Columbus To-Do List:

Thurman’s Café is in German Village on the Short North. It is a great burger place and has an amazing atmosphere because all the waiters are laid back and the music is alternative and classical rock. The restaurant feels like a neighborhood hangout and it has s a cool, unique vibe. The decorations in the restaurant are rustic and old which adds to the tone of the whole place. It is not very big so having a large group is difficult and the wait is extremely long. The front room has old video games and pinball so that was a cool way to spend the time. The food is also worth the wait and the service is nice. It is famous for its burgers and that is because they are huge! I ordered a vegetarian sub and could not finish it because it was so large and full of peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cheese. I went to Thurman’s with a group of 15 ROTC cadets because we were doing a mentorship meeting. It was fun because we are usually locked on and not relaxed around each other. This restaurant helped ease everyone into conversation and the experience was a great end to a Friday night.

Pistacia Vera Pastry Kitchen and Café is in German Village. This was a cool place to check out because it has amazing French desserts that are beautiful and tasty. I went with my ROTC small mentorship group and we spent time walking through the Topiary Gardens and then drove for some coffee and macaroons. The desserts are fun and inspiring because they are so artistic and fun to look at. This café was started by siblings Anne and Spencer in 2004. They wanted to create a cool dessert destination in their hometown of Columbus, Ohio. I think that this café is focuses on design and comfort. It has great coffee and amazing pastries that are not too expensive and overpriced. It also has a great vibe and we spent a few hours just talking and sitting by the windows. They also have a website that features their desserts and has hours and delivery information. This is a wonderful place to hang out with friends and spend time.


My plan of action is going well. So far I have volunteer in preparing the Jennings Hall Rain Garden for spring by helping other students remove trash and mulch the garden boxes. I have also done some weeding. This helps to beautify the campus and provide the OSU community with a green space that helps mitigate climate change and attract more people. I have also contacted the Columbus community and organized some canned goods form my floor in Lincoln to donate to the pantry. I am currently still getting toiletries together because this is a little more difficult to procure than canned goods and nonperishable food items. What is so neat about this effort is that people can pick it up from you and you do not need to travel to drop off items for donation. This helps address population loss because healthy food options have a major role in the movement of people. Health is an issue that affects society and is especially highlighted in cities. I also traveled to Tuttle Park and Garden of Roses Park to pick up trash and help clean up the area for others to enjoy. A large part of population loss is city planning where people must decide how to design public space and affordable houses, while maintaining the history of communities and not gentrifying or discriminating against low-income families or races.

A root cause to population loss can be racism and I plan to somehow find organizations that deal with equality on campus. I am also planning to collect pop tabs to donate to the Ronald McDonald House to help families in need.

Month of Action: Tackling Population Loss in the City

It’s difficult to find time to volunteer and get involved with organizations and entities that are actively making a difference in one’s community. The issue of population loss is also very difficult to address, however, I’ve found a few organizations and opportunities to volunteer and devote some of my time to actively make a difference in my issue. I think this will be exciting, fun, and challenging. A few of these organizations don’t directly tackle “population loss” because it is a broad, widespread issue. But these groups focus on a few root causes and community development that is essential to creating a lasting impact on the movement of people out of cities and its effect on the community as a whole.

Month of Action:


Sat, April 07, 2018
8:00 am – 1:00 pm


This event joins Buckeyes across central Ohio to come together and make a difference in the community. Buckeyes across central Ohio will come together on April 7 to make a difference in our community. The day kicks off the Alumni Association’s annual Buckeye’s Give: Month of Service.

It focuses on making a difference on a variety of social issues, including: neighborhood and park beautification; senior assistance; food insecurity; homelessness; recycling/reuse; patient encouragement; and health and wellness.


Make welcome blankets for the Ronald McDonald house in Columbus: more information for this can be requested and it is an easy task to do in a group that indirectly improves the lives of children and families by donating necessary supplies.


Pop Tab Collection for the Ronald McDonald House: save pop tabs and help give hope to RMHC Families. The Ronald McDonald House collects the aluminum pop tabs from cans. They can generate thousands of dollars from their pop tab collection program every year. It’s an easy way to do something good and make a difference in the life of a seriously ill child. I can go around campus and collect pop tabs from dorms and dining halls and then donate these!

