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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Eco League Exchange

The Eco League connects Prescott College with a consortium of six, small liberal arts institutions that all share similar missions and value systems based on environmental stewardship, social change, and educating students to build a sustainable future. 

Prescott College students rafting in the Southwest

The Eco League allows students to spend up to two nonconsecutive semesters of study at any of the five colleges, or in any of the international exchange programs offered by an Eco League college. The awesome part of this trade-off is that students can participate in Eco League without having to transfer out of their home school and into their exchange school. This means that students get to continue paying tuition to their home college! Lucky for us, Prescott College tuition is on the low-end of the other Eco League schools. Plus, we have great, sunny weather!

Besides Prescott College, the Eco League consists of:
College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine
Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin
Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, Alaska 
Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont
& the newest edition, Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Each of the six schools feature different academic strengths and tons of opportunities to travel abroad in short-term or semester-long study programs.

College of the Atlantic students on a day-trip in Maine


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Gravity of Reality

“To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.”-Pearl Buck

I often think about this quote as I sit down every few weeks and plan my life out... which I have never done before. Alongside being a student at Prescott College as well as an student counselor for work study, I am also a full-time AmeriCorps member at Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters. When fellow AC members ask me how I manage fitting all of that into days that seem to get shorter as the sun stays out longer, I tend to stumble during my response. 

There are so many days that being a student worker is the biggest struggle, and I often find myself overwhelmed with menial tasks that if ignored, could present an accumulated catastrophic result of failed email follow ups, class readings left untouched, and bills still needing to be paid. There are many days where I find myself thinking about the completion of my year long AmeriCorps term, the quintessential light at the end of the tunnel, and how my time will be freed up to do the things I miss like rock climbing and photography. 

Then, after the coffee has kicked in and I can see the benefit of my work through my AC volunteer position, I know that I've made the right choice. When the description of my job transcends into a live being rather than an elevator pitch, I know that I am serving others in a way that I didn't realize was so important. I didn't know that even though this isn't my first pick of job descriptions, it has challenged me in ways that I know will only make me a better person, volunteer, employee, and leader. 

I realized that while I'm writing this, I only have 5 months left in my term of service, which makes me realize that there is no time to waste. 


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Marching with a Movement

Marching with a Movement:  #2Million2Many

The day began with a group of Prescott College students adding bodies to an already energetic group,  for the march, The Trail to End Deportation, organized by Puente.  This is a three-day on-going march from April 2-5, that began from ICE Headquarters (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in Phoenix, and goes on to Eloy where the march will be joined by many more at Eloy Detention Center. It is a 60-mile walk that publicizes the private suffering of families that have been separated by the ICE machine.  

We are marching for the end of deportations so that families can live without fear. So that children do not have to worry when they go to school that day that their mother, father, aunt, uncle, sister, brother will not be home when they come home. I am marching because I don't believe in borders, and because I believe that crossing the border doesn't equate being criminalized. I march with those who have been affected by the inhumane treatment of their loved ones by the people who work in the detention centers because I am an ally in fighting for human rights and justice. We are marching as an intergenerational group- some organizing since Vietnam, others children, and the rest in-between. We march to ask Obama to STOP DEPORTATIONS, because he has that power to stop separating families, yet he chooses not to. 

"While he [Obama] asks for unity, he continues to break our families apart; imprisoning relatives for months or years locked up at distances that make visits almost impossible." *

Those who marched in solidarity came from groups such as Unitarain Universalist Congregation of Phoenix, Progressive Democrats of America and other citizens. Prescott College students came from an undergraduate class, "History of Conflict in the Southwest" taught by Laura Campagna, and the Master's in Social Justice and Human Rights cohort class taught by Zoe Hammer. 

"We go on foot because this walk is a pilgrimage, a spiritual act, a prayer for our families. We make sacrifices to draw attention to our suffering, in a way that is rooted in our community’s traditions." 

We won't stop, until all deportations end, and those held in cages will be returned to their families. 

*Quotes taken from Puente Human Rights Movement/Facebook event page

~Jen Iadevaia

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dancing at Prescott College

I couldn't possibly use words to try to describe what dance means to me. Movement is a language I've been fluent in for many years. In high school I studied the performing arts and developed a strong appreciation and admiration for artists of all forms. 

My relationship to dance has been a rocky one, though. I've found that some techniques can be so rigid and some teachers can be very harsh. Dance is hard on the body, hard on the mind. It really shook up my confidence as a teenage girl who often struggled with body image issues.

photo by Rosalie Whatley
As I walked out of the performing arts and walked into experiential and interdisciplinary learning at Prescott College, I really found myself craving dance. It's my outlet. My passion. Seriously. 

