Elon Periclean Scholars

Note from the director

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Note from the director

Welcome to this first edition of The Periclean Scholars e-newsletter.  Our plan is to send these out quarterly in November, February, May and August, serving as way way to inform our entire Periclean community about current Class activities and also about the Periclean Foundation and alumni updates.  Please let us know what you think about this first edition and what we can do to better serve your needs.

A huge thanks to Chase Blackburn, ’18 and Megan Griffin, ’16 for putting this edition together and for doing the interviews with alumni Amber Camp King, ’06 and Todd Ruffner, ’08.  Also a big thanks to Morgan Spoon, Pericles Project Assistant for her critical support.

I have many important and exciting updates:

Travel to countries of focus
A first for the program: all three current Classes are in the planning stages of traveling to their respective countries of focus.

  • ‘18’s Under the leadership of Mentor Dr. Steve Braye and accompanied by associate director and Class of 2019 Mentor Dr. Mat Gendle, the ‘18’s are planning a May/June trip to Zambia. I will join this group for a few days at the end of their travel in Ndola and help with some assessment of the impact of the Class of 2009 who visited Zambia with Dr. Braye their senior year.map-of-zambia
  • ‘17’s Mentor Dr. Carol Smith and I will travel to Namibia this June and the Class is working on a grant proposal that could
    fund some of the Pericleans to join us as we move forward plans for the ‘17’s working trip to Namibia in January of 2017. We hope to meet with partners old and new and to lay the groundwork for sustaining our work there.
  • ‘16’s Three members of the Class of 2016 will travel to Honduras for a short visit this coming January and will work to further deepen our partnerships there and to vet the partner they will support beyond graduation. The rest of the Class will remain on campus and work on plans for the People-Planet-Profit conference to be held on campus this spring.  The ‘16’s will all be taking COR 445, a course for senior Pericleans that satisfies their upper level COR requirement.  Mentor Professor April Post is currently working with the Class to flesh out the details of the syllabus.

Pan-Periclean initiatives, current projects and tentative plans
The Steering Committee and the Mentors meet on alternate weeks, and both groups have been working on to deepen the program in many ways.

  • The original editors of our Periclean handbook Mapping Our Success, Sam Lubliner, Kelsey Davis and Erin Luther, are working on a more comprehensive second edition of the book. This new edition will be passed out at our April Induction Ceremony to all of the members of the new Class.  Peter Levine of Tufts University, a national expert in the field of engaged learning, has agreed to write a foreword for our book.
  • As mentioned above, the Class of 2016 will lead the way this Winter Term in piloting COR 445 “Global Partnerships Through Service.” This course was approved by the University Curriculum Committee last year and marks an important step in further deepening the academic component of our program. This 4 semester hour class is designed so that Pericleans can take the course either on campus or in their country of focus.
  • Mat Gendle, ’19, and Professor April Post, ’16 have done important work toward standardizing our syllabi. They have taken care to leave significant room for each Class to create their own pathways while at the same time structuring in consistent academic benchmarks.
  • The Mentors agreed in meetings before the semester started that each Periclean year would have an overarching theme, with Sophomore year dedicated to writing letters related to their country of focus to political, social, and organizational leaders, Junior year is focused on grant writing, and Senior year on research and professional presentation. All Classes, of course, can do any of these themes, but there will be an effort to task each Class with emphasizing their year’s theme.
  • In light of the above note on theme years I am thrilled to announce that we have partnered yet again with the Redwoods Group Foundation (RGF) and have two members of the Class of 2017 doing a paid internship with RGF vetting proposals. The plan is to have 1-2 members of the Junior Class take advantage of these internships every year.


  • This year we have begun to weave the internationally recognized Core Humanitarian Standards (CHS)into Periclean syllabi, and the Steering Committee and Mentors are working to revisit our Periclean Pledge and add significant depth to our Pledge items in a way that mimics the CHS.
  • This fall our program will initiate an Periclean Scholars Advisory Board. Associate director Dr.  Mat Gendle has outlined the structure and function of the body and a more formal announcement will be made later this fall.  One main function of this body will be to review proposals from current Classes requesting access to pan-Periclean funds.
  • Perhaps the most important update is that the Mentors and I are making plans to present to the University Curriculum Committee a proposal to make Periclean Scholars into a minor. The name of the minor is yet to be decided but it likely will be something along the lines of “Global development and partnerships.”  18 credit hours would come from Periclean Scholars classes and there will be a menu of related courses from which to choose (e.g., SOC 370 ”Being and Becoming a Global Citizen”) to bring the minor up to from 22-24 hours.  Details are being discussed currently.

