Thursday, July 30, 2009


To me, Oreo cookies are a ubiquitous RAPP food. When I joined, we had a ton at the every retreat - even varieties I'd never heard of. Who knew there was more than Regular and Double Stuffed?!

When I became a facilitator, I helped maintain the omnipresence of Oreos at RAPP retreats and events. Now, I have a tendency to call them "the official RAPP food." This is probably something I've made up in my mind as being a "RAPP thing," but still I keep it going.

At the urging of Jojo, we had cookies at our Student Spotlight table today. We mostly just gave them to folks for fun without pressure to listen to a spiel. Still, they may have helped - we talked with two applicants today. They've now been sucked into my "Oreos are RAPP food" myth.

I'm curious - what other things do RAPPers associate with the RAPP experience? I'd love to hear what, if anything, were previous dietary traditions - whether you feel they were made up by you (as with me and Oreos) or not.

(pic - our little plate of Oreos from today, B&W b/c my poor little camera-phone made them look disgusting in color)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Final Days - RAPP Facilitator Recruitment

It's an exciting time as we come down to the wire: Applications to be a RAPP Facilitator are due on or by August 1st! We'll be interviewing the top candidates in mid-August and should announce our new facilitator for RAPP XXV by the end of the month.

The job description is posted below. To apply, simply send a resume and cover letter to Rebecca (lehmanrl at uc dot edu).

Facilitator for RAPP (Racial Awareness Program)
Student Activities and Leadership Development

· A bachelor degree (education, social work, family studies, sociology, or related field preferred)
· Experience working with adults or teens from diverse backgrounds
· Experience facilitating groups is preferred
· Working understanding of social justice theory and student development theory is preferred
· The ideal candidate should be inspirational, talented, able to share leadership, and committed to the program.

General Duties: Under supervision of the Program Coordinator for RAPP, the facilitator supports the functions of RAPP (Racial Awareness Program) by assisting in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the program.

Specific Responsibilities:

· Participate in two-day facilitation pre-service training

· Participate in promotional activities for the recruitment of members

· After appropriate training, conduct intake interviews

· Participate in the planning and evaluation of RAPP sessions

· Facilitate four three-hour meetings and one overnight retreat for each academic quarter (three quarters/year)

Time Commitment: The facilitator must be able to commit for one academic year (nine months, September-May). Work time includes pre-service training, participation in recruitment activities, twelve meetings, three over-night retreats, weekly planning meetings, and limited tasks associated with meetings/retreats.

Compensation: The facilitator is considered to be an independent contractor and is compensated in the amount of $4,000.00 for a nine-month commitment.

(pic - Sarvani P, one of our awesome facilitators for RAPP XXV)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tales from Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight is an opportunity we use to connect with incoming students during their Orientation experience. This is my second summer staffing a RAPP table at Spotlight.

Last year's experience was mostly positive but gave me one rub. RAPP's informational table was placed on the outside of the main path students filter through. Next to us in our "off the path" spot was Ethnic Programs and Services and the African American Cultural and Research Center. I thought it bothersome that such great resources (which I egotistically place RAPP among) were not readily available to students and their parents. I worked with the organizers and eventually was able to move RAPP inside "the circle" (as we called the inner display areas).

Given that first summer's experience, I was wary of it repeating this year. To be safe, I turned in our application the day after they were made available and stayed in close touch with Orientation staff during their training period. The first day of Spotlight I was delighted to find that RAPP had a prime spot deep inside the circle where lots of folks would see us.

At the end of the first week I got bummed out again. I took a wander around myself and found that the AACRC, EPS, and Shades of You were all in the "off the path" spot we'd occupied last summer. Shades of You - a society for women of color - does an excellent job staffing their table and reaching out to the students at spotlight. Since it had taken folks the year before sharing their tables to let RAPP in, I figured the least we could do is share the love.

I'm excited that we now share a table with Shades of You. Their students draw others to our table and their awesome members help break the monotony of the wait for students to arrive. I'm loving our neighbors!

If I remember correctly, several RAPPers were involved in the inception and early years of Shades. If you were a part of that, I'd love to hear your stories in the comments section or by email (send to lehmanrl at uc dot edu).

(pic - our table at Spotlight (sans the laptop o' RAPP videos))

Monday, July 27, 2009

Announcing the RAPP XXV Recruitment Contest!

Hey RAPPers, get involved in the RAPP XXV Recruitment Contest!

From the data we collect during the application process, we know that word of mouth is our strongest recruitment tool. The information tables, flyers, classroom visits, announcements at trainings/meetings, and website are all important – but we know that most folks who join RAPP did so after hearing about it from people they know.

I want to do everything I can to encourage RAPPers to help with spreading the word about RAPP. So, I’m offering a recruitment contest to give us all a little extra motivation!

There are two ways to win an awesome RAPP gift-pack!
1. The person who recruits the most people who complete an interview.
2. Random drawing – for each person you recruit that completes an interview, your name will be entered in a drawing.

You can only win one RAPP gift-pack. With the random drawing, even if you recruit just one person you still have a chance to win!

What do I win?

These gift-packs will continue to grow as I collect random cool stuff. At the point, we know they’ll include:
· Reusable shopping bag
· RAPP buttons
· Random UC giveaways (pens, write-erase boards, t-shirts, doo-dads, and whatnots)
· $25 Bearcat Cash on your UCID*

*If you’re not currently a UC student with an active UCID, we’ll work something out for the same amount.

How do I win?

There are two points during the application at which applicants write down how they heard about RAPP: when they first contact us; for their written application. If your name is listed at either of those points and the applicant completes an interview, this counts as you having recruited them.

Applicants can list more than one person – in that case, both people get full credit.

We wrap up interviews on October 9th and announce who was accepted to each group on October 10th. I’ll also announce the RAPP recruitment contest winners on the 10th.

How do I recruit people?

Keep your eye on the RAPP and RAPPORT listservs and this blog – I’ll periodically send/post reminders on how to spread the word about RAPP.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

RAPPer Spotlight: Nancy's Going to Palestine & Israel

Nancy Paraskevopoulos, a member of RAPP XXIV and recipient of the 2009 Terence L. Jones Diversity Award, is doing some amazing work this summer.

She's been accepted to go on a delegation to Palestine/Israel from July 25-August 5 to monitor US hegemony in the region through Interfaith Peace-Builders. In her two weeks there she'll be doing research as well as home stays with both Israeli and Palestinian families.

She's set up a blog that records her journey both in prep, while there, and after coming home called Beastin' in the Middle East. If you're on Facebook, you can also follow her fundraising progress through the Nancy's Going to Palestine/Israel group.

If you're able to help, Nancy is still in need of donations to fund the journey. I hope all goes well and can't wait to hear about her work there.

(pic - Nancy's always adventurous - this shot's from the RAPP XXIV Spring Retreat)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Seeking a Facilitator - Applications due August 1st

RAPP has a tradition of some amazing and long-lived facilitators. In recent years they've included Un Kyong Ho, Ahoo Tabatabai, Matt McCaren, Kim McGinnis, and Kerry Welch. We've been lucky to have such talented and inspiring folk stick around.

We're losing Steve Succop, facilitator since 2006, to NYC and law school this year. He's irreplacable.

So, we've been looking for the next great facilitator. The advertisement has gone to countless listservs since June. The countdown to the application deadline is wrapping up.

If you (or someone you know) would like to learn more about being a RAPP facilitator, email me at lehmanrl at uc dot edu for more information on the position and how to apply.
(pic - Steve and a rendering of him at the RAPP XXIV Winter Retreat - which is which?!)

Monday, July 20, 2009

"Limited Edition" Giveaway

Inspired by the love of many - and the regular reminders by Jojo - I've been exploring RAPP buttons as a promotional giveaway.

I tested a "prototype" last week and found that, well, the method I had at hand was not viable for the large scale production needed for a good giveaway.

The upshot of this is I now have about 40 buttons of varying quality that folks are welcome to take. Get in touch with me (lehmanrl at uc dot edu) if you'd like one!

Friday, July 17, 2009

XXIV are Always Dropping Knowledge

July must be official t-shirt awesomeness month. Earlier, we heard from Trisha of RAPP XVI about how she's still using her RAPP t-shirt. Then, the other day, my RAPP XXIV t-shirt spawned a good bus conversation.

I was headed downtown and got off at the main station on 5th. While exiting, I kept hearind someone say "Sir, sir! Your t-shirt!" A man from the bus tapped my arm and I realized he was talking to me. I said hi and he started talking about the quote on the back of the t-shirt. He said it spoke the truth and was really powerful.

