Student Experience Just another IU News Blogs site Thu, 09 Mar 2017 18:26:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 IU’s Books and Beyond program expanding to provide more opportunities to children in Rwanda Tue, 07 Mar 2017 20:41:43 +0000 Post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Bailey Briscoe and April Toler:

Earlier this month, fourth- and fifth-graders at Bloomington’s Harmony School gathered in a circle on the floor, their excitement apparent by their grinning faces and giddy chatter. The kids were settling in for a visit from Indiana University students in the Books and Beyond program, which connects students from local Bloomington schools with students in Kinigi, Rwanda, through books.

Lillie Hartman

IU student Lillie Hartman reads the “The World Is Our Home,” to Harmony School students as part of Books and Beyond. Photo by IU Communications

One-by-one, Harmony students received a new copy of the textbook “The World Is Our Home,” which includes short stories on the topic of friendship, created by students at Harmony, The Project School and at the Kabwende Primary School in Rwanda. The yearly anthology is meant to introduce a cultural dialogue, so the stories are created by the students based off their everyday lives.

“We teach a lot about social action in the classroom,” said Lana Beck-Cruce, the third and fourth grade teacher at Bloomington’s Harmony School. “This program helps them learn about the world and their place in it. My students are so excited when they receive the finished books. They immediately start flipping through the pages, reading the stories the other children wrote and looking for their own stories. This process has really inspired them to think of ways they can give back.”

This is the 9th year that members of Books and Beyond have created and delivered the books. Students in Rwanda will receive their copy this summer.

Envisioned by alumna Nancy Uslan and founded by Global Village Assistant Director Lauren Caldarera, Books and Beyond not only provides much-needed books to Rwandan students. It also creates a cultural exchange between both countries and fosters critical-thinking skills for IU students serving as authors, illustrators and publishers. Originally a partnership with students in New Jersey, the program now works with two Bloomington schools — Harmony School and The Project School.

To date, IU students have delivered 16,000 books and have expanded the program. Students now conduct development training for teachers at the Kabwende Primary School and have created a three-week holiday camp for all students at the school that focuses on English literary skills, reading, writing and English conversation skills.

A volunteer teaches in Rwanda as part of the Books and Beyond program.

IU student Ashley Wilson teaches a Readers Theater class as part of the Books and Beyond program. Photo provided by Vera Marinova.

Program volunteers are in the process of constructing the first library at the school and are partnering with Play 360 to build a playground. In the past, organizers have also provided backpacks to students and are working on securing soccer balls and potentially eye glasses for the students and bikes for teachers to travel back and forth to school.

The program has also expanded beyond students living in IU’s Global Village Living-Learning Center to any IU students interested in volunteering.

The program is receiving recognition outside the university. Later this month, Books and Beyond will receive the 2017 Best Practices in International Education Global Partnership Award from the National Association for Student Personnel Administrator International Education Knowledge Community.

“As valuable as it is, we are no longer just putting books in each child’s hand,” said Vera Marinova, assistant director of IU’s Global Village Living-Learning Center. “We are now creating libraries, providing teachers with the tools they need to use these books, building educational tile-walls, playgrounds, and so much more. This program just continues to grow and to give back in really profound ways.”

Not only does the program provided learning materials for students, it also provides an opportunity for IU students to act as mentors for grade-school children both in the U.S. and Rwanda during the writing process. This involves hosting writing workshops, conducting brainstorming sessions and packaging the final product. The IU students travel to Rwanda each summer to facilitate an educational summer camp. Students enroll in an eight-week course before travel to learn more about the country and prepare for the trip.

Students also raise all of the funds needed to print the books and travel to Rwanda.

Lillie Hartman in Rwanda

Hartman interacts with children during a past trip to Rwanda. Photo provided by Lillie Hartman

Lillie Hartman, a sophomore elementary education major in IU’s School of Education, is one of the eight IU students who traveled to Rwanda over the summer. Hartman learned about the program when she was a freshman living in the Global Village Living-Learning Center in Foster Residence Center, and she traveled to Rwanda after her freshman year.

During her trip to Rwanda, she taught the readers’ theater class, in which she instructed the children on how to act out one of the American stories.

“It was such an eye-opening experience and confirmed what I want to do after college,” she said. “The trip really inspired me to get more involved with the program, and I’ve found something that combines everything I love: working with kids, education and Africa.”

For Martha Midkiff, the chance to travel to Africa first sparked her interest in the program, but it was her experiences there that inspired her to become a dedicated mentor with Books and Beyond. Now a senior studying political science and international studies with a minor in African studies, Midkiff spent the summer of 2015 in Rwanda.

“I knew I had to join the program as soon as I got back,” she said.

Now Midkiff is the program’s student director and has even traveled back to the school in Rwanda on her own to visit.

For both Hartman and Midkiff, their experiences with Books and Beyond have opened their eyes to further career opportunities in the nonprofit world that they wouldn’t have known they were interested in otherwise.

