Category Archives: Class of 2011: Sri Lanka

The Most Interesting Man in the World hangs with Chas Smith, ’11

Just sayin’

Chas Smith, Periclean Scholar Class of 2011, continuing to create meaningful partnerships toward to the goal of making the world a better place for all.

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a full-circle Periclean story

Hi all!

Natalie Lampert, ’11 here. Earlier this month, our director, Dr. Arcaro, forwarded me an email from Sarah Naiman, ’12, who had seen a picture of someone wearing a Periclean shirt on the State Department’s Fulbright Scholars homepage. That person was me — maybe my enthusiastic airborne jump gave me away, Tom? — while in Kathmandu, Nepal last December. I was there for a week attending the annual Fulbright ETA Regional Enrichment seminar for all Fulbright English Teaching Assistants at the time working in South Asia. A few months before the conference, I had arrived in Sri Lanka as a Fulbright Fellow, ready to spend the next nine months teaching English literature to first and second year students at a university outside Colombo.

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I think this is a fun and poignant story for a number of reasons. First, as Sarah rightly said in her email, it shows “just how much influence the program has beyond what we may be aware of.” I’m so glad I wore my Periclean shirt on that afternoon hike in Kathmandu — it was appropriate for a number of reasons, the most significant one being that I wouldn’t have been at that conference in Nepal, or working as a Fulbrighter in Sri Lanka, had it not been for the Periclean Scholars program at Elon.

The country of focus for my class, 2011, was Sri Lanka, and I spent three years alongside my fellow Pericleans working to understand that tear-drop shaped island and create valuable partnerships within the country. Our focus was on environmental education, and when a group of us traveled to Sri Lanka during Winter Term of our senior year, we spent three weeks meeting and continuing work with local partners and schools. We formed relationships with individuals who would, two years later, constitute my Sri Lankan family when I returned as a Fulbrighter. Our class’s strong partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka and Rainforest Rescue International enabled us to hold a large-scale environmental conference — DSC_0043L.E.A.F. — at the University of Colombo in 2011, an incredible culmination of some of our environmental partnership work on the island. (And financial support from the American Center in Colombo as well as the Periclean program made it possible for me and another PS ’11, Jesse Lee, to return in the fall of 2011 for three months to continue working on Periclean initiatives.) It was while in Sri Lanka that second time that I realized just how invested I was in this country, thanks to Periclean — and so, while sitting at the kitchen table of Dr. Crista Arangala’s (our 2011 Class Mentor, more commonly referred to as “Mom”) mother-in-law’s house in Homagama, Sri Lanka in October 2011, I pressed “submit” on my Fulbright application, with hopes that the following fall, I’d return again.

And I did. And I attribute my excitement in that photo to the logo on the back of my shirt. On a personal level, being involved with the Periclean Scholars program at Elon has opened many doors for me, making it possible for me to have spent a total of thirteen months working, living, and teaching in Sri Lanka. I’m not alone in returning to the country of my cohort’s focus — many other Periclean Scholars have gone back to live and work in their Periclean countries, demonstrating the significance this program can have on the individual level. Once you truly invest in a place, you can never really leave it.

I love that a fellow Periclean who is interested in the Fulbright program (as I think many Pericleans should be, thanks to the very similar program values!) saw that photo and reached out to comment on the far-reaching influence of the Periclean Scholars program. These kinds of full-circle Periclean stories happen often, and thanks to Pericleans reaching out to share those connections (thanks, Sarah!) we can all get a glimpse of them every once in a while.

Periclean love,

Natalie, ’11


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Liz Leman (’11) update

“I think that was something that a lot of us took away from Periclean – our own ability to be humbled by those we “served,” to learn far more than we gave.”


Hi friends!

Liz Leman here, Class of 2011 (Sri Lanka). I’ve been away from Elon for two years now – hard to believe! However, of all my college experiences, the one that’s probably been the most consistently relevant to my post-Elon life has been Periclean.

Some background: since graduating, I’ve served two years with AmeriCorps. The first was with an Emergency Response Team in St Louis, Missouri where I learned skills I never thought I’d even come near – wildland firefighting, using a chainsaw, building fences, responding to natural disasters, and more. The second (and current) position is as a VISTA for the Legal Services National Technology Assistance Project in Helena, Montana. Basically, I do tech support for civil legal aid organizations, trying to increase their utilization of available technology so that they in turn can better reach and serve their clients. Different as they have been, both terms have given me some great, unforgettable experiences.

DSC_0016Part of the reason, I think, that I have gotten so much out of my terms with AmeriCorps is the foundation I built with Periclean. I don’t work with global partners, or fundraise, or do very much else typically Periclean, but a few of the overarching lessons that have stuck with me from my Periclean days have been invaluable.

First, Periclean was the first time that I’d really made a long-term investment in a specific service project. I’d done a lot of volunteer work before, but it was always fragmented and temporary: show up here and hammer some nails, play with some kids, pick up some trash. Then go home and never find out what happened with the park you cleaned up or the home you built.