Work with the MidOhio Foodbank and organize donations of food from grocers, food distributors, farmers, and community members. This provides a much needed supplement to the food they receive from government agencies. Donating non perishable foods and fresh produce is a great way to help out and improve the surrounding community.

Another option is to organize donations of toiletries: a list of things they accept can be found on the website.

I can also participate in Faith Mission and serve dinner to homeless men, women, and children. There are hundreds of persons each day who are forced to live “in the open”, on the streets, in abandoned buildings, on railroad land and under bridges.  Cut off, excluded and left behind they turn to The Open Shelter.

THE TOPIARY PARK IN COLUMBUS, OHIO – AN ARTIST’S VISION: help clean and maintain the topiary park in Columbus. this provides necessary green space for all community members and creates an atmosphere that encourages equality and growth.

-as an individual I can go to parks and pick up trash, clean vandalism, and make them more enjoyable for ALL citizens of Columbus. Sometimes public spaces can be created in a way that doesn’t include diversification. Cleaning up the parks along the Olentangy Trail and within the City can help address this issue and improve them.

 Park of Roses

Across the nation people are hungry for opportunities to transform their communities for the better. HandsOn Central Ohio is an integral component to engaging and energizing this cultural movement of people who are so willing to give. HandsOn Central Ohio connects interested individuals and organizations with meaningful civic engagement opportunities in the communities in which we live and work. HandsOn Central Ohio also connects residents in need to social services, enabling them to create change in their lives.

I want to develop a more efficient way to connect students and community members to volunteer opportunities that truly interests them. Also these opportunities can be sorted by availability, type of work,  how it helps the community, and location. This would entail communication among organizations, a network, and an accessible organization strategy.


I am for sure doing the Buckeye month of action: there are two events for this date, the Ronald McDonald house volunteer opportunities, running in a 5k on Campus that I have to organize, working with AFROTC group for a volunteer project TBD and volunteering at Topiary Park and other parks around Columbus.



The History of Population Loss and Columbus, OH….IO

The railroad industry brought people, goods and jobs to Columbus. This led to an influx of people looking for work and beginning a family. In the late 1860s, the railroad company made gun carriages used in Spanish American War. The Ralston Steel Car company also brought people into the city. The railroad industry was thriving and built numerous cars that prompted more business and encouraged large corporations to build and hire within the City. Columbus already had German and Irish communities from its history; and the railroad industry brought immigrants from Eastern and Central Europe and migrants from the South. This was followed by African Americans looking for work and opportunity. Columbus was a busting, industrial community that became a company town. One company controlled many things and Ralston built a variety of different houses for employees.

Eventually, immigrant families settled into their lives and created new businesses which created a diverse economy.

During Eisenhower’s presidency, the trucking industry boomed and dominated transportation and infrastructure. Thousands of people were employed, and this shift led to a loss of jobs from previous companies. The manufacturing aspect faded, and different companies took precedence. In the late 1950s, distribution became known in Columbus. Highway 670 divided communities and this led to unemployment and vacant houses. Population Loss can lead to vacant lots and today, Columbus may contain over 10,000 vacant and abandoned housing units.

The root causes behind population loss can be traced back to lack of education, racism, poverty, and poor healthcare. Many issues can stem from these such as gentrification, low-income communities, food deserts, and many social issues. All of this causes people to abandon their homes and leave their communities behind. The greatest challenges for addressing these issues is the inherent history of them. De facto racism has played a major role in history and it continues to be prevalent today. The social challenges in society make population loss difficult and hard for people to address head on. Policies include “smart decline” or “managed decline” For many cities urban planning has often become a form of creative destruction and many Rust Belt leaders have focused on sacrificing existing structures to create innovative, sustainable complexes. What’s possible is hard to see. The inner world is projected into how the city is built up or torn down.