I couldn't (and can't) help but agree. We talked about RAPP briefly and I told him that our group picked the quote. I also talked about how I felt the quote had been so appropriate for our group because that philosophy is what we needed to get us through our joint retreat.

Great job picking a great quote, RAPP XXIV! You'll be dropping knowledge as long as these shirts are wearable!

Also, I'm greatly looking forward to the upcoming issue of UC Magazine, in which wonder-facilitator Sarvani is sporting her RAPP shirt!

(pic - back of the RAPP XXIV shirt)


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Much Needed Update

One of the amazing but challenging parts of RAPP is the continual process of self-evaluation and acknowledging the ways in which we perpetuate oppression in our daily lives. I finally have dealt with one of those that's been bugging me for a while.

Back in December I made a little video for RAPP (shown in an earlier post). Right away I caught a few typos and less-than-quality photos that needed to be swapped out. But, I never fixed those. A while later I realized another big issue. But, I kept using the same excuses - I hate MovieMaker, no one else will notice, I just don't have time - to avoid fixing it.

Considering how much it bugged me, it's sad that I took this long to finally start fixing it (the issue transfered over to later videos with the same format/different songs).

If you watch the section on how RAPP "A place to teach others," nearly all the active people in the pictures were White.

I think the biggest (somewhat) unconscious excuse I used to take so long to fix it was having to 'fess up that I perpetuated the all-too-common racist assumption that White people have the most to teach others.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Find Us at Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight is an activity during New Student Orientation where students (and their parents) wander through a "fair" of informational tables sponsored and usually staffed by University offices and student groups.

RAPP is back for another great year at Student Spotlight! If you'd like to learn more about our group from a living, breathing, real life RAPPer, stop by our table in the TUC Atrium between 9:00 and 9:45AM on any of the following days:

Wednesday, July 15
Thursday, July 16
Friday, July 17
Tuesday, July 21
Thursday, July 23
Tuesday, July 28
Wednesday, July 29
Thursday, July 30
Tuesday, August 4
Wednesday, August 5
Thursday, August 6
Tuesday, August 11
Wednesday, August 12
Thursday, August 13

(pic-our info table at Student Spotlight)

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Few Good (Peer) Leaders

As I've been building our "new" understanding of RAPP's history, I've been learning more and more about the role RAPPORT students have played with the program. They've done many things in different ways and the current incarnation of the group continues to evolve.

One of the more visible things RAPPORT students did the last two year was serve as Peer Leaders. In 2007-2008 we had Maika, Chantal, and Mia work with RAPP XXIII in basically that role (we didn't have a formal name for what they did). They helped with the execution of meetings and worked as a supportive peer within the group. They were able to bridge the gap that can appear between facilitators - with the somewhat more formal relationship we have with group members and administrative roles we fill - to connect with the current RAPPers as peer who encourage them to be the best RAPPer they can be.

This past year with RAPP XXIV we had the amazing Deanna Heiden and awesome Kinsey Borzone serve as Peer Leaders with the Wednesday group and Sunday group, respectively. They were great at both helping lead activities within the group, take the conversations we had to a deeper level, and be a great support for the RAPPers throughout the challenging RAPP process. They were also incredibly flexible during all the changes RAPP was undergoing with new leadership and a new curricular focus.

We've just started the hunt for our next batch. I can't wait to see the great group of Peer Leaders we have this year!

(Pic - Deanna, RAPPORT Peer Leader for RAPP XXIV Wednesday group, with Wednesday RAPPers Chika O and Jojo B)


Friday, July 10, 2009

The "Original" RAPP Video

Original as in "the first of this year." Having spent time digging through what random "archives" are left of our 24-year history, I know there are many, many videos that came before this. Hopefully, when I learn how to copy VHS to DVD (for free, mind you) I'll be able to post some of the amazing older videos - for example, when we were on the CBS World News. Yes, yes, indeed.

In the meantime, click the link to check out this great video by recent UC graduate Rachel Alig.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

RAPP in the Halls

I first learned about RAPP living in the residence halls at UC. I became an resident advisor in Spring of 1998 and Matt McCaren (longtime RAPP facilitator) was my resident. He soon became an RA and every hall I visited I knew of RAs in RAPP. As I've met more RAPPers from "back in the day" (i.e. back before I'd heard of RAPP), I've found that many of them were also RAs.

