Community Engagement Through the Arts

Lesley Goodaker

In spite of Transylvania’s longstanding place in the heart of Lexington, it is only within recent years that the greater Lexington area and members of Transylvania’s community have had a more interactive relationship. Recent years have seen the creation of paper lanterns hung in a local park, temporary murals displayed in local establishments, birdhouses distributed throughout out nearby neighborhoods, and marketing efforts with local non-profit organizations. As a Writing, Rhetoric, and Communication (WRC) student, I have had the privilege of being involved with two courses which have worked alongside community partners.

Community Engagement muralA mural created through community engagement

My first efforts that took me outside of the Transy Bubble were a part of my Digital Rhetoric course. The course, taught by second year professor Dr. Kerri Hauman, unveiled the manner through which digital tools are influencing our understandings of rhetorical conventions and principles. Accordingly, we utilized a number of digital tools including audio recorders, camcorders, and online sites to create variosu pieces of work throughout the semester. In taking our studies a step further and outside of The Bubble, Dr. Hauman organized for our class of six (in conjunction with another WRC course)to work alongside of a local physical rehabilitation facility to create digital propaganda. My group was assigned to the facility’s Adaptive Recreation program. In doing so, we were given the opportunity to act as professionals in the work force. We were responsible for meeting with member’s on staff at the facility to determine what they were looking for in terms of final projects as well as organizing everything in between from interviews to filming. At the end of the term, our final was to present our projects to staff members at the facility.

Another project I was involved with was a part of the Writing for/with Non-profits course offered during May Term. The course, co-taught by Drs Kerri Hauman and Scott Whiddon, allowed for students to partner with members of the Lexington Community Action Council to again, produce viable propaganda for the organizations we worked with. Throughout the process, students worked within small groups to determine what would best suit each Community partner and serve them well in the years to come. While both professors offered their full assistance when needed, they ensured that their presence maintained a distance so that students felt secure and confident in the final works produced. Students were offered a sense of autonomy which many had never before been afforded in an academic setting.

Overall, both courses proved extremely rewarding. In terms of academics, I learned a great deal about rhetorical conventions and principles; however, in terms of practicality, I learned so much more. I learned how to work in a professional environment with members outside of the Transylvania community. Alongside my group mates, I worked to create finalized products which are ready to take their places in my digital portfolio. Most importantly, I learned to apply what I have been taught within each of my classes in a practical, real-world sense, and that alone, has been well worth the effort. No matter the class or professor, at Transylvania, students are continually encouraged to engage with the community around them using what they have learned in their classes. In this way, Transylvania students are leaps and bounds ahead of students on many other campuses who have been confined to the four walls of their classrooms.

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Keeping in Touch

Justine Yentsch

As you’re heading off to college, you’re hit with a barrage of advice from relatives, teachers, and older friends, but one of the most important pieces of advice you should remember is to try to keep in contact with people back home as much as possible. It makes the transition from high school to college much easier, and it’s always better to combat homesickness before it even starts. Sure, if you go home during breaks you’ll get to see everyone, but there’s something very therapeutic about calling/skype-ing with your best friend or convincing your family to put your pet in front of the webcam.

College lets you meet tons of new people, and with about 1,100 students at Transy, you’re bound to find many people who share your interests and make you laugh. However, it’s nice to have a support system coming from back home, so you can tell someone (and brag) about all your new experiences and adventures. I’m not telling you to start up scrapbooking (sorry mom, I haven’t taken your advice to make one), but I’ve made sure to take a lot of pictures and posting a lot to Facebook so my parents that I’m not just hiding in my dorm all the time. You can keep framed pictures of friends, family, and pets around your dorm, and some people make murals on their walls of their favorite photos.

Another thing that I’ve recently discovered is how exciting it is to give and receive letters. Continue reading

Calling All the Alumni!

Rachel Morgan

“Hi, my name is Rachel, and I’m a student calling from Transylvania University. How are you this evening?”