Martha Midkiff teaches students

Martha Midkiff teaching students on her first trip to Rwanda. Photo provided by Vera Marinova

“I learned that I care a lot about education,” Midkiff said. “I’ve always thought about becoming an educator, but now I know I want to incorporate it into a future career. I hope to work with organizations that help with improving international education, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Additionally, it instilled in them an appreciation for their own education.

“The kids in Rwanda were so excited to be going to an educational camp, which isn’t something you would necessarily expect to see in America,” Hartman said.

“I don’t have to think about how I’m getting to school or if my school has enough resources, like paper or books to go around,” Midkiff added. “These are luxuries we have here, but Rwanda doesn’t have that ease. I think it’s important as a person of the world to help out and ensure people have an equal opportunity, especially for education.”

Information on how to volunteer or donate to Books and Beyond is available online.

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Service-learning class connects students to Bloomington’s homeless population through storytelling Wed, 01 Mar 2017 13:32:03 +0000 Post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Laura Ellsworth:

A Spring 2016 intensive writing course titled “The Rhetoric of Home and Citizenship” turned into more than an academic learning experience for IU instructor Laura Clapper and her students. Their work became the focus of the documentary “Like You, I Have a Story to Tell,” created as a partnership between Gudaitis Productions, Shalom Community Center and Clapper’s course.

The course, which was supported by an information-literacy grant from IU Libraries, not only resulted in the documentary, but allowed Clapper and her students to work with library staff to archive the stories they told and the research projects the students created.

The Monroe County Public Library will screen “Like You, I Have a Story to Tell” at 5 p.m. March 2. Following the screening, the documentary will be posted on Shalom Community Center’s website.

Image from "Like You, I Have a Story to Tell."

A participant in “Like You, I Have a Story to Tell.” Photo courtesy of Crawford Homes.

This was Clapper’s first experience teaching a service-learning course. The idea came from a conversation between Shalom Community Center assistant director Danielle Sorden and IU’s Service-Learning Program, when Sorden communicated that the residents of Crawford Homes were hoping to share their life stories with the community. Crawford Homes is a program through Shalom Community Center that works to provide supportive housing to chronically homeless and disabled individuals.

The life-writing possibilities of this partnership were enticing to Clapper, who had finished a teaching service-learning internship and was looking to create a service-learning course when she heard about Crawford Homes reaching out to IU.

“My biggest concern when I was planning this service-learning class was co-creating a course that would be meaningful to the community and to students,” said Clapper.

Meaning from the course certainly came to junior Katie Thierwechter, who started out taking the class simply to fill a requirement.

“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” the journalism student said.

Thierwechter herself was drawn to the course topic, having worked on a Tumblr page called “Humans of Bloomington” for a previous class within her major, but Clapper’s course wasn’t quite what she expected.

“Laura was so excited and laid it all on us on the first day,” said Thierwechter. “It was the hardest class I’ve ever taken.”

Students began by researching homelessness, reading and analyzing sources to prepare for being paired up with participating individuals connected to the course through the Shalom Community Center.

In addition to their studies, students each volunteered for nine hours during the semester at the Interfaith Emergency Winter Shelter in Bloomington.  Students helped oversee nighttime operations at the shelter during 3 hour shifts as a part of service immersion.

Once the research was complete and the volunteering in full swing, students were paired with formerly homeless individuals to help tell their stories – stories that are now featured in “Like You, I Have a Story to Tell.”

The half-hour documentary premiered at Shalom Community Center last month. It shows the entire storytelling process, from students meeting their partners to small group meetings to the final project.

Thierwechter was paired with a man named Jeremy, and she was surprised by his honesty.

“Jeremy was able to be really real about the homeless population,” said Thierwechter. “People react differently to events in their life, and sometimes these reactions lead to traumatic periods of time.”

Thierwechter learned from Jeremy about his 10-year experience with homelessness and alcoholism after the death of a loved one. Jeremy has since made positive changes in his life and has been granted custody of his children.

“They mean the world to him and the way he spoke about them, we could tell they were his life,” Thierwechter said of Jeremy’s relationship with his family. “For someone to give up their addiction for someone they love and care about, that’s pretty special and says a lot about the person in general.”

“This is my favorite class I’ve ever taken and I hope they offer it to other people,” Thierwechter said.

Thierwechter also said that it was important for her and her fellow students to use their visibility as students to help tell these stories.

“I think this makes a difference,” Thierwechter said. “Some people choose not to hear some things. Other perspectives are important.”

IU’s College of Arts and Sciences offers service-learning with the intention of promoting socially responsible citizenry, and Thierwechter’s individual takeaway from the class is evidence that community service immersion can make an impact.

“I really want to do something with a nonprofit – maybe working with homeless people. When I’m a senior, I want to do some extra volunteering because it allowed me to connect with people,” Thierwecheter said. “I learned I’m really lucky.”

