Category Archives: Class of 2017-Namibia

Update from Class on 10/25/16

As we gear up for today’s class, we should recap what we’ve been up to in the last week.

In our last class, we discussed a number of things from the direction of the overall Periclean Program to our plans for the January Conference and beyond.

In the last Periclean Steering Committee meeting, the future of the program and the distinction between it being a social and an academic organization were discussed. As of this year, you are no longer allowed to participate as a Periclean Scholar without taking the course for credit. In general, the program is being structured to be more academic, with more structured syllabi and grading criteria. We discussed this at length, citing both the pros and cons. For many of us, these new criteria posed problems, as we are already taking 18 credit hours, and registering for the class would require us to pay for the overloaded courses. However, we do understand that this is the first step towards having the program recognized as a greater scholars program on campus with the all the funding and administrative opportunities that entails.

In planning for the Voices of Sustainability Conference set for January 23rd-25th, 2017, we’ve decided to cover the costs of travel for students through travel stipends, which will be a large part of our budget. There’s been some back and forth between the University of Namibia and us on what our overall budget is going to be, so much of the discussion is still up in the air. Our latest response has been to ask them to cover the cost of housing, among other things – we are hopeful that their accommodations will help us to make the conference as successful as we are envisioning it! As for programming, we’ve decided to split up into research groups, with those of us that are going presenting at the conference. As of right now, the topics for research are:

  • The most effective diet for HIV/AIDS
  • The effect of knowing where your food comes from
  • An analysis of the Alamance County food desert
  • Sustainability of food aid programs
  • Psychological effects of food insecurity
  • Ethics of aid
  • Research involved in The Omega Project documentary

Our partnership with the Burlington Housing Authority has been going wonderfully, with last week’s lesson including painting pumpkins! We plan to continue our partnership with them into the next semester, and possibly incorporate them into our spring semester local project.

Our next Cookies To Go Go fundraiser is scheduled for Wednesday, November 9th! Our last one was a huge success, raising around $600 in a single night. With plans to increase awareness of the event and improved planning, we hope to raise even more.


That’s it! Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more updates on the Class of 2017’s progress.

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Lesson Planning for BHA Visits

This semester, we have partnered with the Burlington Housing Authority (BHA) to teach at their after school program. The BHA provides affordable housing to families and elderly, handicapped, and disabled individuals, usually from low income backgrounds. The after school program we are working with gives children in grades fourth through sixth a place to go after school to receive help with homework, and supervision before parents and family members arrive home. Each week, three volunteers from our class go to the BHA to teach about topics related to our class’s focus on food security, agriculture, and sustainability.

The local committee coordinates these visits- from setting them up, to maintaining accountability of our cohort, to lesson planning. Various members of the local committee are responsible for these tasks, and Mel Mackin and I do the lesson planning. We meet each week to put together the lesson plans, which include an educational component (usually a short powerpoint) and some activities (coloring, painting, drawing, word searches, games). Thus far, the topics we have covered are the basics of farming/gardening, sustainability, and pumpkins (Halloween themed), with our upcoming visit focusing on nutrition.

Creating the lesson plans usually involves a good deal of educational research on the topic chosen, as well as some research on possible activities we can do with the kids. We gather information and ideas from academic sources, educational programs and websites targeted at kids (e.g. Food Trust, and Eat.Right.Now Nutrition Education Program), and Pinterest (activity ideas).

Lesson planning also involves an understanding of and research on food insecurity and low income communities. According to Feeding America, 15.7% of Alamance county’s residents are food insecure, and 24.1% of children are food insecure. Burlington is also categorized by the USDA as a food desert, which is an area where a significant proportion of low income residents lack access to affordable and nutritious food. Thus it is important that our lessons account for this context by providing options attainable in these settings, and information about new services in the community that help combat food insecurity.

Overall, we aim to create fun, engaging, and educational lesson plans that challenge and encourage kids to make smart, sustainable choices for their health and our planet’s.

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Quick Update: 4/12

As of April 12th, 2016, the Periclean class of 2017 has accomplished a lot. However, all that we have accomplished has not come easy. Recently our class has called upon every member to step up our commitment levels. We are realizing that January of 2017 is approaching quicker and quicker, and we still have much to do in terms of planning our conference in Namibia. We also have a lot of fundraising left to do in order to make this conference happen, and, similarly, we still have a lot of progress to make towards completing our local project in Burlington, NC. Although we recognize that we still have a few tasks to complete before January of 2017, I believe we are well on our way to achieving our goals.