As you can see from the above, our program continues to evolve and deepen, and this is due to the efforts of a hard working Steering Committee, great work-study students, and Mentors who show an extraordinarily high level of dedication.

I have more updates and thoughts to add but I’ll close for now.  Look for additional news items on our blog, in shorter emails, or in the next newsletter.

All the best for a great Thanksgiving Break!






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Interview with Todd Ruffner

This past Thursday, Chace and I continued with the alumni interview series by talking to Todd Ruffner. Class of 2008. He was an awesome alumni to talk to and learn from. Todd  had several tips for current Pericleans and the Periclean program overall.

Todd has continued to be civically engaged after graduation from Elon. His career involves working to find unique, sustainable ways to impact various communities in the Middle East. This idea of finding unique and sustainable methods of change comes from his exposure to the Periclean model! He pursued a career that placed importance on making long-term change and building relationships that last, this has a huge overlap with some of the values he learned from the Periclean Scholars Program.

Todd and his Class worked with the Zapatista community in Chiapas, Mexico. They partnered with Schools for Chiapas to paint a beautiful mural in the Zapatista community of Suytic. Todd was part of a small Elon/Periclean Scholar film team that traveled to Chiapas before the rest of the Class traveled in December/January of 2007-08. They were invited by Schools for Chiapas and their travel inspired a documentary “Painting Without Permission” created by Periclean Scholars and Tesla Mellage, ’08.  When we asked him about this experience, he said it was amazing to be able to put names and faces to what their Class was working to accomplish. He believed that sharing his experience in Chiapas helped to prepare the rest of the Class for their travel and kept the class engaged in their project. He encourages every Periclean Scholar, who is travelling to their country of focus, to be educated about the political situation before being in-country, this will strengthen the overall experience!

Some things have changed since Todd was in the program at Elon. His Class chose both the country of focus and the issue(s) on which they would focus. Todd supported the change of assigning Classes countries, as well as recycling countries through the program; he saw this as a positive initiative to strengthen the program. When asked if he had any tips for current Periclean Scholars, he said, “don’t get hung up on the little things and make some sacrifices where it’s necessary to focus on how you can make a difference!”

We encourage every class to learn from these interviews with our Alumni! They are an amazing resource that can help strengthen the Periclean experience.


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Class of 2017 Update From 11/17/15

As our semester is coming to a close, we are working hard to establish goals for the upcoming winter break, winter term, and next semester. We are eager to welcome our peers who are abroad back home and are trying to come up with ways to make the transition into next semester as smooth as possible.

On Tuesday, the class was very grateful to have Professor Moore from the Environmental Science department and a board member of Ecology Action come speak to us about climate and various other important considerations for sustainable agriculture in Namibia. We have selected a committee to work on developing a diet design plan for Namibia based on the resources that Professor Moore provided us with.

Additionally, we seriously discussed how to most effectively form local partnerships, particularly with Loy Farm and a number of other organizations in the Burlington area that work to end food insecurity.

We are continuing to push forward with our fundraising efforts with a profit share scheduled at Brixx on December 2nd from 5-9 p.m. We also are seriously investigating grants to apply for to help advance our project. We have many promising options and are in the process of breaking up into teams to work on them to be as efficient as possible.

Peace, Love, and Periclean!

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Planning in progress

Our class tonight was all about planning. Planning for a trip to Honduras, planning for the business summit in the winter, planning fundraising events to support Hope for Honduran Children and planning for future efforts with LUPE. We broke up into committees to plan more efficiently. The three members of our class who will be going to Honduras, Erin Lanzotti, Morgan Abate, and Bethany Stafford Smith, met with Diana from El Centro and Dr. Celis-Castillo. Diana and Dr. Celis-Castillo will be accompanying our three class members to Honduras, so they have been collaborating over the past few weeks to plan for their trip!

The LUPE committee reflected on their Cookies to Go-Go LIVE event on Wednesday, November 11th. The movie El Regreso was shown in the Moseley student center and various desserts were sold to support LUPE. Various members of LUPE came to the event, met the students watching the movie, and brought some of the delicious desserts that were sold!

The committee that is planning for the Business Summit continued their work towards inviting sustainable businesses to the event in order to expose Elon students to this type of business. They are working on promotion of the event and other details to ensure it’s an awesome summit! We are all excited to work on planning as a class for the summit during Winter term.

As we approach Thanksgiving break, exams, and Christmas break, every student in our class is reflecting on our class and individual efforts throughout the fall semester. In addition to this reflective thinking, each student has been working on a purposeful writing assignment that will be due at the end of the semester. The assignments have been planned out by each student and will relate to some aspect of our class.


Some of our class members with the LUPE board members at the Cookies to Go-Go LIVE event

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Lebanon, Burma, Paris and beyond.

