-Hafiz of ShirazAllison, a sophomore intended Neuroscience major and Religious Studies/International Studies minor from Houston, Texas, intends to fulfill the pre-medicine requirements in order to achieve a career in medicine. Her interest in the well being of others can be seen in her volunteer work with hospitals and involvement with various pediatric disease organizations such as the Periwinkle foundation. Allison has taken a range of classes that have helped her in achieving these goals. Along with science courses, courses such as Infant and Child Development have allowed her to apply what she has learned in the classroom to the community outside of Rhodes, specifically the Church Health Center. This experience has allowed her to see many aspects of the Memphis community, all of which she can apply to the Ruka. Outside of the Memphis community, Allison has a vast interest in the International community and hopes to serve in International Medicine in the future. This past summer she studied abroad in Italy, expanding her studies and cultural experiences. Through her participation on the Varsity Soccer team and consequently the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Allison has gained experience working with others and making decisions. Her extensive service work will contribute directly to the community as service coordinator.
Allison offers her strong sense of purpose rooted in her caring nature to the Ruka. Always there with a sense of perspective and a reminder of our ultimate goal for togetherness, Allison sets an example through her selflessness in the community. Allison’s cheerfulness and thoughtfulness provide a listening ear or comic relief that always boost the spirits of the community. Her resolve that even the simplest things can have a large impact continually inspire the group to reach outside our comfort zones and always serve with a willing heart.
Allison will serve the role as service coordinator in the community. The service coordinator is responsible for the spiritual welfare and morale of the community, as well as fostering the relationship between the community and Memphis, particularly with Caritas Village. The coordinator’s duty is to create obvious and frequent opportunities to develop and refresh one’s spiritual or emotional life. In addition, the coordinator will organize the semesterly events that are open to the Rhodes community and will be in charge of making sure that all bases are covered for the events to run smoothly. She will also encourage reflection among community members. Additionally, she organizes communal participation in semesterly service projects, and works with the Scribe to carefully choose a date when all members can participate. Lastly, she will work closely with Onie to ensure that our obligations to Caritas and Binghamton are being met, and is in charge of keeping the community up to date on the events at Caritas.
“There is only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything.”
Emily Shaw, neuroscience major, religious studies minor, from Glenview, Illinois brings an analytical perspective to the community. Through interning at Northwestern University’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center and researching in Dr. Katherine White’s Cognition and Aging Laboratory at Rhodes she has become very familiar with the process of research both with patients and unimpaired participants. Through this research, as well as academic classes such as cognitive neuroscience and physiological psychology, she has learned the cognitive processes in the brain which will enhance her understanding of her community members and their lives. Aiding in her understanding of people and communities, Emily gained an appreciation for cultural during her time studying abroad in Italy this past summer. She studied renaissance and medieval history through an exploration of art and culture. Emily also works in the Bryan Campus Life Center as a Rhodes Student Associate where she coordinates the events that take place in the athletic department facilities. She has played a vital role in the initiation and implementation of a new webcasting program for all varsity home events. The organizational skills required for her Student Associate job will be beneficial for her role as the community’s treasurer where she will be responsible for managing the budget and ensuring that community uses the grant money as planned.
Emily contributes to the community in both an engaging and passionate way. She offers a practical facet to the community allowing the Ruka to function more effectively. Her devotion and drive to the Ruka is incomparable, and the community thrives with her commitment and attentiveness. Emily’s desire to develop relationships with others and thoughtful outlook on community is essential for truly fostering an intentional community.
“The needs are great and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”
– Mother Teresa
Paula Vasichko, a junior Neuroscience major and Religious Studies minor, will utilize her course work discussing physical mechanisms of the body, specifically the physiology course she is taking this semester, and her volunteer work at the Church Health Center and Texas Children’s Hospital to help serve the Memphis community through the integration of physical knowledge from the classroom and personal contact with community members. Along with these healthcare examples her position as the Healthcare and Hospitals Kinney Coordinator shows her dedication to ensuring healthy lifestyles for people. Her fellowship last summer for Neuroscience research with elderly in Memphis continues to show her commitment to connecting the skills learned in classes at Rhodes College to interactions with people of all ages in the Memphis community.
