May 9, 2008

last volunteer journal

May 7th.

Today was my last day volunteering at the Augsburg Fairview Academy highschool. I usually help the students with their math homework for the whole 2 hours, but this time I was sent to science for the last half. I was with a new group today and met kids I hadn't before. One of the girls asked if I'd be back next week to help with a project, and I'm actually a little sad that I won't be. I was skeptical of helping at a highschool when I first started, but I've grown to like it a lot. It's a very different environment than when I went to highschool and it's an interesting change, especially in terms of schedule and structure. They rotate subjects in a way that you'd become bored less often, which I think could help any school system. Although I'm relieved that school is over for the summer, I wouldn't mind volunteering there again at all. The teachers and other people who work there are very understanding and nice people, and I like the students as well. I hope they finish the year off well, and that they're all back next year.

May 5, 2008

Response 2

This group was responsible for environmental sustainability.

They focused on how we can ensure environmental sustainability. I chose to respond to this particular group because it was one of the only goals that affected developed countries. They started out by stating problems with the environment and how bad our footprint is. Then they went on to explain environmental health and what it means exactly to 'be green', which I liked because it isn't really explained that often. The format of their research was a website, and then the created a little booklet to promote it. Each page of the book had a different idea we could all use to help save the environment, like buy organic clothing or drive hybrid cars, or less often. A couple things they said, like about how hybrid cars aren't perfect, wasn't necessary because we all know that, but for the most part it was concise. I can't find their website, but I wish I could because it looked really well done. They had a really straightforward goal, and did a good job finding solutions that everyone can take advantage of. Most people can't afford to go out and buy a hybrid car, but they probably can shower less or buy more organic clothing.

Response 1

The first presentation I'll respond to was done by the group researching HIV/AIDS.

Continue reading "Response 1" »

May 3, 2008


I wrote about my volunteer experience each time. And here are the entries.

February 20th:
This was my first day volunteering at the Augsburg Fairview Academy charter highschool. It's on Hennepin by the Orpheum and Pantages Theaters. I wish I had gone to highschool in downtown Minneapolis. I was told I would be helping in the math department, which kind of worried me. I'm alright at math, but probably not good enough to be responsible to teach it. I was helping with the older group of kids today, they were doing things I slightly remembered but hadn't done in years, so I was a little hesitant about ruining their hopes of a successful future in math. Hopefully I haven't sabotaged their careers. In a couple weeks it will be the younger kids because they rotate age groups and subjects they're taking throughout the day, and since I'll always be here on wednesdays from 11;30 to 1;30, the group will change.

March 5th:
The kids were preparing for a test this week. I feel awkward that I'm only a year older than a lot of them. I think I also come from a totally different background than most of them, which is cool, but I'm not used to it. I don't think they are either, though. Sometimes they say things I don't understand at all, and they know it. Some of the kids are a little harder to control than others, who put a lot of work and energy into studying during class and doing their assignments. I have a lot of respect for the people who run the program. It would be really hard to pay attention to all of these kids, and care about what they are doing.

April 23:
I haven't been here in awhile because I had springbreak and then they did. It's the younger group now. They're working on different types of graphs. I understand most of what they are doing now, which makes me feel better about helping them. I just needed to look up a few examples. The classroom environment is completely different than what I am used to. They have way more freedom than I did, they can leave when they want to, they answer their phones, and listen to music out lout. Maybe they're not supposed to... I never thought of that. But still, my highschool was way more strict. Now they're working on an assignment where they collect data and put it into different types of graphs and will have to present it to the class explaining which graphs work best and why. It's kind of a cool assignment actually. They are really nice kids in this class, even though sometimes it's hard to focus them once they've become distracted, they are pretty respectful and do their assignments. They really like their math teacher too, which I think helps. It's always easier to do what you're told when you like the person telling you. Still, I don't have the patience to ever be a teacher, but I'm glad some people do.