This apparent tradition lives on. I just learned that five of our RAPP XXIV members are RAs for the upcoming year! Congratulations to Isaiah Powell, Tad Miller, Emily Sides, Mykea Ruffin, and Lisa Watkins for your RA positions!

I mentioned that we had five RAPPers as RAs in the coming year in my Facebook status yesterday and was delighted to get this comment back from Trisha Lay, a RAPP XVI member:

"i had a res life retreat today and we had to bring something that represented what was important to us when we were 18-22 years old. i brought my rapp xvi shirt...still have it and still thankful for the experience of being a part of rapp."

Pic - Jen P and Lisa W, two RAPP XXIV members who were RAs during their RAPP year.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"What is RAPP?" Video

This past school year I dabbled around with Windows Movie Maker and started making "videos" (considering they're just pictures and music, I prefer the quotes...) about RAPP to use this summer during recruitment.

The first one I made is below. The text was based off the results of some surveying I was doing in preparation for a rebranding project I later put on the back burner. It's pretty rough, but still - here it is in its original form.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Queer Canon: Call for Submissions

Several previous RAPP members are involved in GenderBloc, the UC student group that publishes The Queer Canon. This is a great student-created zine and we keep copies in the RAPP office for folks to read.

Here's their call for submissions for the upcoming issue:

GenderBloc, the University of Cincinnati’s radical queer group that focuses on transgender activism, is placing a call for submissions for its quarterly zine. Submissions can be submitted by anyone, not just UC students. Selections must be submitted before August 31, 2009, to Past issues ofThe Queer Canon are available here. Please pass this information along!
The Queer Canon submission guidelines:
Word Limit:
§ Maximum word limit is between 1500-2000 words.
§ There is no minimum word limit.
Examples of written work:
-Short stories
-Poetry and prose
-Academic and theoretical work
Artwork and Images:
Acceptable Formats:
§ JPEG file
§ GIF file
(Color work may be submitted, but will be printed in black and white.)
Maximum file size:
§ Under 10MB
Examples of images:
-Drawings and sketches
-Comics and caricature’s
-Digital work
-Graphics, charts and graphs
Editing Process
There is a simple reviewing process of works submitted. No works are out-right rejected. If a work is not accepted for a particular issue it will be returned to the author for revision. The author may then, if they choose, submit the work again.
We try hard to preserve the original layout and fonts of each work submitted; butsometimes small edits are made when we are creating the final layout for the zine. If there is special instruction for you piece, please include it in the submission email.
Pieces can be submitted under a name, assumed name/pen name, or anonymously. Non-original work (work created by someone other than the person submitting it) may be submitted only if it is accompanied by the proper citations. Non-original, un-cited works will not be printed.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

RAPP 2.0

There have been many meetings lately for University leaders and non-profit group folk on engaging people through Web 2.0. I've had the fortune/misfortune to attend a couple of these. For the most part, they've boiled down to "so, there's this thing out there called Facebook..."

After fighting it internally for months, I'm finally doing this. RAPP's going to be more on-line than ever before. Seeing RAPPORT reconnect through Facebook really drove home the value of this - a big thank you is owed to Damon Heard of RAPP X for that!

Here are the ways RAPP being all Web 2.0 will play out:
  • This blog! Keep coming here for updates!

  • A Facebook Fan Page (coming soon - it's being built now and will be published next week)

  • Public calendar of RAPP and RAPPORT events - check it out on the bottom of this blog

Not much for now, but a good start. Please send your thoughts and ideas along!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Throwing Numbers

I had dinner yesterday with a friend from RAPP XVI. Along with the fun of generally catching up, I had two great RAPP moments:

1. At one point while I was going on about RAPP, she said "[sigh] I miss those conversations!" In her day to day work, there aren't the opportunities for the kind of conversations we have in RAPP. It reminded me that this is true for most of us, even for me at points and - hey! - my work is RAPP.

2. We were reminiscing about people in our groups and she simultaneously said "yeah, RAPP XVI!" and made the number with her arms. I got excited because that's what I do from RAPP XXII! I know not everyone in every group throws up the group numbers, but we both did. For her, even eight years after her RAPP year she still threw the numbers when she talked about her group! I showed her RAPP XXIV's awesome integration of numbers and dropping knowledge. Very impressive, I know. ;)

Great times with a great friend!