Danielle Sorden said that Crawford Homes treasures the opportunities to work with service-learning students from IU.

“Our residents have had chances to engage in activities that would not have been possible without the creativity and work of IU students,” Sorden said.

Sorden quoted the late TV children’s program host Fred Rogers to explain how the documentary can teach the public: “Frankly, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.”

More information about Crawford Homes can be found online.

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IU Contemporary Dance students share experiences, performance with Focus Dance Group Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:21:44 +0000 Post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Laura Ellsworth:

The dance studio in the School of Public Health building looks ordinary and multi-purpose — padded floors, mirrors along one wall and various chairs scattered to the side. But the angles of the normal dance studio scenery draw a sharp contrast to the students moving fluidly back and forth, among and with each other.

IU students and Focus Dance Group students rehearse.

Dancers from the IU Contemporary Dance Program and Focus Dance Group rehearse. Photo by IU Communications

This is no ordinary dance rehearsal. This week, the 22 students of Focus Dance Group from Taipei National University of the Arts have been rehearsing and collaborating with IU contemporary dance students in preparation for their joint performance Friday, Feb. 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. This performance is part of the IU Arts and Humanities Council’s “China Remixed” festival.

Sydney Sizemore, a senior contemporary dance major, served as a guide for a visiting student from Focus Dance Group in the week leading up to their performance. As a part of the visit, students from both schools have been collaborating on a performance piece to add to their individual pieces.

“They’re really talented and intelligent dancers,” Sizemore said of the visiting students. “They know a lot and remember a lot and are intuitive in their dancing.”

Sizemore said students have been breaking into small groups to improvise and collaborate, then coming back together to teach each other their creations, though there has been a language barrier. She added that, despite speaking different languages, they did manage to find common ground in talking about Beyoncé and Ariana Grande.

“Talking about dance is sometimes easier to do through movement than through words,” Sizemore said.

Sydney Sizemore dancing with a Focus Dance Group student

IU senior Sydney Sizemore, right, shares a laugh with a partner from the Focus Dance Group. Photo by IU Communications

“Dance is truly a way of communicating that supersedes language,” added Liz Shea, director of contemporary dance at IU. “Watching the students who are working on the collaboration project has been particularly rewarding – they are really getting to know each other, and ask each other questions about their lives.”

In addition to rehearsing and collaborating during the week, both IU students and Taiwanese students participated in technique classes, trading teachers to get to learn from the expertise of different instructors.

One such class was an Argentine Tango workshop led by Bloomington tango instructor Thuy Bogart. Argentine Tango combo band “Cuarteto Tanguero” provided live music as students learned the basics of tango with a partner from their opposite school.

Sizemore also had the chance to participate in a contemporary dance technique class taught by Mei-Rong Yang, the director of Focus Dance Group, and she was surprised by the similarities between what she learned from Yang and what she’d been taught by IU professors.

IU students and Focus Dance Group students learn Argentine Tango

IU students and dancers from the Focus Dance Group take part in an Argentine Tango class. Photo by IU Communications

“Dance is kind of its own culture,” Sizemore said. “When you walk into a studio in Italy or Taiwan or even here, there’s the same rules and respect for not only the teacher but the other students.”

Sizemore is in the process of auditioning for performance jobs following her graduation from IU, but she says that the experience learning from and with others different from her is lasting.

“If you don’t know how other people live, there’s a certain ignorance that you don’t mean to have just because you don’t know,” Sizemore said. “It’s just a realization that people live differently than you, but are still a part of the dance community.”

“This has been an extraordinary experience,” said Shea, “so great for both groups of students to realize they have more in common than they do differences.”

Tickets for the combined performance are still available at the Buskirk-Chumley box office and online. More information about other performances, lectures and exhibits offered as a part of “China Remixed” can be found via the Arts and Humanities Council website.

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Students helping Crimson Cupboard continue to expand its goal of ending food insecurity Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:21:10 +0000 It has been a little over a year since the Crimson Cupboard food pantry opened on the IU Bloomington campus.

Erika Wheeler

Erika Wheeler became executive director of Crimson Cupboard in 2016. Photo by IU Communications

Since that time, Mercedes Jones, the director who helped make the pantry a reality has graduated and moved on from IU. But students like Erika Wheeler have taken up the charge and expanded the pantry to further address the issue of food insecurity both on campus and in the community.

“The reason I chose community health as my major is because of my interest in increasing food security,” said Wheeler, a senior in the School of Public Health-Bloomington and the executive director of Crimson Cupboard. “I believe food is a basic right, and there are far too many people going without it, needlessly. That is why Crimson Cupboard is so important to me and this campus.”

Wheeler has been a volunteer for the cupboard since its founding, previously working as the donations coordinator. Having experienced food insecurity after graduating from high school, and turning to a local pantry for help, Wheeler has worked as an advocate for the issue ever since.

Since taking over as executive director in May 2016, Wheeler turned her focus to sustaining enough donations to keep the pantry operating. She teamed with the Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard to become a member agency of the Hoosier Hills Food Pantry.