Periclean, on the other hand, emphasized sustainability and a long-term partnership. This turns out to be a great entree into AmeriCorps’ intensive, year-long commitments. Both allow for you to really invest yourself in the project, to have a stake in its success. You get to know the ins and outs, the ups and downs of working to improve a particular thing in a meaningful way. You make lasting connections with like-minded people, and (in my experience, at least!) get to travel to some amazing new places. The service project becomes a part of your story.

Second, through Periclean I became comfortable with the idea that the best service is not entirely selfless. There’s this wacky idea out there that the recipient of service doesn’t have anything to give, that the one giving service is there because they already know what needs to happen in order to improve a given situation. I think that was something that a lot of us took away from Periclean – our own ability to be humbled by those we “served,” to learn far more than we gave.

This is something that has certainly held true for my AmeriCorps experiences. As I mentioned above, I learned a lot of incredible things in St Louis that I’ll have for the rest of my life, and the same goes for Helena, though of a different variety (coding, video editing, and knowledge on a variety of tech-related topics). In return, it can be hard to see that I as an individual contributed much to the project.

That’s the third thing that I think Periclean prepared me for: indirect service. Working with faraway partners for the benefit of kids we’d never met at schools we’d never seen was challenging. There was no direct, immediate payoff at the end of the day; it wasn’t as quickly tangible as picking up trash or building a house.

This experience has been helpful for me especially this past year. I spend a lot of my time researching and writing on tech topics, sending them off into the void of the Internet, and can often feel like I’m not really helping anyone. Having the experience of building slowly to a goal over time, of building capacity so that others can finish what I’ve started, has been invaluable in keeping the faith in my project. It requires a different set of motivations from a one-time and immediately tangible service project, and for developing that mindset I have Periclean to thank.

It’s true that Periclean has been especially relevant to my life because I’m an AmeriCorps volunteer, but I don’t really see it becoming less relevant as I move into grad school and a career. The lessons I learned are pretty broadly applicable to a lot of life and translate pretty easily (I think) into the professional world.

Thanks to everyone who made my Periclean experience at Elon so memorable and meaningful – best of luck to all of you recent grads and those who’ve been out for a few years as well. You’ll do great things!


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Brittany Carroll on E-Net again

So proud of Brittany Carroll ’11 for continuing to inspiring us.


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Tree Planting in Sri Lanka with Periclean partners

Natalie Lampert (’11) and Jesse Lee (’11) revisit Periclean-partner schools in Sri Lanka; partake in a Periclean-sponsored tree-planting ceremony; and reconnect with Sri Lankan partners over lunch in Colombo!

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Fruit Garden programme Sponsored by Periclean Scholars Class of 2011

Photos taken Thursday 14 March 2013 at Paynter Memorial Schooll, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka.
Jesse Lee and Natalie Lampert take part in the establishment of the Fruit Garden programme Sponsored by Periclean Scholars, Elon University, North Carolina, United States. Organized By:- Sri Lanka Slender Loriss Conservation Project.
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Navigating Sustainable Periclean Partnerships in the “Real World”

A fundamental element of the Elon Periclean Scholars Program is the sustainable nature of our partnerships. As our organization celebrates a decade of service and engagement with partners in communities all over the world, it is especially worthwhile to reflect on the “sustainability” aspect of our partnerships. With our alumni base now larger than our undergraduate cohorts, a significant number of previous Periclean initiatives are being put through the test of proving their long-term sustainability. As President of the Class of 2011 Executive Board, I’ve frequently pondered the sustainability of my own Class’ initiatives and partnerships, both in Sri Lanka and domestically.

As Periclean alumni juggle efforts to attain personal independence, financial security, and professional advancement in the “real world,” their time, energy, and motivation to sustain previous levels of Periclean engagement are frequently diminished. It is challenging – downright difficult – to “find time” to strengthen and grow our Periclean partnerships if we do not actively “make time” to do so. Our Class’ approach to, and execution of, these sustainable partnerships as we transition to life beyond Elon has been far from perfect, but in the interests of sharing “Periclean Wisdom,” I would like to share some of the challenges that we’ve encountered, some of the experience and insight that we’ve gained along the way, and, of course, some exciting updates from our Class.

Three interconnected challenges relevant to the long-term sustainability of our partnerships are:

Developing a leadership structure.

Periclean Scholars has always been  a “student-owned” organization, but how does that translate when members are no longer students?” How does the Mentor’s role evolve, and how are responsibilities transferred to alumni to maintain critical class functions?

Managing logistics of information.

As Periclean alumni fan out across the United States and the world, the challenge arises of how to keep class information (i.e.: passwords, contact information, relevant communications) centralized and accessible. How should information be organized, and what  means should be used to ensure class access to appropriate information?

Engaging classmates and peers.

Long-term, active engagement by members of each Periclean cohort is probably the most crucial factor in the successful sustainability of our partnerships and initiatives. How, then, does one consistently and effectively reach out to members of their class to encourage active engagement with Periclean initiatives?