We're so lucky to have a healthy, thriving dance department here at PC. Block and semester classes like Nature and Dance, Dance and Improvisation, and Choreography in the Community are offered, plus there are a number of workshops (all free for PC students) so that we can get a taste of things like social dancing, contact improvisation, Butoh, and more! 

This all takes place at our Granite Performing Arts Center located at 218 N. Granite Street!

In my past two years here at Prescott College, I have come to see that I am an artist. Dance, music, drawing, writing. Art just makes sense to me. Until recently, I tried to suppress the artist out of me. I thought pursuing a career in art would mean that I would struggle financially for the rest of my life. I still feel apprehensive, but I know that I am learning useful skills that will help me when I graduate. Things like interpersonal communication skills, networking, highlighting my assets, finding ways to really express myself through different mediums. And! I've gotten to share my art with a lovely, supportive community of people here. 

Jenna Trizzino

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Big Sur

  The empty blue sky of space says 'All this comes back to me, then goes again, and comes back again, then goes again, and I don't care, it still belongs to me.' 
Jack Kerouac, Big Sur

Spring Break 2014:
A time where most Prescott College students take full advantage of, and head off on road trips to Joshua Tree for climbing, Colorado for snowboarding and skiiing, Lake Havasu for recreation, or, like myself, the California shores.

 Now, we stopped in several places before and after we made it to Big Sur, but nothing really holds a candle to it, so I'm just going to fast forward!

The part of me that's romantic for the world and all it's wonders has been infatuated with even just the idea of a road trip to the glorious Pacific, particularly the central/north coast, where you venture away from hoards of people and towards full immersion into the stunning Santa Lucia Mountains. 

These mountains are what make Big Sur so beautiful. They cut sharply and steeply in, and the waves just crash like orchestral cymbals! 

For the Spanish-speaking connoisseurs out there, Big Sur is derived from "el sur grande," meaning the Big South. This is in reference to its location south of the Monterrey Peninsula, yet another breathtaking place I'll probably end up going to next spring break....

Anyway, with our car packed full of camping gear, food, and restlessness, we set out to Big Sur, arriving on a Wednesday afternoon. We claimed the very last spot at a campsite called Kirk Creek in the Los Padres National Forest, and promptly set up camp, made some dinner, and eagerly awaited sunset. 

When sunset came, we weren't even remotely prepared for the incredible color spectacle that is the only result of sun, sea, and a lack of outside interference. 

We also made some friends that night, a couple fellow campers, and threw together a make-shift party, celebrating the luck and life of the moment! (Let me have my romanticism..)

In my time camping, I've found that in the morning, when the sun's up, I'm up. So after a short night's sleep, I rustled together some breakfast for the group, and started getting ready for the day. 

Now come's my favorite part: actually going in (sort of) to the mighty ocean. 

So check this out: 

This is your typical "beach" at Big Sur... Not really sand so much as rocks.. lots and lots of sharp rocks, in fact... and not to mention that this is at the base of a cliff!

Basically it's kind of a moderately risky situation to think about coming here. If only I had a picture of the waves crashing over those rocks, that were literally fifteen feet above my head!

So what do I and my friend do?

We climb up!

We climbed up that rock in the middle, all the way to the top, and sat there in silence as waves crashed over us and around us. It was beautiful, honestly, and in those moments there was literally nothing else on my mind. 

You see, that's what places like this do to you-- they cleanse you and purify you, they release your negativity and allow you to be and to breathe. 

In an amazing array and combination of sense and element, I felt renewed. The waves, the sun, the wind, the rock... it all came together and allowed me to feel pure euphoria, even if just for our short time there. I cling to those moments, and that's what makes me such a romantic-- I seek more of them, more places that give me that and more people to share them with. 

So call me a romantic, a dreamer, whatever name you can think of, I'm in love with the world and I don't really mind all that much. It's too incredible to not experience. 

 Something good will come out of all things yet--And it will be golden and eternal just like that--
There's no need to say another word.
Jack Kerouac, Big Sur

--Steph Doss

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spring Break '98... Woooo Hoooo!