That partnership allowed the pantry to purchase supplies at a reduced price and to expand its clientele from the IU community to the Bloomington community at large. Wheeler also helped secure a Metz Grant from the IU Student Foundation to further secure the future of the pantry, and she has been working with Hilltop Garden and Nature Center to receive fresh vegetables from the garden.

Originally, the pantry served an average of 42 students per month. That number has greatly increased — from October to December 2016, the pantry helped feed almost 900 people. Wheeler has also increased the number of student volunteers who keep the pantry going.

Through her leadership, the pantry went from four volunteers to 20 active volunteers that includes mostly students, one community member and a few faculty members. The pantry also hosts a monthly Cooking with the Cupboard workshop that provides participants a quick cooking demonstration for easy-to-make meals and the ingredients to make such meals.

Erika Wheeler stocking shelves

Wheeler stocks shelves at Crimson Cupboard. Photo by IU Communications

“Erika has been instrumental in both recruiting additional student volunteers and in expanding the scope of the pantry in terms of its mission, addressing food insecurity, the population served and resources available,” said Sally Jones, the director of IU Student Advocates Office. “I continue to be impressed by the energy, great ideas and enthusiasm of Erika and the student volunteers I meet.”

Wheeler and her staff’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. Last year, Crimson Cupboard received the collaboration award from Student Life and Learning and an honorable mention for new student organization of the year.

As she prepares to graduate in May, Wheeler said that being a part of the pantry has not only allowed her to fulfill her passion for making sure no one goes hungry but has given her purpose as a college student.

“Before getting involved with the Crimson Cupboard, I was just a student,” she said. “The extent of my campus experience was going to and from classes. Since working with the Crimson Cupboard, I have gone from student to student leaderYes, I still have classes to worry about, but my experience is bigger than that now. I feel like I am part of a community, and that I am helping to make that community a better place through my work at the Crimson Cupboard.

More information about Crimson Cupboard, including a schedule, is available online. The pantry also has an upcoming Dine and Donate event at Aver’s East from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 26. The restaurant will donate 20 percent of all profits to the pantry, from customers who mention the Crimson Cupboard while dining.

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IU student discusses her family’s connection to Abraham Lincoln, in honor of his upcoming birthday Tue, 07 Feb 2017 16:01:19 +0000 Post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Bailey Briscoe:

bailey briscoe at lincoln memorial

Bailey Briscoe during a visit to the Lincoln Memorial. Photo courtesy of Bailey Briscoe

Growing up, I always declared Abraham Lincoln as my favorite president. Even though I wasn’t alive to witness his time in office, the pages in the history books that covered slavery and Lincoln’s moves to abolish it were the most intriguing to me as a young girl. I was always moved by the stories of inequality and injustice, as I couldn’t fathom why the world had to be so cruel. This is likely why I approved of Lincoln; I appreciated the diligence with which he promoted freedom and equality.

While I didn’t know this at the time, Lincoln and I share more than an outlook on equality. We also share a family tree.

My grandmother — maiden name Lincoln — and my grandfather descend directly from Josiah Lincoln, Abe’s uncle. My grandfather’s link is to Nancy Lincoln, Josiah’s daughter, and my grandmother’s is to Josiah’s son, Thomas.

This makes Lincoln and me first cousins, six times removed.

My family has always known about my grandmother’s connection to the Lincoln family, due to her last name. But it wasn’t until after my grandfather passed away that we discovered his Lincoln relation, through historians in the area. It makes sense, as Indiana was Lincoln’s “boyhood home,” and my family’s roots run deep in southern Indiana. While Abe himself likely didn’t have much contact with his cousins in Harrison County where my grandparents grew up, historians say Abe’s father moved his family from Kentucky to Spencer County, Ind., after a visit to Josiah’s southern Indiana homestead. Lincoln resided in the state from ages seven to 21, when he moved to Illinois.

Aside from the land my cousins now own that once belonged to Josiah Lincoln — and was likely visited by Abe and his father — my family doesn’t possess any Lincoln heirlooms. But there are plenty of stories.

Just a few weekends ago, my grandmother was telling me about the “Lincoln Disease” — properly known as ataxia, a degenerative nerve condition reportedly first discovered in relatives of Abraham Lincoln. My grandmother can point out close relatives of hers that showed signs of being afflicted, like her Uncle Dicky. She would watch along with her brothers and sisters as he attempted to make the walk down the hill from his house to theirs, struggling along the way. As kids, this gave them a chuckle, but now my grandmother realizes she’s lucky the gene seems to have skipped her and her children.

Then there’s the Lincoln nose. It’s the one physical link my family possesses to Honest Abe. My grandmother has it, and it’s so pronounced that, while standing next to the Lincoln Monument once, a tourist asked her if she was related to Lincoln.

