An Update from the Global Issues and Peace Studies Classes
Hey everyone---I thought I would share this letter that I sent out to the parents last week, in case you are interested in how things have been going around here!It has been an absolute whirlwind of a month, with wilderness and then two weeks in the classroom, and then taking our learning out into the world again with the Food Intensive. Now, we are in our second week of class post-Food Intensive, which means we are getting ready for yet another experiential learning adventure: The Service Week.The Service Week is specifically part of the Peace Studies class. So far in that program, we have examined the multiple meanings of peace and what it means to be working towards a culture of peace. We are just now getting into different perspectives of violence and the root causes of violence. Part of that unit is studying the idea of poverty as a form of structural violence. Our service work is an opportunity to volunteer to help lessen the negative effects of poverty and also to compare and contrast the ideas of volunteerism and activism. We will be working at the local Food Bank warehouse and also a Food Bank Farm that puts fresh produce directly into the bags that they distribute to people in need. They are both wonderful projects and it should be a lot of fun!In Global Issues we are finishing our first unit, which is an overview of the major challenges facing the world today with an emphasis on the idea that we are at a crossroads in human history. The concept is that we can choose to continue on with “business as usual” and allow for these crises to worsen or we can see the work of turning it around as our “calling” and find a way to use what we love to do to create better, stronger, more just and sustainable systems. There have been some heavy global conflicts presented to the class and so part of the curriculum is also about paying careful attention to what we are feeling when we learn about such sad topics. We are talking a lot about using those "negative" feelings such as grief, outrage, and guilt as indicators of interconnectedness, empathy, and power to make a change. It is a tricky line to walk, but we are in it together.Final projects for my two classes are coming along with students in the research phase for both. They have come up with some intriguing and inspiring ideas for their Peace Documentaries, including the following topics:
- · Sierra Roots: A local initiative with the goal to create an eco-village for homeless vets
- · Issues facing homeless youth
- · The negative consequences of drug abuse for family relationships
- · Obama’s new immigration act offering temporary visas for undocumented youthIn Global Issues project class, the students are researching different types of nonviolent activism that they will be presenting upon in two weeks.Did I mention that we are busy?! And these are just MY classes!As always, there are ups and downs, challenges and successes and everything in between. The group is forming well outside of the classroom, too. It is clear that some life-long friendships are getting a great start!I wanted to remind everyone that on the front page of the Woolman site (http://semester.woolman.org), you can also check out upcoming events! For example, right now you can see that we have some fantastic guest speakers coming in to share their experiences and lead workshops on issues like power and oppression, Palestinian rights, and art activism.Finally, if any of you are on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/woolmansemester , we submit little stories as updates nearly every day and post a lot of pictures there, too.If you aren’t into the Facebook (I can’t blame you!), I have attached some of my favorite photos from the Peace Rally that our class hosted for the International Day of Peace, the Harvest Work Day, and one of the artistic responses to learning about Modern Day Slavery.Thanks so much for all of your support!Hope you are enjoying a lovely start to Fall!En paz,Emily
Ellie's Artistic Response to Modern Day Slavery
See the rest on our Facebook page!