Saturday, January 16, 2010

Another inspirational day

It was another fantastic day filled with many points of inspiration! Our time with the students at the Clinton School of Public Service demonstrated to us that people with passion for justice can work to make the world better. The students were motivated to maximize their educational opportunities to find ways to work for justice. Special thanks goes to Ryan Olson, Clinton School student, for organizing and moderating the panel for us. And, thanks to the amazing students on the panel for getting up early on a Saturday to share their personal stories.

After a wonderful visit at the Clinton School we went to Heifer International Headquarters to witness public service in action. We learned about the Heifer organization, founder, model of service, and philosophy of social justice. We were all impressed with their grassroots work to teach and support sustainable living around the world. We were also amazed to tour their LEED Platinum building to see how they walk the talk of sustainability. It is an impressive facility and we all learned little things we can do to lead a more earth-friendly life. We also learned methods of social change used to address issues of poverty around the world. It was an terrific experience for us.

After learning about non-profit service, we toured the Clinton Library to learn about the politics of social change. The building and its collections are impressive and the opportunity to learn about how the personal IS political regardless of your party affiliation was a good learning experience for our students. During our lunch discussion students talked about how they would use what they learned on our trip when they returned to campus. We also met with two wonderful UW-Eau Claire alumni who shared about the experience as students in the late sixties and early seventies. Thanks to them for spending time with us! We also had wonderful volunteer tour guides who shared their story of working with other teachers during the period following desegregation to improve teaching and learning for diversity. The couple are long time friends of the Clintons and shared about teaching Bill Clinton in High School. We were motivated by their personal story of using their careers as teachers to make change. As we were leaving the library one of the volunteers stopped me to tell me that she was so impressed with our group. She said we were one of the best groups of students they've ever had. I couldn't agree more!

We headed to Memphis after our full day of learning. We got one more day left. What an amazing journey we've had!

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