Bailey Briscoe's family

Pictured: Briscoe’s grandfather Wayne and her grandmother Darlene. Photo provided by Bailey Briscoe

I am not alone in declaring Lincoln as my favorite president. He is heralded by many as one of the greatest presidents of the United States. And to honor his upcoming birthday, it is fitting to consider what constitutes his greatness. He transformed the nation by leading the Union to a victory over the Confederacy during the Civil War, and he drafted the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared slaves in the South to be free and paved the way for the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery altogether. But perhaps most important is that he was known for his character, possessing both humility and compassion for others. As Lincoln said himself, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

While my relation to Lincoln is fairly distant, I’m proud to have ties to one of the most popular presidents this country has seen. And, as one of Lincoln’s closest living relatives, I will take part in thanking him and his contributions to our country on his upcoming Feb. 12 birthday.

Happy Birthday, cousin Abe.

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IU freshmen represent Kelley School of Business at national case competition Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:41:20 +0000 Post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Laura Ellsworth:

In his farewell address last Tuesday, President Obama said, “change only happens when ordinary people get involved and they get engaged.”

kelley team

The team representing Kelley in this year’s National Diversity Case Competition: Simone Watts, Dorothy Vincent, Nailah Owens-Johnson and Breana Owens. Photo provided by the Kelley School of Business

Breana Owens and her team are far from ordinary, but they’re certainly getting involved.

The team of four freshman women – Breana Owens, Nailah Owens-Johnson, Dorothy Vincent and Simone Watts – beat other Kelley School of Business students for the chance to represent Indiana University at the National Diversity Case Competition Jan. 13-14, before the Martin Luther King holiday.

Owens, a Louisville, Ky. native majoring in business analytics, finance and management, came across the Kelley School of Business in much the same way many students find their college choices – a thorough Google search.

“I Googled summer camps for business and came across the ‘MEET Kelley’ program. I applied and got in, and that was that,” said Owens.

The “MEET Kelley” summer program focuses on introducing students from historically underrepresented groups to business programs at IU Bloomington. Attendees participate in classes taught by Kelley faculty and collaborate in a case competition. It was at “MEET Kelley” that Breana Owens met her teammate and roommate, Nailah Owens-Johnson.

“Being able to have a group of friends already was really important my first semester,” said Owens.

Owens said she’s always considered studying business, and getting to participate on the IU campus before she graduated high school facilitated her goals. The experiences she had at the pre-college program convinced her that Kelley was the right school for her, from the “passionate” faculty to the career opportunities she would be offered.

Owens is also a part of the William R. Fry Scholars Program through Kelley, which focuses on students from historically underrepresented groups. The Fry Scholars Program is what brought Owens together with her other teammates. Juniors and seniors in the program helped the younger team prepare by offering their help leading up to national competition.

The road to the National Diversity Case Competition included late nights and heavy research for the IU team. The team of four first had to prepare and compete to be the IU Kelley School’s representative before they could begin preparing for the national competition.

“We’re a very strong minded group,” said Owens. “We work together well, but there’s definitely times when we’ve worked until four in the morning and we wish we’d done it earlier.”

In the spirit of diversity and inclusion, this year’s case study asked teams to create a strategy to limit the presence of gender-biased signing throughout Target stores. Owens said she and her team were up early, proud to represent the Kelley School at the national competition. Her team placed second overall.

“It was rewarding that we were all freshman. I was just thinking, ‘wow, we have three more years to do competitions now,’” said Owens.

kelley event

The National Diversity Case Competition includes students from 35 universities. Photo provided by the Kelley School of Business.

This year’s National Diversity Case Competition was the sixth time Kelley has hosted business students, this year from 35 universities around the country. The event included networking events with corporate sponsors, from Target to Xerox.

Owens said that she felt her team had a “home court advantage” in how well prepared they were to not only give their presentation, but to network with business professionals.

According to Kelley School of Business Undergraduate Career Services class demographics, five percent of the 1,675 students registered with the Career Service office are considered to be from a minority group. With programs such as the Fry Scholars Program and the Diversity Case Competition, and partnerships with other programs across campus, Kelley is working to create greater diversity in business.

Owens said promoting diversity is good for sharing ideas. “Diversity is really important because you might have to work with someone who doesn’t look like you or have the same personality as you, because business is global,” said Owens.

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IU expert provides tips for getting on the path to financial success Tue, 10 Jan 2017 17:55:25 +0000 The holiday season has come and gone, but the aftermath of gift giving and social gatherings may leave a major dent in some people’s wallets.

phil schuman

Phil Schuman, IU director of financial literacy. Photo by IU Communications

“If people don’t follow a budget then they do tend to feel the effects of the holidays on their financial lives,” said Phil Schuman, IU director of financial literacy. “The holidays tend to be a tough time to maintain discipline with finances because there are so many added social and emotional pressures that could cause people to dig themselves into a financial hole.”

That can be especially true for college students whose budgets might be tight to begin with. The good news is the new year can be a time to take a hard look at your financial choices and make significant changes to get on the path to financial success.

