senseofcommunity

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Behind the support of roughly 200 participants, a student-driven protest marched across campus today from Carver Hall to Andruss Library, speaking out against police brutality and social injustices.

The peaceful rally, highlighted by a “die in” inside the library, was also done in tribute to the lives of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, as well as others at the hand of police misconduct.

Being mr. Watson’s Sherlock - bringing mr. Watson into the coworking space.

It has been almost a month ago since I started my internship at mr. Watson. Time to reveal some of the things I have been doing so far. 

First of all let me introduce myself: I am Martijn, I love photography and computer graphics and I am a student in Communication and Multimedia Design. What does that mean (you may wonder), simply explained it means that I design creative solutions with interactive media. Like the Watsons, they’re building communities in coworking spaces. So what do I do at mr. Watson? I joined the mr. Watson team as an Interaction Design intern. That means that I create the communication between user and medium, input and output.

As somebody who has never worked in a coworking space before, there were several things I wanted to know before getting started on developing a concept. Since the mr. Watson platform is designed for coworking spaces, I had to know everything about them. I also had to learn about the coworking space we work in: Katshoek. 

The coworking space in Katshoek was founded in 2013 and now houses over 50 companies, startups and freelancers. When I just started at mr. Watson, I expected to work with a small crew of only 5 people, but I soon discovered that you actually work together with everybody around you. In Katshoek there are a lot of creative people who are willing to share their knowledge and experience, which creates an amazing atmosphere. 

In the past month I have been working mainly on one project: bringing mr. Watson into the physical space. Right now mr. Watson exists only on the web, so the only way members can communicate through the platform is via the internet. It is my goal to find a solution through research that will improve the sense of community in our coworking space.

Coworking Spaces
The first thing I discovered about coworking spaces is that worldwide there are many different types of coworking spaces. Big ones like the Workbar in Boston with nearly 100 thousand square feet of office for rent. Small ones like Veel Hoeden in Pella, a small town in Iowa with a population of only ten thousand people. I even found about plans to build a coworking space on a boat that lies anchored off the shore of California: Blueseed. But all coworking spaces value the same things. Coworking spaces are about collaboration, openness, community, accessibility and sustainability. Coworking spaces strive to create an open environment where people can share and work together. mr.Watson is mainly interested in building communities, which brought me to another subject: the Sense of Community.

Sense of Community
When I started my research on Sense of Community I discovered that ellaborate research had already been conducted by McMillan and Chavis. In their research they put that to build Sense of Community you have to consider four key values: membership, influence, integration & fulfillment of needs and shared emotional connection. McMillan and Chavis also developed the Sense of Community Index (SCI), which can be used to measure the Sense of Community. I found this extremely valuable for the next step of my research. With the SCI, I could easily get to know in what state the community of Katshoek currently was.

Katshoek Community
The next step was to put the SCI in a survey that the community members could fill in. I asked the community to help me in my research and a staggering 32 people took part in the survey within a week: nearly a quarter of the entire community. The results (dutch) were very interesting, there were some people who rated the community extremely high but there was also one person who didn’t have anything good to say about it at all. Mostly the community in Katshoek got rated with an average of three out of five. There were several statements that scored rather low below the average. The results from these statements are exactly what I was looking for: problems to be solved, needs to be fulfilled or chances to be taken.

Lets go!
In the past month, I have learned a lot about coworking spaces and what’s going on in Katshoek. With all that I have learned, I now really want to move on to the next step. Which will be all about finding out how to solve the problems, fulfill the needs and take the chances that are ready to be taken. You will read about this in a future blogpost!

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In celebration of Autism Awareness Month, BUnow recently teamed with BU’s chapter of Autism Speaks and Alpha Sigma Tau to raise money and awareness for this complex disorder of brain development.

The fundraiser, “Pieces for Hope,” asked students to decorate a blank puzzle piece for $1, which were then pieced together as one collaborative message of support, hope and awareness of autism and for those who struggle with the spectrum disorder. All proceeds were donated to Autism Speaks.

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Bloomsburg University’s 12th Annual High School Diversity Conference addressed all forms of discrimination high school students encounter and aimed to foster within each school a cohesive bond in the student body that explores differences and encourages unity.

Through this year’s theme, “Voices for Change: Challenging the Happily Ever After,” the conference worked to create an environment that embraces diversity in area high schools.

Each year the conference crafts workshops for students, faculty, staff and administrators to:

  •  explore their own beliefs
  • learn strategies for developing a hate free environment
  • interrupt bullying
  • nurture an atmosphere wherein anything can be discussed without prejudice
  • facilitate teaching methods of confronting unacceptable prejudicial behavior to become a beacon of peace, light and understanding in a world threatened by war, darkness, hate and misunderstanding

Jacob Kelley, a Bloomsburg University junior and workshop assistant, attended the conference throughout his years at Berwick High School and was delighted to work with Samantha Norton, BTE, a long-time workshop presenter. The conference is supported by a grant from the Berwick Health and Wellness Fund of the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation The Berwick Health and Wellness Fund is the original and largest fund of the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation. Its purpose is to improve the health and welfare of residents and communities of eastern Columbia and western Luzerne counties.

