Carnegies serve food at Ebbert United Methodist Church

Fiona, Lincoln, Katrina, Anna, Kelly and Cosette are ready to serve!

For the first time this year, Carnegies opted out of ritual Carson dinner and went to Ebbert United Methodist Church to help with the Wednesday night “Community Meal” dinner service. It was a great success and a fun way to get out in the community and really do some good. We helped prep, serve, and clean, giving a little break to the dedicated team of volunteers. Several Carnegies also mingled with the people who we were feeding, as there is a coffee half-hour prior to food service. Actually sitting down and talking with people who are homeless or food insecure was an eye-opening experience. These are people in our community, some of whom we recognized from around campus! Humanizing people by hearing their stories was humbling and inspiring. It diversifies the way we see people who are marginalized in our society.

BriAnna and Leslie are ready to hand out desserts

All together, we served meals to 95 people, many of whom rely on this service to get their dinner and would otherwise be struggling to feed themselves and their family. Speaking to the organizers and Pastor, I could tell our energy and youthful faces were much appreciated by both the guests and the volunteers alike.

At the University, it is often easy to forget about the homelessness problem that plagues Eugene and Springfield. But this is a very real situation and there are many in our local community who need our help.

It was great experience to speak to the guests and hear their stories. To see what this service does for them and realize how privileged we are to never have to worry about where our next meal is coming from was something that stayed with all of us.

I look forward to going back soon!

 

The line was long and fast. It was busy!

“Volunteering with my friends and CGO members at the Ebbert United Methodist Church soup kitchen in Eugene was an awesome experience. It was great to be able to help and interact with people who are so often overlooked and avoided in our society. The atmosphere was warm and inviting and I am happy to say I had a lot of fun and I look forward to going back and being a part of it again.”

-Katrina Schmidt, ‘20

“Feeding the homeless is something I have always wanted to do, and having the opportunity to do it in a new community was an amazing experience. I felt that I was giving back to the Eugene/Springfield community, which had opened its doors to me as an out of state UO student. I hope to do the same once I return home.”

-BriAnna Greene, ‘20

Fiona handing out the last food: tuna sandwiches!

Ebbert United Methodist Church provides meals Monday mornings (8-11 am), sack lunches Tuesday and Thursday (8-1) and the dinner service Wednesdays (5:30, doors open at 4:30)

If you are interested in getting involved or have any questions, you can email the church at ebbert2@comcast.net or call 541-746-3513.

 

John, Momo, and Kelsey, helping with the crazy pile of dishes.

The whole crew (minus Emily, who is working on a project with the church and had to go to the meeting!)

 

 

A reflection on Te-Nehisi Coates “Between the World and Me,” by Momo Wilms-Crowe

The Common Reading for all incoming freshmen this year at the University of Oregon was Between the World and Me, by Te-Nehisi Coates. This profound book has initiated conversations around campus, particularly in the context of the current political climate. Coate’s UO talk was February 3rd, 2017.

Momo Wilms-Crowe has volunteered some reflections for the CGO as we lead up to what promises to be a profound speaker.

Between The World and Me: A Response

I read Between the World and Me for the first time over summer and I remember myself crying the type of tears that demand recognition. I read it again this past weekend in preparation for Te-Nehisi Coates’ upcoming talk and to no surprise, I cried again. I was reminded of the feeling I felt months ago, and that I feel often enough now after a term and a half in the CGO, that I am not all that surprised by it now. It is a the feeling of intense sadness and despair at the situation of our country and our world. The kind of feeling that grabs you by the shoulders, sits on your chest, and makes you feel small.

This feeling worries me because it implies an inability to act. It means, despite whatever I feel I need to do, I am not doing anything worthwhile. The task of how to best navigate the minefield of processing and moving forward is overwhelming. This is because I cannot imagine a way of moving forward what caused these injustices is so fundamentally wrong, and that is where my logic stops. This acute feeling and the lack of autonomy that ensues is unnerving.

In the racism Coates’ speaks about, like many of the injustices in America, the individual is the victim and “society” the victor, the perpetrator of the violence through its thoughtful machines and institutions. This makes the process of falling into cynicism and hopelessness even easier since the problem (and thus the solution) is seemingly distant and esoteric. It’s intimidating to begin to attack a beast that you do not understand nor can you even fully see. That is, of course, until something happens and you are personally pulled into the narrative and cannot stand still any longer. Often, I believe, we are only thrust into activism when we are personally affected by it and we lose the “privilege of living in ignorance” (Coates, 107). Experiencing injustice helps break the feeling of paralysis and propels one into action. Intense emotions- anger, grief, despair – fuel the fight for justice. And because each day people are suffering and being forced into these emotions, the fight continues as a whole.