Schuman has provided a few tips for getting on the right financial track:

  • It’s never too early. Finances play a huge role in our lives, whether student or professional. The decisions you make today could affect the rest of your life. “The number one source of stress is finances,” he said. “If students engage in positive financial decisions while they’re in school, not only will they be less stressed during school, but they increase the likelihood that they will be less stressed after they graduate.”
  • What role does money play in your life? No matter your level of income, Schuman said, everyone should think about what role money plays in your overall life goals. Then develop habits that can help you accomplish those goals.
  • Create a budget and be specific. Budget your fixed/necessary expenses first and set an amount to spend on entertainment, clothes, etc. Try to set aside money for savings, and be specific. Don’t just say “I will save more money this year.” Set specific yet realistic goals and outline ways you will achieve those goals.
  • Be yourself. One of the biggest pitfalls people fall into, especially young people, is trying to keep up with the Joneses. While it can be tempting to rack up credit card debt to keep up with the latest trends, in the end it can lead to financial ruin. “What you need to do to be financially responsible is know what you’re trying to do in your life, understand how finances are going to play a role helping you accomplish it and then make financial decisions that put you in the best decision to help you get there.”
  • Ask for help. Setting up a realistic budget and navigating through retirement plans and the best savings options can be overwhelming. Schuman suggest turning to experts for help. IU’s MoneySmarts team offers financial services to IU students, faculty/staff and alumni.

More information, including ways to schedule an appointment with a MoneySmarts team member, is available on the MoneySmarts website.

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MacDonald Scholarship connects students with community for long-lasting success Mon, 12 Dec 2016 14:10:31 +0000 Photo the MacDonalds Scholars dinner, taken on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016.

Alumnus Scott MacDonald meets with the inaugural MacDonald Scholars during a recent ceremony. Photo by IU Communications

Post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Sheila Raghavendran:

In 1970, IU Bloomington was very different from IU Bloomington today – its population was only 30,368, the building of Assembly Hall wasn’t yet completed and SPEA had yet to be established. But there is one aspect that has remained for some students and families: struggling to pay for college.

IU alumnus Scott MacDonald, who studied political science and graduated in 1970, reached his degree with the help of a small scholarship and student loan. Now, after a long and successful career as CEO of various companies, he said he is dedicated to helping students who are in similar financial situations and who want to better the community.

He founded the MacDonald Scholarship, administered by the Office of Student Life and Learning within the Division of Student Affairs, to help students cover the cost of college while promoting their participation in civic service. Emily Arth, Senior Associate Director of the Office of Scholarships, said she, her team and the SLL staff choose the scholars each year. She said it’s a personalized process in which they comb through students’ application materials, interview top candidates over Skype and then notify the winners.

Along with the gift, the four winners are required to complete 280 community service hours each year for four years.

macdonald scholars dinner

Attendees of the MacDonald Scholars inaugural ceremony sit for dinner. Photo by IU Communications

Already established at Davidson College, MacDonald’s sons’ alma mater, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his own other alma mater, the program is in its inaugural year at IU.

MacDonald, who recently met IU’s four scholars at an inaugural dinner ceremony, said he wanted to give students in financial situations similar to his in college the opportunity to serve the community while reducing the weight of tuition, because “extending a hand … helps create who you are as a person,” he said.

“Everybody wins,” MacDonald said. “The university wins because they have more scholarship money, the student who needs financial aid wins because they get financial aid, and someone out there who is not able to get the government services or the help they need … (can) get help.”

One of the winners, IU freshman and MacDonald Scholar Dan Vargas can be found on a typical Tuesday volunteering at El Centro Comunal Latino. The tutoring and mentoring program housed at the Monroe County Public Library helps Latinos engage with “the English language, community and lifestyle,” he said.

Vargas said volunteering at El Centro Comunal Latino fulfills more than the program’s requirement.

“My grandparents on both sides of the family came to the U.S. from Puerto Rico at the age of 18,” Vargas said. “I know they along with my parents went through hardships that many Latino families still face in today’s day (and) age … Considering some of the people who visit El Centro Comunal might be going through some difficulties in a new environment, I want to be able to help them as someone who can integrate them into the community.”

Freshman and scholar Alice Joson is volunteering at Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard this year in Bloomington, and said her dedication to helping people is spurred by the impact others had on her life after her mom had a severe stroke when Joson was 15.

macdonald scholars

MacDonald Scholars from left to right: Dan Vargas, Connor Randol, Alice Joson and Gillian Mueller. Photo by IU Communications

“She’s still alive today, but definitely not the same,” Joson said. “Recovery is still going on, so I have kind of had to go on my own more while my dad works and everything. Realizing all the tremendous help I received, I think it’s my duty to try to be the best person I can be and provide as much help as I can provide in accordance with what I received.”

