May 8, 2008

Service Learning at a Glance

My service learning project was done at Augsburg Academy, on the corner of 8th and Hennepin. My first emails with Heidi were very cordial; I felt welcomed right away. We scheduled a meeting, which I missed because, naively, I assumed there would be meters available to park at. I explained my situation to Heidi, and she was very gracious towards me. At our initial meeting, I was a little unsure of how to dress, but I was informed that casual wear would be just fine. The school’s purpose was explained to me, and Heidi asked me if I was alright with being a math tutor. I would’ve much preferred to be an English tutor; I think I would be majoring in English if architecture hadn’t snatched me up first. Anyway, I agreed to be a math tutor because the school obviously had a demand for them. The time I chose to come in was weekly on Thursdays from eleven until noon.

My first day tutoring was a little awkward. The math teacher was welcoming, but none of the students seemed to need my help. This went on for a week or two, and finally I felt needed when the teacher asked me to correct a few of the students’ quizzes. I wasn’t entirely sure what sort of grading scale he wanted me to use, but I had to assume I was doing alright when he didn’t correct me or ask me questions about how I had done my scoring.

After that week, I replied to an email from Heidi and told her that I wasn’t feeling very useful in the classroom. I’m not sure what Heidi did, but in the next few weeks, more of the students were talking to me and asking me for help. Curiously, only the girls ever asked me to help them.

The atmosphere of the classroom was entirely different than what I had experienced in high school. At my high school, Park Center, if you were late for class, you got in serious trouble. If you were disruptive in class, you received a warning and, if you didn’t stop, you would be sent to the counselor’s office or to ISS – which is in school suspension. At Augsburg, they didn’t seem to have this philosophy. For the most part, it worked out all right, but I can’t help but think that if the students weren’t able to use their phones in class or yell across the room to each other, they’d learn more effectively.

There was never a time that I didn’t feel safe while I was tutoring. The students were always respectful of me, and there was always a teacher or other staff member around. The first time I went in for tutoring, I arrived early and was welcomed by a group of teachers and an especially charismatic janitor on their lunch break. They all made me feel at home and appreciated, which I was and still am grateful for.

One of the only things I would change about my experience is the issue I had with parking. As I said before, there were no meters for me to park at in the area. I ended up paying over six dollars every week to park for an hour in a nearby lot. Since this is the only real problem I had with the organization, I will have to say that my experience was a good one.

I would like to thank the Heidi, the teachers, and the students that welcomed me into the program. I enjoy tutoring, but their openness towards me was absolutely fantastic. I plan on continuing to tutor at Augsburg until the end of their school year, and if I take another service learning based course, I hope tutoring at this academy will be an option.

May 7, 2008

Response to Goal Six...also in Section Nine

Goal six was to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. This group chose to focus just on just HIV/AIDS in South Africa, which, in my opinion, was a wise decision.

Overall, I thought this presentation was very good. The statistics were staggering and very informative:

• 33.2 million have the HIV virus
• 2.1 million die annually of AIDS
• there are 12 million AIDS orphans in Africa alone

I also thought that this group’s definition of what exactly AIDS is was good, too.
The definition got to the core scientifically, but it wasn’t overbearing.

The knowledge this group had of the culture was excellent. This portion of the presentation was the most interesting to me – the whole village doctor cutting you with a dirty knife to heal you thing…what’s with that?!

The realm of response was very well informed. The idea of corporations being a better solution than the government would be is very interesting and would probably work in a multitude of countries, but I was wondering how effective this strategy would be in South Africa. If poverty rises, demand for luxury goods will certainly decrease. Although this is true, is there any supply or demand in South Africa for luxury goods in the first place? Just something to ponder.

Response to Goal Four in Section Nine

This group addressed child mortality, specifically in Cambodia. The goal was to reduce the rate of mortality of children under the age of five by at least two thirds.

I suppose I’ll get the negative out in the open first. The beginning of the presentation was a little awkward, but the group can’t take of the blame for this – the “stage? area isn’t the best for presenting in a group. One of the first people that spoke read off of their notes and it was difficult to understand. Also, the lack of consistency among the slide layouts wasn’t so cool. The final thing I had an issue with was the organization they chose to discuss. It seemed like the organization had too many downfalls to be a good example…but then again I suppose being a good example wasn’t a requirement.

The content of the presentation was just fine, however. The things that really struck me were that last year, 28,000 children died every DAY due to insufficient care. In Cambodia, 43% of children under the age of five are malnourished – in fact, the general lack of food, vitamins, medication, and clean water cause these children not to be able to even grow. I had never thought that children anywhere weren’t able to develop once they were out of the womb because of lack of resources.

It’s shocking to say the least.

