Friday, June 28, 2013

A New Way to Apply for RAPP XXIX: Through UC Campus LINK

As mentioned earlier, RAPP is among the first organizations helping launch the community-changing UC Campus LINK.

RAPP has accepted applications in a variety of ways over the last five years:  Handwritten, Word documents, Google forms, and fillable PDF.

We're now adding a new way for RAPP XXIX:  A UC Campus LINK Form!

While a limitation of the Campus LINK site is that it's not accessible to alumni who no longer have a UC email address, it does have some functions that can be done without having registered for the site with the UC login.  Included among these are online forms.

Applicants can now easily fill the form out online through a UC service (instead of Google) and not struggle with the PDFs or making the trip to drop off a paper form.

Will handwritten RAPPlications become a thing of the past?
I doubt it!  I'm just glad students have options.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Get LINKed with RAPP: UC Campus LINK

People have been able to link up with RAPP through our LinkedIn group for several years.  UC students will now have another way to link up with us online.

Student Activities & Leadership Development is launching a new student engagement portal this summer: UC Campus Link

It's building over the summer through Bearcats Bound Orientation and goes large this fall with Welcome Weekend, but certain student leaders and university staff are being early adopters over the summer to help prepare and build the site.  Many RAPPers are among them!

The site is being built for a variety of reasons, improved events calendar, development of a leadership transcript, and improved student organization registration and connections among them.

RAPP's page was among the first set up.  ARJ 2013, RAPP XXIX, and RAPPORT already have private pages set up for participants.  If you're a UC community member with a UC email address, check out the site and join RAPP on it!
This screencap highlights how UC Campus LINK brings together  much of our social media in a convenient location for students.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Final Chance: Apply for Accelerating Racial Justice 2013 by This Friday!

We're currently in the confirmation process for the people who were selected for Accelerating Racial Justice 2013 and a few spots for students have opened up.

With that in mind, ARJ Student Worker Jamieson and I (Rebecca) have decided to accept applications until Friday, June 28th.

If you wanted to apply and missed the earlier deadline, here's your final chance to get in to ARJ 2013!

Accelerating Racial Justice is RAPP's newest intensive, having premiered summer 2012!  Developed collaboratively by students and staff from throughout UC, this leadership program is an excellent option for Bearcats interested in social justice who can't do the year-long commitment RAPP requires.

Program OverviewMonday, August 12 to Friday, August 16, 2013Grailville Retreat Center (transportation provided)FREE to UC students!
Through full participation in the 5-day program, participants:

  • Develop relationships with 30+ other Bearcats from all over the university
  • Enhance their understanding of racial justice and inclusive leadership
  • Build a personal foundation and a supportive community to continue building racial justice and an inclusive leadership community at UC
There are two steps to apply for this life-changing program:
  1. Read the Information for Potential Applicants.  This piece is designed to cover the common questions people may have about Accelerating Racial Justice to help you decide if it's what you're looking for.

  1. Complete a written application.  This application gathers basic information from candidates.  Information on how to access the application is available in the Information for Potential Applicants, which you are expected to read before completing a written application.
Please contact Rebecca Lehman at or 513.556.6119 with any questions you may have.

The Office of Student Activities & Leadership Development will offer the five-day Accelerating Racial Justice intensive for students to build their awareness, knowledge, and skills related to racial justice and inclusive leadership. 

Accelerating Racial Justice’s curriculum is based in best practices in the realms of social justice education, intergroup dialogue, and inclusive leadership development.  
After the intensive is completed, participants will be welcomed into the RAPPORT community and will be eligible for the RAPP Social Justice Peer Educator Certificate.
How to Apply

Friday, June 21, 2013

All Over Spotlight!

