186 South College

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Category: Emily Fudge

Upside Down Hammering and Other Stories by Emily Fudge

This past winter session I vowed not to die of boredom. All of my friends were either at UD, studying abroad, or working. I, on the other hand, was doing a whole lot of nothing. Worried that I would wither away into a pile of dust like I (almost) did last year, I wanted to find a meaningful way to spend my time.

Alpha Phi Omega (APO), the co-ed community service fraternity of which I am a brother, provided me a ticket out of the dust pan. Every winter, they offer a service trip with Habitat for Humanity to brothers during the last week of winter session. This was my chance to serve a community while meeting and bonding with other brothers in the chapter. Being a newly initiated brother, I was anxious and nervous to expand my reach in the chapter and meet some new people.

At first, I was hesitant to sign on. I wasn’t sure how comfortable I felt spending a week with people I did not know in an unfamiliar place. Spending eight hours in a car ride to North Carolina with six strangers isn’t exactly my idea of a fun time. Nevertheless, I gave myself a pep talk and submitted the application.

Every morning the thirteen of us would wake up at 6:45 am, get dressed, eat breakfast together, and head out to the work site by 7:30 am. There is something about eating breakfast all together that makes any place feel like home. Some of my favorite memories from the trip include the battle to fight morning crankiness together by knocking back some coffee and scraping our cereal bowls. We would work from 7:30 am-11:30 am, go back to eat lunch, return to the work site at 12:30 pm and finish at 3 pm. Different community groups and members volunteered to make us dinner. The rest of the day was ours to sleep, play games, adventure around, and most importantly, go to a fast food chain called Cook-Out for $3 milkshakes.

Before I go any further, I must make a disclaimer. Though slightly tangential to the image of service I am painting, I must say that just because you are in “the South” does NOT mean the weather is warmer. The temperature stayed in a consistent frigid realm of 30 degrees the whole time, making it colder in North Carolina on most days than it was back at UD. Wearing four pairs of pants, three shirts, two jackets, a hat, gloves, wool socks, and work boots, my fellow volunteers and I dressed work site chic and braved the elements to continue building the house.

With only the basic framework done, we were working with some pretty bare bones. My friend Alyssa and I found ourselves working on the scaffolding close to the roof to hammer some planks of wood to the frame for support. Before this trip, I could count the number of times I have wielded a hammer on one hand. It took us an excruciatingly long (and embarrassing) 45 minutes to put up one piece of wood. We definitely would’ve been fired – effective immediately. I’ll never know if our struggle was noticed or if people needed jobs, but thankfully other crew members began to help us out. Through the power of teamwork we put up the rest of the boards by lunch. I learned that I am very skilled at “upside-down hammering,” a skill which I am sure will come in handy in the immediate future. It’s going to take my resume to the next level, for sure.

Throughout the week, two other APO volunteers and I worked on building a back porch with a Habitat site leader names Mike. If you ever meet a Habitat for Humanity Construction Supervisor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina named Mike, consider yourself extremely lucky. We basically built the deck from scratch and, as you probably guessed, had no clue what to do. Mike led us through each step with patience, understanding, and purpose. He never got annoyed or frustrated with us or the project. Mike truly cared about each project and person that he interacted with. A soft-spoken Southerner, he reminded us that there is “always a chance to be kind, especially since there is so much hatred and violence in the world.”

Unfortunately, we were one railing short of finishing the deck. My heart sank knowing that we wouldn’t be able to see our project through to the end, but I feel honored to have had the chance to contribute to the deserving family that will eventually inhabit the house.

Not only did I learn a lot about the power of helping others on this trip, but I also learned about myself. My life was put into perspective and I have been trying to place some valuable pieces of this knowledge into my daily life going forward. I aspire to serve others every day, both in my personal and professional life. It is empowering to join with others who care; there is always a place in the world for learning together, laughing together, and the warm embrace of a caring community.

There are so many service opportunities here at UD! On February 24 I plan to engage in the MLK Day of Service sponsored by ResLife. I encourage you to look into different service trips and projects including: ResLife, the Honors Program, UDAB, Greek life, and any other RSO on campus!

Here Comes That Feeling You’d Thought You’d Forgotten by Emily Fudge

Ah, fall. The time of the year where the craziness of summer is winding down and you can finally stop sweating to death (love you, Harter Hall). In my college experience thus far I have noticed that with the change of seasons comes a change of heart. Lately, my spirits have been resembling the leaves on the trees. As the leaves long for the sunshine and warmth of summer, I long for the comfort of home. What I thought was a typically freshman experience has crept its way into my second year here at UD: homesickness.