The air is full of pollen and excitement for the spring bloom to happen... and college students who very much appreciate a quickly approaching spring break, which is happening only 3 weeks after the semester has begun. Alas, the campus will be as still as the night next week, and aside the fantastic exception of the Farmers' Market that's held every Saturday from 10-2, students and faculty will have plenty of time to adjust to family members and friends express their concern about losing an hour of sleep due to daylight savings (which happens on March 9th at 2am for everyone in the US except for Arizona and Hawaii). Some of us will travel, visit that ol' familiar place that brings us peace, or some place completely new and exciting. Some of us will stay, and for those that do, here's some ideas if you want to go out and play in the community:

* Events at PC
Community Calendar of Events
* ...and some more events Here!

Need some alone time? Or looking to explore somewhere new with friends? Check out This Page for some local trails that you can easily access on your bicycle for some solid day hikes. Rather go climbing? Mountain Project has some great beta on solid local areas. Sometimes, all I need is a solid Bike Ride to keep me in check, and there's some great areas to check out.

What else? If you haven't checked it out yet, check out the new releases @ Frontier Village and use your student i.d. to score a discounted ticket and relax in some reclining leather seats (it's fantastic). Peregrine Book Company is also hosting some intriguing discussions and their book selection is out of this World! If you're looking to revamp for spring on a budget, Prescott has some of the best thrift stores that I've had the pleasure of supporting, so check them out Here!

Have a wonderful Spring Break, everyone!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Who's Writing Your (His)story?

For my senior project two years ago, I began researching inwardly and reflecting on the question, “how do you create balance in your life?” This question came to me through the process of journaling, and conversing with close friends. I came to find that listening to the community of friends and acquaintances around me, they were also experiencing similar situations and questions in their lives. This made researching more potent as I journeyed to find the multitudinous answers that comprise this query.
As I began to focus more intently on the question at hand, I found myself gathering friends to walk with me on this expedition into investigating our own, individual livelihoods and how they comprised myriads of ways to pondering and implementing a practice to bring more balance into our lives. We met four hours a week as I facilitated them through improvisational theater and dance scores which we used to open up our minds, hearts and bodies to further explore and deepen our group dynamic as well as our personal journey...alone, together.
What we came to find as a group were different stories relating back to what we find fulfilling and how we get the fulfillment we need from friends, lovers, family, nature and ourselves. Through meeting twice a week, as a group we started to discover the dynamics between us, and characters began to emerge. A story based on personal life experiences was reinterpreted through dance, music and dialogue. The story came out of a calling for finding my center, my agency, my voice, and developing a performance around our personal and collective struggles as a group. Though I cannot say the original question was answered, it was explored through movement and dialogue, while opening up spaces that are not necessarily open for investigation in the meandering of everyday living.
The process was a fulfilling experience, encompassing dark, sad, humorous and mundane moments in a human’s life. The art of balance is a pendulum in constant swing, and researching this question through my and other peoples lived experiences was a profound connecting piece of exploring myself more thoroughly and looking at the world around me in different perspectives.  
Now I am currently in the Social Justice and Human Rights Masters Program. This program seeks to educate students on why environmental, economic, political, and social inequalities exist and and how ordinary people can make change. Learning histories of globalization is a major component to understanding how the United States, as well as the continuing globalization of the world, creates and recreates our society and how it is presently situated. I've been re-learning and re-imagining research as other scholars enlighten me in their respective disciplines. One author, Linda Tuhiwai Smith is an indigenous scholar who positions herself around critically examining Western research. The idea that history has a starting point, which is to say the history I learned, “1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue” claims that peoples histories didn’t exist and weren’t important until other people ‘discovered’ them.
The notion of a linearly structured history, is a strategy for creating a dominant culture, the dominant therefore being Western, and the subordinate being indigenous peoples who see their own history reflected through a Westernized lens. From this vantage point, Tuhiwai Smith  describes and advocates for a process of decolonizing research, which is founded in the understanding that systems of western knowledge production are both product and instrument of imperialism. She explains that there are many methodologies to decolonize the typical Western framework where we see that the Western archives of research have predominantly come from colonizers observations, telling and sharing indigenous histories that aren’t theirs to share.
Instead of taking ultimate validity or truth from what has been shared (or I would argue, told) with us through Western paradigms, we can begin to question the claims that have been made, and ultimately ask ourselves, "who has been writing our history?"  "why have they chosen to write it this way?" We can then continue to think and act in ways that support ongoing movements for decolonization, rather than perpetuating imperialism.
From the examples above, I am learning how to critically examine, analyze question and reflect on stories around me while continuing to find threads of resonance in the knowledge I will shortly be producing. There are many methods for researching, and my hope is that we can learn to understand and participate in research methods that are born from and accountable to decolonizing movements, which then serves purposes for alternative knowledge, and therefore alternative ways of living and doing things (p.34). There isn’t just one perspective of history, and together we can help those whose stories have been silenced, and rewrite, I mean reright the histories that have been fragmented (Tuhiwai Smith, p.28, 1999).