At Student Spotlight during Bearcats Bound Orientation, a photo hunt found RAPPers displayed all around the atrium.  It's unlikely we found every RAPPer who was in the pictures, but check out who was found among all these tables:

Student Wellness Center
RAPP XXVII alumna Tiffany Stainfield
African American Cultural & Resource Center and Ethnic Programs & Services
RAPP VI alumna Dr. Bleuzette Marshall and RAPP I alum William Harris

RAPP XXVII alumna Kayla Ihuekwu

The Wesley House - Methodist Campus Ministries
RAPP XXVII alumna Keshar Smith
 Serve Beyond Cincinnati
RAPP XXIII alumna Mei Hseih
 Programs & Activities Council
RAPP XXIV alumna Latoya Watson

RAPP XXV alumni Rachel Berman & Tyler Thompson, RAPP XXVII alum Adrian Vance, and RAPP XXVIII alumna Emma Smith 
 The Women's Center
RAPP XXIV alumna Katie Meyer

ARJ 2012 alumna Kara Mate

RAPP XXVII alumni Jalisa Holidfield & Ana Montalvan

ARJ 2013 Peer Leader Corinne Patterson

Orientation Staff
RAPP XXVII alum Gregor McCord and RAPP XXV alumna Kristin Myers-Young
 Student Activities Board
RAPP XXVII alumna Samar Sheriff

ARJ 2012 alumna Jazmyn Battie
RAPP XXVI alum Dan Pham
RAPP XXIV alum Blake Jelley
RAPP XXV alum Anthony de la Rosa

Thursday, June 20, 2013

12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute - The Full Experience

Participants and leaders of the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute

Thanks to a UC Diversity Council Diversity Investment Grant and Student Activities & Leadership Development, I was able to participate in the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute June 3-14, 2013, at the University of Rhode Island.

Throughout the Level I Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation certification process, I blogged daily to share my experience.  I wholeheartedly recommend that anyone interested in social change, social justice, and/or nonviolence attend - this institute helps bring all those together and prepare you to help people through a similar synthesis.

Here are the blog posts in chronological order:
I look forward to working with the RAPP Steering Committee throughout the summer to prepare our implementation plan for Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation training and supportive educational programming.

Quiet Offices: SALD Annual Staff Retreat

The offices related to all programming areas of Student Activities & Leadership Development - RAPP included - are going to be mostly dark & quiet the next few days (Thursday, 20 June & Friday, 21 June).  We're off on retreat!

The SALD staff does a multi-day retreat at least once per year for professional development, team-building, strategic planning, and other fun and less-fun tasks.  Please wish us well and be sure to stop by next week (starting Monday, June 24th).

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Favorite Returns: RAPP Buttons!

Thanks to a repaired button-making machine and RAPP XXVIII alum & RAPP XXIX Peer Leader Nate Bell spending time making them, we have RAPP buttons again!

Stop by throughout the summer at the RAPP Office (check Rebecca's office next door in 671 Steger if the office is closed) or the RAPP table at Student Spotlight to pick one up!

Have a design idea?  Let Rebecca know - we'll work to make it a reality!
The first batch of new RAPP buttons!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Notes from Nonviolence: Let's Celebrate!

The final day of the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute can be summed up in two words:  Reflection & Celebration!

In the morning, we completed assessments and took care of lots of closing details (giving information for co-trainer database, finalizing departure plans, going over the process of the certification ceremony).  It was a good, easy morning after two full intense weeks of training.

The big excitement was the afternoon!  We were joined by University of Rhode Island dignitaries as we closed out our experience and those of us being certified were recognized.

Check out this list of leaders from around the world ready to teach and lead with the principles of Kingian Nonviolence!
It could have easily been a dry afternoon of certificates and handshakes.  Instead, it was a celebration of learning and community.  As befits nonviolence work, there were wise words in calls to action, celebration of successes, and music to fill us with energy and hope as we scatter back around the globe.

Kojo Frempang shares about his learning through a poem:

As the photo shows, it's official - Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation is coming back to UC!  Keep your eyes out here for the launch of these trainings in fall!
I receive my Level I certification from center director Dr. Paul Bueno de Mesquite

Friday, June 14, 2013

Notes from Nonviolence: Celebrating Our Beloved Community!

After a long day of our final assessment for certification, the participants in both Level I and Level II Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation training at the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute had a night of letting loose.

After a delicious dinner, the night was kicked off with a performance by 5th Elament with an energetic set of empowering music.

Kalyana Champlain, aka 5th Elament

The 401 Group, a local B-Boy/Girl group, amped the crowd up and we filled the night with song and dance. A highlight of the night was when our classmate Kalisa, a peace activist and musician from Rwanda, performed a song he wrote just that night called "Hobe (Peace)."

We celebrated ourselves, our learning, and our community together. As many who were in the Civil Rights Movement have said, they had music and humor to keep their spirits going in the hard times.  We enjoyed music and humor to celebrate our two weeks together in intensive training, a perfect way to spend our final night together.

Notes from Nonviolence: Unofficial Success

Day Eleven of the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute was a stressful but surprisingly fun one:  We were evaluated on our presentation of the two-day Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Resolution training we've spent two weeks being trained to lead.

A whole host of faculty and Kingian Nonviolence certified trainers teamed up to assess and provide feedback on our use of effective facilitation strategies, ability to work with co-trainers, and understanding of and adherence to the curriculum.

It's not official until tomorrow, but word on the street is we passed.  We'll officially be Level I Certified!

Chief Amos & Gabby lead an activity about values.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Notes from Nonviolence: "Fate Comes Knocking"

The evening program for Day Ten of the 12th International Summer Nonviolence Institute left our group agape and overwhelmed!  We were treated to a performance of "Fate Comes Knocking" by the Mixed Magic Theatre.

This was a beautiful near-culmination of our initial study together of King's work and philosophy.  The show mixes (magically!) drama, comedy, music, and media to weave together the story of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., with an emphasis on the impact and role of the everyday people who participated in the movement.

It humanized a person we too often put on a pedestal.  It reminded us of the countless leaders who came before and walked with King.  It highlighted the complicated nature of movements and how in telling "the tale" of Civil Rights we leave out all the intersections the movement included (gender, religion, class).  It reminds us that no group of people - even those involved in a common movement - are monolithic.

It was particularly poignant for us to experience this performance on June 12th, the anniversary of the murder of Medgar Evers (put in context well in this timeline).  We were joined by Dr. Bernard LaFayette, who was also attacked that day as another target of a plan by the white supremacist organization the White Citizen's Council to kill prominent leaders in the Civil Rights Movement.

The full cast of Fate Comes Knocking performing.

Fate Comes Knocking addresses frankly issues of gender and other marginalized identities both within the movement and in how its represented now. 

Dr. Bernard LaFayette shares his reactions to the play - which were overwhelmingly gratitude and the desire to make sure the show is performed far and wide!

Institute participant Kojo poses with Ricardo Pitts-Wiley, the author of and performer in the play.

Notes from Nonviolence: Refining the Practice

Repetition was emphasized as a skill for effective trainers of the two-day Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation training.  Day Ten of the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute had us practice repetition in a positive way.

Day Nine we were put into co-training teams and jumped into preparing and practicing the process of the training.  Today, we refined this through practice, feedback, practice, feedback, practice, feedback, more practice, and even more feedback.

As we built confidence and competence, we were able to integrate more of the desired effective training practices and develop our voices as trainers of this curriculum.  All of this is in preparation for Day Eleven where we are assessed by the lead trainers for our ability to do the process of the curriculum (we were assessed on Day Six for our mastery of the content).

That's our final step for achieving Level I certification.  Please wish all our teams - especially Team 8, to which I belong - well in this assessment!

Our practice group, Team 7 & Team 8, at the end of the day with a friend!
Front left to right: Me, Kalisa, Kojo, Betty, Melissa, Tenzin
Back left to right: Ryan (training coach), Arjun, Joe, Vanes (training coach), Abdullahi 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Notes from Nonviolence: Waging Peace

The evening program for Day Nine of the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute was much anticipated by institute participants and the community at large:  Paul Chappell spoke on The Art of Waging Peace.
Paul Chappell spoke about the importance of understanding violence and why we should have hope in nonviolence
Paul is a West Point alum, veteran of the Iraq War, and is Peace Leadership Director for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.  A peace activist, he is author of several books on war, killing, and nonviolence.

He highlighted a quote from Gandhi, which I'll paraphrase:  If humans are naturally or inherently violent, then Gandhi's methods won't work.

He also gave a powerful metaphor: Doctors learn to heal and promote health by learning about disease and injury.  Similarly, he says, nonviolent leaders and peace activists need to learn about violence if we want to create effective change.

Paul cited work that provides a lot of evidence that we are not violent by nature - particularly research on how violence-averse we are as people and how this parallels greatly with research on mammals (and other animals) on how they actively work to avoid unnecessary violence.