Note:  This was sent to all current Pericleans and Mentor’s the Sunday after the Pais attacks.


Again the media presents us with an array of profoundly disturbing images, this time from Paris.

How should a Periclean Scholar respond to this?  That there is just one “right” way to react, feel or act is most certainly not the case, but are their wrong ways to respond?

In a word, yes.

Your experience as an Elon student and more particularly as a Periclean Scholar positions you to recognize ‘thin’, glib, hateful, ethnocentric, Islamaphobic and otherwise unproductive responses.  As you communicate f2f, email, Tweet, Facebook, Instagram, and blog your feelings and hear/read those of your friends, acquaintances (etc.) I know that you will all use these tragic recent events as an opportunity to educate, as best you can, those who seek pathways of understanding and/or express any iteration of the “wrong” ways to respond.  We must grow as a human family, and this will best be accomplished with compassion, patience, humility, and, yes, love.

I urge all three Classes to spend some time in class this week talking about Lebanon, Burma, Paris and beyond.

I posted this on our Periclean Scholars at Elon University Facebook page:

Regarding the recent events in Paris…

Most of us generally have little self awareness about our limited range of knowledge about the world and routinely -albeit unconsciously- subscribe to media spun narratives. That it is hard to keep up with world affairs in a way that transcends lazy myopia is increasingly true. But, to quote Edward R. Murrow, “Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.”

On a related note Murrow also pointed out that, “No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all accomplices.” 

In what ways might this be true?

Our task, then, must be to ceaselessly work to know both ourselves and our global brothers and sisters better and then to partner, with the goal of banding together in efforts to eliminate injustices which drive weak and delusioned people to desperate, tragic and inhumane actions.

My best to all of you as you enter this week.


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On a rolllllllll 11.10.15

We are so happy to report that everything is beginning to happen all at once! After submitting the Acorn Proposal (gloriously written by our own Kelsey Lane and Annie Phelan) a discussion of local partners ensued and our class is excited for the prospect of a community garden project in Williams High School. The local partners committee will begin reaching out and communicating with Peacehaven in order to make this abstraction a reality. (Click here for more information!)

As the end of our first semester as juniors is approaching, we are beginning to think about Stoles and the impact we want to make in our last year and a half. To better achieve our goals, we compiled a class list of expectations that we have for one another in order to hold ourselves to a higher standard. On that token, the social committee held a Pan-Periclean bonding event in the Oaks. With the best turnout from the 2017s, apple cider courtesy of Christian and pumpkin pie courtesy of Kelsey was merrily enjoyed. Additionally, a member of the Class of 2018 has a rice cooker and graced us with its bountiful rice.




Our class sent in a concept paper (crafted mainly by the fabulous Christian Kowalski and Oly Zayac) to the embassy in Namibia with a detailed description of what we hope our Winter Term for 2017 could look like abroad. This called for many hours of writing and brainstorming by the whole class. We are waiting to hear back and sincerely hoping for the best12238487_10206387397978658_4112051516582983392_o! The Grants Committee is in motion and has its writers ready to work! Professor Moore has been extremely helpful and a great guide in understanding logistics and concepts. 




Pura Vida bracelets have been purchased by the Fundraising Committee and will be sold for $5 at Elon in addition to surrounding stores (hopefully!). We also are looking into the prospect of a yard sale in order to fundraise from furniture being sold at the end of the year.

We will begin to start making goals and ways to communicate as the group switches for winter term and we no longer have regular class meeting times. As someone going abroad next semester I cannot wait to watch this play out and to be apart of this great project we’re building.

Sam :)




This really cool infographic! So glad to be able to have this as a resource for our class and for Ecology Action. Good work everyone!

PLP,Peace Love Periclean


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Meeting Amber Camp

Last night, November 4th, Chace and I had the opportunity to meet Amber Camp (alumnus of the Class of 2006)! She lives locally, which made it very convenient to meet her in person. We were both really excited to meet her because we had already talked to her over the phone about a week earlier. She invited us into her home where we had the pleasure of meeting her children and husband. They had just celebrated her daughter’s second birthday over the weekend, so the house was filled with balloons and other fun decorations. She first told us the story about how she met her husband at Elon and then showed us a picture of the two of them from that time. We discussed how her husband was a huge supporter of her involvement in Periclean, especially when she went to Namibia. Amber then showed us to her home office, where she works for American Express as a Customer Care Professional, leading a team of twelve other employees.