Freshman and scholar Gillian Mueller said her involvement with Girl Scouts when she was little helped push her into service, and she continued in high school with groups at her school like National Honor Society and in her community at a meal-packing non-profit. She said it’s an honor to be a MacDonald Scholar not only because she can continue her community service with her agency Hilltop Garden and Nature Center in Bloomington, but because it’s the program’s first year at IU.

“It was really special, especially being the inaugural class here,” Mueller said. “There’s only four of us, so it was competitive. It feels special to be chosen.”

Echoing Mueller’s thoughts, freshman and scholar Connor Randol said the scholarship is unparalleled. He said that he volunteered with service groups, philanthropy groups and mentorships before coming to college, and therefore values the scholarship’s emphasis on engagement.

“More than just the financial stability that it provides, it provides you with the opportunity to get plugged into the community very quickly,” Randol, who is now volunteering at the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health & Technology, said.

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Freshman Gillian Mueller meets with MacDonald at an inaugural dinner ceremony. Photo by IU Communications

SLL Senior Assistant Director of Community Engagement Brandon Shurr, who works closely with the scholars as a supervisor, said this opportunity is crucial to helping them feel connected with and gain insight on the community.

“It’s really great for them to have this experience outside of IU and realize that learning not only happens in the classroom but spills out into the rest of the world as well,” Shurr said.

MacDonald said that he hopes these experiences will continue to grow beyond the 16 endowed scholars the program currently supports – four per year for four years. He said that alumni and friends of IU who contribute to community-service scholarship programs will not only directly benefit students in need of financial aid, but will leave a lasting legacy of people doing good work in their name.

He said that he hopes his legacy is to spur improvement.

“I find it meaningful to have students graduate with less debt and help people,” MacDonald said. “This is my way of trying to make the world a little bit better.”

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‘If it wasn’t for this scholarship, I don’t know that I would be able to go to college’ Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:10:55 +0000 From an early age, a college education was always in Elijah Secrest’s sights.

Elijah Secrest

Elijah Secrest volunteering at a Girls Inc. event as part of 21st Century Volunteer Corps. Photo by IU Communications

“My parents always set high academic standards for us,” said Secrest, a sophomore studying media advertising at The Media School. “They didn’t have a college degree but they always expected us to do better.”

But with five children at home — Secrest has an older brother and is a quadruplet — Secrest’s parents knew that college would be financially difficult. So they encouraged Secrest to become a 21st Century Scholar.

Simply put, Secrest said, the program gave him a chance to make his academic dreams come true.

“If it wasn’t for this scholarship, I don’t know that I would be able to go to college,” he said. “21st Century Scholars gives students who otherwise would not be able to afford college, but who have the grades, a chance.”

Created by the state of Indiana in 1990, 21st Century Scholars helps low- and middle-income families meet the cost of college. Income-eligible seventh- and eighth-graders who enroll and fulfill a pledge of good citizenship are guaranteed to receive up to four years of undergraduate tuition at any participating public college or university in Indiana.

IU Bloomington has more than 3,000 21st Century Scholars on campus. In 2007, the university created the 21st Century Scholarship Covenant program, which provides additional funding for eligible 21st Century Scholars to pay for books, room and board, and other expenses.

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Scholars pose for a picture during one of IU’s 21st Century Scholars Day. Photo provided by 21st Century Scholars Office

IU’s program, administered by the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, also provides students with a wide array of support activities and services, including academic tutoring, advising, career planning, peer mentoring, tutoring, workshops on financial aid and overseas study and simply providing a “home away from home.”

“While financial support helps a student get to college, it takes additional support to help that student actually achieve their goal of receiving a degree,” said Vincent Isom, director of IU’s 21st Century Scholars program. “Our primary responsibility is to help these students achieve by offering the support needed to help them navigate through issues and problems that might get in the way of achieving their ultimate goal.”

To encourage more students to take part in the program, IU Bloomington recently entered into a partnership with the Indianapolis Chapter of the Indiana Black Expo and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education called “Drive for Affordable College.” The initiative aims to help hundreds of Marion County students enroll in the 21st Century Scholars program and help them meet the requirement of a college campus visit. The goal is to enroll 500 new students in the program and expose 200 current scholars to the IU Bloomington campus.

“The main point is bringing something intangible and making it tangible,” Isom said. “Everyone hears the message ‘You should go to college,’ but if it hasn’t been a reality in your family or the neighborhood you live in, while it is good to receive that message, you don’t think it is a reality until there is active engagement in that process. Often time parents say ‘Let me sign up my child,’ but due to circumstances, they might not be diligent in making sure students meet the benchmarks. We are helping them do that.”

One of the benefits of the support services is that students take an active role in the services through employment and volunteerism.

Bailey Johnson, a senior majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry, Spanish and psychology, is a 21st Century Scholar who has been serving as a tutor for the program for the past two years. A Morgantown native, Johnson admits school wasn’t always her main focus.