April 30th:
Today a couple of girls presented their graphs. They did really good jobs on them. A couple of the people who were supposed to present decided to just do it for the teacher, I think i may have made them nervous, I feel a little bad about it. But the people who did go really understood what they were talking about and what the graphs they had made showed them. I was impressed. No one really needed help today, because they all had to have their assignments finished for today, and weren't assigned anything new they would need help on. I felt a little useless, but I did help a girl finish hers so it would be on time, so i guess that was alright. I think next week is my last week. I'm a little sad, I've liked doing this. I think their school year is a lot longer than ours, so I have to leave before their done. I hope they finish the school year alright. I'm also interested to see how the seniors do, or what they do after highschool. I think this is only their second year open, so it will be interesting to see the results. I didn't really get to know any of the seniors though, unfortunately.

April 3, 2008

millenium project cover pages

Our goal is to globalize standard primary education and these are examples of cover pages our final project may have. We narrowed our focus to education in Kenya.

the first uses an image of kenyan school children
Cover 1.jpg

the second has multiple images of children of different ethnic backgrounds.
Download file

the third will not upload for god knows what reason, but it's a a map of africa, with kenya written down the left hand side, and the title in the lower right hand corner, all in a greenish grey-scale

March 13, 2008


What our term project ends up looking like isn't really up to me. I honestly have no clue how to make the thing we're making, should probably figure it out sometime soon. Anyways, I still like to look at good-looking things. Here are some of them, and maybe I can persuade them to make it interactive...

this is an example of how I probably wouldn't want it to look. It burns to look at

These are really clean. Super clean.

I like how the Tate website let's you explore the rooms, it's really clear and readable. I like when things don't confuse me. I would like for ours to be easy to navigate, enough so that you want to read it.
And again, being interactive would make it far cooler (but I couldn't make it as good as it is if my life depended on it, so I won't get picky). Even so much as the Stella website at the beginning. And i like bright colors and clean layouts. Ours looks pretty good so far. It isn't painful to look at or anything.

February 28, 2008

Queen of the World

I have absolutely no clue what this question is actually asking for. What would I do, released from the constraints of architecture school, lyrically, artistically, bodily that would affect the environment.
So, taking a stab at it, Everything I do technically has an affect on the environment in the first place, with or without regard to architecture school. Everytime I drive somewhere, write on something, eat, use hairspray. There's probably a hole in the ozone layer lingering over my head. So whether or not I'm in architecture school really has nothing to do with my negative affects on the environment.

hole in ozone.jpg

But if i were not within the constraints of architecture school, I would probably like to be queen of the world, I would live somewhere where everything would be ripped apart and redesigned until PERFECT. Impossible you may say? of course it is, because everyone has different ideas of the perfect anything. But again, if I were queen of the world. In my perfect state everything would be designed to have as little impact on the environment as possible. Every building will be planned with both it's users and the environment in mind, so that it was suited for it's needs but used things like natural heating and cooling. Which I think is really cool by the way, those screens in Morocco that act as natural refrigeration? There will be one on every single building along with a cooling fountain.


So by affecting the environment, I would try to have as little affect on it as possible.

And because I've always secretly wanted to be Madonna, I will be, but better. I'll have songs about how we don't need to live in a material world and everyone will dance to it.


February 21, 2008

Regina says to take off your shoes

The first part of doing anything should start with thinking for yourself. Sometimes I get caught up in what everyone else is saying and doing, and forget about my own ideas and actions. The Libertines song Campaign of Hate isn't as angry as it sounds. It's actually about kids who get so caught up in their surroundings and peers, they give in and become 'sheep'. And how it doesn't really matter if people like you if you aren't acting like yourself or thinking for yourself. Coming from the Libertines who are notorious for drug use and destructive behavior is a little ironic, but regardless, they have an alright message in this instance.

Download file

Secondly, I think that when dealing with problems in countries other than our own, or with cultures we're unfamiliar with in our own country, we need to walk in their shoes before making any decisions. Sometimes doing what we as a nation do to others what we think is best without taking their point of view first. I was fortunate enough to see Vusi Mahlasela perform a couple years ago. He's a musician from South Africa whose songs often revolve around emotions connected to the apartheid. In an interview, he reminds us that everyone should be respectful and aware of cultural differences, it's why he sings his songs in so many different languages. He also sings about forgiveness, a virtue that can resonate through an circumstance. Plus Vusi has really cool songs.

