Our school-wide “Fill-a-Truck” food drive (proceeds of which go to the Amherst Survival Center) is coming to an end this Wednesday. It’s part of President Obama’s “Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge” that Amherst has taken on. Thinking about and taking part in the drive (my teammates and I recently cleaned out a local Big-Y of it’s tomato sauce) made me 1) want to tell any Amherst kids who haven’t already donated peanut butter or canned chicken to do so ASAP and 2) to appreciate that students still help out the community even when there isn’t a 20 hour requirement to be fulfilled, like in high school.
I’ve seen the collection sites all around campus – there’s a pretty good stock of canned goods at each one, and I continue to walk past people putting in their donations each day. It’s pretty awesome.
In the last few weeks I’ve had some scary encounters with the news. The first incident occurred at my house with the local paper. The second was during an online procrastination perusal of the Christian Science Monitor. Apparently, a trend is starting to spread where states are passing (or trying to pass) bills that make it legal to carry guns on college campuses.
Excuse me? Are you crazy?? Sure, give a ton of stressed out/periodically intoxicated/young college students (I think I’m still young) guns to run around with. Sounds like an awesome idea. And the worst part is, they use the Virginia Tech incident as evidence of needing this bill. It’s obvious, isn’t it? Let everyone have guns so when there is a shooting (which, I’m pretty sure, is going to happen more often with guns now being allowed on campus) everyone else can shoot at the shooter. It’s perfect.
I don’t need no guns. I got intellectual firepower baby.
So about three or four months ago I posted about Photojojo, a website/company I’m seriously in love with. Well…sitting in Val dining hall the other day – after giving up on the fairly inedible food – I was reading through the stack of table tents in front of me (do other schools advertise for events that way too? It makes for a great I’m-eating-alone-and-need-something-to-do activity) and saw one about an Amherst alum, Amit Gupta, who turns out to have started Photojojo! Bomb! He also started the DailyJolt, Jelly, (a casual-work-together-planner), and likes dinosaurs. What a man.
If you’re anyone, you watched Arthur as a kid. It was my favorite. I always liked the brother-sister relationship between him and D.W. (Dora Winifred – who names their kid that anyway?) probably because I always wanted a sibling. (You know you want to watch that video).
Well guess what. It’s never too late. During my first year at Amherst, my parents decided to become foster parents. They’re fairly generous, helpful people, and they also wanted to get licensed, (like, legit), since they’ve done things like this in the past for some of my childhood friends and younger family members. Every break since, I’ve come home to several little brothers – two high-school aged ones my freshman year, then only one of those two last year, and then one younger boy this year, though I only met him once before he left. I just learned during Thanksgiving break I would be having an eleven-year-old foster sister for the rest of the year. Our state has fairly few resources for their foster care program, so my parents are often called up for help in giving these kids a place to stay, if only temporarily.
I’m not gonna lie – sometimes it’s pretty hard, for my parents obviously, but also for me on my trips home. These kids come from pretty horrible situations, and it takes them awhile to adjust – to trust, to function, to feel comfortable in our house. And I feel like I have to go through the same sort of process when I go home; it’s different when your house, your spaces, are changed by a new person living there. You have to adjust your pattern, even during a week-long visit home for the holidays. But you get used to it. I’m getting used to it.
And now I really like it. I wish I were actually home to get to know these kids and to have a chance to play the big-sister role (it has come out occasionally – I had a blast taking my little foster bro to see Harry Potter last year), but I still appreciate what my parents are doing all the same. More than anything, I’m so much more aware of the difference between having good and bad parents – the results of the bad ones are often under my roof, and I have heard many of my mom’s horror stories about their struggles to function.
This is important – it took me several years to realize that. A lot of people don’t know much about foster care and what it’s like to experience it, and it shows. It needs more funds, more support, more willing families, and more attention. Which is why I wanted to put this out there to all of you in the ‘Cac. After all – we are a community of many, many things, but most importantly, of education.
You know the scary, unknown, I’m-not-ready-to-be-a-real-person stuff all the seniors talk about? I mean, what really happens after college? It’s something we all have to find out for ourselves.
Apparently our ex-prez, Tony Marx, did too. He was found driving drunk around New York City at 4:47pm (to be exact) on Sunday. Whoopsies.
I guess partying it up in the big city isn’t the same as at Amherst…
One of Amherst’s own 2011 graduates and top swimmers, Kendra Stern, was just announced as a recipient of the prestigious NCAA Today’s Top VIII Award, recognizing excellence in academics, athletics and community service. It’s given out across all three divisions, and has only been awarded to one Amherst student in the past (Carter Hamill ’05).
Stern swam her way into qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Trials in three events earlier this year, as well as earning numerous awards for her contributions to the sport. She’s one to keep your eye out for.
To read the full article about Kendra Stern’s achievements and awards, click here.
And just for fun and nostalgia’s sake: