Friday, December 19, 2014
By Candy DenOuden
The Daily Republic
When Alisha Vincent sat down in the United Nations building in New York City, she wondered who had been in that chair before.
“There's probably been a significant number people from around the world that have occupied that seat at one time or another,” she said. “It was inspiring to be there.”
Vincent, director of the McGovern Center, joined Dakota Wesleyan University President Amy Novak and DWU student Ariana Arampatzis on Dec. 9 at the U.N., as Novak became one of the university presidents to sign the Presidents' Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security. Novak was one of six of those presidents selected to be on a steering committee for Presidents United to Solve Hunger – PUSH.
“It was exciting,” Novak said.
According to information from PUSH, in February, the Hunger Solutions Institute, in partnership with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization held a forum. A consensus outcome from that gathering, which drew 70 leaders from 30 universities in Canada, the U.S. and Latin America, was the Presidents' Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security.
Novak and Vincent signed the commitment this summer. The other members of the steering committee, along with Novak, include the chair for the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development Brady Deaton, presidents from universities in the Netherlands and Honduras as well as two other universities in the U.S.
Novak said she sees Dakota Wesleyan's role as being an inspiration to and model for other small, faith-based institutions to make similar efforts to fight hunger in their communities.
“Small institutions can be very powerful instruments of change,” Novak said.
Novak said Dakota Wesleyan joined the effort, in part, because it so closely aligns with efforts its faculty and students already are passionate about, and which mirror one of the great passions of the late George McGovern. McGovern, for whom the McGovern Center on DWU's campus is named, dedicated much of his life to providing food for people in need. He wrote a book on the topic, “The Third Freedom: Ending Hunger in Our Time,” and served as the first director of Food for Peace, a food aid program.
“We became really excited about the idea,” Novak said.
Early in her time at the McGovern Center, Vincent said she brought people together to get feedback on what direction the center should take. It became apparent that, to honor the memory of the late Democratic senator, there were two things George McGovern was passionate about, politics, and solving hunger. He and his wife, Eleanor, are both alumni of Dakota Wesleyan.
“We are very fortunate to have the legacy already established by George and Eleanor McGovern,” Vincent said.
That connection has opened doors that otherwise might remain shut to a small liberal arts university in South Dakota.
“I've been able to meet some really incredible people who are engaged at the highest level in the battle against hunger,” Vincent said.
It's a legacy that Dakota Wesleyan students have already bought into, she said. The DWU chapter of Universities Fighting World Hunger – renamed The Third Freedom, after McGovern's book – has bloomed from five students a year ago to 25 active members, and even more are showing interest. Arampatzis, a sophomore, is the president of the student organization, and said the issue of feeding hungry people has become a passion of hers.
“We have enough food on Earth to feed everyone,” she said, noting there just aren't the right resources and methods to distribute that food to everyone who needs it. “That just blows my mind.”
Visiting the U.N. was not only inspirational, but she hopes that Dakota Wesleyan will be able to “ignite a fire” among other students to get involved in combating world hunger.
“Hopefully the next step will be getting students connected,” she said.
“Our students are really committed to making the world a better place and their enthusiasm for defeating hunger in our local and global communities is contagious,” Vincent said. “I'm thankful for the chance to work with such an inspiring group of students and community members.”
In fact, Novak and Vincent both noted that many of the steps PUSH wants schools to implement are things DWU is already doing. University efforts to combat hunger include UFWH students helping with the Love Feast, canned food drives, Mitchell Food Pantry and the Snack Pack Program. Vincent said this spring, students will work on food policy initiatives with Bread for the World hopes to develop opportunities with Feeding South Dakota.
“Our students, really, are the ones who are pushing this forward and saying 'we want to be part of this,' “ Novak said. “Really all I'm doing is facilitating their skills and talents.”
In addition, the McGovern Center supports a Livestock for Life project that works with local leaders to identify families that qualify for a goat or cow. They raise the animal until it produces then given the first born back to the community for redistribution. The program helps with food and can generate small incomes for families.
Globally, students continue to participate in the McGovern Center's Livestock for Life project. Vincent said she is taking some UFWH students to Uganda in July to do an agriculture workshop for smallholder farmers, and the program has a plot of land in rural Uganda that helps support a school lunch program there.
“Our students are no longer the students that are OK with sitting in lecture halls,” Vincent, who is also a faculty member at DWU, said. “We really do have a changing demographic of students who really want to get their hands dirty, so to speak.”
Having Novak on the steering committee for the group helps DWU occupy the niche for small, liberal arts universities to join the cause, Novak and Vincent agreed.
“I'm very proud to work with President Novak. Dakota Wesleyan has the ability to be the beacon,” Vincent said. “We have the opportunity to really take a leadership role in solving hunger, especially among small, faith-based universities.”
All three women referenced the importance of alleviating hunger for people locally, regionally and globally. Vincent and Arampatzis spoke of experiences on mission trips, seeing small children dying of starvation. A rural Chamberlain native, Vincent said she has traveled extensively domestically and internationally, and seeing people dying of hunger is not something you soon forget.
“I've seen what it looks like when people are starving,” she said. “I've never experienced that pain, but I've been in a lot of situations and have a lot of close relationships with people who have.”
And while PUSH has a global focus, DWU hopes to continue to focus on the local and regional levels. It's easy to assume it can't happen here, they said – but it does. On Tuesday, Novak said the Snack Pack program gave out 387 food packs – just for Mitchell youth.
“I think that's a pretty significant concern,” Novak said. “When people aren't hungry, they can live more productive lives.”
To continue working toward collective solutions, Dakota Wesleyan will host its first Hunger Summit on April 15 on campus. Vincent said she's been working with South Dakota State University, Feeding South Dakota, the Midwest Dairy Association and others to focus on solutions for South Dakota.
“I'm really excited about that. I'm really hoping we can get people from around the community and state,” Vincent said. “We really believe in collective partnerships.”
Friday, December 19, 2014
Dakota Wesleyan University has named Joel Allen and Jackie Wentworth as the winners of the fall term’s Professional Excellence Awards.
Allen, assistant professor of religion, won the Professional Excellence Award for faculty, and Wentworth, director of alumni relations, won for staff.
“Joel is continually seeking out ways to better contribute to his students and the campus community,” states his nomination letter. “He works to add interesting speakers, service-learning projects, and applied learning in all his classes. He is ever-willing to contribute to the wider campus community as well, whether that’s helping at chapel, developing new internship opportunities, working to bring renowned speakers to campus, or developing new ways to encourage students to join him in Israel. He is also jolly fun to be around and a great listener.”
Allen is also described as adaptable and willing to integrate new teaching methods into his curriculum, as well as branching out and developing the Denver Urban Semester program and DWU travel experience to Israel.
Wentworth, who is a 1983 alumnus and has worked at DWU since 2005, was described by her nomination as “warm, caring, and bleeds DWU blue.”
“There is no person, living or dead, who knows Dakota Wesleyan alumni, living or dead, as well as Jackie Wentworth,” states her letter. “People say that no one is irreplaceable, but Jackie actually is. … Part of what makes her so incredibly good at her job is that she has a true, genuine interest in other people – when she asks questions, it is not to make small talk, but because she honestly wants to know; and then she commits all she learns to her memory vault and can recite it on command 10 years later. No one could do what she does as well as she does it, not to mention with her wonderful attitude.
“Jackie is a person I try to emulate, because I know how much is expected of her and yet she never falters in spirit or attitude.”
Monday, December 15, 2014
Dakota Wesleyan University offices will be closed Monday, Dec. 22, through Friday, Dec. 26, for Christmas break. Offices will reopen at 8 a.m., Monday, Dec. 29. Classes will end Wednesday, Dec. 17, and resume at 8 a.m., Monday, Jan. 5.
DWU will also be closed on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2015.
The McGovern Library will be closed Saturday, Dec. 20, through Dec. 28, reopen on, Dec. 29-31, close on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, and reopen Jan. 2 at regular hours. Java City, within the library, will close on Friday, Dec. 19, and remain closed until school is back in session Monday, Jan. 5.
Friday, December 12, 2014
Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, in the General Community Service category.
The award is a reflection of DWU’s service to its community and the world.
“Dakota Wesleyan’s values are ‘Learning, Leadership, Faith and Service,’ and we try to not just teach this in the classroom but mirror this motto in our lives,” said DWU President Amy Novak. “Part of how we do this is by encouraging volunteerism among our staff and faculty and incorporating it into class projects. The students gain from these service projects just as much as the community. Some of the charitable projects they have designed for classes are truly inspiring – everything from fundraisers to teaching aerobics at the senior center.”
