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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oh Captain, My Captain

This is an ode to President Dan Garvey. For I have known him for the past two years since attending this school. He has brought many ideas into my head, heart, and hands that have stayed with me for quite some time. This is especially true before leaving on the Arizona Trail expedition, he had dinner with the team before embarking and we asked if he had any advice, he said, "I don't want to put any assumptions onto the table. This is your journey, now go and live it." And live it we did.

Sitting on the front porch watching the horses before dinner while playing the guitar, Dan sat down next to me and told me he used to play the guitar quite often as well, this was before he contracted Multiple Sclerosis. For his right hand is not as agile as it once was, but he asked if I wouldn't mind strumming while he put his left hand on the frets. There I was, sharing a guitar with my college president, all the while watching Arabian horses running through a field, and smelling a delicious dinner being prepared.

Like most faculty, instructors, and administrators here at Prescott College, they all show themselves to be people, rather than a talking mirror. I still go out to breakfast on a regular basis with my first writing professor, Jeff Fearnside, along with his wife who works in the registrars office.

To me, this college is very academically, emotionally, and physically challenging, but it also feels like a truly sustainable living community. It will be hard to leave after graduation in 2012, but I believe that I will always remember the friendships that presented themselves. For Prescott College is not a set of buildings, or a sign out front with a logo, but the people who are creating this beautifully productive environment. It will be different to not have Dan around next year, but he will be back to teach a few classes in the fall of 2011. Furthermore, I am hopeful that the new president, Dr. Kristin Woolever, will transform this college to meet the needs of the future, all the while maintaining the wonderful community we currently reside in.

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

                                                    -Walt Whitman 
Here is to a great man, and a great future for the college he helped produce; along with a legacy that will continue sailing with the winds of grace, dignity, and compassion.

Gentle seas, 


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Our Life Belongs to Our Dreams

The semester is winding down and we have less than two weeks left. This has been quite a transformational set of months. I started out with the idea of gaining a competence and certification in Elementary Education, then slowly moved away from this already defined path and into a self-designed competence called Sustainable Community Development. Lately, I have been researching more of what this means.

Overall, life moves fast here at Prescott College. I came here in the fall of 2008, and it has been superbly engaging since then. I have gone to many amazingly beautiful places, discussed various topics with the utmost passion, rode a horse 800 miles, changed my course of study, and participated in countless events, all since I took my first step on orientation.

It is an interesting opportunity to be able to attend a school like Prescott College, and the school is changing, much like everything else; for change is the only constant, and in order to not become stale, we must move with the river of energy. As for immediate change, President Dan Garvey will be retiring at the end of June, and Dr. Kristin Woolever will be stepping forth to fill the position. Dr. Woolever comes to Prescott College from the University of New Hampshire at Manchester, where she is currently Dean and Director of the Campus. Prior to UNH Manchester, Woolever led the Antioch Center for Creative Change at Antioch University Seattle in a reorganization that included the development of alternative course delivery models and innovative, cross-disciplinary graduate programs in environmental studies, management, organizational psychology, systems thinking, and strategic communication.

Moreover, the college has acquired the alley way that previously split the campus in half. Now, we have purchased this piece of property and will be reinvigorating it by taking down the telephone poles that expose various wires putting them underground, and the ecological design class has been planning what we will see in the near future. This will greatly beautify the campus, and will create a more integrated environment. Currently, the alleyway has been closed to cars, and has begun the process of redefining the current nature of the campus.

In terms of residential options, there are a few ideas in the works that will include a dormitory for around 150 students, but this has yet to be set in stone. The college will probably not see this for another year.

As for the summer class schedule, this has been changed from a block and quarter system to a semester filled with four block classes. Examples of these classes are: Public Art-Mural Painting, Expeditionary Sailing, Surfing & Oceanographic Principles of Wave Dynamics, Aboriginal Living Skills, Jungian Studies…. Moreover, there will still be classes that take up most or the entire summer, which include: South America – Land of Contrasts, Maasailand – A Study in Community Activism, Sustainable Nepal, Studies in Alaska, Ecological Design at the ECOSA Institute….

