it's contagious."

Wilkinson is majoring in integrative physiology with a minor in women and gender studies and the equivalent of a minor in leadership. After graduating in May 2009, she plans to work on women's health in developing countries for two years, then hopes to attend Harvard Medical School's M.D./Ph.D. program with a focus on medical anthropology and women's health.

The CU-Boulder student programs honored by the award from theCorporation for National and Community Service include:

o The Volunteer Clearing House -- One of the first organizations of its kind in the nation, the student-sponsored VCH has worked to fill community needs since 1965. Currently 5,272 students have been linked with volunteer opportunities that best fit their individual interests and have contributed an estimated 211,146 hours of community service.

o Institute for Ethical And Civic Engagement -- Founded in 2005, the IECE's purpose is to nurture and encourage ethical and civic education at CU-Boulder, to prepare students for a lifetime of service to society as thoughtful, ethical and engaged citizens. It oversees seven key programs and has funded the development and implementation of 21 civic engagement courses and projects.

o Engineers Without Borders -- CU-Boulder is home to the founding chapter of EWB-USA, which is dedicated to helping disadvantaged communities worldwide improve their quality of life by building environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects. Students have worked on projects from Peru to Rwanda to Nepal during the academic year, on breaks and in the summer.

o Puksta Scholars Program -- This nonacademic program provides substantial scholarships and support to approximately 20 students per year who develop and implement intensive yearlong civic engagement projects. Many students report that Puksta has been the most important experience of their college careers. Projects have ranged from developing rooftop gardens to mentoring Muslim high school youth.

Other campus programs recognized by the award include INVST CommunityStudies; Simply the Best!, an after-school science and technology program for African-American and Latina middle-school girls in Denver's Five Points community and the Peace Corps Recruitment Program. CU-Boulder is ranked third in the nation for the number of alumni currently serving as volunteers.

The Corporation for National and Community Service recognizes institutions of higher education that support innovative, effective and exemplary community service programs. Honorees for the various award levels, including the Presidential Award, are selected based on several factors including the scope and innovativeness of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

In addition to the schools receiving the Presidential Award for General Community Service, three other schools received a Presidential Award for Service to Youth from Disadvantaged Circumstances. This award was given to Chaminade University of Honolulu, Hawaii; Syracuse University of Syracuse, N.Y.; and the University of Redlands of Redlands, Calif.

The award program is jointly sponsored by the corporation, the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, USA Freedom Corps and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation.

In addition to her other volunteer work, Wilkinson co-founded a women's journal, created innovative advertising for student volunteering, worked to train high school students as peer educators on sexual health and AIDS awareness, and served as co-president of a CU student association for pre-health professionals.

"A quote that really drives me is 'If not you, who? If not now, when?" she said.

To hear an interview with Wilkinson about her community service experiences, go to www.colorado.edu/news/podcasts/. For more information on the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Presidential Award visit www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.

Contact: Andra Wilkinson, (720) 394-1660
Peter Simons, (303) 492-1962
Bronson Hilliard, (303) 735-6183
Peter Caughey, (303) 492-4007

http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2008/45.html

www.colorado.edu/communitystudies

20080210

Disclaimer

I've thought a lot about what keeping a blog would mean. I've had some sort of journal/blog (online and private) for a few years now, but I've wanted to at least try having something semi-public. Oh sure, I post interesting websites on facebook and occasionally share my thoughts in some sort of public, documentable forum but I'm still unsure about how I fell about sharing my total person publicly and the ramifications that it might have on my personal and soon-to-be professional life.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about honesty and whether complete and total honesty is a good idea. I would like to think that it might be possible to live life without lying, but the truth is--although I've tried to eliminate lying all together in my life-- it still happens often. No, I no longer tell bold-face lies to anyone, but lying happens in many ways: withholding information, exaggeration, or even lying to yourself (rationalization).

Please, don't take things personally, give me the benefit of the doubt and allow me to explain myself before coming to conclusions. This is only a test-run, trial of a blog type thing and for now--I'm just going to see how it goes. I may not spell things correctly and I will often end sentences with prepositions.