If you had asked me four years ago if I’d ever get a job that was solely based around talking to people, I probably would have laughed at the idea. I love words and writing is a passion, but I tend to get nervous when I talk in front of people. I have a classic case of fear of public speaking. I myself never imagined getting such a job, where my voice would possibly influence people.

Yet, when I saw the ‘NOW HIRING’ sign for the Transylvania Phonathon, something in me said to go for it.

The Transy Phonathon works all year, from October through May Term. It’s a team of students, working with the Alumni and Development Office, who gets in contact with alumni and graduates and their family members. We talk about ongoing events on campus, discuss how things have grown and changed, and also discuss the Annual Fund. This fund supports scholarships all across campus, allowing more students to attend – and experience – Transylvania University. Continue reading

Losing a Son; Gaining a Community

margaretstephens

When we drove into Back Circle my son’s freshman fall at Transy with a car full of clothes, extra-long twin sheets, allergy air purifier and various tubs of snacks and toiletries, I expected to spend most of that sultry August afternoon hefting boxes up dorm stairs.

Instead, we’d barely parked before we were surrounded by a crew of smiling Transy students who unloaded everything for us. I carried in my son’s swim bag, but more from sentiment than any real need. His RA greeted us before we got the bed made. A far cry from moving my eldest into his hotel-massive dorm at our state university where we were just one more family moving in one more student in a long, anonymous line of families hoping for an empty elevator.

But everything about Tommy’s experience with Transy by then had surprised us, from the one-on-one lunch he’d had with the swim coach back when he was considering applying, to the handwritten postcards from swimmers and other students which regularly appeared in our mailbox over the summer. Oh, and there were the phone calls from alumni living in our area, some five hours from Lexington, offering to share information and experiences if he wanted. Not pressuring, just offering. Continue reading

Wrapping It Up…

rachel johnson

As I looked around my room, I saw bare walls, empty desks and closets, the few bags that carry the absolute essentials, and the moving boxes, all the glass items wrapped in newspaper laying on the top. My inner English major couldn’t help but notice the significance in “wrapping up.” The boxes in front of me represented the entirety of my freshman year here at Transy.

I started from the bottom up, reflecting on each significant time frame that I experienced this year. The largest and most sturdy items were at the bottom of my box: coffee pot, miscellaneous containers, etc. These things were the foundation that held everything up for the trip home. August Term was the first definable experience I had at Transy, and that was beginning of the infrastructure that is the next three years at Transy. It was the thing that “set up” the rest of my experience as a freshman student. Continue reading

Perks of a Team-Taught Course

emilymartin

You’ve already read about some of the cool events that Transy has during our unique May term (for a quick explanation, check out Rachel’s post here). And as I’ve already mentioned, my class this May traveled to London! More on this later, with lots of pictures, I promise.

Another benefit of May term classes is that many of them are team-taught, which means you have more than one professor. Now, at first that could sound like a nightmare. Pleasing one teacher is challenging enough, right — why would you want to work with two? In reality, though, team-taught classes are awesome, and it’s really not more work or higher expectations than a class with just one professor.

In a team-taught course, the professors work together to design a unique class. Often, it’s an elective that isn’t offered regularly, or is time-specific like the “Rhetoric of the 2012 Presidential Election” class that was taught by two WRC professors last May. Continue reading

Hello, May Term!

brittany fallen

The Holi Festival!

The Holi Festival!

May Term is like semester condensed into one month. However, you only have one class to focus on! It lasts two hours but usually flies by each day! There are also a lot of fun activities and events that go on during this time.

Last May, the Student Activities Board (SAB) hosted the Holi Festival for the first time. One of my fellow board members simply came in and said he had an idea of an event he’d like to try. After hearing his description of it, we couldn’t pass it up!

The Holi Festival of Colors is primarily celebrated in India.The festival has many purposes. It celebrates the beginning of the new season, spring (this is a great way to say goodbye to winter). It also has a religious purpose, commemorating events present in Hindu mythology. Mostly, it is used to express unity and was a way for all of us pioneers to connect with one another! So, you’re probably wondering, “What do you do at a Holi Festival?” Continue reading