A welcome to Earlham College's incoming class

(This article originally appeared in the August 16, 2013 edition of The Earlham Word, printed for new students beginning their first year at the college.)

Like many of you are doing now, I arrived as a new student on this campus not so many years ago, ready to see what college would be about. With too much luggage and an anxious but supportive parent in tow, I experienced the enthusiastic welcome as we drove up the main drive, the surveying of my dorm room, the slightly awkward and then quickly enjoyable meeting of my roommate, checking out the cafeteria, figuring out my mailbox, and breathing in the sights and sounds of the new place I would call home for a while.

These are moments and traditions that you'll all experience differently, but they're just a few in the many pieces of a journey that, across space and time, you're sharing with thousands of other Earlhamites who have also called this place home.

The adventure of that journey will almost certainly contain deep joy and exceptional challenges. There will almost certainly be love and loss, shocking moments of new perspective, and changes in course that you'd swear today could never happen to you. You will be changed by this place in ways you may not fully notice until months or years later, and you will change those around you both with your big ideas and with the quiet moments of understanding or kindness that you show them. You will undoubtedly screw up, maybe in a big and public way, maybe in a small way that only you feel, but you'll also learn new kinds of humility and forgiveness that will serve you well.

If I have regrets about my own time at Earlham, there are three worth holding up here in case they're helpful to you:

Continue reading A welcome to Earlham College's incoming class

Letting the land teach me who I am

Today I was honored to have two different speaking/interviewing events at Earlham College, both about my involvement in community building in Richmond.  In preparing, I returned to an interview that Vine Deloria, Jr. did with The Sun a while back, and was reminded how useful and meaningful his words have been to me in the last decade.

I thought I'd share the section of the interview that affected me the most:

Q: How does being in one place for a long time teach you who you are?
Continue reading Letting the land teach me who I am

5 Business Values I Learned Via Earlham College

Today I'm sitting on a panel at Earlham College where we'll talk some about the world of business and money-making in the context of an Earlham education.  As a part of preparing for it, I was thinking about how my time at Earlham, and my relationship with the College since, has informed my experience in the business world.

Here's a list of 5 business values that I think I learned via Earlham College:

  1. You can do good and still do well. While it hasn't been as black and white as Mark and I may have thought it would be when we started Summersault, we have found that it is generally possible to make ethical decisions and still make money.  When you do make ethical decisions and still make money as a result, it tends to feel better than other approaches.
    Continue reading 5 Business Values I Learned Via Earlham College

Earlham gets unofficial traffic light victory on US-40

The Palladium-Item reported last night and again today that Earlham College appears to have won an initial victory in getting a traffic signal placed at a critical crossing point on US-40, the 4-lane highway that runs in front of its campus here in Richmond.

The Quaker college has tried for decades to get a traffic signal at its entrance, an effort that began soon after Earlham student David Rantanen was killed crossing the highway in 1962. Since then, two more people have died and several more were hit and injured by vehicles on the four-lane highway near the school's main drive.

Continue reading Earlham gets unofficial traffic light victory on US-40

The Clear Creek Co-Op was not started in a desk

If you're a reader of Earlham College's weekly paper, The Earlham Word, you'll note a quote attributed to me in a recent article about the future of the Clear Creek Food Cooperative, where I currently serve on the Board:

The Co-op has always been associated with Earlham, from the time it was started by a group of students in the Runyan desk.

To the contrary, the Co-op was actually started inside of a storage bin. At some point when it got big enough, the organization moved into the largest available compartment of an end table, and then worked its way up to reside in a desk in Runyan Center, but not the desk we know today as Runyan Desk. These details are important.

In all seriousness and despite the misquote, the article touches on the key point that the future of the Co-op, currently located on Earlham's campus, is a bit uncertain right now. As we try to figure out what model is best (and sustainable) for the organization, the Earlham populations it serves, and the larger Richmond community, we invite feedback from others who are invested in the future of a locally owned food store that focuses on healthy, local, organic products and cooperative values.

5 ways to maximize Q&A time at public lectures

I attend a variety of public lectures at Earlham College here in Richmond, and while the speakers are usually quite satisfactory in both content and style, I find myself repeatedly shocked at how poorly some of the students conduct themselves in the Question and Answer segment of the programs. Self-absorbed, oft-incoherent, rambling diatribes are unfortunately a recurring experience, and even just a few minutes of this can completely change the sense of how the event went overall - and perhaps determine what impression the guest speaker takes out into the world about our community. (Surely neither I nor my peers were like that when I was a student there, right?)

I always make a mental note to write down some suggestions for improving this situation, and now that the academic year is ramping up again with plenty of lectures and convocations on the schedule, I thought I'd hold forth. So, here are my 5 tips for how to get the most out of Q & A time at public lectures: Continue reading 5 ways to maximize Q&A time at public lectures

Links for the Week - February 17, 2008

The "I'm too busy with the dog show to blog for real so I'll grow them a linkfarm" edition: