Our Learning Management Coordinator, Paula Smith, attended our field-based course in India in January. See what she has to say about the experience!
Why did you attend this field-based course on the Gandhian Method?
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the Gandhi course in India. I work with the Future Generations certificate program, so I’ve helped to plan and manage this course in years past, but it was such a rewarding experience to be there in person and see all the hard work come together for a great learning experience. It helped to give me insight on how to coordinate the student experience even better going forward.
What was your favorite part of the experience?
My favorite part was visiting and touring the Taj Mahal. I’ve always seen pictures and heard about it, but being able to physically be there was just amazing. I must say that pictures definitely do not do it justice. We were lucky enough when we were visiting that they had just completed a cleaning, so it was as clean as most people will ever see it.
What surprised you the most about India?
How friendly the locals are! Whenever we were walking, people would stop and make conversation with us, asking questions about what we were visiting for and learning about. Although there was a language barrier because I don’t speak Hindi (the most common language spoken in India), I could feel the curiosity when trying to translate. I was surprised to learn that English is taught in most schools, so we were able to communicate best with school-age children.
What do you feel like you took away from your time there?
Looking back, I the biggest thing I learned is that even when people there have next to nothing, they still want to give. It was kind of a contrast between there and here. Americans can be greedy with their money, even though most Americans make lots of it; they often don’t want to help those in need.
It was also nice to be able to take back my learning experiences to my friends and family so they can hopefully better understand how to make a positive change in today’s world.
Follow up: How has it influenced/strengthened your work?
Attending the India field-based course has strengthened my work because I got to meet the students that I’m in contact with all the time. It’s such a different feeling, being able to meet the students face-to-face, rather than just simply chatting with them via email. This is the reason that our field-based courses set us apart form other schools that use online platforms. We know the value in connecting in-person. I also feel that this has strengthened my work because I can now see the direct impacts that our certificate and master’s program have on people’s lives.
Making Maple Syrup in WV
By Mark Lambert
If you would’ve told me at this time last year that I, my wife, and our business partners would not only be producing, but delivering West Virginia Pure Maple Syrup across the state, I would’ve had to “lol.” Literally. Not just in a text or an email.
With the help of Future Generations Maple Sap Collecting and Syrup Processing certificate program, we’ve gone from wondering what our next step in the foodservice and transportation business world might be to learning how to collect sap on a commercial level. More than this, we’ve learned how to process that sap into syrup, label and bottle it for retail, and distribute not only our own finished product, but also other producers’ syrup, to retailers all over the state of West Virginia.
My wife and I were familiar with making Maple Syrup on a small scale for our friends and family and had dabbled in retailing a few jars at the Wild Ramp in Huntington, WV half a decade ago. However, we had no idea of the opportunity available for our farm in Leon, WV, as well as every other farm with Maple trees throughout our community and across WV.
Whether you’re a beginner still learning how to identify the difference between a Maple and a Sweet Gum for tapping or a seasoned syrup veteran who can pull off syrup from a batch just by watching the bubbles as it cooks, there’s something for all levels to learn from this program.
We’re still in the process of assembling our evaporator with plans to utilize it later this season for the hundreds of gallons of sap we’re currently catching in food grade tanks from tubes and taps we’ve run across a few acres of hillside on our property. We’ve even already had several neighbors stop by to see just what exactly is going on here at W.I.T. Farm and are now interested to learn how they can help us gather additional sap by tubing their own property in the future.
It reminds me of when I first stepped foot on a farm many years ago to learn the ins and outs of the tobacco farming industry that once thrived here in WV. Renting allotments and growing quotas on properties throughout the community and getting a labor crew together to plant, top, cut, spud, hang, strip, bale, and haul the finished bales to the market…
Although those days are all but gone and the revenue opportunity it brought for small farm communities is sorely missed here in my home state, something tells me that there’s something even sweeter on the horizon for WV.