The university takes part in multiple service-oriented projects, mission trips, service-learning trips, and volunteer projects each year, organized by the college, students or staff. The largest service project DWU provides for Mitchell is the annual Service Day, when hundreds of students, staff and faculty volunteer in the community doing projects, trash pick-up
, and cleaning. On a global level, the university also organizes a campus ministry mission trip every spring to a developing country, and the McGovern Center led a service-learning trip to Uganda and Rwanda last summer.
Nearly all major areas of study have a service component for graduation, and each student organization and athletic team commits to at least one service project each semester as a way to give back.
DWU is one of 766 higher education institutions named to the 2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in the nation, according to a press release.
“Service and higher education go hand in hand,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, in the release. “These schools are inspiring young leaders to roll up their sleeves and work alongside community members to solve problems. By recognizing the institutions who are leading the way to achieve meaningful, measurable results for the communities they serve, we also highlight the vital role all colleges and universities play in addressing community challenges and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.”
Monday, December 8, 2014
Categories: Blog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,
Friday, December 5, 2014
By Jill Callison
Barbara Duffey didn’t exactly come home again when she moved from Utah to South Dakota in August 2012.
But her ties to the state were strong, since her mother, Virginia Duffey, was raised in Deadwood and Winner and her father, James Duffey, grew up in Brookings. Going back another generation, her grandfather, George Duffey, taught at South Dakota State University for many years.
That’s why Duffey describes the state as “her ancestors’ homeland for a few generations,” and why she is enthusiastic about a connection to the land that now can influence her poetry.
Duffey, assistant professor of English at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell where she teaches creative writing, composition and literature courses, has written poetry for almost 25 years, since her fifth-grade instructor told the class to write similes.
“He also had us write Mother’s Day poems to our mothers,” Duffey said. “I actually think my mother still has the poem I wrote for her, Mother’s Day 1991. My parents were always supportive of my writing.”
More recently, support came this week when Duffey was announced as the recipient of a $25,000 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
“It’s very difficult to get an N.E.A.,” said Jacqueline Osherow, Duffey’s dissertation director and a poet. “The odds are way stacked against you.”
The award allows recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel and general career advancement, according to the announcement.
In a word, it will give Duffey time. And that’s something to be valued.
“For a writer, the gift of time is the greatest gift you can give,” said fellow poet Valerie Wetlaufer of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who met Duffey when they studied at the University of Utah.
“Time is what it takes to write a good poem. It gives you the space to write and to research.”
The fellowship also is a statement of faith in a person’s work, Wetlaufer said.
“Someone else is seeing what you’re trying to do, and you’re reaching people,” she said.
Reaching people is important to Duffey, who knows poetry can intimidate some people.
“Poetry is not something you need a special degree to read,” she said. “If you come to a poem with an open mind in good faith trying to understand the poem, you can.”
Duffey’s poems are unique, Osherow said.
“She’s very, very original,” she said. Duffey created a series of poems in a pinwheel shape. When turned, the poem changes.
Duffey lived in the Los Angeles area until she was 12 before moving to Albuquerque. She is considering using her fellowship money to rent a house somewhere and pay for child care for her son, now 2, and then devote the summer of 2016 to writing.
“I’m thinking Greece, maybe,” she said. “I’d really like to go to Crete in particular. I took an archaeology class and fell in love with the history of Crete.”
Poetry in which the writer takes a risk attracts her, Duffey said, and she tries to be vulnerable in her own work. To do that, she turns to events in her own life.
The poem “That There Would be Better Pornography” deals with a trip to an infertility clinic. It’s real, Duffey says: Her son was born after an intrauterine insemination.
“She writes about regular experiences like parenting, trying to get pregnant and teaching, and she offers intelligent insight into these everyday experiences,” Wetlaufer said.
To read some of Barbara Duffey’s poetry, visit barbaraduffey.com/work-you-can-read-online.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Dakota Wesleyan University is one of nearly 50 universities worldwide that have banded together to address the global issue of hunger. On Dec. 9, three representatives from DWU, including President Amy Novak, will join leaders from the other universities to sign the Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutritional Security at the United Nations in New York City.
Novak is one of just a handful of institutions/presidents who were selected to be on the steering committee for this initiative and will be joined by McGovern Center Director Alisha Vincent, and Ariana Arampatzis, of Aberdeen, a DWU sophomore and president of DWU’s chapter of Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH).