In terms of fundraising…

We have planned a silent auction for April 22nd from 4-7pm to help raise money for our conference. Additionally, as of next semester we have decided to take over the Cookies to-go-go Periclean fundraiser to help with funding for our class, so stay tuned and plan to order cookies! We also have made Pura Vida Periclean bracelets to sell in order to help us raise funds. Hopefully all of these fundraising efforts, in conjunction to our Gofundme page and our letter writing campaign, will help us reach our fundraising goals for the semester.

In terms of our local project…

We are still working on the logistics of it all, but we have decided that we want to create something along the lines of a demonstration garden in downtown Burlington, NC. We were hoping to pair this demonstration garden with a donation box for our class, hoping to both raise funds and spread awareness of the issue we are trying to address in Namibia. We are trying to locate a place to put this demonstration garden, but have had difficulties in finding a suitable location equipped with people to help take care of the garden while we are not here (ex. summer vacation or after we graduate). On a more positive note, we also recently went into BSS, a local middle school in Burlington, and taught the students about the Periclean Scholars program at Elon, our goals for our project, and the issue we will be addressing while in Namibia.

In terms of the conference/ documentary…

We have solidified our first speaker for our conference in Namibia! Receiving this news was a big win for our class and gives us more motivation to reach our goals. In addition to hosting a conference, we will also be filming a documentary about our project and the issue to further promote our cause after the conference takes place. We have decided to send a crew of two Pericleans to Namibia this summer to get to work on the documentary and already have a lot of cool ideas floating around about it. I am excited to see what footage comes from this summer adventure and what other progress we can make towards setting up the conference as the semester comes to a close.

Peace, Love, Periclean.

The class of 2017

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The Class of 2017: We’re Back!

The Class of 2017 met on Tuesday, February 2nd and hit the ground running. We started class by having some pizza and hearing about all of the amazing places our classmates studied abroad during the fall semester and winter term. We had some logistical tasks to complete, such as designating people for note-taking, designating someone who is willing to send email updates those abroad currently, and assigning three new class representatives to facilitate our class this semester.

Over winter term, our class representatives reached out to the class to find out everyone’s committee preferences for this semester. By doing this, we were able to have everyone assigned to a committee by the beginning of Tuesday’s class. These include Grow Biointensive, Conference, Local Project, Marketing, Fundraising, and Documentary committees. We broke into committees for a portion of our class to find a weekly time to meet, make semester goals and discuss what we need to accomplish to move forward this semester. We shared our goals with the class and had a large-group discussion about how we want this semester to run. Our class will continue to focus on addressing food insecurity through sustainable agriculture and the Grow Biointensive method of farming in Namibia and Alamance County.

We had about 10 people abroad last fall, and a large portion of our cohort traveling over winter term, so it was necessary to spend time bringing everyone up to speed on the progress our class has made over the past few months. We discussed progress made with our contacts abroad, a new option for a local project, the progress we have made writing a Memorandum of Understanding, and the new idea of a agricultural-exchange program between same-age schools in Namibia and Alamance County. We have a lot of new material and opportunities to work with this semester, and are excited to dive in with full force.

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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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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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Class of 2017 Update: September 15th, 2015

Hello all! This past weekend two members of the 2017 Periclean Class, Kelsey and Christian drove to Durham, NC and met with the Redwood Group to learn a bit about their business and how they work on and evaluate grants. Snaps to Kelsey and Christian for taking the time to go visit our friends at the Redwood Group! Also, snaps to Caila for taking on the role of Treasurer for our class while Mel is abroad!

During this class period we worked together to make some more strides in the development of our project, tied up some lose ends and solidified a few details for our fundraiser this weekend.
The past couple of weeks we have been talking about working a total of 10-30 hours a week as a class at the Loy Farm to practice the idea of sustainable development and today we voted to commit to work those hours for the rest of the year. This is an exciting development for our class because it ties back to Grow Biointensive, the organization we would like to bring to Namibia to help us implement our project.
After voting to work on the Loy Farm, we read over the proposal to fund the Ekamba Community Gardening Project. The implementation of this project would allow for the creation of a fresh community garden that would benefit a community of 38 people. The estimates on the proposal said that the entirety of this project could be fulfilled with $2,000 U.S. Although our class would not have the opportunity to actually work on the implementation of this project, we decided to provide half of the funds to make this gardening project a reality for the Ekamba community due to its ties to sustainable development.
Finally, in class we solidified all of the details for the Periclean Car Wash we will be holding this Saturday as a fundraiser. If your car is in need of a good washing, come to the Kangaroo this Saturday from 10AM-1PM for a car wash! It’s only $5, and we are better than Oscar and Angie!!! So come support us at the car wash! Hope to see you there!
Peace, Love, Periclean.
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Andddddddddd We’re Back!