In our society of social media and superficiality, it is increasingly easy to feel like you’re doing something when you are really doing nothing at all. Social media offers an amazing platform for spreading messages, and no doubt, change is often made this way. But it also breeds the idea that posting/tweeting/liking/sharing is doing enough. That ally-ship is a one-time duty and a box to check off rather than a constant practice. I am by no means claiming innocent to this crime, nor saying it must be considered a crime for everyone. The facade of passion in the absence of definite, tangible, action simply doesn’t cut it. It brings up the age-old struggle of “walking the talk.” In my mind, lack of action, despite the intentions, constitutes an action in itself. In Coates’ words, “‘Good intentions’ is a hall pass through history, a sleeping pill that ensures the Dream” (33). The Dream Coaets’ refers to here is not an idyllic paradise, but the ignorance of living in a society built up slavery and violent racism.

I have no will to live a life in the Dream and have already had my share of experiences that have shattered that dream. In my high school, with enough students of color that I could count them on one hand, I was only passively taught about race and racism, and looked at it from a very academic viewpoint. I read personal monologues from slaves and analytically connected that to the differential incarceration rates of today’s America. I, however, never really experienced race in the way that Coates writes about.

I have never witnessed the full horrors that racism can cause nor the incredible strength that makes people continue forward despite the pain. Perhaps this is partly why it is I am so obviously affected by their stories.

 

 

Carnegies Show Up!

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In this image there are 17s, 18s, 19s, and 20s, not pictured we had returning 16s and even 15s. Carnegies keep showing up, even after graduation!

November 2016.  A University campus is a dynamic place, and students, staff, and faculty have opportunities beyond the classroom to engage with important issues and ethics.  The CGO often participates with other student and campus organizations, and makes its presence felt by their consistent contributions and outstanding participation in events on and off campus.  Pictured here are some of the three dozen Carnegies who turned up on a Friday afternoon to show  support for their fellow students and share in the concern for a safe campus and a tolerant society.

Oregon Community Foundation guests: Tom Bowerman and Maylian Pak

Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) is the largest foundation in the state of Oregon, and gives over 100 million dollars in grants and scholarships to Oregon students and community organizations each year. OCF works with donors to match their gifts to the causes they care about. This leaves some space to discuss how OCF project managers navigate ethics, their own interest, their understanding of the motivations of their donors, and more. Tom and Maylian will be joining us to discuss the ethics of philanthropy.

Here is some background on our two guests:

Tom Bowerman, a fifth generation Oregonian, has practiced in the field of architecture, urban design and planning for three decades at the interface of development and environmental protection. He has supervised inner historic building rehabilitation, co-owns three companies and co-founded two land conservancy organizations. He holds a courtesy research position at the University of Oregon, School of Law and directs PolicyInteractive a non-profit research organization.

PolicyInteractive (PI) is dedicated to researching climate change behaviors and public policy. PI conducts public multi-faceted opinion research studies for insights into policy support.  Results are shared with the public, policymakers, and research peers.  PI has over 30 discrete studies since 2008. 

“We risk devastating our planet through our collective behaviors. Anthropogenic climate change is the challenge of our time although just symptom of the problem: the physical evidence is strong and the general public strongly agrees: we over-consume.  The moral and ethical implications of our actions are enormous.”

Maylian Pak’s academic research and professional interests both focus on community. Maylian completed degrees in International Affairs and Geography, studying at Mary Washington College and the University of Oregon where she researched environmental justice and community organizing in communities of color. Her professional career has been centered on building community through philanthropy. Prior to joining OCF, Maylian worked at the Eugene Symphony serving both as development director and interim executive director.

Maylian was named one of Eugene-Springfield’s 20 Under 40 rising business stars. She was also one of 48 nonprofit managers to participate in American Express’s Nonprofit Leadership Academy in New York City.  Maylian serves as a board member for the University of Oregon Alumni Association and was the 2015-16 president of the Eugene Round Table Club. In her free time, Maylian enjoys cooking, running and sewing.

The Welcome 20s Picnic!

The CGO started off strong this year with our second annual beginning of the year picnic at Dexter Lake Park. The newly minted 20s and several of the 17s, 18s, and 19s joined us for a day of meeting and interacting, and sharing the possibilities of the UO through the CGO. A meeting of the CGO would not be complete without several ethics prompts, which allowed people to meet each other, especially the new cohort. Here are a few pictures of our day.

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BriAnna and Matt share their perspectives 

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We had a big circle to fit everyone as we introduced ourselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Discussions around the tables after lunch.

