Category Archives: Sustainable Community Building
Richland College art professors Jen Rose and Marian Lefeld are raising awareness about the epidemic of sex trafficking in the U.S. with “In You We Trust,” an art exhibit that gives a tangible representation of children sold on the streets each year. The exhibit is on display now through Oct. 16 in the Brazos Gallery on the Richland College campus.
The Dallas Independent School District reports that approximately six thousand of its students are homeless, and studies from the National District Attorneys Association estimate that one out of every three children will be approached by a pimp within 48 hours of being on the street. Staggeringly, this means that 2,000 children are potentially sold each year in Dallas alone.
With that devastating number in mind, Rose and Lefeld created plaster molds of coins and recruited volunteers to help cast 2,000 ceramic coins, one for each child in Dallas potentially sold into sex trafficking. Each coin has a face on the front that was designed by Lefeld, and Rose designed the crown depicted on the back of each coin. The coins represent the practice of using children as currency, and the exhibit name, “In You We Trust,” is a call to action for the audience to not turn a blind eye to sex trafficking.
“We aimed to create an installation that would bring attention to this social issue and open pathways for discussion and awareness to a wider public,” said Rose. “As artists, we want to start conversations. This conversation about sex trafficking of children is one that can literally save someone’s life. ‘In You We Trust’ is about action. In you we trust to say something. In you we trust to do the right thing. In you we trust to save a life.”
“In You We Trust” began in January when Rose and Lefeld attended a training session and lecture hosted by Traffick911, a group who works with law enforcement to identify victims of sex trafficking. Rose and Lefeld were interested in applying for a grant from the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, and after attending the session with Traffick911, they knew what their subject matter would be.
“The coins give a tangible representation to the statistic of 2,000 children sold on the streets each year,” said Rose. “We chose coins because pimps view these children as currency and have also been known to brand their victims with coin tattoos. The use of coin imagery was told to us anecdotally by a Traffick911 volunteer.”
After spending several months developing prototypes and perfecting a creative process that would allow for volunteers to assist, Rose and Lefeld began the process of creating the 2,000 coins. The project is culminating in the exhibition at Richland College. During the exhibition, lecturers from Traffick911 and other organizations will educate the community about sex trafficking.
“Our main goal with this project is to make people aware that this is happening in Dallas,” said Rose. “The more people know this exists, the more likely they are able to identify situations where children may be in danger, and the more likely they are to speak up.”
“’In You We Trust’ is a wonderful example of how art meets activism,” said John Spriggins, the Richland College gallery coordinator. “Jen Rose and Marian Lefeld have demonstrated their willingness to tackle a very controversial topic in a creative and thoughtful way. Both Rose and Lefeld are reaching beyond the college campus into the community, conducting work sessions with organized community groups that participate in their creative process. The benefit of having resourceful, socially conscious and community-minded faculty like Jen and Marian at Richland College will have a lasting impact on students, faculty and staff. Having secured funding from the Office of Cultural Affairs, this exhibition is proof that supporting the arts can have substantive results.”
Upon the ending of the exhibit at Richland College, Rose and Lefeld hope to raise enough money to have 1,000 of the coins travel to other parts of Texas and the U.S. to be put on display and raise additional awareness of sex trafficking.
To help cover some costs that were not funded by the grant and to realize the goal of traveling the exhibit, a GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up, with donors receiving one coin for each $50 donation to the project. Any money raised that surpasses their goal will be split with Traffick911.
Those wishing to donate to “In You We Trust” can visit gofundme.com/inyouwetrust. Additional information on sex trafficking is available at traffick911.com.
Girls to experience more learning, campus life at UT Dallas during second week
Twenty middle school girls explored science, technology, mathematics, arts and engineering (STEAM) concepts and discovered the joy of learning this week at Richland College.
These Dallas-area 8th grade girls were selected to participate in Girls Inc. SMART Summer College Camp, a two-week learning experience designed by Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, Richland College and The University of Texas at Dallas – Science and Engineering Education Center (SEEC).