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Bailey Johnson, a senior majoring in biology, works as a tutor for the program. Photo by IU Communications

But 21st Century Scholars, along with an early college program through her school, brought the focus she needed to prepare her for college.

Now two days a week, Johnson spends time at the 21st Century Scholars office tutoring scholars who need a little extra help in Spanish, psychology, chemistry and biology. Tutoring not only helps Johnson make extra money, but it allows her to help others.

“I am so grateful for the scholarship, and I wanted to help others and share advice about what I’ve learned as a student,” she said.

Like Johnson, Secrest has found a way to give back to the program through the 21st Century Volunteer Corps — a student organization that connects IU students with volunteer opportunities.

Secrest said he does it to pay it forward.

“It is a great way to give back to an organization that has given so much to me,” he said. “I have been so fortunate to receive the scholarship and the financial benefits, so I feel it’s the least I can do to give back to the community.”

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Bicentennial intern projects showcase IU history Tue, 06 Dec 2016 21:14:03 +0000 Post courtesy of IU Newsroom Intern Sheila Raghavendran:

One hundred ninety-six.

That’s how many years since IU was founded in 1820, and today’s campus is greatly transformed from that first version. In anticipation of the 200-year anniversary of the university’s founding, interns for the Office of the Bicentennial have been researching IU’s history for projects that will be featured on the IU Bicentennial website. Their projects will be featured at an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, in the Indiana Memorial Union Dogwood Room.

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IU Senior Scott Jauch works on his project in the common lounge at the new Media School. Photo by IU Communications

According to Kelly Kish, Director of the Office of the Bicentennial, 2020 will be not only a celebratory year for IU but a moment for reflection.

“This is not meant to only be a celebration,” Kish said. “There are historical aspects that need to be criticized, there are difficult questions about how we’ve gotten to where we are, that this is an opportunity for us as a community to investigate these things, reflect on these moments in our heritage and ask ourselves some hard questions.”

Senior Scott Jauch, through his research on the history of IU buildings, is breaking down how the university has physically gotten where it is.

“IU was originally where Kroger and Wendy’s and Chase Bank are now, off First and Second and College and Morton, and that was called Seminary Square,” said Jauch, whose majoring in international studies. “At the time it was a seminary, but it wasn’t religious in nature; that’s just what most institutions of higher learning were called. It built slowly from 1822 to about the 1880s, when there was a massive fire. That prompted IU to purchase the Dunn family’s property, which is at the location of the current campus.”

According to Jauch, President Andrew Wylie’s house, built in 1835, was most likely built to appease Wylie’s wife, “who never truly acclimated to life in Bloomington following their move from Pennsylvania.” Today, Wylie House serves as a museum.

Jauch said his interest in this project stems from his curiosity in the origins of campus buildings.

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Seminary Square campus around 1850. Image Courtesy of IU Archives

“I love walking around and reading the plaques on buildings of when things were started,” he said. “It’s nice to know the places in history; it helps contextualize the given historical event.”

The history that Jauch has researched, along with the projects of other interns, will be featured on the IU Bicentennial website early next year. Kish said the office is aiming to refresh the site with additional content on Founder’s Day, Jan. 20.

“The idea would be that some of this new interactive history that our research projects have been developing will be able to be featured on the website,” Kish said. “That will continue every semester until 2020 — so the internship program is up and running until 2020.”

Ellen Glover, a junior studying journalism at The Media School, has been working on two projects since starting her internship with the bicentennial campaign this summer: script-writing for a historical campus tour and producing historical podcasts for the website.

She said her role in the campus tour script involved research on the Old Crescent — the oldest part of campus, which lies between Owen and Wylie halls and the Sample Gates and is marked by the brick walkways. Glover said she has appreciated discovering the campus’s beauty.

“I am not a history buff at all, even though I’ve been working on a bunch of history stuff, so learning more about the campus has been really cool,” Glover said. “I’m starting to appreciate the campus around me. It does have a lot of great history, and it’s really beautiful, and a lot of other people have worked hard to make it what it is today.”

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Junior Ellen Glover worked on script-writing for a historical campus tour and produced historical podcasts for the website. Photo by IU Communications

Some of those people fall into the demographic that Claire Repsholdt is studying: women. Repsholdt, a senior studying English and history, has been putting together a list of influential women at IU with the goal that they will be recognized through means such as building dedications, statues, scholarships or philanthropies.

“It’s always important to showcase the history of women; the history of women is everyone’s history,” Repsholdt said. “Women have been particularly important throughout the university’s history. This is a matter of us really showing how those contributions were made instead of kind of masking them under the name of Herman B Wells or masking them under their husbands’ names.”

Repsholdt said the bicentennial projects show how the university has transformed over the past 196 years.

“It’s really about the importance of understanding how we got where we are,” Repsholdt said.

Kish said this understanding is central to preparing for IU’s next century.

“At the end of the day we have an opportunity to think about our past,” Kish said. “And obviously that involves considering what we’re doing today as an institution and bringing those things to bear on our future.”

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