Our class has taken several steps to meet the challenges discussed above:

Formation of the 2011 Periclean Executive Board.

Just before our Class’ Graduation, Dr. Arangala selected several members of our class to serve a two-year term on our Class’ Executive Board. These individuals were selected based on willingness to serve in that capacity, relative stability of post-graduation plans, and demonstrated commitment to with Class initiatives in the past. Positions include Chairpersons for Internal Class Communications, Fundraising, Several Key Partnerships/Initiatives, and Class Engagement/Bonding. The role of the President of the Executive Board is to coordinate/support the Chairs and to serve as a liaison between the individual class and the broader Periclean organization. Since Graduation in 2011, our Class’ Executive Board has established monthly Google + Hangouts to share committee updates, plan actions with regard to partners, and craft internal Class correspondence.

Leveraging Technology to Manage Class Information.

Our Class realized the importance of centralizing all relevant information and correspondence as we were planning the Leaders in Environmental Advocacy Forum (LEAF) during the fall of our Senior year. We established a Class gmail account for correspondence with partners, and have archives of class information and relevant correspondence organized for access by the Executive Board and class members on google drive.

Outreach Strategies to Drive Engagement.

E-mail has been our Class’ main means of outreach. Liz Leman has been a spectacular Communication Chair, sending countless Class update e-mails to keep members informed about the latest developments with our partners. We’ve also launched a Twitter (@Periclean2011), and Facebook presence as additional points of contact and interaction with our Class. Pericleans living in the Washington, D.C. metro area have also met up on a few occasions, and it might be worthwhile to investigate the feasibility of additional in-person gatherings, both at Elon Homecomings/Graduations and in major metropolitan hubs. This blog will be a good addition to ongoing Periclean outreach efforts.

Finally, a few recent updates from the 2011 Class: Funding has been allotted to purchase books for Panangala Junior School in Sri Lanka. We have also wired funding to our friend and partner Chamindha to buy books for a school in Nuwara-Eliya, and to purchase fruit trees for a planting project there. We’ve had regular contact over the past year with Anuradha, our liaison from Rainforest Rescue International, and are preparing to allocate additional  funding for the Ranger program at Panangala Mahabodhi School. Anuradha recently added additional pictures of Ranger Program events on our Ning site – I highly encourage you to take a look and leave a comment! We continue to fundraise through Class dues and donations, and look forward to actively sustaining our Class’ partnerships long into the future!

Sending Periclean Love,

Katie Dirks, ’11

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Email from Natalie in Sri Lanka

Hey guys!

Greetings from sunny Sri Lanka! I have a quick story to share. I had wanted to send this to our whole class but I couldn’t find everyone’s emails in one spot, so I chose those of you who I thought would be most interested by this (I’ll keep it short and sweet):
I was in Kandy last weekend walking around the small indoor market/bazaar that some of you might remember and I happened upon a nice batik shop. Walking up to 2011it, I thought of our batik friend CJ who some of us met in January 2011 at his shop in the hills of Kandy. He’s the guy who made our beautiful stoles we wore on graduation! He also made the batik that hangs on Dr. Arcaro’s wall. Anyway, I walked into this shop and there was CJ! He has short hair now, but I recognized him in
an instant. Turns out he has moved his father’s business to this prime store spot in the center of Kandy (his business is doing very well!) He immediately went to a shelf and held up one of our Periclean stoles!! He proudly displays it to customers, and has even been asked to make similar stoles for class groups from Italy and Israel. I immediately put it on and we took a photo together (attached) because I knew I’d have to share this moment with the class. After catching up, CJ also showed me a photo album that has photos of our class at LEAF and even one of Katie and a few others with Leo at graduation, wearing the stoles! (CJ didn’t know that the man in the photo with his batik-donning friends was Elon’s president, and was very pleased when I told him so!)
It was amazing to run into CJ, one of our Periclean partners, and be reminded in such a powerful way of the small ways our class had an impact here and was so impacted in return. CJ is clearly so proud of the art he was able to provide our class, and I know we were all proud to wear those beautiful stoles when we graduated. For me, running into him was a humbling personal moment, as I was reminded that I would not be living in Sri Lanka on this Fulbright if not for Periclean and our great class and the connections we made in this country that resonated so deeply. It’s amazing how small the world this, how interconnected things are, huh?
natalieJPGJust wanted to share that with you guys. I thought a lot about Periclean that afternoon, and about how you all are doing — I hope you are happy and well! If any of you happen to be in this part of the world between now and July, you have a place to stay and a friend to adventure with.
Periclean love,
P.S. Feel free to pass this on to other members of our class!
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Class of 2011: Sri Lanka

Class of 2011

A representative from your Class will be asked to make posts to the Periclean Scholars blog.

You are encouraged to make full use of the capabilities of the blog by adding hyperlinks, photos, and video.

Make sure to check Class of 2011 under Categories before you press Publish.

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