13 April 2012
One might typically hear a commotion at the Service Programs Office; it is the sound of the crew, working relentlessly - brains smoldering, limbs flailing. We work constantly. And we love our jobs.
Service is a third of the Triad. Everyone knows this, but comparatively fewer people understand why service is important beyond a requirement for graduation. There’s more to it than that, and I’d like to help illustrate that point.
I’d bet that most students are unaware that the Service Program has a blog (I didn’t even know at first). Well, we do, and it is currently under heavy renovation. I need the help of Warren Wilson students, staff, and faculty to bring it to life. The blog will provide a space for folks to share their experiences in service, from total failures to absolute successes (and everything in between). The blog will additionally contain updates on crewmembers and resources for finding service opportunities.
This chunk of the Triad is constantly changing. I hope that a fancy new blog, along with your involvement, can help us all to better understand and interpret the Service Program. Let’s at least create a fun website to reflect and shed light on service, that elusive, misunderstood third of our school’s operating system.
For more information on the blog, or if you’d like to submit something, feel free to contact Collin Hoban at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Warren Wilson Service at 11:18 AM
12 September 2011
Service Day at Warren Wilson allowed me to not only connect to my new place in North Carolina, a few hours from my native Kentucky, but also to the strangers I now call my friends. What makes a college experience memorable is not just what you learn in a classroom, but also the connections, that’s what makes a new place feel like home. There is a bond that is formed through work that is unlike any other kind of relationship.
I volunteered, along with my First Year Seminar peers, at the Black Mountain Community Garden. I was thrilled when our teacher said we would be returning to the garden throughout the semester. In the past, I have volunteered for a day, never to see what happens to the new place where I have committed a small portion of my time. We have visited the site again with my class and it was amazing to see even the smallest changes. The compost had piled up a little higher, some tomatoes on a private plot had been picked and enjoyed, and the constant movement felt only in a garden made me stop to soak in my surroundings. There is no other place where life seems to envelop you, almost reminding you that you are a part of the system too, that you belong there.
I was responsible for building compost piles and weeding an area designated for an educational herb garden for endangered plants specific to Western North Carolina. It was incredible to see what we could do as a class in just one day of work. The makeup worn on the faces of women, for first impressions, was long gone as everyone tied back their hair and got down and played in the dirt. (There’s nothing better!) I learned how to build compost piles, a task new to me. It was powerful to see the contrasts in the garden between the dead and the living. The compost is necessary in making new life grow, even though too many of us simply throw it away and claim it is useless.
Weeding the herb garden, however, was the most powerful part of my experience. We were introduced to the space as we were led down a path beside an overgrown mess of weeds. We were to turn this into a garden for herbs to someday flourish in their natural environment, untouched. The herbs will take several years to flower, meaning if they do not have time to grow and develop they could die and not reproduce. A team of about 4 or 5 students cleared the area in about an hour. We mixed compost and manure into the untouched soil, providing a healthy growing environment for the herbs. After just one day, we created an ideal living environment for the herbs, educating visitors to the garden. I could tell that everyone involved shared the feelings I felt that day. They respected what we had done, the place we had worked, and most importantly, one another.
During my experience, there were more than 25 other groups serving in different places around the Black Mountain area. Some worked at elementary schools, other gardens, food banks, and veterans quarters, just to name a few. As a new student of Warren Wilson, I can already feel myself becoming a part of the surroundings, and I feel like serving this community is the only way to truly feel at home. When we make the choice to continue our education, we are able to choose our home for the first time in our lives. It is not simply the place where we were born or where our parents settled down. It is a place where our contribution is an integral part of the system. Our service includes anyone in need of a helping hand, and also plants a seed, in more ways than one, in the minds of students like myself.
Posted by Warren Wilson Service at 3:50 PM