In essence, our world is constantly changing, and if we are going to be active in our environment we must move with the belief that our life does not belong to us, it belongs to our dreams.

Peace be the journey


If you ever think you are too small to make a difference, you have never slept with a mosquito in the room.
                                                                                                                -African Proverb
Well, the semester is coming to a close and I feel pretty good about all that I've accomplished academically, personally, and politically.  I made the decision to get a double competence in Psychology and Cultural and Regional Studies and wrote two independent studies for the summer.

Some highlights from this spring:
This is my partner in crime.  We started a feminist zine last semester and my sister did the cover art for our most recent cool!

I organized a lot with my class, PERC.  We did "Coffee Talk" (free coffee, breakfast, and news publications every Tuesday morning), Game Night, workshops on health, addiction & recovery, how to graduate, time management, etc.  This flyer I made was for a textiles-themed get-together.  Laurie Silver is actually the Dean of Student Life here at the College.  Not only did she teach me how to knit, she also didn't mind my totally ridiculous pun.  I love going to a small school!

I have been developing a workshop on the three waves of feminism (and all contemporary feminisms) and their differing perspectives on pop culture.  This semester I held it for freeskool a few times, at some mini-WEB conferences (Women's Empowerment Breakthrough - Sydnie volunteers with them too...amazing organization that is very active and holds an annual three day conference up at Mingus Mountain for local teenage girls), the Praxis Youth Action Conference (my friend's senior project, it was amazing, Rebel Diaz came and did the keynote and an incredible performance), and the Nonviolence Skillshare (sponsored by the Peace and Justice Center).  I basically talk foundational feminist history and theory and then the group and I collaboratively deconstruct videos like Lady Gaga & Beyonce's "Telephone" or Jamie Foxx's "Blame It".  We discuss things like mind pollution, sexuality's relationship to political power,  art, and bell hooks.

I took a course called "Dreamwork" for block, then "Family Systems Theory", "Peer Education Practicum", and an independent study on Carl Jung, "Jungian Depth Psychology".  All of these classes were absolutely incredible.

We did a silly April Fools joke for this month's freeskool...Normally the Catalyst logo occupies the back inside cover:

It's been a wonderful semester.  And now...
I'll be doing some intensive reading of Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish as well as Madness and Civilization for my independent studies.

Don't let my degree fool you...this summer I will be reading Foucault in my hiking boots, adventuring in Colorado and the southwest. 
your student admissions counselor,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Peace and Justice Center

     It started out as an assignment for my Social Movements class—to volunteer my time with a social justice group in Prescott that I hadn’t yet participated in. The Peace and Justice Center seemed like a perfect choice for me, having had taken multiple classes in Peace Studies at Prescott College. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did—it wasn’t that I didn’t care about social justice or the objectives of the Peace and Justice Center(PJC), I was just crunched for time. I was taking a full course load, dividing my time up between work, classes, groups I currently volunteered with, and extracurricular obligations. I didn’t feel I had the time to tack on another obligation. I was looking at this as a chore, and not a golden opportunity to be more involved with my own experiences at Prescott College.
     The first meeting of the semester was what really began to change things. I began to understand what the PJC was really about. We weren’t sitting around talking about issues and the way things should be in our community…we were pitching ideas about speakers, workshops, film screenings, and other events to bring to Prescott College. We were focusing our efforts on collaborating with other on-campus groups to educate our community and CREATE CHANGE within the town of Prescott, the state of Arizona, the United States, and the World.

     And that’s when I realized it for certain: Prescott College is an activist’s dream school. Here we have the ability to step forward out of the crowd and work together to take action and create change. More often than not, students can be afraid to come forth with their beliefs and let their colors shine. But here we receive so much support that failing to come forward with new projects and ideas can be scarier than actually implementing them. The Peace and Justice Center offers students and community members a space to be heard—to pitch ideas for events, to share grievances and create a dialogue about how we can manifest solutions to current issues about human rights, border justice, environmental problems, and the like.