A key takeaway he gave our group was an understanding of how we distance ourselves - in modern times and throughout several millennia of war history - in order to be able to act violently towards others:

  • Psychological Distancing - Dehumanizing others so that we don't feel as though we are harming another human.  War propaganda materials provided visual evidence of this.
  • Moral Distancing - Convincing ourselves that we have a moral imperative to enact this violence.  Military movements that frame themselves as "saving" or "liberating" the people of the country they're invading are an example of this.
  • Mechanical Distancing - Creating a physical distance from the violence we're enacting.  For example, using a long-distance rifle or using remote-controlled drones to kill others.
This is not the speech he gave last night, but this video gives an example of the kind of program Paul provides:

Lessons Learned: Conversations + Food = Excitement

Lessons Learned: Conversations + Food = Excitement

Everyone loves food. Hopefully everyone who's joined RAPP loves dialogue and conversation. Both RAPP Shirt Day and RAPP Pin Day were both successes. Many people from the RAPP community came by to sport their RAPP wear. I've never seen so many people in the RAPP office at times. They may have came for the treats and RAPPfle, but they stayed for the conversation. At one point, I was sitting in the hallway because the RAPP office was so full and I was happy that so many people were talking and engaging each other around conversations of school, political issues and cookies!

RAPP Shirt Day brought different RAPP years together!

Lessons Learned is a RAPP Blog initiative intended for folks who hold formal leadership positions in RAPP programs to share what they're learning through their process

Notes from Nonviolence: Jumping In

Day Nine of the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Program is all about practicing leading the training.  After a week of learning the content of the two-day Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation training, then a day on key practices of effective facilitation, we began doing "teach backs" where we practiced teaching modules of the training.

To support us in doing this well, the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies brought in several Level II certified trainers with much practical experience to help us practice, give feedback, and help us apply that feedback in more practice.

While most of the time we'll be presenting the training with two or three trainers total, many of our groups practiced with four so that we'd have extra support.  I worked with Ms. Betty of Wheaton College, Kalisa from the Nigeria government, and Tenzin from an Indian NGO.  We alternated being participants and practice trainers with another group: Arjun from a Nepali NGO, Kojo from an Ghanian nonviolence program for youth, and Melissa & Joe, two doctoral students in School Psychology at URI.

This process continues for another day.  Thursday we have a practical assessment of our training skills and adherence to the curriculum, which is our final qualification for earning our Level I certification.

Arjun, Kojo, Melissa, and Joe (left to right) teaching our group about Kingian Nonviolence

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Notes from Nonviolence: Beloved Community Supper

The evening of Day Eight at the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute involved many special treats:

  • A US-focused meal prepared by several local community groups/sangas
  • A performance by one of the talented musicians from the Level II training
  • Presentations of several scholarships that participants received to participate in the trainings
  • Presentations on two of our classmate's work in their home countries
  • A community reading of King's "I Have a Dream" speech

Recipients of student scholarships being recognized

Shane sings us an original composition "Hold On"

Purnima talks about her work with Early Childhood Development Center, which her family founded to support children who were living in prison with their mothers in Nepal

Alfred talks about his work with Family Focus International in Ghana

Notes from Nonviolence: Moving into Effective Training

The second week of the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute is all about preparing us to lead the  curriculum of the two-day Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation workshop.

With that in mind, Day Eight start with our final major review of the core content of the curriculum.  We then moved into a structural overview of the training and into key practices of effective Nonviolence trainers.

Photo credit: Thupten Tendhar
To anyone familiar with RAPP workshop facilitation, many of these will likely feel very familiar:

  • Community - Practice the principles we'll be teaching that build the beloved community
  • Goals - Keep our main curricular points of modules in mind so that we don't get lost on sidetracks
  • Roadmap - Give participants an overview so they know where we're headed
  • Participation - The group needs to be talking, not just the trainer
  • Teamwork - Practice this with your co-trainers, the participants, and encourage them to practice it with each other
  • Transitions - Make smooth transitions between modules to highlight the sequential nature of the content and help participants make connections
  • Repetition Repetition Repetition - Say the material once, say it again in a different way, and the summarize & highlight takeaways for clarity
  • Examples - Be prepared in advance with simple, easy to remember examples for when you want someone to better understand the content
  • Summarize - Review material frequently while being succinct and to the point
  • Debrief - This training is based on reflective and experiential learning - each module has at least one activity that needs to be debriefed
  • Variety of formats - The curriculum encourages a wide variety of activities, do them!
  • Communication - Be mindful of your voice, energy, and listen attentively
  • Timing - There's a lot of content to cover over 16 hours, keep the goals in mind and pace according to the curriculum
  • Movement - Move your body, move your hands, move your face; keep the group moving
  • Visual Aids - Use key words, large print, avoid too many words and tiny print

Monday, June 10, 2013

Notes from Nonviolence: Restoring our Spirits

After an intensive week of 12+ hour days (including breaktime), we participants in the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute got a break!

Following the Level I knowledge assessment, we got Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday off.

Saturday evening, students from the Multicultural Center kindly helped us explore the state.  Many of us headed into Providence, RI, for a little touristing.

A group of us pose for a picture in front of the Rhode Island Statehouse
Checking out the Water Fire show
Another group shot from Providence's children's September 11 2011 Memorial
One of our training classmates who lives locally invited us to her house for lunch and relaxation for Sunday.  We enjoyed a delicious meal together then lounged, swam in the lake, visited with her animals, and played bocci ball.
Loading our plates full of delicious food!

Enjoying a lovely Rhode Island afternoon over a meal!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Notes from Nonviolence: Level I Assessment

Day Six of the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute is a short but somewhat stressful one.  After a week of participating in, digging deep into, and studying the content of the two-day Kingian Nonviolent Conflict Resolution training we take an assessment of our knowledge.

In other words, we take a test!

The written assessment covers a wide range of theory, history, and King's philosophy.  Its twenty questions are as complex and rich as the training itself.  It takes 2-3 hours for most to complete.

Thankfully, our group has spent much time both in the formal training process and informally in our free time working to understand and remember the information.  The remaining week of training will involve us mastering how to facilitate the two-day curriculum.

The Forum, in URI's Multiculutural Center, is usually full of voices talking through nonviolence.  Today it was silent as we all completed the assessment.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Notes from Nonviolence: Gandhi and King

The evening program on Day Four of the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute involved two guest speakers: Gandhi student & scholar Prasad Gollanapalli and Alex Supron, the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Essay Contest.

Mr. Gollanapalli is the Managing Trustee of the Gandhi King Foundation and an esteemed educator & practitioner of Gandhian Nonviolence.

Prasad Gollanapalli speaks about Gandhi with evening program participants.
He spoke to us first about Gandhi's life, so that we would know his start as a shy, scared, deemed-unintelligent child as well as his journey to developing his philosophy and framework of nonviolence.

A key message he shared was the eleven principles of Nonviolence, sometimes called "Gandhi's Vows," that he encouraged all to follow with humility care, and commitment:

  • Ahimsa - Nonviolence 
  • Satya - Truth
  • Asteya - Nonstealing
  • Brahmacharya - Celibacy/Sacred Sexuality
  • Aparigraha - Nonconsumerism
  • Sharira-Shrama - Physical Work
  • Asvada- Avoidance of Bad Taste
  • Abhaya - Fearlessness
  • Sarva-Dharma-Samanatya - Respect for All Religions
  • Swadeshi - Local Economy
  • Asprishyataniyarana - Respect for All Beings (not just human beings)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Notes from Nonviolence: The Roots of Ahimsa

One of the many ways the University of Rhode Island Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies engages the community around nonviolence is through its annual Gandhi Essay Contest.  This contest is open to local 8th graders.

The evening program on Day Four of the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute involved two guest speakers: Gandhi student & scholar Prasad Gollanapalli and Alex Supron, the 2013 winner of the essay contest.

Alex read his essay "The Roots of Ahimsa," which shared his initially reluctant journey into a life of service to others.

Soon, I'll post full audio of his reading.

Alex Supron, 2013 winner of the Ghandi Essay Contest

Notes from Nonviolence: Nonviolence is...

Days Four and Five of the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute are spent reviewing and expanding our knowledge of the content of the two-day Kingian Nonviolent Conflict Resolution training.  We do this as part of our certification process to become certified as Level I Trainers, which includes formal assessment of our knowledge.

In this, we reviewed the brainstorms our group made on what violence and nonviolence mean:

These word clouds demonstrate our initial ideas as a group of people from around the world.  As it turns out, our group ideas are overwhelmingly in line with Kingian Nonviolence's principles.