Which method will inform my research?!

Jennifer Iadevaia

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Let's talk about food.

"We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly." -Anna Thomas

Working in admissions gives me the chance to talk to prospective students, in fact, its the entirety of my job. And I love it! But every so often there are questions that throw me off, and take a little more time to process and answer than others. 

Bizarrely enough, this is a question e-mailed to me a couple days ago that rocked me straight off the boat:

"What's the food like?"

Wait what? How do you expect to answer that? Are you referring to quality? Why do you ask? I think it's good? Is this something that's going to make or break your college decision?
Shameless promotion for the best
hot sauce I've ever had.

It took me an hour to answer this question, not something I'm proud of. The extremist in me thought that what I said about food at Prescott College was going to be the sole reason this prospective student would come here, or not. I never thought about the food here versus food anywhere, and so I had to really rack my brain for all the ways food in this town and college atmosphere has affected my life. For a good ten minutes I circled around the idea of my new found affinity and connoisseur-ship for the hot sauces of the Southwest, but that wasn't nearly enough. Why was this so difficult?

Suddenly, by the works of a miracle, the flood gates opened, and I realized how central food is in our community here. 

Unlike the typical college, PC doesn't have a "dining hall" setting. We have our Crossroads Cafe, open from breakfast to dinner, with healthy and natural options that cater to vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free, lactose-free, and your average "omnivore." During finals week, they offer free "brain food" that I swear, saved my sleep-deprived GPA. At my old college, and with most colleges with dining halls, you get a meal plan with a set number of swipes that reflect how many meals you get per day/week. Rather than that, first-time freshman are required to, and anyone can opt to, get a Cafe Card. Personally, I believe this is a much better idea, because you don't have to waste a meal swipe to get a granola bar and coffee, you just deduct it from your card, like a debit card. The Cafe itself is pretty cozy too, and one of my favorite places to meet up with people to study or work on group projects. I feel like no matter when I walk in, I'll see someone I know, and that's a pretty lucky feeling! It's also a pretty popular place to work, whether it be behind the register, baking, or cooking. 

Besides the Crossroads Cafe, the residence halls here are townhouse-style, meaning that on the first floor of every townhouse there is a full kitchen, complete with two stove-top ovens, two fridges, and a ton of counter space. People here tend to love cooking, and cooking together with their housemates. There are three large grocery stores within a walking distance (Fry's, Safeway, and Albertson's), and beginning this semester, every Tuesday and Saturday there will be shuttle services that take residents to further reaching stores, like Natural Grocer's, New Frontiers, and Trader Joe's. 

Then there's Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), in which you and some other friends can sign up to receive a healthy share of locally grown and raised produce, beef, eggs, and sometimes bread and dairy products too!

Now for everyone's favorite day of the week.... Community Lunch. Every Wednesday from 12:30 to 1:30, the conference center is open and filled with soups, bread, and drinks, made by the Crossroads Cafe, and completely free to not only Prescott College students and faculty, but everyone in the community as well. Just
like with the Cafe's served food, they have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free soup options to accommodate all. It's not rare to see literally everyone on campus at Prescott College getting their fill of soup. It's delicious! It's also the time when student groups, clubs, and organizations announce events and things they're doing on and off campus, and everyone in the community comes and takes a moment from their busy lives to just have a nice conversation with people they may not know that well or see very often. 

Something really popular here are potlucks, or when groups get together and everyone brings a dish or dessert or beverage. I didn't know what those were until I came out here actually, but now it's pretty routine for the end of a class to be synonymous with both a final paper and a potluck! 

I never really experience the idea of "food bringing people together" until I came here, and so looking back at my time here I'm in awe of how much it has strengthened relationships in my life. Whether it be running into someone at the Cafe, or sitting with a group of people at Community Lunch, or ending the semester with a bang at a class potluck/shindig, it all connects back. 

I really hope that answers their question...


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Adventure Education - Three Types of Fun

Matt Seats
Those of you who know me know that I am studying adventure education (AE) here at Prescott College (PC). But for those of you who are new to the school, and for family and friends who still have no idea what "studying adventure education at Prescott College" means, I thought I would share a little bit about what that looks like with you.            

