Monday, January 04, 2010

An Experiment in Living Simply--In College

This is one of the more uplifting things I came across over the holiday weekend--students at my alma mater, John Carroll University, living simply, in a community that goes several steps beyond the standard dorm environment. You can click on the video to see the whole story. Here's hoping this experiment catches fire and spreads in the new year.

16 Comments:

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Kim said...

I was saddened to read the negative remarks on the TV3 page, unreal that some clouds of doom see nothing but darkness in such a lovely story, but I will counter with some sunshine here.

University students all over are vehicles for change and making a difference. The day is now. In my neck of the woods, I met a young man who started a food composting project at Youngstown State that is being modeled by other universities around Ohio (BW for one). It is impossible not to catch his enthusiasm...

http://www.ysu.edu/recycle/compost.shtml

If it only takes a spark, it won't be long before the fire is going. I'm proud when I hear of young people who want to make the world better. Thank you for sharing, John!

 
At 11:17 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Kim, I hadn't even noticed those comments. I guess I'm used to assuming that comments on large mainstream media sites (especially local TV stations and newspapers) are full of angry people who are just spouting, so I've learned not to pay much (if any) attention.

The thing you mention about university students being vehicles of change is one important, if often overlooked, reason why colleges and universities and their students and graduates are so integrally connected with economic development and successful regional economies. The New Republic just posted an article about this yesterday, which I'll be sharing and expounding on soon.

 
At 2:32 PM, Blogger Kass said...

I love this idea. I think I mentioned once before that I would like to live in an intentional community. John asked to hear more about this. I will have to get back to you on that - have to run now, but I have also told Kim in a comment that I would love to live in a community with her and her green ways. Maybe the most I can hope for is this virtual community.

 
At 2:35 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I found this idea and the way they've gone about it just plain enchanting. It made me proud of my college, and of these kids for taking part.

As for WWW readers living together in an actual community, I heartily endorse that. Sure hope it happens some day. Till then, we'll have to enjoy our virtual hearth.

 
At 3:56 PM, Blogger Kim said...

John, you missed a chance to brag about your niece, so I will take it. (from her tour on the big green bus last summer!)

She and her friends are fine examples of the difference youth can make.

One of the greatest pleasures I had in life was the opportunity to work as a church youth director. I was touched by so many wonderful young people. Today they are almost all out of college and indeed, they are changing the world. To glimpse that was something truly special. All it takes is encouragement.

 
At 4:02 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

What a good memory you have, Kim. How nice for a reader to remember something posted half a year ago. I think those Dartmouth kids and their touring eco bus speak for themselves, and need no boasting by me or anyone else. But this more recent story from our region did again bring them to mind for me. The upshot of it all: it's so easy at a certain age (like when you have college-age kids yourself) to make sweeping statements about entire age cohorts or even whole generations. But when you hear about great folks such as these, it reminds you how many promising things there are to focus on among people of any age group--but especially among emerging adults--if only you can keep your eyes, ears and mind open.

 
At 4:05 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

By the way, here's that link again to the item on the Big Green Bus visit:

http://workingwithwords.blogspot.com/2009/08/big-green-bus-stops-for-visit-we-got.html

 
At 5:36 PM, Blogger Britta said...

A good friend lived in a cooperative house very like this one at Oberlin College in the mid 90s. The advantage for him was that the cost of room and board were lower and while it fit with his ethics (he had done a "gap year" working full time for Habitat for Humanity) it also helped him go to a better school with less debt upon graduation.

 
At 5:51 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Britta, funny you should mention Oberlin, since it's the only midwestern school my aforementioned niece even bothered visiting. Such progressive thinking as this might be the norm at a place like Oberlin, with its nearly two centuries of traditions of being ahead of its time on many issues. But Jesuit schools aren't always like that--while I love their intellectual vigor and independence, they're often way behind the curve on such social issues as this. So it's nice to be in such company for a change. And having less debt from college is surely all to the good, doubly so these days.

 
At 6:25 AM, Blogger Dave King said...

Fascinating post. I came to you from Jim's blog. Shall come again.

 
At 8:31 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks, Dave, and welcome. Jim's fans are legion. I'll be sure to check in on your new poetry as well. Happy new year to you.

 
At 11:13 AM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

These stories of college-age kids doing something to change the world, one person at a time, is the reason I have hope for the future. This is where it begins, those big changes that can sometimes take a generation or two to fully unfold; it begins in this kind of intentional living, no matter what form it takes. It affects lives for many years afterwards.

I've lived in more than one intentional community, for relatively short periods of time. I did live in something like this with some college friends for awhile right after college. And I've lived at Radical Faerie sanctuaries which are vibrant intentional communities. And so forth. Each community is different, and the people involved are what make it work, and their willingness to make it work. Some are always in relative flux, yet stay viable; others are more stable, able to build some long-term goals.

Even though I live alone now, for several reasons, I support these ideals and ways of living. I was glad to hear this story. It's very encouraging.

 
At 11:17 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

A valuable addition to the topic, Art. Thanks.

 
At 11:22 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I must say that I'm struck by the sublime geographic diversity of this string (with more to come, I hope). Already, we've heard from Kim in Youngstown, Kass in Utah, Art in the Great Plains, first-time commenter Dave in England, and Britta in North Carolina. What a blessing you all are.

 
At 10:44 PM, Blogger Maria said...

This endeavor caught my eye, too, when I learned of it some time back. And I hope it proves to be meaningful and life-giving for all involved.

 
At 11:00 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I'm a little slow on these things, Maria, just learning about it earlier this week. As always, thanks for visiting.

 

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