Category Archives: Social Justice

WVWC Staff and Students Attend 2009 Summer Leadership Institute

StetsonUnivFrom June 3-6, 2009, CCE staff and two Bonner Scholar students attended the 2009 Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) held at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. The conference this year focused on how students can turn the issues they’re passionate about into measurable impact in their communities.

LeeAnn Brown, Evey  Hepinger and Brooke Rawson (CCE Staff) collaborated with other Bonner Scholar and Leader schools on specific issue areas, and presented workshops on current initiatives at WV Wesleyan. (See workshop titles below.) Students Elizabeth Gain and Danielle Mullins represented WVWC as Bonner Congress Representatives, networking and collaborating with other college and university Reps on national issues, such as Youth Development.

Both the CCE staff and students gained a wealth of knowledge and ideas from the experience, which will result in a deeper focus on issues and community impact this coming year. Specifically within Youth Development, students Gain and Mullins will be working with peers to develop a new program that will help Buckhannon-Upshur high school students prepare for college.

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Workshops Presented by CCE Staff and WVWC Bonner Scholars:

  • Community Gardens: a Project to Promote Sustainability, Food Security, Healthy Living, and Civic Participation – Brooke Rawson (Co-Presenter with 4 other schools)
  • Expanding Global Understanding through a Belizean Experience – Evey Hepinger, Elizabeth Gain, Danielle Mullins
  • Resources and Opportunities: Growing a Campus Wide Community Engagement Program – LeeAnn Brown, Evey Hepinger, Brooke Rawson

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Filed under Advocacy, Community Engagement, Community Service, Environment, Global Issues, Globalization, Poverty, Service-Learning, Social Justice, Social Media

2nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. “Celebration of Service”

On January 19, 2009, the WVWC campus community gathered in Wesley Chapel for the 2nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. ‘Celebration of Service’ to honor those who serve communities local to global, and to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy of social justice. For the past year, the award winners not only engaged in service-related activities, but also research, advocacy, service-learning and social justice projects and events. The awards and respective winners are listed below!

1. “Do All the Good You Can” Award

WinnersDr. Kim Bjorgo-Thorne, Cara Clarke, Professor Kelly Hughes, Cietta McCoy and Lucy Swecker

2. “Unsung Hero Award

Winners: Becca Bumgardner, Brandon Cale, Dr. Marvin Carr, Dr. Robert Rupp and Corey Nau

3. “Excellence in Leadership” Award

Winner: Kitty Correal

4. “Outstanding Commitment to Service” Award

Winner: Zeta Tau Alpha

5. Presidential “Positive Influence” Award

Honorable MentionKappa Phi

Winner: Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE)

6. Presidential “Wesleyan Citizenship” Award

Winner: Travis Rexroad


Many thanks to everyone who serves our communities! 🙂


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Filed under Advocacy, Community Engagement, Community Service, Environment, Global Issues, Politics, Poverty, Service-Learning, Social Justice, Videos

Plans Begin for 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Service Awards

MLK2009In January 2008, the Chapel Office and office of Community Engagement initiated the first annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service Awards to recognize members of the Wesleyan campus and Buckhannon-Upshur community who had demonstrated a commitment to service and civic engagement. With positive feedback received by both the Wesleyan and Buckhannon-Upshur communities, the Chapel Office and the CCE are partnering again to plan the 2nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service Awards to be held January 19, 2009 at 7pm in Wesley Chapel. The nomination process will be opened to all members of the campus community, and recipients will be selected by a committee consisting of Wesleyan student leaders, faculty and staff. 

Check back soon for a link to the new online nomination form!

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Filed under Community Engagement, Community Service, Environment, Politics, Poverty, Service-Learning, Social Justice

Wesleyan Students Organize for “Invisible Children”

schools-for-schools-logo-23

Juniors Jennifer Garcia and Rachel Stackpole are two Wesleyan students who have started organizing a campus chapter of Invisible Children. I recently sat down with Rachel to talk about the work that her, Jennifer and their peers are doing for this international social justice non-profit.

Me: So, what is Invisible Children (IC)?
RJ: Well, IC is a non-profit organization based in San Diego, CA that basically brings security to the people of Uganda, rebuilding their lives which have been torn apart from war and genocide. IC does this by bringing people out of impoverished communities, such as the “internally displaced persons” camps, and into safer environments, such as new schools.

Me: Is there a campaign that IC is currently working on?
RJ: IC’s newest project is “Schools for Schools”, where schools around the world can sponsor a specific school being built in Uganda by raising money and collecting books. This helps give the children a chance at an education away from war-torn communities. At the end of fundraising, the school with the most money gets to send one of their own students to Uganda to work with IC. I’ve actually had a few friends go over to Uganda with IC, and they said that they received nothing but constant thanks from those who have benefited from the project.

Me: So, what is the WVWC campus group working on right now?
RJ: Well, not only are we working on the “Schools for Schools” project, but also making an official campus group, trying to get faculty, staff, and students involved, and hosting fundraising events, movie screenings, and campus competitions. Basically anything and everything to get the word out about IC!

Me: How can folks learn more?
RJ: Anyone interested in IC at Wesleyan can visit our newly created wiki: wvwcic.pbwiki.com. The official IC website also has some great information and resources: www.invisiblechildren.com.

Thanks Rachel! For more information on Invisible Children, check out the websites above!

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Filed under Community Service, Global Issues, Social Justice

2008 Engaging Our World Conference

This fall, West Virginia Wesleyan College and Oxfam America co-hosted the 2008 Engaging Our World Conference in conjunction with the 2008 Bonner Scholars Fall Congress Meeting. 300 students, administrators and organization representatives from 65 campuses and 20 organizations came to Wesleyan’s campus October 24-26, 2008 to attend workshops and events centered on social justice, as well as the keynote speaker on Saturday evening, Raj Patel.

Friday, October 24th, the conference began with a welcoming session – both to welcome everyone to West Virginia Wesleyan and to the amazing conference starting that evening. Student leaders on the EOW Planning Committee introduced themselves, as well as a short video to discuss EOW and Bonner Congress as one event. (See video below!) Also, Dr. Eric Waggoner, one half of the duo “The Frets”, sang and performed a couple songs for the audience centered around political engagement.

Saturday, October 25th, the workshops started early that day (8.15a!) covering all types of topics from homeless voting rights to fair vs. free trade, and social media to mountain top removal. At lunch and in the late afternoon, organization representatives set up their tables in French A. See Dining Hall to get students energized in social justice topics like political research, Ugandan genocide, mountaintop removal and legislation to end poverty – just to name a few! Following the Organizational Fair, EOW attendees ate an “Eat So They Can” dinner in which campus groups donate and cook delicious food, and the admission for the dinner goes toward one international and one local non-profit.

That evening, Kitty Correal, a junior International Studies major, and Dr. Kim Yousey, Dean of Community Engagement, welcomed on stage Raj Patel as the 2008 EOW Keynote Speaker. Patel, a journalist, food policy expert and author of the book Stuffed and Starved, spoke to a large crowd in Wesley Chapel about the systems in the world food market that negatively affect the distribution of food, as well as everything attached to it: quality/quantity of food, the global economy, poverty, the environment, fuel, consumerism and so on. Following his talk, the students in the audience engaged in a dynamic Q&A session. For more information about Raj, please go to: www.apbspeakers.com.

Immediately following Raj’s talk, three female Wesleyan students – Cara Clark, Jennifer Jones and Emily Zahn – performed their rendition of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues”. Zahn commented, “‘Vagina Monologues’ helps to raise awareness on abuse and injustice so it was important to do this show at a social justice conference. ” The show is also a part of the charity “V-Day”. For more information on what the show is about, or if you are interested in the “V-Day” organization, please follow this link.

Sunday, October 26, signaled the closing of the EOW conference with guests Wayne Meisel, President of the Bonner Foundation, and Senator John Unger II, WV State Senator, speaking to a crowd of attendees in Wesley Chapel. Both Meisel and Unger addressed how students can impact civic and community engagement on their campuses and beyond. Furthermore, both stressed the importance to not only vote in the upcoming presidential election, but to also hold whichever candidate accountable for actual, positive “change” after November 4th.

The EOW Planning Committee would like to thank everyone who not only attended EOW and Bonner Congress, but also those who helped plan this amazing conference. We could not have done this without your passion and dedication!

Also, a special thanks to Oxfam America and West Virginia Wesleyan College for their amazing support. 🙂

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Here is the video that we presented at the welcoming session!

Directed by Chaz Barracks and Rachel “RJ” Stackpole – Students of WVWC.

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Filed under Community Engagement, Environment, Globalization, Oxfam, Politics, Poverty, Social Justice

WVWC Staff and Students Attend Political Summit

Earlier this summer, the Bonner Foundation sponsored the Summit on Political Engagement for college and university administrators and students, as well as the annual Summer Leadership Institute for Bonner Congress members. The entire conference, held June 4-7th at Allegheny College, explored themes of political and civic engagement, and demonstrated through workshops and forums the possible connections found between service and politics. These connections were condensed into five pathways for political change: “elections, litigation and the courts, grassroots mobilizing, lobbying and cultural change.”

Wesleyan staff in attendance:
LeeAnn Brown – Director of Community Engagement and Leadership Development
Evey Hepinger – Coordinator of Student Employment and Bonner Scholars
Brooke Rawson – AmeriCorps VISTA Member

Wesleyan students in attendance:
Chaz Barracks ’11
Nisha Nadcar ’11

Visit the Bonner Summer Leadership Institute link to view the complete agenda and list of attendees!

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Filed under Globalization, Politics, Social Justice

Kitty Travels to India

Kitty Correal, a junior at WVWC, will travel to India to serve as a teacher’s aide in three different schools:

I am leaving on the May 29, 2008 and will arrive in India on the 31st (Indian time). While there, I will be staying on the Balar Kalvi campus where the three schools I will work at are located.

The Anita School for Matriculation is an English speaking school that also has an interact program that I hope to participate in. The Balar Kalvi school is a Tamil speaking school and the Opportunity School is a school for the mentally handicapped. I will be helping out all three schools during my time there by assisting the teachers and heads of the schools in whatever they need me to do. I will be located in Chennai, India (which used to be Madras) in the state Tamil Nadu (southern India). I hope to be there until the middle of July, because I would like to travel a bit before I come home August 5th.

For a more detailed account of Kitty’s service trip, please visit the WVWC press release written by Bob Skinner, director of marketing and communication.

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Filed under Environment, Globalization, Poverty, Social Justice