Thursday, May 10, 2018

SLC Odyssey College Trip

On Thursday, May 3, members from the Sustainability Leadership Cohort (SLC) embarked on their 2018 Odyssey College Trip. After the three hour drive down, we arrived at the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences. While at the School of Freshwater Science, we were given a tour of the campus and shown what work is being done there. We were able to see young sturgeon and yellow perch that are being raised for research. The yellow perch have been at the school since 2009! Another part of the tour consisted of showing how fish farming and aquaponics go hand in hand. It was explained that the fish help the plants grow without soil and that they have a mutual relationship together.

In the afternoon we visited UW-Milwaukee’s main campus and toured various locations. Students were also shown the American Indian Student Services and the Electa Quinney Institute. Many of the students reflected on how they liked that there was a spot for native students to go if they needed help. After the tour, we were lucky enough to meet with the new president of CMN, Dr. Paul Trebian and various students and AIS faculty. The students enjoyed meeting him and I thought it was a great opportunity to get to know him and other students. By the end of the day, the students were so tired from all of the days activities and traveling. We headed off to our hotel in Madison and ended up eating at a Chinese Buffet. Students then had the option of swimming or playing in the hotel’s arcade.

On Friday, students were up bright and early to head off to the F.H. King Garden in Eagle Heights.The F.H. King Students for Sustainable Agriculture is a student led organization that is helping produce food for the individuals around campus. They also help educate about gardening and food sovereignty. Even though the rain kept us fairly soggy, there was much to see and learn. We were even visited by the local group of turkeys. After our rain adventure at the garden, we headed indoors to hear about the Intertribal Maple Syrup Producers Cooperative from Sheamus Johnson. Students were able to see how various native individuals are working together to produce and sell their maple syrup. Next up came lunch at the DeJope cafeteria. Students were amazed at all of the choices available to them. Rey Morales talked next about the importance of digital media, he proposed the question, “what makes a good video”? Students had a good conversation and expressed their opinions on the topic. The next speaker was from the Native American Center for Health Professionals (NACHP) and students were able to play a jeopardy style game. In that game, students learned some interesting and unique information. For example, did you know that humans share 70% of DNA with a slug?

We then focused our attention to the importance of food sovereignty and the mission of Slow Food Turtle Island from Becca Dower. After learning more about food, we took a walk to the Law School where we met Richard Monette. He talked about the importance of relations, motion, and balance and how that played a role in government. He encouraged students to make connections about what they are currently learning about and their cultures. After the Law School, we headed back to the vans by way of the campus public transport. That was quite the experience for those who had never ridden public transport before. I can say for sure that I will never need to ride that bus again!

Overall, I enjoyed the trip and heard many good reactions from the students. Some have better ideas of what they want to do after graduation now. It was a fun-filled, action-packed two days and a good way for the cohort to bond before the summer fun starts.

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