Alumni Feature: Melene Kabadege
When she met Dr. Henry Perry in 2014, a member of the Future Generations faculty at the time, and learned about the University, she realized that her dreams of bringing positive and sustainable change to her community were more achievable than she thought. She credits her education here with building her knowledge and skills in community empowerment, social change, leadership, and how to leverage and lead community successes. This empowered her to bring about lasting healthy changes in her community.
Through the Master’s program, Melene became more confident in her abilities as an agent of change and sustainable development. This inspired her to start Community Fountain Project, an NGO with the purpose of working hand-in-hand with the community to improve lives. Community Fountain Organization is currently implementing the INEZA Project, which aims to prevent under-nutrition and reduce stunting in the Kamonyi District of Rwanda.
A member of Future Generations Global Network, as are all Future Generations graduates, Melene succeeded in winning a small grant from the organization in 2017 with the purpose of implementing a Farmer Field and Learning School. Here farmers serve as teachers to their peers and join together in a farmers’ cooperative. The Project areas of intervention were: improving farming techniques, improving nutrition in the first one thousand days of a child’s life, and improving saving and learning skills. Melene’s group worked with local leaders to ensure proper project monitoring.
After six month’s of project implantation, the team noted several behavior changes taking place in the farmers’ households. Notable outcomes include: couples participating in nutrition learning adopted better nutrition practices for pregnant women and children under age two, families have improved hygiene and feeding practices, men have taken on an increased role in child care, improved farming techniques have been taught and adopted, farmers have been mobilized towards the operation and maintenance of community works, erosion control plants have been put into place, and 25 saving and lending groups have been implemented that all remain operational.
At the end of the first year, the program has been considered successful and highly appreciated by community members and leaders alike. The project was implemented in 3 out of 12 Sectors of Kamonyi District. Fundraising activities are currently ongoing with the aim to extend the INEZA Project to cover all sectors of Kamonyi District and to become a learning center for community partnership in reducing stunting and improving the life of the vulnerable people.
Congratulations to Melene on her impressive work, and our thanks for sharing her story!
Make sure to follow the blog for more stories on the inspiring work being undertaken by our incredible alumni!
Remembering John Campbell
We first became acquainted with John a decade and a half ago when he came as a member of the Higher Learning Commission accreditation team, sent here to inspect whether Future Generations was meeting the requirements of higher education and deserved accreditation. His job was to ‘check the boxes’ and make sure we were following the rules. What set John apart was that in checking the boxes, he was searching for achieving the higher purposes of the regulations.
John spoke at length with our president, Daniel C. Taylor, and the message he gave was that to achieve learning requires going forward, building on the resources present in the place. The place of Future Generations University is the world, with students from around the world who learn from the world … and most importantly shape their local worlds into better places. John recognized the potential in our idea, which was new at the time, and remained in contact with the school until his death.
Please join us in remembering John’s remarkable life with the following account, kindly provided by his family.
John Roy Campbell, PhD, DSC, DLitt
June 14, 1933-November 17, 2018
John was born near Goodman, Missouri and grew up on a small farm. He was the first of his immediate family to graduate from high school, and credited the receipt of a scholarship from the Sears Roebuck Corporation as the impetus to enroll in the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU). There he earned a B.S. with honors in Dairy Science from MU College of Agriculture in 1955, working three part-time jobs while doing so in order to fund his education.
Also during this time, a friend introduced him to Eunice Vieten, who shared his background of having grown up on a dairy farm. The two married and remained happily so until his passing, raising three children and later becoming grandparents along the way.
After receiving a fellowship to pursue Master of Science degree in Dairy Manufacturing, he served one year in the Army reserves, having been in the ROTC during college. Following that, he served two years of Active Duty in the Army’s Seventh Artillery. After discharge from the Army, he returned to Columbia to pursue his PhD in dairy cattle nutrition and physiology at MU. He continued serving as a member of the National Guard Army Reserves Field Artillery for the next 22 years, rising to the level of Lieutenant Colonel and Battery Commander of his unit. In 1983, John received The Meritorious Service Medal from the United States Army for his service.