The purpose of our visit was to get an on-camera interview with Amber to accompany our alumni write-up that will be featured in the E-newsletter; we left with so much more! She welcomed any questions we had about her career, family, involvement in Periclean and other Elon programs. She is an inspiring voice for the program and for service in general. Amber’s outlook on life is both positive and energetic and she attributes this to her experiences with Periclean. The trip she took to Namibia was eye opening and helped to shape her career, her relationships with family and friends, and with her continuous generosity to the Periclean Scholars Program. The photos of her experiences in Namibia are incredible and gave some insight into how her experience shaped her life. She flipped through two of her picture books (comprised of her own photos) and explained several of the photos to Chace and me. A few of her photos are below.

We left Amber’s house excited to share our interview with others so Amber’s love for life and impact on the program can be publicized! Chace and I believe that others will benefit from learning about Amber, just as we did. We are both hopeful that we will get to see her again soon.

We encourage everyone to check out our interview with Amber Camp in the next E-newsletter!

IMG_1584 IMG_1585

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Periclean Scholars feel the love

This past week in class, the cohort for 2017 got a lot of great work done! A lot of headway is being made outside of class to apply for grants, raise money and awareness on campus and make partnerships in Namibia. During class-time, students discussed specific plans for the January 2017 trip to Namibia so that a concept paper can begin to be written and sent to the U.S. Embassy in Namibia for funding and to begin setting up that program. Following that, the class took some time to discuss discussions, and how to best communicate in a number of settings with each other and with people outside the program about the program. In general, we focused on becoming a team that can rely on and trust one another to do their part and to feel comfortable talking to each other about the project.

PLP PLP PLP from us to ourselves and to you!

Periclean Scholars Class of 2017 (Susan Reynolds specifically this week)

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A New Look for Periclean Alumni Relations

Hello Pericleans and friends of Periclean (: This week, Chace Blackburn (class of 2018) and I (class of 2016) wanted to introduce ourselves to everyone as the new student assistants for Alumni Relations. We are both very excited to begin working on the alumni dimension of Periclean.

I was excited about this position because I am a senior who is more than halfway through the fall semester.  I will be graduating (if all goes to plan) in about seven months, which means I will become an Elon alumnus, as well as a Periclean alumnus in about seven months.  These past few years as a Periclean Scholar have flown by.  As cliché as that may be, I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to develop the dimension of Periclean that I, along with the rest of my class, will be a part of in the near future.

Chace was interested in the position for several reasons. One, her brother Taylor Blackburn was a part of the class of 2011, and couldn’t say enough great things about the program. She knew she wanted to be a part of Periclean Scholars, and not in a small way. As well, her childhood trips to Latvia to help put on a summer camp for disadvantaged children instilled in her a love for effective aid and nonprofit management (her mom went on and founded a 501c3 to oversee the camps her family was helping run). She is a strategic communications major with a spanish minor, and hopes to do promotion for a microfinance project aimed at women seeking corporate sponsors for their crafts and goods. She is very excited about how her role in periclean will help aid her future interests.

We are excited about working on various initiatives that Dr. Arcaro has brainstormed to improve alumni relations. We will also be thinking about ways to keep our alumni updated about the program, as well as increase communication between current students and alumni.  Our alumni, with ideas, thoughts and suggestions to share, are an important piece of the puzzle in increasing the success of future classes and the program as a whole.

Chace and I will be reaching out to various Periclean alumni throughout the year to examine the question, how has Periclean Scholars influenced your life after Elon?  The Periclean Scholars program is not just about increasing the level of civic engagement and social responsibility within the four years we are at Elon, but the goal of the program is to shape individuals who will continue to be civically engaged and socially aware after graduation.  We will be able to share their thoughts through the Enewsletter, which will be available to all Periclean Scholars this year.

We hope to have alumni back on campus throughout the year for various Elon events as well as Periclean-specific events. This past weekend, we had Periclean alum on campus for Homecoming. We hope some of the current students had the opportunity to meet them at the Periclean tailgate.  Chace and I are both looking forward to meeting with and learning from our alumni!

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Deliberative Discussion: Immigration in America

This week the 2016’s spent their class at the deliberative discussion regarding immigration in America. During the discussion, we broke into small groups and deliberated in the pros and cons of three takes on immigration. The three considerations were to welcome new arrivals, protect our borders, or to promote economic prosperity.

As our country of focus is Honduras, our class has delved into immigration issues many times. This discussion allowed us to use the knowledge we have gained as Pericleans and apply it. The deliberative dialogue helped us to express our own views and even form new opinions. We all felt that we gained even further education on the topic by hearing the varying points of view of the discussion members. As we considered the benefits and consequences of each consideration, we were exposed to solutions and approaches we had never thought of or didn’t even know were possible. Our class also enjoyed being able to share our ideas and have a platform where our class could discuss a difficult issue. Additionally, we were able to consider some ways that we may be active to bring about change in the current system- a goal all Pericleans share.




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