Fall Beginnings at RWU
Two notable events marked the beginning of the new school year.
The freshmen arrived the last weekend of Aug. to sunny skies. The following Monday morning, several days before the upper classmen arrived, they were off on the traditional Community Connections experience. The 1,282 student volunteers in their yellow tees were broken up into smaller groups along with 157 site leaders to volunteer at predestinated projects around R.I. and southeastern Mass.
I live six miles from campus in Tiverton where a group of young men spent the day at Ft. Barton pruning trees and widening walkways. Ft. Barton stands high above the Sakonnet River and was used as a strategic lookout for British warships sailing up the river in 1777. Today it is a beautiful walking area of many trails. It happens that my neighbor heads up conservancy in the town, and later told me that these volunteer student groups were the best workers he’s ever had.
Some groups picked up debris at area beaches; others went to nursing homes, animal shelters and many other opportunities. Having left between 8:00 and 10:00. They all returned about 3:00, a tired but happy group that they that accomplished something worthwhile.
The second event I’d like to share with you celebrates our Core Value of Civil Discourse, a series of lectures which invites prominent authors and lecturers to discuss their work. Over the summer each freshman class is assigned a book, which becomes common reading across the curriculum and later discussed in classes.
This year’s choice has been Mountains Beyond Mountains, the biography of Dr. Paul Farmer by Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder. On Sept. 30th students had the opportunity to meet the author in classes and in the evening he addressed the university community. The book tells of a young Dr. Farmer, just out of Harvard Medical School, who after a trip to Haiti administering to the impoverished, decides to dedicate his life to the eradication of HIV and a virulent strain of TB, the plague of the poor. He raises millions of dollars through a Boston philanthropist and builds a modern hospital high up in the mountains in the remote area of Cagne.Tracy Kidder travelled world over with the Dr. witnessing first hand his tireless efforts, first in Haiti, then Peru, later Cuba and prisons in Siberia. Now in his fifties, Dr. Farmer, well recognized for his work, is still at it, constantly going from place to place helping the world’s ill and disabled.
Thanks for reading this, my first blog. Have a great week and come and visit if you haven’t already. The last Open House of the season will be Sunday, Nov. 14 from 9:00-1:00, hope to see you there.