Student groups from eight participating high schools report their action plans in the final conference session. BUSTED opened the conference with a performance based on the theme and student feedback that both captures the high school students’ attention and helps them take home valuable information and lessons.  

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Delta Phi Epsilon, in a collaborative effort with the Women’s Resource Center, helped spread awareness about anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, cachexia, compulsive exercising and other related eating disorders through several events across campus in recognition of Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Feb. 23 to March 1.

  • Trash Your Insecurities – Throw your negative self talk in the garbage! Donate your extra change and write down what you want to do to “Change your life.” Pick up a purple ribbon to support awareness of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.
  • Be-you-tiful You Day – Find sticky notes on bathroom mirrors and tell us one thing that’s beautiful about you!
  • Why you’re better than Barbie Day – Write down all the reason why you are better than stereotypical views and encourage positive body image.
  • Let’s bitch about it – Gather around in the Multicultural Center to watch clips from the media portraying negative body image and let’s bash them!
  • That’s a wrap – Let’s wrap up things by displaying the achievements over the past week to encourage the future of positive body image.

In a year where Bloomsburg University celebrated 175 years of excellence, Husky Nation did its part in making 2014 one BU’s most memorable. From Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey to the Winter Olympics in Sochi to Death Valley, California — as well as several locations abroad and of course here locally — Huskies made an impact through collaborative learning opportunities, building a sense of community, academic achievement and co-curricular learning activities.

A look back at 2014
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Play in America has shifted from an unstructured, child-initiated activity to one that is now predominantly structured and adult-directed. 

This is the issue Michael Patte, Ph.D., professor of education and child life specialist, explores in his article, “The importance of play on whole child development,” soon to be published in Child Life Focus.

“Children’s lives have become progressively more structured both inside and outside of school,” Patte says, “and I’m concerned about the implications it has for their development as a whole person.”

Patte transitioned from public school teaching to university teaching when he realized the decreased focus on play was taking some of the joy out of teaching. He described teaching as part art and part science, where the portion of art is steadily being removed. Transitioning to a university setting has allowed Patte to expand upon and teach the importance of play.

In 2010, Patte spent six months at Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom on a Fulbright Fellowship. During this time, Patte was given the opportunity to learn more about child life specialists and the field of playwork, a profession focusing on the implications of noninterventionist, self-instructed play.

“I hadn’t any notion of what either of these professions were about,” says Patte, “but what drew me to both was that play was at the center, and that was the hook for me. Then I just needed to become a playworker. I needed to become a child life specialist. So I did.”

Over the course of this fellowship, Patte made presentations at conferences throughout Europe, and taught playwork sessions at the university. In March 2013, Patte and Fraser Brown, professor of playwork at Leeds Metropolitan University, published their book, “Rethinking Children’s Play,” which applies the playwork perspective to a variety of settings.

When asked about this interest in the field of play, Patte described the topic as a human rights issue. In classrooms today, future educators are being instructed on academic and cognitive development. The social, emotional, and creative development, however, is continuously being pushed towards the outer edge of educational studies. Patte described this form of education as development from the neck up. To remain healthy and happy, though, as a child and throughout the life span, people need opportunities to express themselves in more playful ways

Patte is currently teaching a seminar, “Play and Fine Arts for the Developing Child.” In this class, Patte teaches students that play and fine arts are not simply childhood issues. They are also lifespan issues. Patte has asked his students, “What do you do for no reason than to just enjoy doing it?” Although the question is simple, many students struggle to find an answer.

In order to better apply their classroom lessons on play, Patte and students are collaborating to bring a unique event, Pop-Up Adventure Playground, to BU for the first time.

Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds use the playwork noninterventionist approach to play that provides children with loose materials to create and explore by means of self-initiated, open-minded exploration. Each playground “pops up” for a short time in a community setting where local children can enjoy this self-structured environment for free.

Patte and students, as well as Greek Life and other student organization volunteers, hosted BU’s first Pop-Up Adventure Playground on Saturday, Nov. 1.. The goal of the event was to educate both children and adults on the topic of child-initiated play. BU students composed fact sheets for adults that clarify these lessons and illustrate their role throughout the Pop-Up experience.

“That’s a bit of a change, even for teachers,” Patte says, “When a child is experiencing some sort of turmoil or trying to figure something out, we have this tendency as parents and teachers to immediately try to intervene and fix the problem.”

A large goal of the playground is to allow the children to work through these challenges on their own.

BU students will benefit from this event by learning more about unstructured play as well as important planning techniques, making connections with the community, and being resourceful. Patte is optimistic about the event’s overall success for students, children, and adults alike.

“The pendulum has swung so far in one direction that it’s not healthy.” Patte says. “I don’t think that we should spend twenty-four hours a day engaged in child-initiated, unstructured play. I just think there needs to be more of a balance.”

Through his research and work, Patte attempts to instill this balance among BU students and the local community. 

