May 8, 2008

Community Service Repsonse


The Plymouth Christian Youth Center, commonly known as PYC, was my community service site for the fall and spring semesters. In the fall, I worked with the high school, tutoring students in math, english, and history. The experience was good but I felt as though I was under appreciated. Most of the high school students felt that they were "too cool for school" and didn't need my help. This made it difficult to make much of an impact while I was there. The one impact I am proud of was the educational games that my group and I designed specifically for PYC. These games taught the students how to prepare themselves for college and how to find jobs.
This past semester, I worked with second and third graders at PYC in the after school enrichment program. It wasn't long before I noticed that these young kids were very smart and all they really needed was a little motivation. My Tuesday afternoons consisted of hopping on the 16 directly after 1701 got out and heading straight to PYC. Once there, it was usually reading time which meant I would sit own with a student and listen to them read for 15 minutes or so, helping them when needed. After reading time was over, they would have time to work on whatever monthly project was due. These projects ranged from producing a play to researching animals and insects. During this time, I mostly helped the kids complete whatever the task at hand was.
Volunteering at PYC was a valuable experience that I will never forget. This was something that honestly, I probably would have never done on my own accord. I am glad I participated in it because I met a lot of people from different backgrounds and lifestyles who I would have normally not worked with. I was hopefully able to have a lasting impact on them and they definitely taught me a lot about life.

May 1, 2008

Blog Prompt #8

The honors presentations during today's lectures were very entertaining to sit in on. The level of effort and thought that went into them was amazing and made me appreciate the millennium development goals all the more. The goals were enacted by the UN to help fight various issues as a collaborative team rather than by individual country. It was evident during the presentations that the honors students both recognized this collaboration and appreciated it.
There was one particular presentation that I felt made a conscious effort to identify the problem in depth as well as propose change that would fix the problem. This was the first group that presented on goal 8: develop a global partnership for development. Their focus was on communication technologies in a country in Africa (the exact country I do not remember). The two of them were able to identify that less than 10% of the people in this country had access to mobile communication, hindering their capability to live well. Then they proposed several solutions to this problem, one being the 100 dollar laptop initiative of Nicholas Negroponte.


The possibility of every child in the world being able to have access to wireless internet is a great one. Education is the key to eradicating much of what is wrong in this world today. With that being said, it is the youth who need to be educated so that the millennium development goals can be reached by the year 2015.


March 31, 2008

Blog Prompt #6

This CMYK blog uses illustrations, coordinated colors, and text to portray a positive image. The viewer's eyes are lured all over the page, resulting in a layout that appeals to all. It is vital that our research project portray the same images. Every quality document needs equally good visual representation to achieve its goal. Our research project can find inspiration in this particular layout because of its professional attitude.

March 5, 2008

Blog Prompt #5

The ever increasing number of urban developments being built these days can support who I am but it mostly detracts from what I think the built environment should be like.


On the one hand these high-class shopping malls and condos catch your eye but on the other they seem like a waste of space. Why put up more and more shopping malls when the space could be used for endless amounts of other activities. For example, the United States is currently the fattest nation in the world. If we could make our workout facilities half as appealing as our shopping malls then maybe that statement would not be true. These shopping malls are not the frameworks of our society. In other words, they are not the solution to the obesity problem in the U.S. The opposition in this debate would obviously reply that business is business and this is no problem of theirs. The reality is that it is the problem of every construction agency in this country. A skinny U.S. is no phenomenon, it can happen.


Here is an image of Stephen F. Austin college's new recreation center. The building is state of the art and very easy on the eye. Upon seeing this people would want to go and workout instead of talking themselves out of it.

February 27, 2008

Blog Prompt #4

Architecture school has less constraints than most other fields of study but there are still requirements that must be completed before receiving your bachelor's degree. These constraints hinder the effect students have on the environment whether it is artistically or otherwise.