Paula’s diligent attitude and purposeful approach to the Ruka brings both a sense of organization and rationale. Her commitment to the core values of the Ruka and desire to improve the community enhances both the relationships among members and the community as a whole. Her enthusiasm for the environment keeps the Ruka both accountable and innovative.
Paula serves the Ruka as our Token Environmentalist. The Token Environmentalist is responsible for taking care of the green aspects of the home. She oversees and takes responsibility for recycling, and oversees the monthly utility bill, making sure the Ruka meets their goals for sustainable living. She makes sure community members are using energy saving techniques in simple and practical ways to help protect the environment. It is her sole responsibility to investigate new ways to make the community more sustainable. Paula oversees care of our composting and is responsible for maintaining the overall health of our garden. Additionally, the Environmentalist seeks out opportunities for the community to visit other farms and gardens, working closely with the Ambassador to secure funding for participation in these opportunities. Lastly, she is entirely responsible for maintaining the community’s relationship with the Binghamton community garden and for sending community members to the garden whenever possible, beginning in the spring semester.
“There is no Them. There are only facets of Us.”
Robin Richardson, a senior International Studies major and Film Studies minor from Sugar Land, Texas, will use the knowledge she has gained through her employment as a Rhodes Student Associate at Physical Plant in order to live environmentally. At Physical Plant, she is in charge of the student-led recycling program at Rhodes and has seen firsthand what sort of environmental initiatives are feasible both at a smaller level (in the Ruka home) and at a large-scale level (in the college). Additionally, experience in Memphis organizations like Habitat for Humanity has demonstrated her desire to give back to the larger Memphis community and her hopes that she can grow closer to the Memphis community through service. Her years of experience in blogging and web design will be particularly useful in Robin’s role as the scribe as she shares information about the Ruka to the world.
Robin brings a sense of poise and calm to the Ruka. Robin’s passion for the environment and creativity in the kitchen inspire each of us on a regular basis. Her composure and laid back personality offer balance and serve the community well especially when she works as conflict resolver. Always eager to serve others and meet the needs of everyone, Robin has a uncanny knack for finding compromises. She offers her dedicated spirit and kindness to community continually helping us all to strive to better the community, Caritas and ourselves.
Robin will serve as the scribe this year. The Scribe works as the historian and recorder of Ruka life, as she takes notes through many of the meetings, maintains a monthly calendar, and keeps track of chores and similar tasks. Another thing Robin is responsible for as the Scribe is maintaining the blog, which allows the world to gain a glimpse into the day-to-day happenings of the Ruka and to become more familiar with our iteration of intentional community.
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
― C.S. Lewis
Shannon Blair is a junior Biology major and religious studies minor. Her natural sciences background fuels her desire for environmentally friendly living. In addition, she bridges the gap between these disciplines by equating the need for care of physical bodies with spiritual health and emotional well being. Through her internship at the Church Health Center, Shannon has spent time studying the correlation between health and wealth, particularly in Memphis’ underprivileged neighborhoods (including Binghampton) which has illustrated to her the positive effects of community support and involvement. The experience has provided her the opportunity to view Memphis from a different cultural perspective. This internship has also allowed her to apply academic knowledge form religious studies and psychology courses to practical situations through her interactions there. She also has been greatly influenced by her exposure to community living time as a camp counselor in which the staff both lived and worked together throughout the summer months. It was in this setting that Shannon also had the opportunity to work in outreach ministry serving children which further fueled her passion for service and the lasting effects simply forming relationships with others can provide. Finally, Shannon’s work in the Residence Life office on campus had provided her valuable experiences interacting with the college staff, faculty, students and parents that will serve her well in her ambassador position acting as a liaison for the community and the greater Rhodes campus.
As this year’s ambassador, Shannon will coordinate all events between the Ruka and the greater Rhodes community. She will be responsible for the awareness and continuation of the community through planning and organizing open houses as well as the application process for new candidates. Shannon will work to make the Ruka a resource for Community Living and environmental practices throughout Rhodes’ campus. Also, as liaison, Shannon will coordinate all meals and happenings with Rhodes’ professors and community leaders in the area over the course of the year.
Shannon brings both enthusiasm and compassion to the community. Her zeal and passion for intentional community and dedication to the fellowship creates a reliable mind-set that the rest of the community can depend on. Shannon’s consideration and heart for others makes her a strong-hold of the Ruka and a motivation in serving the greater community and interacting positively with others.