The Community of Appalachian Student Leaders (CASL) aims to connect and engage students from the Appalachian region with a community of students, faculty, and staff from the region while working towards developing our academic, professional, and leadership skills. The program is in its second year and has increased student community through peer support and sharing our experiences from this rich region. We hope to to develop outreach and education programs that will challenge others on the Ohio State campus to learn more about our Appalachian students.
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Why We Gather
Appalachian students that come to Ohio State often come from small, tight-knit, and rural communities. Ohio State is quite the opposite of this, and the transition to a campus this large can be quite difficult. In addition, our personal experiences do not quite align with others. This can be very frustrating when all these changes are occurring at once.Appalachia is a region filled with a rich history that has much to offer. Often, national attention attempts to define and oversimplify our heritage—either romanticizing our upbringing or dismissing us as poverty-stricken, ignorant, and backward. Part of the issue today is that we tend to let these outsiders and their negative thoughts affect the way we view ourselves.
Together, members of CASL will discuss our own histories and examine our communities in a light that better represents both the challenges and the richness found in our homes. Collectively we can increase our sense of belonging, which will ultimately contribute to our academic success. Our goal is to help others, especially back home, do the same. This occurs through our identity development and our outreach projects. We learn to embrace who we are and where we come from. In CASL, you will not only find a safe space, but you will also find friends.