My 10 year anniversary gift from working at the UMN has arrived, as my official anniversary date was August 1. I found it in the library mailing area and I suspect that its been sitting there for 1+ weeks before I hiked up one level to check if it was there. You would have thought that with my limited mobility someone in my department might have brought it down to my office, but I guess not. So the list of items to pick from for 10 years were pretty limited with choices being: a sweatshirt, t-shirt, golf balls, a flag, and some drinking glasses. I picked the sweatshirt.
When I arrived at work today I found a mangled envelope (innercampus mail is always a crapshoot of “if and in what condition” things will arrive) addressed to me and inside was my Boreas Leadership Certificate certificate! It was a wonderful surprise, even if it was bent. Thanks Kate and Kristi!
For the past few years I have been working towards the Boreas Leadership Certificate. Boreas, which is part of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, allows graduate, professional students, and post-doctoral fellow to work towards the certificate, which “offers students the opportunity to delve deeper into the challenging world of leadership and change making. By pursuing the Boreas leadership certificate, students build on the skills and networks developed in Boreas programming and practice leadership through a leadership project. Students completing the requirements receive a printed certificate, are recognized on the Boreas website, and may reference the accomplishment on their resume or CV. Like other Boreas programming, the certificate is offered at no cost” (http://environment.umn.edu/leadership/boreas/).
So I learned today that my certificate went through and that they even posted it to the website (how nice is that!) http://environment.umn.edu/leadership/boreas/certificate/
My Boreas certificate project was “Having Your Voice Heard”
Having your voice heard
It is becoming clear that in today’s society individuals need to be able to communicate and have their voices and opinions heard. Building upon Boreas workshops that I have attended, I decided to examine two ways that individuals are able to have their opinions heard: the more traditional newspaper opinion piece of the ‘Letter to the Editor’ and the new digital audio podcast. For the first part of my project, I sent ‘Letters to the Editor’ to three newspapers – two (national and local) traditional print newspapers and one local online newspaper. Then for the second part of my project, I contacted and met with two local podcasters to discuss how they get their views across in the podcast format. The expected outcome is to become more confident in expressing my opinions in the public arena and to learn about podcasting – a format that allows everyone to have a voice.
Part 1: I wrote three Letters to the Editor
1) Letter to the MinnPost: “In praise of the political podcast.” MinnPost.com (April 18). https://www.minnpost.com/letters/2017/04/praise-political-podcast
2) Letter to the Saint Paul Pioneer Press: “Close Unethical Schools.” Saint Paul Pioneer Press (April 19): 10A http://www.twincities.com/2017/04/19/letter-pedestrians-can-help-their-own-cause/
3) Letter to The New York Times – not published
Part 2: Talking to Two local Podcasters
-1) Stacy Verdick Case, the host of the podcast ‘The Not Boring Book Show’, which is also a MyTalk 107.1 podcast, http://www.podcastone.com/the-not-boring-book-show.
-2) Derek Kosky, the host of podcast ‘Off The Shelf’ https://www.mixcloud.com/derek-kosky/
Tonight was the last Boreas Booya of the semester and the topic was “Bridging the Intersections of Environmental and Social Justice” which was facilitated by the Student Advisory Team. Here is the blurb on tonight’s topic: “In this turbulent political time, questions of justice loom large. These questions challenge all of us. In light of them, how do we navigate the personal, professional and political in our work as academics? In this context, what is the role of academia and how is it changing?” (http://environment.umn.edu/leadership/boreas/networking/boreas-booyas/). Great questions about academics changing, but having worked in academics for more than 16 years and seeing the crap that still goes on, its changing at a glacial pace and really won’t change until the current generation of Baby boomers and the older generations retire or die off. Besides these questions we also discussed science and how do you define science. It seemed to me that a few students thought science should be on a pedestal or for those with degrees, which I believe is totally the wrong way to look at science. Science needs to be for the masses if its to survive and thrive. Anyone can do science. So some really interesting topics and a good size crowd (lots of PhD students this time around, including quite a few in political science). Did I mention the good food? Boreas always does a great job with the food for their events. So good topic, good food, good crowd, and unfortunately I was going on a few hours of sleep and could not string a sentence together. Ever have one of those days where you sound like a total dork? Yes, that was me tonight.
I visited Magrath Library today for a meeting and came across some unique library items (plus they also had real newspapers – the StarTrib and the Pioneer Press! How awesome that they are allowed to get the newspaper, as some libraries don’t):
Gardening Kits with seeds
And the lovely Claudette who has seen Beauty and the Beast one too many times. Apparently her outfits change to match the season or the event!
One of the projects I have been working on in the library this year has been with the HathiTrust. The HathiTrust “is a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. The mission of HathiTrust is to contribute to research, scholarship, and the common good by collaboratively collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge” (https://www.hathitrust.org/about). Basically what I have been doing is reviewing UK books and looking to see when the author died and when the book was published to see if the books is out of copyright and can be put into public domain. Its been a very fun project and I have looked at official reports of the sinking of the Titanic, books by Richard Burton, and lots of odd little books. The project is getting ready to end and they sent out a very nice letter of commendation. I am sure everyone got a letter, but its nice to be thanked.
I was even listed on their website as participating (https://www.hathitrust.org/copyright-review):
This afternoon was the Big Boreas Booya! I have been working on the Boreas Leadership Certificate for the past few years and today was the start of their 2016-2017 events.
What is a booya you ask? Well “the name comes from an upper-Midwest tradition of community stews. “Booya” refers to both the stew and the event. As the days shorten into fall, in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan you’ll start seeing signs advertising booyas. Sometimes the smell of savory stew wafts across a fire department or church parking lot. At Boreas, we’ve started our own annual booya tradition, where we cook and serve booya right on campus. We keep the idea going through the year with our weekly booyas, where we do the community, but not the stew, part of booyas. Boreas was intentional about choosing booyas as the organizing idea for our community- and network-building events” (http://environment.umn.edu/education/boreas/why-booya/).
So today started off with a panel discussion and then group discussion on “What kind of leadership does it take to make progress on environment and sustainability challenges?” and then ended up with the eating of the booya – which was wonderful! Great food, great discussion, and great music from the Broken Heartland String Band.
Environmental innovators panel 4 – 5:15 p.m.
Valery Forbes – Dean of the College of Biological Sciences
Eric Schwartz – Dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Scott Lanyon – Dean of the Graduate School
I tried the new Virtual Reality lab in the library today. It was amazing. I figured it would be like some hokey video game, but it was so lifelike. In one game/simulation or whatever they are called, I was in the mountains and looking over the edge of a cliff and was told to walk off. Even though I knew I was in the library and that there was ground below me, I just could not walk over the cliff. Apparently very few people walk over the cliff. The human sense of self preservation is apparently very strong, even in the VR world. Besides the mountains with the cliff, I was also able to see the rover on Mars, visit an English country church, walk the mountains of Nepal, and visit a few other ones.
Take a Selfie with Sherlock! Just one item at a new exhibit that I was able to visit this past Wednesday August 17 at the University of Minnesota’s Anderson Library “The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes,” which tells visitors that “Not everyone is perfect, including the world’s most famous consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. This exhibition highlights some of Mr. Holmes’ mishaps, described by Dr. Watson and others, through art, artifacts, parodies, pastiches, and other “unofficial” adventures from the Sherlock Holmes Collections” (http://www.continuum.umn.edu/2016/01/the-misadventures-of-sherlock-holmes/).
Its always wonderful to receive a new diploma in the mail, but I am sad to say the quality (paper and ink) of the physical diploma has come down over the years.