The first week of camp, held June 16-20 at Richland College, focused on “Water: Ubiquitous and Unique.” The girls learned about the various properties of Earth’s most important resource in the contexts of sustainability and ecology. The curriculum included experiential learning activities in the sciences as well as in 3-D art, learning strategies and college readiness skills. Each afternoon, the girls experienced the physics and fun behind the hula hoop.
Sherry Dean, Richland College speech communication professor and Girls Inc. board member, says the week was an amazing success.
“We saw the girls grow a lot,” Dr. Dean says. “It was a very intense learning community. This week sets the stage for thinking routines and helping the girls see connections. The girls created ePortfolios to showcase their experiences. They will be able to look back on this week and realize how they’ve become stronger, smarter and bolder.”
Dr. Dean said another important goal was achieved — introducing the girls to a pathway more and more students take to pursue higher education: the community college experience. Richland has some 20,000 credit students and offers Richland Collegiate High School (RCHS), a dual-credit charter high school.
“We planted important seeds for them,” she says. “The girls really enjoyed being on the campus and we introduced them to RCHS. They were excited to consider options. I believe we had a positive influence on their aspirational goals for higher education.”
Next week, June 22-27, the girls will experience campus life at UT Dallas, living in dorm suites, finding out what it takes to apply for college and participating in learning activities in bioengineering, nanotechnology, forensic science, robotics and space science.
At UT Dallas, the girls also will have the opportunity to connect with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals from the university and Dallas’ business community. Evenings will be filled with fun activities such as karaoke, Zumba and movies. The week culminates with a field trip to Texas Instruments.
Expanding the horizons of the young women selected to participate is a significant goal of the camp, says Lori Palmer, CEO of Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas.
“Girls Inc. SMART Summer College Camp will awaken the potential in middle school girls as they explore the life of a full-time college student and discover opportunities in STEM fields,” Ms. Palmer says. “We encourage girls to explore STEM fields because research demonstrates that women employed in STEM careers earn an average of 33 percent more than those employed in other fields.”
Bernine Khan, UT Dallas’ SEEC director, says UT Dallas is thrilled to host week two of the camp because while the university is distinguished for its strength in STEM education and research, females make up only about 43 percent of the student body.
“Females, in general, represent a hugely untapped resource of potential STEM professionals in our nation, and when compounded with low socio-economic and cultural issues, the pathway to a successful STEM career is stymied,” Dr. Khan says. “The program introduces these girls to the flavors of STEM careers through interactions with female STEM professionals. If the girls ultimately choose a non-STEM field, it will be an informed choice with the full knowledge that their intrinsic ability had no bearing on their decision.”
Richland College celebrated the rich cultural diversity of its students and employees on April 17 during its annual Intercultural Festival.
The event opened with “Transformation,” an outdoor, lakeside dance performance choreographed by Richland College Dance Professor Gina Sawyer, followed by the planting of Richland College’s 24th peace pole.
The newest pole on Richland’s campuswide Path for Peace bears the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in English on one side and in Kyrgyz, Telugu and Yoruba on the other three sides. Learn more about Richland’s peace poles by visiting www.richlandcollege.edu/peacepoles.
Richland College President Kay Eggleston encouraged those gathered for the peace pole planting to reflect on the deeper meaning of the ceremony.
“This moving tradition provides us with an opportunity to unite together and reflect on our shared commitment to promoting peace for those among us and throughout the world who face fear, injustice, hunger, loss, suffering and unrest,” Dr. Eggleston said. “In the words of revered former United States First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.'”
Susan Barkley, executive dean of Richland College’s School of World Languages, Cultures and Communications, also addressed the group and challenged the audience to learn more about the cultures of their fellow students and colleagues.
“I always look forward to this glorious day at Richland as we celebrate the unique talents and gifts that our students bring to our campus and honor the diversity which enriches our community,” Ms. Barkley said. “Whether you come from Dallas, Texas, the Cote D’Ivoire or Dubai, at Richland you are becoming a global citizen with an appreciation of other cultures, an ability to work with diverse teams, and an understanding of the interdependence of nations around the world.”
The celebration continued with the colorful Parade of Cultures, led by Chinese lion dancers and featured students carrying signs representing more than 40 countries of origin.