“Food insecurity is not confined to a city, region or country, and DWU is proud to partner with these universities to seek out actionable solutions to aid those who don’t know when their next meal is coming,” Novak said. “Dakota Wesleyan has already partnered with the Mitchell Weekend Snack Pack Program and conducts an annual food drive for the local food pantry every fall, while different clubs conduct additional drives the year, so we are interested to hear how other universities aid their communities and whether we can provide those options here.”
There are several programs currently run by Dakota Wesleyan personnel and students which strive to address hunger insecurity locally, as well as globally.
Vincent has led one group to Uganda and Rwanda last year and will take a group of students from the DWU chapter of Universities Fighting World Hunger to Uganda this summer to work on food security projects, including expanding the Livestock for Life project that Vincent began last year.
“We will also do a series of series educational workshops for smallholder farmers and with the school that we are helping create the school lunch program for,” Vincent said.
In addition, UFWH is also working on a partnership with the Mitchell Area Food Pantry to support them on a weekly basis, and the McGovern Center will also host the McGovern Hunger Summit on April 15 on campus.
“It will bring together people from across South Dakota to find ways to collaborate to end hunger here in the state,” Vincent said.
Novak and Vincent consider this invitation to be a great honor and were excited to have the opportunity to include a DWU student on the trip.
“Ariana is driven to help others,” Vincent said about the biochemistry major. “This summit will not only offer opportunities for President Novak and me to connect with other universities with the same values and mission to end hunger, but will give Ariana a fantastic opportunity to see just how many other people in the world care about this cause that she has dedicated her time for, as well.”
Arampatzis has already begun steps toward a more global perspective. She and another DWU student traveled to the Millennial Campus Conference last month in Boca Raton, Fla., where people from around the world came together to work to enhance global development and strategies for the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
What Novak will sign on Dec. 9, The Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security, is a declaration acknowledging their commitment to make food insecurity a priority. The declaration is the result of Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH), created by Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., as the result of a first-time gathering of leaders of more than 30 universities in the U.S., Canada and Central America at Auburn in February.
“What makes this event especially significant is the recognition that universities have a tremendous role to play in addressing global grand challenges,” said Auburn University President Jay Gogue. “Our institutions have a deep faculty talent pool, an energetic, innovative population of students, an unprecedented commitment from top leadership, and a staying power from generation to generation that lends itself to tackling long-term issues like hunger.”
The Hunger Forum and Public Signing Ceremony on Dec. 9 marks the first time universities around the world will share a collective focus on ending food insecurity. It is also the first time students and university leaders will be united in the effort with international organizations, NGOs and student groups joining Auburn in this initiative.
Affiliates of Universities Fighting World Hunger, a worldwide coalition of more than 300 colleges and universities, have met annually since 2006 to share ideas and best practices related to local and global hunger. To take the movement to the next level, leaders from more than 30 universities in the U.S., Canada and Central America gathered in February 2014 to discuss taking collective action against food insecurity and malnutrition. The pre-summit was organized by Auburn’s Hunger Solutions Institute (HSI) and co-sponsored by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. PUSH and the Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security are both direct results of the February meeting.
PUSH member institutions include land-grants, liberal arts, faith-based, historically black, and Hispanic-serving colleges and universities from five continents. Participation in PUSH enables members to share their collective knowledge in areas where hunger is historically addressed at academic institutions: teaching, research, outreach and student engagement. One of the first action items in the Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security is an inventory and mapping exercise so all schools can register their food and nutrition security work in these four major areas.
“Most universities are already contributing to food security across their programmatic agendas,” said Hunger Solutions Executive Director Dean June Henton, founder of UFWH and HSI. “But PUSH will accelerate individual university achievements in two distinct ways. First, additional strength will come through the power of collective action and commitment to share best practices. Second, it will give universities a strong and unified voice at the multi-sector table as the world defines sustainable food security initiatives going forward.”
Monday, November 24, 2014 It’s a longstanding tradition, singing Christmas carols among friends and sharing the story of the Nine Lessons.
Dakota Wesleyan will carry this tradition on with “A Service of Lessons and Carols,” 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 7, in the Sherman Center on campus. This event is free and open to the public.