April 3, 2008

Check out my mad Microsoft Word skillz. Please.

Cover One: Download file

This is before I discovered my skillz.

Cover Two: Download file

This one is my favorite.

Cover Three: Download file

Yes, I do think our goal is important is important.

March 17, 2008

This makes very little sense to me.

We're supposed to look for and document some examples of presentation and documentation styles that our term projects can take as inspiration, yes?

Why is this if our projects are supposed to generally look like a paper?

No idea. Anyway, this is what Ive come up with: Powerpoint, paper [informative, persuasive, et cetera], science fair posters, charts and or graphs, speaches, speaches supplemented with any afformentioned junk, and portfolios. If you want to get crazy, I suppose you could cook up some kind of skit or play.

Scrapping the science fair posters, formal speeches, skits, plays, and Powerpoint presentations sounds like an excellent idea. As discussed in discussion last Friday, the projects are going to look like papers. Our group plans on supplementing the paper with charts, graphs, and pictures where applicable. We're also toying with the idea of creating a Powerpoint to "stick it to the man". Just kidding. We thought, for presentation purposes, something like this would be best to show our main points.

thanks !!!.jpg
Happy Snowstorm. I mean Spring Break.

March 6, 2008

What to say. What to say.

My first try at this blog entry was lost, so this is either going to be much more focused or just absolute crap.

Explore through image and text how the built environment affects (supports or detracts) who you are. Speculate in terms of frameworks, clockworks, phenomena and oppositions.

I am
less safe
more adventurous
more aware
because of my - ha, "my" - built environment.

Let me define the extent of "my" immediate built environment: Brooklyn Park/Champlin/Osseo/Maple Grove, I94, Minneapolis/Twin Cities campus.

thank you MNREALTY.COM!!!!.GIF
Please, dont be jealous of my advanced software. The U is just shy of twenty miles south of here.

Things: home/highschool/college/workplace/travel routes -> Frameworks: placement and condition of buildings/roads -> Clockworks: flow of people in/on these frameworks -> Phenomenon: everyday life.

I escaped from high school two years early. Not only was I being challenged there, the building was UGLY. Or, if you prefer, "ghetto". That term is also applicable. It might be a stretch to say that my flight from Park Center was because of its horrible design, but seriously, the place is bad. The three story square-donut-tower thingy where most of the classrooms are is terrible; I cant tell you how many times I was late to Spanish on the third floor because of the roundabout design. Anyway, Im glad I came to the U - and yes, I do blame [I realize blame isnt the perfect word here] craptastic Park Center for part of this. This aspect of my built environment, while it was negative at the time, forced me to do something posotive for my life. Coming to the U fulltime as a sixteen year-old definitely boosted my confidence and made me braver. I love that word.

My mom loves me. Im also spoiled. She wasnt too keen on me transfering city buses downtown, so I got a car. Yep, Im spoiled. The distance between my home and new school, the U of M [wooooohoo] has also supports who I am: I love to go adventuring, and now I have a car to do it. Materialistic? Slightly. I suppose in my parents point of view this also makes me less safe. I think the tradeoff is acceptable.

Also, coming to the U has made me more aware of my environment, both through learning class material and being "out in the world". I find it interesting how my junky high school has affected me so positively. The phenominon that is currently my everyday life as a seventeen year-old sophmore at a Big Ten school is...well, boggeling. The challenge I recieve from attending classes at the U, the new viewpoints Ive experienced, and, in all reality, finding different perspective of my life through the influences of architectural thinking is INCREDIBLE. "My" built environment - or what parts of it Ive experienced - have supported who I am in awesome ways.

February 28, 2008

Considering the fact that Ive managed to catch the quasi flu-cold thats been going around campus, I would rest a LOT more. And stop being crabby. This would definitely impact my environment in a posotive way.

Other than that, I would explore different media and art forms, including painting, sculpture, pastels, and pointe.

[I know what youre thinking: pointe? Seriously? Yes. Seriously. Ive been dancing for thirteen years now, not that anyones counting, but Ive never taken a serious pointe-style ballet class. Id love to learn this high-technique dance form.]

I would prefer to do all of these things in a completely free [monetarily, I mean] studio. One that would be open 24/7 with expert teachers. The focus would be on improving both individual and group performance.

If there were no studios like this available, a gigantic, Eden-like garden would suffice.

Im sorry to say it, but thats all I got. However, Id like to give a shoutout to whoever is involved in making those delicious Halls Defense drops. I thank God Almighty for you.

February 20, 2008

Eradication Please

If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satiisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. --Isaiah 58:9b-10


As a freshman in highschool, I went on a trip to Martin, South Dakota to repair houses and teach underprivileged children.. If youre wondering where Martin is, so is the rest of the world.