Cities create employment opportunities, form supply chains, and harbor ideas that fuel innovation. These benefits offset the costs of congestion that lead to vast urban growth. Many cities have fallen into decline. The cost of moving goods can dramatically increase and affect the decline or growth of cities. Things that are important in a city: well-structured education, and diverse economy that’s not dependent on one major commodity. A collection of people, institutions, and culture can survive through hardship and create a community that is sustainable and efficient.

Urbanization and the future of cities:

More than half of all people in the world live in an urban area and this will increase by more than 70 percent. The world has reached a high degree of urbanization and this is greatly impacting how cities are structured. In the earliest day humans were hunters and gatherers but 10,000 years ago agricultural techniques became known. This led to development of semi-permanent villages in history

The still had to relocate for soil purpose, but with techniques like irrigation and soil tilling, this made permanent settlements possible. It wallowed the development of other specialized trades and eventually cities. This led to trade and transportation. All these things required labor and more people flocked to the cities to fill in these roles. In the early ages, cities had populations twice as high as Calcutta or Shanghai.

Modern cities really started during the industrial revolution which allowed expansion and innovation. Global population is more than 7 billion and most of this growth will occur in poor, urban areas. Cities must seek easy ways to provide adequate food, sanitation, and education. This growth will need to occur in a way that doesn’t damage the around us and rooftop gardens, renewable energies, and multi-purpose family homes built vertically will be the future. Smaller, self-sufficient cities will focus on stability and sustainability.

Columbus has gained population significantly between 1950 and the present, largely because of its ability to add surrounding lands. Its population gain is since annexation permitted it to include vacant areas that have subsequently grown. In addition, it has a strong economic base that is supported by state government entities, Ohio State University, and major private sector employers such as Nationwide Insurance and AEP. At the same time, although its population and job base continue to grow, the ‘1950 Columbus’ has lost a significant part of its population and shares the characteristics of Ohio’s other shrinking cities.




population loss

Most people can agree that cities are places where large numbers of people live and work; they are hubs of government, commerce and transportation. This issue that I am interested in exploring is population loss because it is a major problem in large cities like Columbus. I chose to explore this issue because I did several case studies in Cleveland during a program that focused on the future of cities. I considered focusing on food security, climate change, vacant houses, and food deserts. I am also passionate about agro forestry and self sustaining agricultural practices. I think population loss fits within the sustainability model because it involves all aspects of the three topics.

Cities planners utilized infrastructure in the early 1900s to develop advanced transportation. Large highways split low-income neighborhoods in half and forced people to flee the cities to retain their livelihoods. This led to “white flight” and many families moved into suburban neighborhoods for the American dream. However, this led to many unintentional consequences that forced people to desert their homes and leave their old lives behind.

This issue has encouraged gentrification and inequality in cities because people cannot afford to live in areas with high taxes and increasingly unaffordable resources like food. This creates pockets of mostly African American people living in low-income housing and not having enough resources for a healthy lifestyle. This also creates educational inequality that leads to long term damage. Today, city and regional planners are focusing on making cities for everyone and public space that can be utilized by a diverse group of people. While the human population is increasing, an estimated 54.5 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban settlements. By 2030, urban areas are projected to house 60 per cent of people globally and one in every three people will live in cities with at least half a million inhabitants.

“Managing urban areas has become one of the most important development challenges of the 21st century. Our success or failure in building sustainable cities will be a major factor in the success of the post-2015 UN development agenda,” said John Wilmoth, Director of UN DESA’s Population Division.

It is essential to address the issues within cities and focus on the placement of buildings, infrastructure, and public goods. Successful urban planning requires attention to urban settlements of all sizes. If well managed, cities offer important opportunities for economic development and for expanding access to basic services, including health care and education, for large numbers of people. Providing public transportation, as well as housing, electricity, water and sanitation for a densely settled urban population is typically cheaper and less environmentally damaging than providing a similar level of services to a dispersed rural population.

Population loss has many root factors and this can be challenging because many are culturally driven and difficult to address. I feel that this issue can reflect Columbus because there are many new renovations and construction taking place downtown.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” -Jane Jacobs



Columbus To-Do List Part 2

Columbus has a lot to offer in terms of outdoor recreation and I was able to spend a Friday afternoon with Kaleigh and Mallory exploring the parks and unique parts of the city.