***Our most recent efforts have been focused on putting together a series of FREE community events exploring the true costs of “Free Trade” and how it affects food sustainability, environmental, economic, and social justice issues on a national and worldwide scale. On Monday, April 26th, Director Aaron Woolf will be arriving at Prescott College to screen his award winning documentaries “King Corn” and “Big River”. Following the screening he will conduct a discussion about food sustainability and the pressures of government subsidized mono-cropping in the United States. The following afternoon, April 27th, Borderlinks will present a workshop about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Following a skit and discussion, Borderlinks will explore the profound implications NAFTA has on the environment, global politics, economical, and human rights issues, as well as the way it affects our everyday lives and the world around us. Come join us for an informational discussion about “Free Trade” and the ways in which each individual can help solve these issues in our country, and the world. ***

Monday, April 12, 2010

What serves me?

It is commonly touted around Prescott College that if someone has enough passion and commitment, then just about any project can be implemented, supported, and activated; weaving baskets underwater to support an indigenous tribe in Sumatra; building bicycles out of old fish tanks; attempting to understand why a house fly goes backward before it goes forward when leaving a surface. We have so much support here that at times it becomes overwhelming when we notice what is possible and who believes in us enough to succeed.
I believe that rarely do we know how strong we actually are. How often do we test our boundaries in doing what we are afraid of?
After eating the first course from my March 2nd blog, I must remember to slow down and relax a little. It can be easy to see a pie and want to devour the entirety of it, especially when it is my favorite flavor - passion.
For there are many activities, workshops, and events that take place here at PC. Most recently there was a world music event last week named Porengue, it is of Brazilian, Middle-Eastern, and African influences, with sound healing didgeridoos; my calves still hurt from dancing so much. Then yesterday, I went to a grant writing workshop held by a women named Susan, who is the CEO of a Non-Profit in New York, and also the mom of a friend of mine here at the college. Today, Susan and I met for lunch and she gave me a more intense breakdown of how to write grants, and what it actually means to start a Non-Profit
Moreover, I am now part of a project called PERC, which stands for the Peer Education and Resource Center. One of PERC’s missions is empowering people to be resourceful with there current environment. Additionally, PERC is also a counseling center run by current students who, because they are peers, can in some cases relate and build a trust more powerful than a certified therapist could. In effect, this is also a practicum filled with three classes spread out over the next year, which focuses on counseling, community education events, student advocacy, leadership, and support.
Essentially, there is more to do here than anyone has time for, but when we ask the question, ‘What serves me?’ we may find an answer that moves with our personal truth.
To quote Rilke:
...I would like to beg you, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to live the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

1st Annual Super Happy Fun Land Story Time Fest at PC

I recently discovered the beauty of school funded events here at Prescott College. Growing up in Phoenix meant that hardcore and metal shows were never in short supply. Living in a small town like Prescott however, is a completely different story. It's hard to keep a constant stream of bands coming through with a limited amount of venues and funding to keep the the gas tanks and stomachs of the touring artists full. Fortunately for us, PC has a community center that students can host free events at, as well as a student union board that will fund up to $500 for an artist to come and play at the school. Upon discovering this I immediately tried to get a free show going, since I could pay the bands and get the venue for free, figuring that would make for the best turnout and give the bands the most exposure. After many attempts to get big name acts on the bill, I decided on making it a $5 show that we could book a touring band. Now we have Jet Black Horror coming out from California, as well as local giants like The Baby Lottery, Move Forward, and High Tides Sink Vessels. The level of anticipation for a show here that's NOT folk/bluegrass or some sort of jazz-fusion mix is pretty high, so I'm really looking forward to the energy that's going to be released for this show. There's going to be some good dancing, moshing, stage dives, and sing alongs. I wonder how many people are going to see this kind of spectacle for the first time? The show happens to fall on a preview weekend so there's a large possibility that a lot of the same people that come for that will come for the show. If they've never been exposed to this style of music before, will they think that we're a school of deranged metal heads and hardcore punks? I really hope so. Maybe it will attract more kindred spirits to PC, and people will realize that this isn't a hippie school. Maybe... I'm a dreamer.

Patrick Jones