Updates On Our Public Allies Fellows 2015 Team Service Projects

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Like all organizations our size and scope, we rely on many different types of professionals to help carry out our mission. Instructional specialists deliver the curriculum, while administrative leaders, support staff and those working in any number of operational positions handle everything from facilities and human resources, to admissions and strategic planning.

And since we’re also a professional development organization, we have staff dedicated to working with educators from around the country who wish to study how to re-engage, retain and graduate students. All told, there are 40 full- and part-time employees working here, plus an additional 12 Public Allies Fellows.

Those Public Allies’ serve in full-time apprenticeship positions at nonprofit organizations across the United States — including Eagle Rock — where they create, improve and expand upon services that address youth development, education, public health, economic development and the environment.

In addition to participating in academic and community building activities, Fellows also contribute to Team Service Projects, with several such projects coming to a close this August. What we offer below are updates on five such projects conducted by our own Public Allies Fellows:

Project Title: Courageous Conversations
Run by: Matt Liston, World Language Fellow


The goal of Matt’s project was to build a stronger Eagle Rock community through conversation and listening. He conducted a number of interviews with Eagle Rock community members, asking them questions about their experiences with race and their awareness of race. The interviews were recorded, and Matt led two different community gatherings in which he presented the edited videos, followed by small group discussions in response.

He is currently organizing his resources and the steps he took to share these Courageous Conversations, so that others can duplicate the project in the future — potentially with a variety of topics. During the last Fellows Learning Seminar (FLS), Matt organized a protocol to receive feedback from other fellows. He has also solicited the help and advice of full-time staff and leadership team members.

By Explore Week, Matt hopes to have a final resource document available, and a plan for a successor to take on this project in the future, making it an ongoing tradition at Eagle Rock.

Project Title: Spiritual Development
Run by: Courtney Lancaster, Service Learning Fellow and Molly Milota, Life After Eagle Rock Fellow


The purpose of this project was to make spiritual development more accessible and central to the experiences of Eagle Rock students and staff. Courtney and Molly are creating a central location for all things spiritually developing via a Spiritual Development site on the intranet. They have also worked to map out existing sacred spaces on campus and research church services in the area.

Finally, they plan to finish building the straw hut behind the garden to add to the sacred spaces available for students. Molly will conduct a session at our next Fellows Learning Seminar (FLS) to solicit feedback on their project, which will help them to determine their final steps to complete this project.

Project Title: Platform for Artistic Expression — Eagle Rock School Create
Run by: Andrew Walker, Music Fellow and Aaron Guggenheim, Literacy and Literature Fellow


In designing their project, Andrew and Aaron wanted to create a space and structure that would encourage literacy and engagement among Eagle Rock students, while increasing alumni and former staff engagement with Eagle Rock School, promoting opportunities for mentorship.

There’s been a long tradition of students at Eagle Rock using creative projects to dig deeper into who they are and what’s going on around them. Andrew and Aaron believed that lots of these projects tell deeply personal — and relatable — stories about important issues, and they deserve an audience. By establishing a platform for artistic performance and presentation and a Facebook page called ERS Create, they strived to share the best of our students with an audience invested in their success. The two Fellows are currently planning a gathering to introduce their project to the community, and they are writing a letter to former alumni to invite them to use the page.

Project Title: Campus Trail System Mapping
Run by: Jack Hilbrich, Outdoor Education Fellow, Dayna Safferstein, Visual Arts Fellow, and Niko Viglione, Human Performance Center Fellow


Among the goals of this project were to create easily accessible and easy-to-follow trails on campus by further developing existing trails and creating new trails. In addition, the project sought to create an accurate map of the trail system on campus.

The group started off with a grandiose idea of geo-caches, classes and trail work. They have since simplified their goals, and want to focus more on delivering a product that meets the needs of students, staff and visitors that want to explore the areas around campus. They hope to effectively and accurately share the locations, distances, views and elevation gain and loss of hikes on campus, to allow them to be more accessible.

Additional components of the project include student involvement with signage displayed at the trailhead, which includes moving it to a more accessible location. The majority of the project will be complete by Explore Week, with a few final tasks completed by Jack once he returns from wilderness.

Project Title: Enriching Eagle Rock Fellowship through Diversity
Run by: Kelsey Baun, Professional Development Center Fellow and Allison McManis, Societies and Culture Fellow


The project is working to design and incorporate more cultural competency trainings into staff development. With feedback from current staff, Kelsey and Allison are preparing resources and suggested topics to implement into next year’s fellow trainings.

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