Earlier today, the Periclean Scholars Class of 2017 was reunited once again!  (Well most of us were, as we have 10 members of our cohort abroad this semester in locations all around the world, from the bustling streets of China to the golden beaches of Brazil)  Additionally, Annie Phelan returned to the group after spending the spring abroad in Europe!

The class itself began with stories from the summer.  Highlights included backpacking trips around the country, enriching internships, and entertaining stories from summer jobs.  Director Arcaro also stopped in to update the class on Periclean opportunities and on the program in general.  Following this, we had a class-wide discussion about goals for the semester, selected class representatives, and worked to form our committees, committees that were then tasked with working on these goals.  After our committee meetings, where each individual committee set particular benchmarks for the fall, we concluded the day with talks of potential fundraising events and other projects to pursue for the semester.  Though there is much to accomplish, Tuesday’s class provided the framework for what will hopefully be an extremely productive semester.


Peace.  Love.  Periclean.


The Periclean Scholars Class of 2017



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The First Periclean Year for the Class of 2017

The Class of 2017 has finished its first year as Pericleans!  It almost doesn’t seem that we only just started this program and are already a third of the way done with it.  Time really does fly!

During our first semester, we learned as much as we could about Namibia, keeping up with the country’s news while also studying history and culture. With the first step of research well underway, we knew that this semester would be the time to move forward to the next stages of project searching and partner vetting.

Over the semester, we created both short- and long-term goals to act as checkpoints in our progress.  Knowing we had limited weekly class time, we worked to ensure that each class was dedicated to how we wanted to move forward.

After looking at some organizations we may have the opportunity to work with, the class fell heavily interested in working to create a project around the mission Grow Biointensive and Ecology Action carry, which is to create sustainable agriculture in environmentally difficult areas to grow crops.
From this point, we have vetted the organization and had the opportunity to Skype with the Director of Grow Biointensive.  Talking to the Director about their mission only made our class more excited about what we could potentially complete in the next few semesters.

As we get ready for the next year, we are staying in contact with our class via email for the summer.  We have also created a project map for summer goals in which each student is responsible to stay involved with a specific task we want to complete before coming back in the fall.

Over the semester, we have also grown as a class, taking on the roles as mentors to the Periclean Class of 2018 and becoming closer, through social events, with our own class.

We look forward to coming back in the fall with an exciting project and the beginning plans of how we, as Pericleans, can be a part of it.

Peace, Love, Periclean

Oly and Sarah R

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Weekly Update

After much research and debate among our cohort over the past few weeks, we have decided to move forward in vetting Ecology Action as our partner.  As a class, we respect and admire the mission of EA, and believe that their values parallel our passions, and could very well benefit Namibian communities.  EA’s goal is to use the Grow Biointensive method for sustainable agriculture to nurture healthy soil fertility, produce high yields, and conserve resources.  However, they don’t stop there – they are committed to making this system be known and used on a worldwide basis.

In learning more about EA through Steve Moore, the vice president of the organization and an Elon professor (how convenient is that?!), we were excited to begin the vetting process and to learn even more about the organization.  So, we reached out to John Jeavons, director of Ecology Action, for a brief Skype session.

We had several questions about the methods used in Ecology Action, and Periclean involvement with the process in Namibia. John Jeavons was very thorough and responded to our concerns or confusion with evidence and facts.  His in depth understanding of farming techniques and soil types across the world was evident through his answers. However, what was most apparent was his passion for helping others by sharing this knowledge with us and the various communities he’s worked with.  Some shocking facts that stood out were with the current use of “traditional” farming, people are depleting the soil 18-80 times faster than in nature.  And in contrast, the methods used by Ecology Action actually build up the soil 60 times faster than nature does.  This is a huge feat given the extreme over-farming in the world that evokes serious consequence in nature and hinders our ability to keep producing food for future generations.

After our class had the opportunity to speak first had with the director of this program, we felt confident in our decision to move forward working with Ecology Action.  By the end of the day, we had gained a much better understanding of organic farming, and had made significant progress as a class.

–  Cayley and Caila

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