The people there live in housing projects without windows or doors. Gangs ravage the area, vandalizing everything, including homes. Doors are torn down and windows are broken; there is no money to repair anything.

abandonment [Martin, SD].bmp

echo [Martin, SD].bmp

long shadows in ghosttown [Martin, SD].bmp

Main street in Martin was deserted. The people in the next photo are other people that came with on the trip, not townspeople. The only time we ever saw the natives were when we drove through the project to give muddy kids a ride to the "classroom" [aka the only park in miles...and miles...and miles...]

no townspeople [Martin, SD].bmp

We hosted a neighborhood picnic at the end of one week; unfortunately, this was the only full meal most of these kids ate all week. This little guy might look cute with his chipmunk cheeks, but the severity of the rest of his life dimmed the moment.

only time he eats is at the missions [Martin, SD].bmp

Discover how much your heart can hold. -wisdom of a Dove Chocolate wrapper


If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? -James 2:15

thanks miles1322

Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor... -Zechariah 7:10a

2005 -thanks King Xuejiu

These two examples are in the second wealthiest country in the world; how much worse are they in third world and developing countries? Food for thought.

February 14, 2008


there are cooler ways to die.jpg

Ive chosen to become an advocate of killing smokers. Just kidding.

The fresh snowfall from last night covers them, but we all know what lurks in and under the drifts near the highways and roads: thousands of cigarette butts. Personally, smoking doesnt agree with me, but I can handle being around people that take part in this odd cultural phenominon. What really pisses me off is when people flick their discarded cancer sticks out of their windows onto sidewalks where they can be washed down into storm sewers or where animals can mistake them for food. Its been found that animals, marine or terrestrial, often eat cigarette filters until they feel full, but then die of starvation a short while later. One things for sure: cigarette butts are BAD.

unhealthy ducky.jpg

A fact for you: according to both the Pocket Guide to Marine Debris [copywrite 2003, The Ocean Conservancy] and the U.S. National Park Service in Mote Marine Lab, Florida, it takes an average of one to five years for a cigarette butt to decompose. Its been my experience that people justify littering by saying, "Its ok, theyre biodegradeable!". I seriously doubt these people know exactly what their talking about.

Once again, "many [cigarettes ] contain plastics (not cotton as in the past) and can take up to five years to break down, leaking toxins into land and water environments." -Integrated Waste Management Division, Ventura County, California.

There are multiple solutions to the issue of littered cigarette butts. One such solution is called field stripping and is taught by the military. After the cigarette has been smoked, the remaining tobacco is removed from the paper; the paper is then crumpled and then either put back into the cigarette pack or placed between the celophane and the pack. Another convienient solution is to carry a tin or pocket/purse size ashtray and place the unwanted butts there. These solutions can be found at .

February 7, 2008

The REAL one

I apologize if you wasted your time reading my last entry; it was [almost] complete shit and I know it. The point I was hovering around is that the traffic in our fair city is the flow. Obvious? Probably.

First, "car traffic". I adore third grade speaking patterns. People in their overpriced tin cans rush to and fro to get to work, get lunch, find shortcuts, buy things they probably dont need, rush home, get the kids to practice, pick up an old friend thats passed out yet again at that one bar, etc. I need to question myself here. Are the cars [or bikes for half of us cool kids] "the flow" or are the people? Um, Im gonna go with the people. Goldsworthy said, and I do quote, "The river is not dependent on the water; we re talking about the flow." The people are not dependent on the cars, although most think they are.

So, not "car traffic", but "people traffic". Pedestrians, cyclists, and the proud joggers; the delivery people [heaven forbid we re not politically correct], commuters, and unpaid chauffeurs. The heart I mentioned earlier in my lame excuse for a blog pumps thousands of people through its arteries daily. The transformation occurs when the focus of the people change: get to work vs. get back home, out of the city for work vs. into the city for play, etc. Youre not stupid.

February 6, 2008


Inspirted by Andy Goldsworth, investigate this idea of energy, flow and transformation through the city.

The heartbeat of the Twin Cities is the traffic. Specifically, automobile traffic: semis, hybrids, busses, cars, vans, all of it. The flow both in and out of the metro area every day is like the pulse of the human heart.

BP1 thanks
[ and, respectively]

The hardest the "heart" works is during rush hour when people from outside the metro rush and and people inside rush out. Energy - the people are cycled in and out of the city itself every workday. The flow is interupted during road construction and wrecks. During weekends, when most people have time off, the flow into and out of the city isnt so much interupted as it is transformed. If people are headed either into or out of the city, its likely theyre doing things other than working - that is, their focus has changed, which can be translated into a transformation of energy.