College is a weird time in a lot of peoples’ lives. All you’ve known for 18 years is lifted out from under you as you propel yourself into a brand new living and learning environment. New friends are made and interests are developed; a lot is learned of yourself and others. The expectation to automatically feel “at home” on campus, which is hard to attain. I moved across town in 8th grade and it took me awhile to adjust, and that was with my whole family by my side! While UD does a great job at welcoming students and making dorms and campus feel like a community, it is hard to deem a new place as “home” so quickly. Just when you start feeling comfortable in your dorm, it’s time to leave for a 6-week winter break. I love UD and all the opportunities it provides for me, the friends I have made, the professors that have made a difference in my educational career, and the experiences I have shared with others through common interests. I love being home where my dog and parents are always happy to see me and where I can actually drive without getting lost and turned around on one way streets.

As the months go on, ideas of what home really is start to get jumbled and you may end up feeling like home is nowhere at all. When the time has finally come to go home for break, expectations and reality do not always see eye to eye. Coming and going from place to place makes it really hard to establish some living permanence. A dorm room cannot beat the comfort of your own bed; your own bed can’t replace the late night shenanigans that ensue with your roommates. With all of this change happening at school, it can be shocking to come home and realize how much it has changed as well. The town that you grew up in feels a little different; who said it was allowed to change while I was away? All of your siblings may be back together again in one place for the holidays and you start wondering when “back together again” became the norm as opposed to just being together. Whenever someone visits me at school it is a reminder of how life used to be and how quickly it has changed. It’s not always a good or bad thing though, just a matter of growing up.

When you boil it down, home is a place where you are with people whom you love and who love you. There will always be people who care no matter where you are. The pieces from different places can be stitched together; a patchwork of home can be carried wherever you go. Little reminders of who you are and where you are from are an important part of identity. You can embody your own home wherever you are with that scarf you bought with your mom at your favorite hometown store, the UD sweatshirt you bought your first fall on campus, or the pair of socks your sophomore roommates got you just because.

Words, Words, Words by Emily Fudge

While thinking of William Shakespeare’s famously penned line “Words, words, words,” (2.8) from his play Hamlet, it really got me thinking about the power of those little things. Words. One of the most basic and important principles we need to understand when learning to read is the concept that sounds make up words and words have meaning. Of course words have meaning, you’ll say. One of the most basic rights in this country is the freedom of speech. But believe it or not, some people really don’t like that idea. They’ll say sometimes words have too much meaning, meanings that are inappropriate, meanings unsuitable for children, or perhaps just unnecessary in life. Imagine how different life would be if some of your favorite words were restricted, unable to be read, said, and lost forever.

While this idea sounds absurd, the censoring of words has been happening all around the country for years. Every year, countless numbers of books are challenged by various people and groups in an attempt to restrict reading materials from places such as libraries and schools; in some cases, materials are requested to be banned and removed permanently. From September 25-29, the American Library Association celebrated its annual Banned Books Week. This week was a celebration of the freedom to read and an effort to cherish the power that words have. On September 27, the University of Delaware hosted its 5th annual Banned Books Readout. From 11am to 3pm, students, faculty, and other university goers gathered on The Green in front of Morris Library and read excerpts from some of their favorite books that had been banned or challenged over the years.

Many were surprised to see what books had been challenged and why. I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings made the list of the “Top Ten Challenged Books of 2016” for portraying transgender youth and being generally “offensive in viewpoint.” This story about acceptance and exploration in gender has been lashed out against by many groups. Think of how many children this story could positively affect, but can’t because of multiple challenges around the country. One of the most popular book series of our generation has held the spot of the most challenged series of the 21st century. To add onto that, the author of the books remains the most challenged living author to date. Have you guessed yet? The Harry Potter series remains frequently challenged in libraries and schools around the country. Why, you ask? The books contain one too many “Satanic, anti-family values, allusions of violence, and references to magic.” Over the years, the most challenged books have had to do with violence, sexually explicit actions, foul language, and anti-family values. This year, every book in the top 10 list had to do with sexuality.

Books provide insurmountable amounts of knowledge. They unleash creativity and take you to another world. They allow you, even for just a moment, to forget your troubles, stresses, and worries. They provide readers the opportunity to just be, and revel in all the joys that words have to offer. Little words, strong but mighty, have the power to change and create. They inform and explode off of a page. They resonate and make us think. We must protect and cherish them, for if there are no words left, what is there to say or do?

While Banned Books Week has passed, I encourage you to check out the American Library Association’s website and look at the list of frequently challenged books. Maybe pick one up and give it a read. Live in rebellious nature! Bask in the glorious power of a book that overcame and resisted the powers that be.

“Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

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