While visiting Bicentennial Park in Columbus, we stumbled across the Cultural Arts Center, which is run by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.

We walked around and looked at possible classes that they offered. It was a beautiful day and nothing was crowded.


We also visited the Topiary Gardens and walked around the pond. We spend time on the Olentangy Trial and hung out around the Cbus park districts and Art district!

We toured the bridge and crossed a few busy streets while stopping briefly at each sign and learning a little more about the history of parks in the city. Being a resident of Granville, I didn’t realize how cool the parks are in Columbus and I wish that I would have taken advantage of this resource earlier. 


This has made me realize that there is so much to explore in Columbus and probably not enough time to do everything that I want to! When I was doing this list I wanted to see everything. I wanted to go to all the parks on the list and get a chance to spend a few hours at each. While some parks were not as exciting as others, I have learned that its about the people who you travel with (not just where). My favorite experience from this assignment has been getting to know my scholars group and seeing what everyone thinks about the parks in Columbus. Mallory really loved the cultural arts center and she wanted to sign up for classes right away. I preferred the topiary gardens and we all loved the bike path. Getting an opportunity to see how other people perceive the world around them is exciting and I love using other’s ideas to build off of my own. I would recommend visiting the topiary gardens and even touring around them for a while. The parks are beautiful, but my favorite part about them is seeing how they blend into the surrounding city. How the neighborhoods are affected and the amazing benefits that they have for wildlife and diversity. I plan to revisit these locations in the summer and show my family and friends from high school because I live in Columbus now and I want to share my experiences with the ones I love. The most confusing part of this experience was finding parking and navigating the city, but it is worth every moment.

Career Exploration

My career code is R E I because these descriptions identify my personality the best. I feel realistic because I enjoy working with my hands, getting outside, and taking risks in what I do. I I also have characteristics of social or helpers because I want a career that values the welfare of others before my own. I think that time spent helping the people around you, is time that is meaningful and never lost. I also enjoy communication and human interaction which is important for developing personality and sense of self. It is difficult for me to talk to strangers but my experience at OSU has dramatically altered this fear. I can now enter an elevator with someone I don’t know, and try to make conversation (even though it’s terrible). I am investigative because I am constantly questioning the world around me and searching for new solutions to small and large problems. Another trait I have is enterprising because I am comfortable with taking risks and I like taking on a leadership position in projects, ROTC, and during conflict. I also love the feeling of getting something done and doing it to the best of my ability which is probably why I sometimes turn in assignments late. Some career options for me involve cooking, dishwashing, Food preparation, and landscaping. This is interesting because I have a passion for architecture and landscape. I pursued this interest in high school and took a class that had online components of architecture. However, I am not currently pursuing this interest because it would take me 5 years to graduate at Ohio State and I also really love EEDS. Another option from the code is bicycle repairer which is awesome because this what Esther did for awhile and it impacted her life in a positive way.
More specific occupations are commercial pilot, forest and conservation technician, agricultural engineer, Soil and Water Conservationist, and Environmental Restoration Planner. These options are great because they all interest me and I would love to do them for a career because I think I would be truly happy. I have only been in college for a few months, but during the summer I had a mentorship with Licking County Soil & Water Conservation District and I designed an Agroforestry Complex in my community’s Land Lab. I also worked to design renewable bags for the Newark Farmer’s Market and I fought to get a recycling system for my high school. I am not very interested in agriculture, but I do want to explore sustainable food systems. I think that all these careers can overlap with my interest in sustainability and in the military (Air Force) and I want to help change the world for the next generation. My current academic plans focus on international development in the EEDS major with a minor is Spanish and Environmental Science. I really like the path that I am on and I think that some of these careers can stem from this. I have also learned that your major does not dictate what you will do with your life and this is essential for me.

Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Columbus TO-DO List


This semester I have chosen to focus on visiting Columbus Parks and recreation. I really enjoy getting the opportunity to escape campus and explore the areas of Columbus that are surrounded by the natural world. Living in the big city is exciting and there is always some new restaurant or fancy concert venue to visit; but I like the simplicity of a park and the atmosphere of the bike path. When I spend time running on the Olentangy Trail I feel a sense of community with everyone that passes. I can admire the athletes, smile at the families, and greet every dog; while appreciating the amazing resources right outside Morrill Tower. This list will encourage me to experience the outdoors and introduce me to others who share my passion for nature focused recreation.

I have visited the Park of Roses and I loved taking time out of my day to look around. It was a much-needed break from rushing across campus to the next class and ignoring my surroundings. I am a very observant individual and I “people watch” everywhere I go. I believe that the way people act in their environment can explain a lot about the world; therefore, I study behaviors, reactions, interactions, and emotions of random people that I see in places that I really love. At the Park of Roses, there were two younger girls accompanied by their father who were walking large dogs on the path. As I approached, the dogs steered towards me and I smiled. The group returned my expression and on I continued. Although the moment lasted only a few seconds, being at this park made me feel connected and secure. At Ohio State it is easy to feel a universal stress with school, homework and exams; but at the Park of Roses I felt at peace and this emotion was returned by all the people that I encountered. It was great to experience this tone with my friends and ENR Scholars. I have been to this park with my parents, my friends, and by myself a few times and I will always return. The park offers the chance to see something beautiful in mother nature and in human nature and to escape campus for a short period of time. It also creates a calm atmosphere that refreshes my spirit and inspires me to look beyond the next assignment or upcoming class, and focus on my blessings. I would recommend this park to anyone who wants to spend an afternoon getting to know themselves and appreciation the beauty of Columbus Metro Parks. There are so many interconnected parks and trails, and by taking advantage of these amazing locations one can experience the best aspects of a big city.

Kindness: Doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them.

Humility: Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves; not regarding oneself as more special than one is.

Leadership: Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done and at the same time maintain good relations within the group; organizing group activities and seeing that they happen.

Judgment: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly.

Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence: Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.

My top 5 strengths represent the part of me that loves helping others. It might sound “cheesy” but I cherish the opportunity to guide others and help them find what they love or at least step out of their comfort zone. Going to college created a fear inside of me that fed upon my anxiety in leaving my hometown, my rigorous routine, and my family. However, this survey encourages me to look beyond the big and scary, and create a new picture that focuses on adventure, risks, and constant learning. I am not surprised that kindness is my number 1 strength because it is a moral that I live by. I am also very humble because I believe that actions speak for themselves and being able to appreciate your own accomplishments without creating unnecessary competition is extremely valuable and will draw people towards you. I am surprised that leadership is so high up on my strengths assessment because my style of leadership is unconventional and very observant. Although I am part of Air Force ROTC and the ENR Scholars Group, I try to lead by example and not have an overwhelming presence. The description of leadership fits seamlessly into my motivations for treating others with respect and working as a group to accomplish varying tasks.

Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence is one of my favorite strengths because it is the foundation for my passion in environmental activism and perception on the world. I am surprised that teamwork isn’t as high on my assessment, but I think that this part of my life is centered around independence and a sense of self that has highlighted my other strengths and forced me to branch out and grow. While my roots remain tied to my past experiences, I want to continue to build upon them and develop my other strengths that are less prominent in my character. I want to improve my creativity, faith, and temperance. Constant effort and perseverance will help me reinvent my character and as time goes on, my strengths will change. While some fade into the background, others will thrive and prosper.

About Me

My name is Brooke Kauchak and I am from Granville, Ohio.

My small town is not too far from the city of Columbus, however, I haven’t spent much time touring downtown and exploring my soon-to-be home for the next four years.

My passion has developed from nature and I plan to pursue a major in Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability in the School of Environment & Natural Resources. I am also part of the ENR Scholars Group and will be living it up in Morrill Tower with my three roommates and the entire 10th floor.

I have no idea what I am most excited about for my freshman year but I plan to explore the city, attend football games, take risks, and thrive outside of my comfort zone. I want to find classes that keep me engaged and continue to be inspired to improve my perspective and make new friends.