Following completion of his PhD in 1960, John joined the MU Dairy Science faculty where he quickly rose through the ranks to become a full professor in 1968. He received nearly every award available to faculty members during his 17 years teaching there.
John taught several courses relating to dairy husbandry and animal sciences, and co-authored two textbooks. He viewed students as “our nation’s most valuable resource.” He wrote his book In Touch With Students: A Philosophy for Teachers (1972) to share his teaching philosophies with others.
In 1977, John was recruited by the University of Illinois as College of Agriculture Associate Dean and Director of Resident Instruction. In this new role, he demonstrated a zeal for the land-grant philosophy of higher education – providing educational and career opportunities for the sons and daughters of the working classes. He gained support from private individuals and corporations to establish a merit-based scholarship program to help recruit, recognize and support high-caliber students to pursue careers in agriculture, home economics and related professional fields. He selected the name Jonathan Baldwin Turner (JBT) Agricultural Merit Scholarship Program in honor of one of the initial proponents of land-grant universities. The program has been highly successful with alumni holding prominent positions in industry and at universities.
In 1983, John was named Dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Illinois. Innovation, dedication and cooperation with people, both within and outside the College of Agriculture, were hallmarks of his deanship. His leadership was central to the College obtaining $61.2 million for construction of five new facilities. Colleagues have referred to his time at Illinois as “a golden era.”
John was appointed the fifteenth President of Oklahoma State University (OSU) on August 1, 1988 and served until 1993. At OSU he continued his student focus, championed international involvement and inter-university partnerships, and expanded distance learning. He resigned as OSU president in 1993 to teach in the OSU College of Agriculture and resume writing. In 1998, he published his fourth book Reclaiming a Lost Heritage: Land-Grant and Other Higher Education Initiatives for the Twenty-First Century, which has been used in teaching Honors Courses and educating others on the heritage of the land-grant system.
John retired from Oklahoma State University in 1999 and returned to Columbia, Missouri to take aim at new goals and opportunities. During this time, he served as a Consultant-Evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission/North Central Association and on the National University of Natural Medicine’s Board of Directors from 1998-2013. He also continued presenting lectures for numerous organizations. Having viewed the need for changes to increase societal perceptions of higher education, he wrote a novel titled Dry Rot in the Ivory Tower: A Case for Fumigation, Ventilation, and Renewal of the Academic Sanctuary, and another textbook, Companion Animals: Their Biology, Care, Health, and Management.
Throughout his professional career, John demonstrated a caring attitude toward and sincere interest in students, their careers, and personal lives. He had the privilege of teaching more than 12,000 students and published more than 100 papers. He accomplished much and left a legacy at each of the universities where he served.
He loved to tell stories and share the knowledge he had gained through his many journeys and discussions with people from “all walks of life” and was quick to extend congratulations to others on their accomplishments. At this time of loss, a smile comes to mind envisioning John sharing stories with those who preceded him in “graduating to heaven.”
U.S. Series- Part IV: Conservation that Respects People and Planet
An article in Britain’s Guardian newspaper recently suggested that as much as 50% of the planet needs to be set aside from human habitation to stave off mass environmental degradation and irreversible destruction of animal and plant species.
The intention behind this argument is a good one: to conserve the earth’s biodiversity and natural life forms.
These have their own intrinsic value, but also ultimately benefit people in ensuring that natural resources are protected rather than exploited to the point of unsustainability; that air, land, and water are protected in ways that promote public health, and that global warming and other forms of environmental harm are mitigated.
But there is a fallacy at the heart of the notion that the primary way to advance conservation is by removing people from nature.
People and nature are not necessarily adversaries. There are many examples, including contemporary ones, of people serving as successful guardians of nature, rather than as antagonists to the environment and its conservation.
The misguided notion that people and nature are adversaries has sullied conservation since the incarnation of the modern conservation movement. It needs to be acknowledged and addressed because it both hinders and slows environmental conservation and can contribute to denying the human rights of people who depend on nature for their livelihoods.
For many people, as individuals and as communities, their lives, values, and cultures are intimately and inextricably bound with nature.