After the parade, Richland students and community members wearing traditional clothing performed dances and songs from their home countries. The Latin Dance Team, special guests from Berkner High School in Richardson, performed a spicy mix of salsa and bachata.
Intercultural Festival attendees also enjoyed Texas barbecue and a variety of global wares sold by artisan vendors.
Richland College was named the 2014 RecycleMania Grand Champion of Texas and ranked third nationally out of 461 participating colleges and universities.
RecycleMania’s mission of inspiring environmental and social consciousness fits perfectly with Richland College’s vision to build sustainable local and world community. Richland has participated in RecycleMania since 2009, taking the Texas Grand Champion title in 2014, 2012, 2011 and 2010.
RecycleMania’s Grand Champion category is based on a weekly recycling rate. Richland’s recycling rate for the competition was 75.1 percent. Antioch University Seattle was the 2014 RecycleMania National Grand Champion with a weekly recycling rate of 93.13 percent. University of Missouri-Kansas City finished second with 81.05 percent.
During 2014 RecycleMania, participating institutions collectively recycled or composted 89.1 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials, preventing the release of 126,597 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere – equal to the annual emissions from 24,823 cars.
According to RecycleMania, Richland College’s activities during this year’s competition prevented the release of 335 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent or the same reduction in greenhouse gases as removing 66 passenger cars from the road.
RecycleMania started in 2001 as a friendly challenge between Ohio University and Miami University to increase recycling on their campuses. The competition has expanded from two schools in 2001 to 461 colleges and universities in 2014 spanning all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.
Complete results for all 11 competition categories can be found on recyclemania.org, including a breakdown showing how schools performed by athletic conference, institution size, state and other groupings.
Richland College hosted 247 area high school students for “Engineering the Future,” a special event highlighting the engineering and technology fields of study. The event, held Feb. 17 and Feb. 19, coincided with National Engineers Week. Students from North Dallas, Garland, North Garland, Naaman Forest and Conrad high schools participated in various activities including a rocket launch, meetings with college and university representatives, special presentations by Richland College and Texas A&M University-Commerce officials and a campus tour.
Richland College Garland Campus and Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association received a $358,246 check on Jan. 24 from the Texas Workforce Commission. Commissioner Hope Andrade presented the funds to Richland College and five Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association companies for workforce skills training. Companies included in the grant are Atlas Copco Drilling Solutions, RHE Hatco Inc., Sherwin Williams (Garland, Arlington, Ennis and Waco plants), Unity Mfg. and Work Area Protection. The grant provides funding for Richland College to instruct 345 employees for a more than 9,250 training hours. Training under the grant includes “Lean Manufacturing,” programmable logic controls fundamentals, CPR/first aid, Six Sigma Green Belt, Microsoft Office, welding and forklift certification.
The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), in collaboration with the Association for Asian American Studies, released a new, national report, “Invisible Newcomers: Refugees from Burma/Myanmar and Bhutan in the United States,” that gives voice to and provides comprehensive data about the challenges surrounding these refugee populations.
Kathryn K. Eggleston, Richland College’s president, served as a member of the review committee for the “Invisible Newcomers” report. Richland College is a designated Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI).
The need for a report such as “Invisible Newcomers” was identified through continual assessment of APIASF’s scholarship application cycle, said Neil Horikoshi, APIASF president and executive director.
“We discovered that a growing number of our applicants and scholarship recipients are from the Burmese and Bhutanese communities,” Mr. Horikoshi said. “Further investigation into these groups demonstrated the need for access to educational resources as well as additional research to inform policymakers, higher education leaders and other resource providers about the experiences of students.”
The report found that serious challenges for Burmese and Bhutanese refugees include difficulty navigating systems to access long-term funding and support services; limited English proficiency; intergenerational conflict between children/youth and elders; and the inability to communicate in various realms, including educational access and employment resources.
The APIASF identified several policy implications and made recommendations including:
- The length of time that adult refugees are eligible for English language education and social support services should be extended.
- Special attention needs to be paid to the educational outcomes of the refugee population who arrive during their teen years. Some 39 percent of Burmese refugees in the United States have dropped out of high school. This population needs programs to help ease their transition. Intensive educational and social support should be provided to teens to help increase high school graduation rates.
- Job training and job development are critical factors contributing to improved socioeconomic status. Organizations should strategically provide training to refugees that will lead to permanent positions and focus on areas with future job growth.
Richland College works closely with the APIASF. For the 2013–14 academic year , Richland College was one of only nine higher education institutions in the U.S. through which the APIASF offered scholarships to AANAPISI students.
In 2010, Richland College received a five-year AANAPISI grant from the U.S. Department of Education that will total more than $1.4 million in funding. This AANAPISI funding impacts many of Richland College’s underserved students, as 14 percent of the college’s student population is composed of Asian American students with at least half of those demonstrating financial need.
Who: Richland College Garland Campus and Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association
What: Commissioner Hope Andrade from the Texas Workforce Commission will present a $358,246 check to Richland College and five Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association companies for workforce skills training. The grant provides funding for Richland College to instruct 345 employees for a more than 9,250 training hours.
When: 2 p.m. on Jan. 24, 2014
Where: Richland College Garland Campus, 675 W. Walnut Street in Garland
For more information, contact Tandy Dollar at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-360-1221.
Russian students visiting from Saratov State University gave a presentation at Richland College on Nov. 13. The students met first with Richland College faculty members and administrators who participated the International Education Seminar at Saratov State University in 2009. The educators who facilitated the 2009 seminar were Fred Newbury, Martha Hogan, Mary Darin, Susan Barkley, M.T. Hickman and Jeana Remington. The Russian students also attended various classes on Nov. 13 before presenting on “Life in Russia.” The visit is a continuation of Richland’s relationship with Saratov State University, which includes courses offered thorough the Virtual International Classroom, visits to Richland and Saratov by faculty members and students and a Fulbright scholar from Russia and a faculty member from Richland serving as a visiting lecturer at Saratov State. Richland College also will honor International Education Week with an open house in its Multicultural Center on Nov. 21.
Richland College and other sponsors are partnering with the City of Richardson and The NETWORK of Community Ministries to help the Richardson community with the “Gathering Soles for NETWORK” shoe drive.
The “Gathering Soles for NETWORK” shoe drive is being held in conjunction with “Ask Not…the Dallas County Day of Service,” which is bringing communities throughout Dallas County together to honor the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy during the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of his death.
“We are proud at the City to partner with the NETWORK of Community Ministries to address a significant need,” Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka said. “NETWORK has helped so many people in need in our community, through the food pantry, assistance through Seniors’ Net and so many other services. We heard of a need from our friends at NETWORK, and this particular project is a fantastic way for the Richardson community to take part in the larger Dallas County Day of Service.”
Members of the community are asked to donate new or gently used shoes to NETWORK through Nov. 21. Collection sites with specially marked bins at Richland College are in:
- El Paso Hall, by the Office of Student Life
- Wichita Hall’s lower lobby, by Room WH115
- Crockett Hall, by the elevator on the first floor
Click here to see a list of city of Richardson facilities that will serve as collection points. Donations also may be dropped off at the NETWORK main office, 741 Sherman St. in Richardson.
Richland College is joined by these sponsors for the shoe drive: Methodist Richardson Medical Center; Richardson Girl Scout Troops 2120, 2477 and 9409; and the University of Texas at Dallas Office of Student Volunteerism. Each of these partner agencies has also placed bins at their facilities to collect shoes.
Shoes that are donated will be distributed to families through the Richardson-North Dallas Family Clothing Center, operated by NETWORK. Through the program, impoverished families are able, at no cost, to select clothing and shoes. A particular need is shoes for children of all ages, from babies through teenagers.
“The Gathering Soles for NETWORK program will do so much to help our organization and all of our clients in the Richardson community,” said NETWORK Board President Chris Barnes. “Good shoes allow children to go to school and their parents to go to work. Thank you so much to the City of Richardson for its support in addressing this great need.”
NETWORK of Community Ministries, founded in 1985, serves families and individuals in Richardson and the surrounding areas of Dallas County, including parts of Dallas and Garland. More than 46,000 individuals receive assistance each year.