If I were released from the restrictions of the school of architecture, I would be able to have a greater impact upon the environment. Though this task would still be considerably difficult, I feel as though it would be much easier outside of the school of architecture. All kinds of opportunities would be available to me. The most practical mode of impacting my environment would be through either an internship or an apprenticeship.
Both of these occupations would give me more hands on experience which would result in a higher quantity of finished products. This is important because as we all know theory doesn't impact the environment, action does. Architectural school promotes work outside of the school but our success or failure is not directly related to what we accomplish. A larger emphasis is placed on what we have learned and how well we apply that.

February 20, 2008

Blog Prompt #3

Achieve Primary Universal Education


I chose this photograph because it displays just how little these children have. If they barely have enough money for clothes and food, then how will they ever have enough for an education? Something has to be done to educate these kids so they have more opportunity then their parents had. Universal education would benefit the whole world, not only people in third world countries.

"One Love," Bob Marley & The Wailers
"Love Love Love," The Mountain Goats
"Warm Love," Van Morrison

These three songs represent my values because even though a lot of kids who live in poverty don't have much, they still have plenty of love and passion. This is why it is absolutely necessary to give them educational opportunity as well as other opportunities.

"Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army."
-Edward Everett

This quote represents what every country wants, whether rich or poor. There are many countries around the world who are currently at war and have been for many years. The truth is that if they had been better educated, they probably would have never gone to war in the first place.

February 10, 2008

Blog Prompt #2

There are thousands of social-design issues in the Twin Cities that I could have chosen but I decided to chose graffiti. Graffiti is an art form that has been frowned upon largely because it is greatly misunderstood. Sure, some graffiti may be simply a rebellious teenager trying to get back at society for various reasons but it is usually an artist expressing themselves in a less than popular way. The average citizen would probably scowl in anger upon seeing public property tagged in spray paint but what if it was accepted. What if there were designed areas for graffiti artists to go and create art equal to anything done with a paint brush or camera. I think this would bring color to space that is otherwise quite bland.

The streets of downtown Minneapolis lack color for the most part. A graffiti project would solve this problem and be virtually expense free. Imagine a downtown that is full of color and art that disguises the dirtiness of the buildings. Pedestrians would be able to walk the streets and enjoy themselves without the help of an ipod or even company. Cities across the United States are employing graffiti artists to do murals that have a positive message instead of the blunt vandalism graffiti can sometimes become.

Philadelphia's Anti-Graffiti Network is perhaps the best example of a city using graffiti as a positive influence. The network consists of three programs that have helped Philadelphia clean nearly 40,000 walls and add 2,500 murals to their city. The Twin Cities would be wise to create a similar network that could help create the same benefits. When the consequences are weighed, it is a rather easy decision to make. Punishing graffiti artists will only make their vandalism more fierce and higher in quantity. Embracing their form of art could possibly result in something magnificent.

February 5, 2008

Blog Prompt #1

Andy Goldsworthy's film was all about energy and how it affects the environment around us. The environment is all that surrounds us and hence, largely affects our day to day lives. Goldsworthy shows this theory, though on a smaller scale, through his artwork. His artwork is simple yet magnificent. The way he is able to take a simple object like a stone, leaf, or icicle and transform it into something extraordinary. Many of his projects deal with the flow of water or wind and how they can affect the environment. For example, his work of art that consists of twigs nailed together hanging from a tree, hinges on the cooperation of the wind. Too much wind and the twigs will fall apart. This example ties into his belief that "the environment grows in proportion to our understanding of it."

The environment of a city is much different compared to those that Andy Goldsworthy works in. The objects in a city are much bigger than stones, twigs and leaves but the energy that transforms all of them is similar. Wind and water still play a major role in the flow of a city. For example, the Mississippi River is a cornerstone of the Twin Cities. The great energy it possesses has transformed it into what it is today. Coincidentally, that has resulted in a transformation of the Twin Cities. It is easy to relate this to the work of Goldsworthy. He is trying to better understand the environment for the sake of his artwork where as the people of a city are trying to better understand the environment for the survival of the city.