“This will be a beautiful evening of word and song that will spiritually prepare audiences for the seasons of Advent and Christmas,” said Dr. Clinton Desmond, DWU choral director. “We have invited nine pastors from various churches in Mitchell to share each lesson and paired these lessons with appropriate musical responses. The tradition of Nine Lessons and Carols dates back to England in the late 19th Century. We follow the fall of humanity, the promise of hope, and then the birth of Jesus Christ."
The concert, produced by the Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music at DWU, will feature the Highlanders, Wesleyan Bells, the Singing Scotchmen, Women’s Chamber Choir, LyricWood, and the Mitchell Area Children’s Choir.
The ensembles will sing the following, with opportunities for the congregation to join in on several: “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day,” “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning,” “Mary Had a Baby,” “E’en So Lord Jesus, Quickly Come,” “Canticle of the Turning,” “Two French Noels,” “Lo, How a Rose Er’Blooming,” “A La Nanita Nana,” “Magnificat,” “Fantasia on Greensleeves,” Carol of the Russian Children,” “Away in the Manger,” “We Three Kings,” “Golden Carol,” “Still, Still, Still,” “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” “Glory to God in the Highest,” “Joy to the World,” “Ding Dong Merrily On High,” and “Silent Night.”
The following local pastors will deliver the Nine Lessons: Dr. Joel Allen, assistant professor of religion at DWU; Keith Nash, senior pastor for Mitchell Wesleyan Church; Brandon Vetter, pastor for Mitchell Fusion Church; Ben Payne, pastor for Northridge Baptist Church; Kathy Hartgraves, pastor for Mitchell First United Methodist Church; Father Michael Schneider, Holy Spirit Catholic Church; Heidi Kvanli, pastor for Mitchell First Lutheran Church; Russell Stewart, pastor for Alexandria and Ethan United Methodist Churches; and Eric Van Meter, campus pastor for DWU.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Dr. Tim Mullican, biology professor at Dakota Wesleyan University, Mitchell, has recently published his research on the Black Hills Bear Lodge meadow jumping mouse.
Mullican’s findings, “Population Estimates and Habitat Associations of the Bear Lodge Meadow Jumping Mouse in the Black Hills of South Dakota,” appears in the journal, Proceedings of the South Dakota Academy of Science, 2014, Vol. 93.
“The Bear Lodge meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius campestris) is commonly reported from the Black Hills of South Dakota and the adjacent Bear Lodge Mountains of Wyoming, however little information is available regarding its population densities and habitat associations,” Mullican states in the paper’s abstract.
His research was based on population distribution and estimates, hoping to compare the current numbers to historical record to determine if their populations were remaining stable or declining. Mullican utilized live-trapping methods to capture the creatures, which are typical mouse-size, with a very long tail and large hind feet which they use to hop around like a kangaroo.
His research took place from June 2010 to July 2012, taking samples from 18 sites over the course of three nights. A total of 88 jumping mice were captured at 14 of the 18 sites, located in Lawrence, Meade, Pennington and Custer counties. Mullican found that jumping mice in the Black Hills are one of the most common species along small streams and do not appear to be declining in numbers. As a result of his study, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks have decided to remove the Bear Lodge meadow jumping mouse from their list of species of greatest conservation need.
According to Mullican, the results of this study make it much less likely that an environmental group, such as WildEarth Guardians or the Center for Biological Diversity, will be able to successfully petition the federal government to list this population as federally threatened or endangered, which could threaten development and mining activities. Without evidence that the Black Hill’s population of jumping mouse is stable, the federal government would be obligated under the Endangered Species Act to protect its habitat and populations, which is what has happened in Colorado and Wyoming with Preble’s jumping mouse, a closely related subspecies.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Dakota Wesleyan University announces its holiday hours for Thanksgiving week for campus and the McGovern Library.
Thanksgiving break for students officially begins at 10 p.m., Friday, Nov. 21. Classes will resume at 8 a.m., Monday, Dec. 1. DWU offices will be open Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 24-25, and close Wednesday, Nov. 26, through Friday, Nov. 28.
The McGovern Library will be closed Saturday through Sunday, Nov. 22-23. The library will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 24-25; closed Wednesday through Saturday, Nov. 26-29; and open again beginning at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 30. Java City, the café within the McGovern Library, will close at 2 p.m., Friday, Nov. 21, and remain closed until the Monday, Dec. 1.