- Courtney Dunn, senior dual English and psychology major

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“Confluence” is a 7-by-62-foot mixed media collaborative installation by 19 regional artists in the grand lobby of the Haas Center for the Arts. This original piece celebrates the collaboration of BU with the greater Bloomsburg community, and depicts the growth and activity of a thriving town in the Susquehanna River Valley.

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Patients at Geisinger’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital will face an easier transition into certain treatment thanks to Bloomsburg University’s Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, who recently helped the local hospital land a $2,210 grant for needed teaching aides.

The children’s hospital will use the grant to purchase MediKin dolls, overlays and toy models of equipment — items that help prepare patients and their families for medical treatment, such as dialysis and oncology. Funding will be provided through a local Robbie Page Memorial (RPM) Grant via the Sigma Sigma Foundation

As a national organization, Sigma Sigma Sigma’s motto is “Sigma Serves Children.” In 1951, the sorority established the RPM Fund for Polio research projects. When a cure for Polio was discovered, the purpose of the RPM shifted focus to play therapy. The foundation helps hundreds of children annually through the RPM Fund, which supports local and national RPM grants.

Bloomsburg’s local Delta Zeta Chapter has spent much of the past year working with Geisigner’s Child Life Services in support of several collection drives, hosting guest speakers at the sorority and planning fall activities with the child patients and families in Danville.

Bloomsburg University ‘s 2014 Holiday Food Drive was a huge success! A big thank you goes out to everyone for their donations and support.

The Living and Learning Communities held a food donation competition, which yielded two carts full of food! Other important student involvement in this food drive were Chi Theta Pi, Alpha Sigma Tau, Alpha Tau Omega and individual students in the residence halls. Two boxes of food were provided for each of the 13 families.

The Human Resource Office personnel donated presents for the children. In addition AGAPE, Bloomsburg, Catawissa and Orangeville Food Cupboards will receive food donations. Pictured (L-R) LLC students Jonathan Miller, Lindsay Tosh, Vincent Pierce, and Octavia Williams. Also included are Debbie Chamberlain, Becky Musselman and Audra Halye.

A tradition of giving continues

Bloomsburg University’s 2014 Giving Tree Project was a huge success. More than 12 different schools and agencies will be receiving gifts provided by our faculty staff and student body. A special thank you to our student volunteers from the fraternities and sororities, which distributed more 200 wishes to our campus community to fulfill.

The annual campus-wide Giving Tree Project is designed to reach out into the community and help those in need, and give back to those who’ve helped others.

Greek Life serves the community in many ways, as the work they do for the community promotes positive student involvement throughout the region. At 27 organizations, the Greek community here at BU works hard to give back to the Town of Bloomsburg by volunteering at some of the largest campus organized community service projects including events such as The Big Event, Bocce Bash, the annual Breast Cancer Walk and American Red Cross blood drives to name a few.

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Alpha Tau Omega and Chi Sigma Rho recently teamed together to raise money for Camp Victory, an outdoor facility in Millville that hosts weekly summer camp for kids with special needs, including children battling chronic health problems, physical or mental disabilities, or the aftermath of catastrophic illness.

The two Greek Life organizations hosted a car smash event outside of Redman Stadium prior to Bloomsburg University’s Homecoming Game against Millersville University, raising more than $500 in less than two hours.

My family comes from the Dominican Republic, and I have always been very proud of my culture and where I’m from. I feel I get to see the world from two different perspectives.

Most of my childhood was spent getting together with all of my extended family, making endless amounts of food, and dancing to Bachata, Merengue, or Salsa music. For me, my culture has taught me to embrace life, the people around me, and always work hard for what I want.

I have dreams of working at John Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore. It is known as the top hospital in the nation. While this might see like a big dream, I am motivated to work as hard as I can to achieve that goal because I want to prove that no matter where you come from, you can be successful.

I am a member of Student Organization of Latinos (SOL). I am a consultant at The Writing Center, I am a member of B-Smart, and I am also a mentor for the Aqui y Ahora program.

Coming from the Latino culture and moving to Bloomsburg has been a different experience for me. I started off in the ACT 101 program, and I was only the second in my family to go to a four-year university and actually leave home. My family has always been a huge support system for me and constantly encouraged me to go to college.

 Darianny Antonio ’17, medical imaging major

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Jackie Cruz, known for her role as Flaca on the critically acclaimed Netflix series Orange is the New Black, highlighted Bloomsburg University’s celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month with a presentation in the Kehr Union Building and a meet-and-greet in the Multicultural Center.

Cruz  a native of New York City, Los Angeles and the Dominican Republic  spoke to students about her journey to stardom, which was nearly derailed by a near fatal car accident that almost left her paralyzed. She also discussed her strides in acting on the hit Netflix show and building upon her musical career.

Cruz’s messaged highlighted the importance of overcoming adversity, taking pride in your heritage and surrounding yourself with good people. She capped her presentation with acoustic performances of two of her singles.

Unleashing the You at BU

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a personal perspective from a few of our many proud Latino students.

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Bloomsburg University’s Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program recently promoted literacy with Danville Head Start students at the Aphasia Center in Danville, using resources from the BU Toy Library for a joint therapy session with Aphasia patients.

Aphasia is an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write resulting from brain injury most commonly from a stroke.