Bonner Scholars Plan, Lead Reflection Meeting

Posted on: Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
by Brent Treash

Every semester Bonner Scholar students each serve 140 hours in the communities surrounding the Emory & Henry campus. Additionally, Bonner Scholars meet once a week to participate in reflection, giving the students opportunities to make connections between and among their academics, service, and personal experiences.

This year, two students from each Bonner Scholar class were selected to plan and lead reflection meetings. Below, two students share their experience planning and facilitating a Bonner reflection meeting on the topic of drug dealing as a means of economic development in financially poor communities.

By Sophilia Hubbard
Class of 2013

Joanna Golde and I became Bonner Reflection leaders in the fall of 2012. We were excited to plan fun, interactive, and relevant reflection meetings. For the first All Bonner issue meeting, we decided the topic of discussion would be Drug Use Across America. We thought this was relevant to a college student’s identity-- particularly a Bonner Scholar’s identity. We wanted students to answer questions like “Where are you from? What is your community like? What types of issues do you deal with on a regular basis in your communities?

Additionally, Joanna and I are music lovers. We thought music might make the topic of drug use more meaningful and relevant. We chose “Methamphetamine” by Old Crow Medicine Show to show drug use in rural areas, and the song by Tupac Shakur “Changes” or more commonly known as “The Way It Is” to explain drug use in a more urban place.

By Joanna Golde
Class of 2013

Sophilia Hubbard and I met with Bonner Scholars Coordinator Shannon Hoffman to discuss our plans for the Bonner Issue meeting.

We all decided that we wanted this discussion to break down the barrier of Bonners’ experiences based on place. A great many of the Bonners are from rural areas, specifically nearby in Southwest Virginia. However, we also have many Bonners from larger cities. We hoped this discussion would get everyone talking and sharing their personal experiences from urban and rural places.

That is how we decided on our song choices. While “Methamphetamine” had specific connotations to the towns in rural Appalachia, and even mentions towns nearby throughout the song, “Changes” made mention of urban areas and focused on issues specific to the city life. In order to bring the conversation full circle with discussions of both songs, we made a list of questions which we hoped would help students explore their assumptions, judgments, and biases of particular areas. After listening to both songs, we had a lengthy group discussion on the differences between the two songs and the two specific areas, and then we discussed the commonalities of the issues in each song.

As a group, we came to a conclusion that as different as both urban and rural areas are from one another, issues of drug use and reasons why drugs are sold are dilemmas that people from all regions can share. After the discussion, we asked one last question of how our society could come together to improve these issues, and although there was not one definite answer, the discussion has led our Bonner group to the belief that if people like us work to make connections between and among seemingly different regions, we can all work as a collective unit to help prevent drug abuse, gang violence, and other issues prevalent in our societies and communities.

The following are lyrics taken from the songs used in the discussion.

Don't need no Ph.D for a hundred dollar card Just find a crooked cop and that doctor disregard' Cause when it's either the mine or the Kentucky National Guard I'd rather sell him a line than to be dying in the coal yard
Now papa he ain't hungry no more He's waiting for a knock on the trailer door
It's gonna rock you like a hurricane It's gonna rock you till you lose sleep It's gonna rock you till you're out of a job It's gonna rock you till you're out on the street
It's gonna rock you till you're down on your knees It's gonna have you begging pretty please It's gonna rock you like a hurricane Methamphetamine
~ Excerpt from “Methamphetamine” by Old Crow Medicine Show

Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares? One less hungry mouth on the welfare.
First ship 'em dope & let 'em deal to brothers.
Give 'em guns, step back, and watch 'em kill each other.
"It's time to fight back", that's what Huey said.
2 shots in the dark now Huey's dead.
I got love for my brother, but we can never go nowhere
unless we share with each other. We gotta start makin' changes.
Learn to see me as a brother 'stead of 2 distant strangers.
~ Excerpt from “Changes” by Tupac