Heading off to see the world, approximately 150 Wittenberg students are set to embark on special experiential learning trips during the University’s second annual week of Focused, Integrated, Reflective Experiences (FIRE) Week, Feb. 27-March 3, 2023.
Planned and led by Wittenberg faculty and staff members and open to all students, the week will feature an exciting assortment of opportunities and adventures.
“The leaders of these experiences have really taken the time to design the most engaging opportunities, from studying the politics of water in the west or examining the inner workings of a small community like Yellow Springs,” said Mike Mattison, associate provost and professor of English. “These out-of-classroom experiences can enhance and accentuate what students are learning in the classroom, and they give the students an extra boost to their résumé.”
Along with the new Connections Curriculum, which debuted in the fall of 2021, Wittenberg piloted FIRE Week offerings in the spring of 2022. A FIRE Week experience fulfills one of the experiential learning requirements in the Connections Curriculum, which, in alignment with the University’s mission, challenges students to become responsible global citizens, to discover their callings, and to lead personal, professional, and civic lives of creativity, service, compassion, and integrity.
This year, Wittenberg is offering 14 programs, which the students selected from earlier this year.
- Adulting 101
- Building A Home: Habitat For Humanity
- Chamber Music: From Practice to Performance
- Connecting Generations
- Going Local: The Yellow Springs Experience
- Harnessing Old Man River: Nature Meets Culture in Mississippi
- Head to Heart to Action: Designing a Career & Life Action Plan
- Igniting Change in Communities and Ourselves
- Light on the Great Lakes: Shipwrecks, Sand Dunes, and Buried Cities
- Magical Museum Tour
- The Politics of Water in the West
- Service in Sunny Costa Rica
- StartUp in Austin: The Entrepreneurship Experiential Learning Opportunity
- Men’s Lacrosse Journey to Success
The Adulting 101 experience will include eight students learning about house and auto maintenance, financial health, mental and physical health, insurance, legal matters, finding one’s way around the kitchen, and doing taxes. This experience is a collaboration of campus and community partners and is headed up by Adam Parker, professor of mathematics.
Building a Home through Habitat for Humanity will take 13 students to two different sites to learn about and participate in the building of a home in Dayton and Springfield. The experience will be led by Marie Bashaw, professor and director of nursing, and her staff in the nursing department. Bashaw and Stacy Gilson, nursing resource center and simulation laboratory coordinator, will lead a second experience called Connecting Generations where six students will be working with residents at Forest Glen Health Campus in Springfield, creating scrapbooks in addition to organizing daily activities.
The 11 students participating in the Chamber Music: From Practice to Performance program will prepare their repertoire with their ensemble coaches and be treated to a variety of workshops, as well as a chamber performance from a professional brass quintet the evening of Thursday, March 1, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Krieg Recital Hall. The students will also perform their repertoire the same night. Leading the students will be Brandon Jones, professor of music, and Richard York, an adjunct instructor in music.
Layla Besson, professor of practice in education, will work with five students for the program Going Local: The Yellow Springs Experience. Students will be staying overnight in one of Antioch College’s residence halls and will spend each day pursing their project-based learning goal through discussions with community leaders and local citizens, along with touring local businesses, visiting local schools and art studios, and understanding more about the town’s natural spaces.
Richard Phillips, associate professor of biology, and Catherine Waggoner, professor of communication and digital media, will be taking 16 students south for the Harnessing Old Man River: Nature Meets Culture in Mississippi experience. Some notable activities for this trip include a boat ride in Greenville from Lake Ferguson to the Mississippi River and back, a visit to McCarty’s Pottery, a visit to Taylor Grocery, and much more.
Joi Garret Scales and Brittany House Conrad from career and professional services on campus will host five students for the Head to Heart to Action program. The group will be working with Career Services to focus on finding a career that aligns with their values and how to job search from there. In addition to working on resumes, cover letters, and interview practices, students will have the opportunity to do some career shadowing with employers and even interview for potential internships.
Igniting Change in Communities and Ourselves will feature five students under the supervision of the Hagen Center’s Rachel Scherzer embarking on a journey to Americus and Plains, Georgia. After a week of building, repairing, or restoring housing for an underserved community, the group will visit the Fuller Center Headquarters and the birthplace of former President Jimmy Carter for some famous peanut butter ice cream.
Gabe Courey, assistant professor of business and economics, will lead eight students on the program Light on the Great Lakes: Shipwrecks, Sand Dunes, and Buried Cities. The trip will include a visit to the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, the buried city of Singapore near Saugatuck, views of numerous famous lighthouses, and hiking in Sleeping Bear Dunes.
A Magical Museum Tour, hosted by Beth Hallauer, assistant director of the Matthies Honors House, will offer seven students a fun-filled week of trips to the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Newport Aquarium, the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Carillon Historical Park, Carriage Hill Historical Farm, Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, the Dayton Art Institute, the Ohio History Center, Franklin Park Conservatory, Otherworld, the Springfield Museum of Art, Westcott House, and the Heritage Center Museum.
Men’s Lacrosse Journey to Success, hosted by Wittenberg coaches Jay Owen and Daniel Shields, will allow 33 student-athletes to enhance their regular training sessions with athlete-led discussions of The Hard Hat: 21 Ways to Be a Great Teammate by Jon Gordon and leadership opportunities for each athlete throughout the week. In addition to regular training sessions, every team member will get a chance to peer-lead film sessions for the team, practice planning sessions, and learn more about game plan preparation and implementation. The experience will also connect the team with alumni.
Another intriguing experience will be The Politics of Water in the West that will take 10 students to Palm Springs, California, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Salton Sea. The group, led by John Ritter, professor of geology and director of the environmental science program, and Rob Baker, professor of political science, will be hiking in Joshua Tree, attending a Coachella Valley Firebirds hockey game, touring the Coachella Valley Water District, visiting agricultural farming entities, and exploring the Salton Sea.
Seventeen students will conduct service in Costa Rica for the week. Hosted by Stefne Broz, associate professor of communication and digital media, and Kristen Collier, associate director of the Hagen Center, the group will take a catamaran excursion, visit a moonlight market, and volunteer at Verdiazul, Abriendo Mentes, and Barbara’s Dog & Cat Rescue Center, among other activities.
Lastly, 10 students will be traveling to Austin, Texas, with Kevin Steidel, professor of practice in business and economics, for StartUp in Austin: The Entrepreneurship Experiential Learning Opportunity. The group will be touring the Capital Factory, attending a business pitch, spending a day with the University of Texas McCombs School of Business Entrepreneurship Department, meeting with alumni, and visiting the Austin Tech Entrepreneurs Coffee Hour.
For more information about FIRE Week, please visit www.wittenberg.edu/connections/fireweek