I would like to say that AE is not all fun, hiking, kayaking, camping, canoeing, rock climbing, and traveling in and through beautiful wild places that few people ever see. And it’s true; not all of it is. There is, in fact, a good deal of pedagogical and theoretical research, reading, writing, skills assessments, and even (gasp) tests. Granted, many of the test scenarios at PC take the form of demonstrations of your competence – or presenting your research findings to others – but make no mistake, you are tested.
The truth of the matter is that those of us who have formally chosen AE as our competence (or Major, for the PC uninitiated) are usually having fun. We want to know how and why using adventure as an educational model to reach learning outcomes works. We want to understand the psychological and pedagogical research that supports the use of overcoming physical and mental challenges to achieve learning. We want to learn the history of adventure education. We want to be outdoor educators, and guides, and teachers, and instructors. We want to be good at what we do, and to help others improve their health, their education, and their lives in the process. So it's all fun of one type or another.
            The fact that we have fun learning and teaching our chosen course of study is simply a byproduct of our choice to study and teach what we love doing. But, not all fun is fun. Anyone who lives the life of an adventure education student or educator has heard of “the fun scale.” There is Type 1 Fun, Type 2 Fun, and Type 3 Fun. This scale can be applied to everything in life.
            Type 1 Fun involves instant gratification: the taste of good food, the sight of a beautiful sunset, getting an “A” in a class you thought you weren’t doing well in. Type 2 Fun describes things that you think were fun when you look back on them, but might not have seemed as fun while you were “in the moment.” An example would be successfully completing a difficult rock climbing route that scared the hell out of you the entire time you were climbing, or the long and sometimes exposed hikes PC students take on a Grand Canyon Wilderness Orientation – which also includes life-changing views of the canyons and mountains. 
Then there’s Type 3 Fun. Type 3 Fun is not fun at all, but will leave a strong memory with you forever. Type 3 Fun makes you wonder why you do what you do and swear that you will never do anything that stupid again. Getting stuck in a lightning storm on top of a mountain top is Type 3 Fun. When you look back on it years later, you may remember reaching the summit of the mountain and surviving the ordeal, but you will never remember it as fun.
Studying and teaching AE involves all three types of fun. Sometimes Type 3 Fun is necessary to have Type 2 or Type 1 Fun. AE students and educators accept that. In reaching the goal of becoming employed at doing what we love, in places we love, and helping improve the quality of life for ourselves and others, all three types of fun are worth the results.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Prescott People

I truly love people. 

I love their stories, and their quirks, and the fact that there is so much about them I will try to understand and never will. I love those innumerable connections that link us all to the six degrees at separation, and the deeper ties with people that cut into our minds, souls, and bodies and ultimately define our lives. 

Now, at Prescott, it's more like two degrees of separation and everyone you do know has already cut into you and everyone you don't, you want to.

When I visited Prescott almost a year ago, I came to a pretty profound realization that ultimately led to my decision to go here. Bizarrely enough, I have a few friends from my tiny town in Middle-of-No-Where, New Jersey, who all live together here and go to PC. I decided to visit them over my spring break last year, when I was in-between colleges, feeling lost and indecisive and desperately needing to adventure out of the east. 

I was so lucky.

During my week stay here, I met so many people. People who by now have graduated, or are almost graduating, or have as much time left here as I do, but people, people, people. People with plans, people with direction and some without and some who knew exactly where they were going to go after this stage in their life and some who didn't care, but in each person I met I saw something I had really never seen before. I saw this passion, and as cliche as the saying is I'm going to use it because I saw it-- I saw a fire in every one's eyes that burned inside of them and lit up the path they were on to ultimately, change the world.

Orientation with some of the best people I have ever met!
(I'm the one all the way on the right)

Now, almost a year later, I am here. I just began my second semester as a Counselling Psychology student, and I feel that fire. I have met many, many more people, who I see it in them, too. This passion, and want, and sometimes even the need,  to do everything with the intention of making the world better. 

I truly believe that everyone who comes to Prescott College comes here for a reason. I know people here from all walks of life, that come from places I can't even imagine and have been through things I will never know the feelings of, who have been through the ringer and at the end of the day still do everything they can for the good of others. 

The people I met that one week last March inspired me to ignite as much as I could within myself, and lo and behold, I am here. I have never made such deep connections with strangers that I now consider my best friends. I am so appreciative of the Prescott community as a whole, and of each Prescott person out there. 

--Steph Doss