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Is it ethical to horde the freely-offered oranges in pockets and bags? Hmmm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Obligatory group photo.

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After that photo… it was a little chilly.

 

 

 

 

 

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A serious photo bomb as I tried to capture the frisbee activities at the end.

 

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Shaul. Talking to the CGO in front of Dexter Lake.



 

 

 

 

Harley Emery lands State Department internship to raise awareness on campus about refugees issues!

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Harley Emery is in the middle of her second year at the University. She didn’t start out in the CGO, but joined us in the Winter term of her freshman year. Harley promises to be a mover and a shaker in this group and last summer landed a competitive internship with the new Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSVF) program. This internship can be completed from anywhere and requires interns to start an on-campus branch of the No Lost Generation Initiative (NLGI) to raise awareness and funds for refugees of the Syrian Civil War. Her goal is to create a scholarship fund to bring Syrian refugees to study at the UO. She also wants to find ways to allow UO students to get hands-on experience assisting refugee youth and to build relationships with those youths affected by the civil war. Last summer she traveled to Amman, Jordan to volunteer with the Princess Taghrid Institute, an organization that works with refugee youth, as well as vocational training with children and teens in Jordan’s refugee camps. While there, she met with the organizing for the NLGI through UNICEF, to see that project implemented on the ground. This is exactly the type of project that the CGO wants to help foster, and we’re working with Harley to make this project a reality at UO.

Harley heard about the CGO through another member, Nina Green, and was immediately compelled to visit and eventually join us when she heard about our focus on global ethics, international issues, and especially the idea of student-led projects. She was also impressed by our long list of guests, who range from locally to internationally renowned.

When she graduates, Harley wants to obtain a master’s degree in Foreign Service, with a focus on international development. Her dream job is to work for an international organization like UNHCR or UNICEF, specifically working with refugee youth in conflict and post-conflict states.

If her time in the CGO so far is any indication, she will meet her goals and we are investing in her success!

 

Talking ethics in challenging situation: A conversation with Shaul the storyteller

Week five of spring term witnessed growing anticipation among the students. Midterms in full swing, the weather turning warm in reminder of the summer looming ahead, and in the midst of this, students struggling to keep their heads above water as time speeds up. We had been told to expect a riveting guest speaker this week, that we could ask any questions we desired, and that our ethics would be challenged.

Wednesday night arrived and no guest showed. We formed our usual circle of students and waited. The room buzzed with energy. Upon Shaul’s signal, our chatter fell silent. After a long pause, he began to speak, a twinkle in his eye betraying his grand deception.

“I am going to tell you some stories. I am your guest.” And so it began.

Having been a student of Shaul’s for five years, I realized what a unique opportunity we held before us. We know Shaul as a stern professor, a fierce questioner, the bringer of the guests, a man both immensely proud of our accomplishments and always demanding more. Oftentimes, this role distanced him from us. But this night, we grew to know my favorite persona—Shaul the storyteller.

In the course of an hour, Shaul explored depths of experience that few encounter in a lifetime. He took us on a journey beginning as a small child in the US and receiving neo-Nazi threats at his home. He explained his father’s patience with the racists on the other end of the phone line and the way his family refused to back down. Stubborn people, these Cohens. But perseverant too. Next we jumped to Shaul as a soldier and his experience wielding power in the form of a gun. The stories grew in complexity, mirroring Shaul’s own maturation. He spoke reflectively, commanding our attention as his tales wove through time and place. But throughout the stories were clear themes, summarized in an observation from his father—“In the absence of a tangible physical threat, you can talk.” This desire to communicate exposed Shauls’ aptitude for conflict resolution and forms the basis of his ethics. Through talking, we are able to affect positive change. And what’s more, we learn.

It seems that if Shaul could have given us takeaways, it would have been as follows: 1) Attempt verbal communication first, whenever possible. 2) Strive to uphold or create dignity for others. 3) Create an ethical code and live by it. Do the legwork ahead of time so that you can be proactive instead of reactive. 4) Respond to pain and need. While these are a small sampling of the code Shaul espoused, the messages ran deep and carried great weight.

These lessons were woven throughout the stories. Each recited moment of conflict exemplified ethics in action. And yet, despite the desire to teach us to be strong and moral humans, Shaul did not cast himself in a perfect light. He took pains to tell his stories honestly, and in doing so, asked us to be honest with ourselves and with others. We learn through stories. By sharing his, Shaul took us one step further on our respective journeys to becoming ethical, passionate, and active members of community.  It is these moments, among others, that teach us to be better humans.