Year 2 International Affairs Scholars Reflection #5

I attended the Buckeye Food Alliance Volunteering event on Saturday, January 25th from 3-5 PM. We went to Lincoln Tower to fulfill this service requirement.

A group of 9 IA scholars went to the Buckeye Food Alliance headquarters to help organize and clean the stock room. We began by taking inventory of all the items in the pantry left after the week. We then looked at all expiration dates to make sure the foods being distributed were safe and healthy. Later, we swept up the area and came up with recipes to hand out for meal inspiration.

I think it is really cool that this resource exists on campus. I don’t think many students are aware of it and we can help promote it for anyone that needs food on campus.

This event related to the topic of International Affairs because it emphasizes the fact that the world is connected through trade and imports and exports. The United States often provides support for other countries and I believe that it is our role to help people when we are able to. While this is not possible in all situations, I think that Buckeye Food Alliance is a great local start.

I had previously had experience with food pantries and volunteering to combat food insecurity. Last spring, I traveled to DC with the Morrill Scholars Program. We went to various locations in DC to volunteer with DC Central Kitchen, Capital Area Food Bank, and others. It was eye-opening to see the amount of need and also the amount of support from people in the community. Food insecurity doesn’t just mean financial need, it can also be the distance from fresh, healthy food.

After attending this event, I am interested in learning more about how Buckeye Food Alliance operates on campus and the other events that they host. I would definitely be willing to volunteer for them again.

Year 2 International Affairs Scholars Reflection #2

On Saturday, October 26th from 10 AM-1 PM I attended the CRIS Mural Painting Project I. This event fulfilled the service requirement.

We traveled to an elementary school in Westerville, Ohio and worked with around 15 elementary school children to paint the base of the mural. It was so nice to talk to elementary school students and be surrounded by such positive little students who wanted to help out. We first did whole group introductions and learned more about them and assigned them different roles. When asked which subjects they enjoyed at school, most responded with numerous subjects such as math, science, music, and art. I thought this was interesting and refreshing because I remember enjoying school this much and wonder what happened to change our perspective on learning as we become older.

This event related to the topic of International Affairs because the students attended this school are from a variety of places around the world and the mural is a way to bring them together. CRIS does lots of work for refugees and the mentor program allows students to connect with a college student. The organization as a whole serves the refugee and immigrant population in Central Ohio and also acts as a resettlement agency.

I am not typically an “artsy” person but it was truly fun to work with the elementary school students and paint something that would be on the walls of their school for years to come. The kids had a great time helping out where they could.

After attending this event, I am interested in learning more about the types of things CRIS does and possibly becoming more involved with the organization or other service events related to IA. While I feel I cannot consistently devote time to CRIS, I would like to help out and attend events as they come up.

International Affairs Reflection #4

For my first event this semester for the International Affairs scholars program, I attended the MLK Jr. Day of Service on Monday, January 21 from 7:45 AM- 1 PM at COSI. This event fulfilled the service requirement.

We began the day in the Ohio Union with a presentation reminding us of the purpose of the day and a series of presentations. Following the event kickoff, we took a bus to the service site. I went with a few other International Affairs Scholars and we were sent to COSI. While at COSI, our group specifically cut tubes that resembled arteries and put them in plastic bags to be sent out in educational kits to go with online learning videos that schools and groups can participate in. This allows the students to learn interactively and apply the concepts in real life. We later loaded up the boxes to be shipped out and headed back to campus to discuss.

This event solidified my interest in volunteering and assisting others whenever possible. We had the day off from school because of Martin Luther King Jr. so I think it is only appropriate we give back and offer our time to honor his legacy. I think it is great that we are provided with such opportunities  It did not change my beliefs but I enjoyed participating in some service work with my friends.

This day of service relates to the topic of International Affairs because kindness and giving back is so vital to good relations in the community and ultimately with other countries. The news is always portraying the conflict and issues in the world but we need some acts of kindness to solve world issues. Simple discussion between diplomats can reduce conflict and improve world relations.

I learned about the methods COSI uses to provide science education to local schools and the impact of our collective few hours of work. I was also able to meet new people who were willing to spend a day off of school volunteering. It is nice to see that almost 1000 people wanted to wake up early and be sent to a random site to help people in the Columbus area. This event doesn’t necessarily relate to coursework as I am not an education major but relates to a variety of topics discussed in my second year writing class and the Morrill Scholars program. We discuss a lot about visual culture and COSI provides a number of attractions with interactive exhibits. This day of service included leadership and delegating roles. We were split off into sites and then further into specific tasks at COSI.

After attending this event, I wonder how else I can become involved with volunteering at COSI. Growing up in Columbus, I have always visited COSI as a child and it is interesting to now see behind the scenes. We received admission passes as a thank you for volunteering which was really nice as we weren’t expecting to receive anything besides the warm feeling that comes with an act of kindness.

International Affairs Reflection #3

For my third category of events for the International Affairs scholars program, I attended the Breathe Hope OSU Service Event making blankets for children with cystic fibrosis on Thursday, November 15 from 7:00-8:00 PM in the Ohio Staters Inc. Room in Ohio Union. This event fulfilled the service requirement.

This activity impacted me because it allowed me to make a difference in a child’s life without taking a significant chunk of time out of my day. This serves as an example that we can all volunteer some portion of our time every day to create good in the world and make a positive impact. With only one hour, I was able to cut and tie blankets together to give to children with cystic fibrosis.

This event relates to the topic of International Affairs because kindness makes the world go round. There is so much conflict and negatively between countries but simple service and giving can change lives. Peaceful discussion and helping others when possible will solve numerous issues. This is something that diplomats consistently try to combat and improve across communities. We can do more to improve relations between people starting with our own living community all the way to countries around the world.

After attending the event I was interested in learning more about cystic fibrosis. I learned that it is “a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time” (Cystic Fibrosis Foundation). It is nice to know that the affected kids truly receive things that they need. Personally, I gained a new perspective on volunteering as well as basic knowledge on how to construct tie blankets. Professionally, I had more experience working with others to achieve a common goal. I brought my IA friend Becca to the event and we worked together to complete the blanket.

While not necessarily coursework, this event relates to many of the topics addressed in the foundations of being a Morrill Scholar. It encompasses leadership, service, and social justice. There is even a service learning class offered that allows students to volunteer outside of class and experience meaningful contributions to society. The academic specifics also overlap with my biology class. We learned about genetics and cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease. People must have two copies of the defective gene, one from each parent. Therefore children can also become carriers. It is interesting to see how genetics actually affects peoples lives and the diseases that can emerge from mutations.

After attending this event, I wonder how else I can become involved with the Breathe Hope club. I truly agree with their missions and values. Based on their student organization description I can tell they host a variety of events through yoga, service, educational events, and community outreach. I also wonder how else I can become involved with service events and volunteer activities around me. I am interested in finding other one hours events to make my impact on the world. There are countless opportunities out there, it is just up to me to find them and utilize them for good.