Download file

But moving on from my underlying influence, I'm taken by media and culture surrounding youth. It breaks my heart learning about uneducated and under privileged children and particularly girls. Especially in third world countries, but in ours as well. Two musicians who hone in on the conditions of youth are M.I.A. and Dizzee Rascal. Maya has songs about African children selling everything in order to obtain visas (Hussel or Paper Planes), children being forced into combat ($20), and child prostitutes both who are sold into slavery or do it for money in Asia (10 dollar).

Download file

Download file

“Cambodian children are sold inside the borders of Cambodia and between various brothels, but also to the neighbouring countries, primarily to Thailand. Children are similarly smuggled to Cambodia, mainly from Vietnam. The price of a child is determined by appearance, age, and virginity. Average value is approximately $150/child.� BBC


Dizzee Rascal’s song Jezebel is about a girl who ruins her life with a teen pregnancy, and various songs of his are about the conditions of the lower class in England.

All of these raise awareness of social issues that need to be dealt with.
An organization I find relatable to our project is Love Music Hate Racism. It “celebrates our our multicultural and multiracial society. Racism seeks only to divide and weaken us.� So artists come together to support anti racism by recording albums and having benefit concerts. Great artists as well that already have a following, like M.I.A. and Pete Doherty of the Libertines.


And Finally, as random as it may seem, I think we can all either live by Oasis’ Roll with It, or Regina Spektor’s Ghost of Corporate Future.

Or anything that makes you want to dance.

February 14, 2008

Hong Kong is smarter than we are.

i just deleted a really long entry. this may seem a bit more angry than I intend it to be. Anyways, Minneapolis is really awful at public transportation. Sure we have buses, but they're really not that great. They only go so many places and there are a lot places in Minneapolis to go. Our road systems are silly and under construction constantly causing stupid stupid traffic. During rush hour it takes me 2 hours to travel 40 miles south because we can't figure out that roads don't need to be blocked off 6 months in advance of the actual construction date. I want to yell at someone, and it's not just me, maybe the worlds most impatient person, but anyone waiting for a traffic light to cycle 3 times before going would probably agree with me. anyways, i also hate waiting for buses that are always late because our roads are always under construction. But maybe if we had figured it out like any other smart city has already, we would have put in an underground system. They cause as much pollution as cars do, they don't take up any room like the light stupidly does which messed up hiawatha and they're really convenient. Hong Kongs on a freaking island and they have the best one I've ever seen. Not to mention their public transportation in general, but maybe that comes with having millions of people. Even so, we should have one.
I realize that putting one in would be really difficult and ridiculously expensive, but we're killing the ozone here, and we've only got one. But we can start small. If people traveling shorter distances didn't have to be on the roads at all it would minimize traffic enough to make us want to put in an underground everywhere. okay, wishful thinking, but still. In the long run, any transportation that got cars off the roads would be beneficial. And taking a subway is fun, sitting in traffic killing the environment is not.

February 7, 2008

andy goldsworthy

Andy goldsworthy through his art and sculpture seeks and feeds off of the energy of landscape. If speaking of landscape in terms of everything surrounding us, people, buildings, nature, cities are a mecca of energy. All of the surroundings feed off of eachother, much like goldsworthy tries to do with his artwork. my favorite installation from the video was when he was working in the sheep field. he first explained how sheep and farmers have shaped the environment they live in in turn making it a traditional and ideal place for farming, and then goes on to incorporating both the sheep and the boundary in his art. In a city, we have shaped the landscape, it isn't a natural environment, but it has adapted to fit our needs like the field did for the sheep.
A city also creates flow in our lifestyles. someone who lives in a city needs it, but is almost forced to appreciate nature, and the other way around. it would be very hard to live without one or the other.
a city is also the perfect area to observe transformation. as a city grows, new things are added, both physically when new buildings are built, and culturally when more people with varying ethnities are welcomed. there are often particular areas with heavy populations of particular ethnicities, but living in a single city. buildings and people become old and need to be replaced with new ones. andy goldsworthy spoke of this concept in his own town, where people had either strong optimistic or pessimistic approaches. he watched his children grow up and be the youngest on the street, and was happy. while a bitter old woman only talked about how all of her friends had died, and she knew barely anyone.