Smart Step Youth Association
Nicholas Kang '12, President of OASIS, founded the Smart Step Youth Association in Meritt, Canada over the Summer of 2009 to break down negative youth stereotypes in the community. Smart Step established a peer-mentoring environment for youth (ages 12-19) to educate each other through civic engagement and experiential learning. Smart Step prides itself on maintaining a sustainable, zero-dollar budget, fueled by community donations. Nicholas and Daniel Novak '11 recently received a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace Grant to reach out to the community's First Nation's youth through their Li-K'Ei Project.
No Child Left Unsupplied
OASIS members Anne Brooker '13, Jennifer Nielson '13, and Gabriel Rysdahl '11 founded No Child Left Unsupplied (NCLU) in the Spring of 2011. With the help of a Social Innovation Grant from St. Olaf and a Youth Ventures Grant from Thrivent Financial and Ashoka, the NCLU team started a school-supplies redistribution program. They work with Junior and High School students, and community members, to collect unused school supplies, and then bring the supplies to the local foodshelf for anyone who may need them. NCLU strives to equip students to beign the school year with adequate supplies.
Jon Chang '11 started the Gender, Equality And Responsibility (GEAR) Network opens dialogue about negative manifestations of masculinity--such as forms of aggression and sexual assault. Through education, GEAR Network hopes to alleviate the degrading effects negative masculinity imposes in the Northfield community.
St. Dominicic Elementary School Organic Garden
Anne Daily '12 created an organic school garden at St. Dominic Elementary School. The goal of the project is to implement a multi-study curriculum for the schools K-8 program that uses the garden as a resource, involving students in the entire process of creating the garden, integrating the produce into the school lunch program, and also working with the Food and Nutrition Service Learning Collaborative Grant. Additional Information here.
The Green Bike Program recycles used and discarded bikes for use by students living on campus. The goal of the program is to cut down on unnecessary car use for short trips across college grounds and into Northfield. The idea for the program was developed in 2004, and has become an established venture over the past few years. The founder of the organization, Daniel Novak '11, worked with an OASIS committee to develop a check-out system at the library, expand the number of bikes available to students. Daniel and the OASIS committee presented their project at the Clinton Global Initiative University in Miami in 2010.
All students are welcome to work on bikes with the team on Saturday afternoons from 1-4pm in the Green Bike Garage (basement of Ytterboe)!
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Speakers and Events
Entrepreneurship Weeks (Every November and April)
Entrepreneurship Week (E-Week) is an bi-annual event hosted by OASIS. We bring social entrepreneurs onto campus to speak to students. In past years OASIS has hosted: Todd Churchill, founder of 1000 Hills Cattle Company, Subhash Ghimire '10 founder of Sarswati Foundation in Nepal, Margie Sborov founder of Angel Foundation, and Geralyn Sheehan of Opportunity International, an assest-based community development program which provides micro-loans to entrepreneurs in over 20 countries.
Listen to the 2011 E-Week Chapel Talk by Adam Koening '11, Gabriel Rysdahl '11, and Anne Brooker '13.
Response to Haiti Earthquake
After the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, OASIS decided to organize a panel and a benefit concert for Haiti under the guidance of Paul Miller, a Northfield community member who recently founded The Haiti Justice Alliance of Northfield. The panel, called Haiti 101, was held at St. Olaf and included Ruben Joanem, a Haitian-American who teaches French a the University of Minnesota; Daniel Jean Mary, a student at Inver Hills College who is from Port-au-Prince; Paul Miller of Northfield who has been involved in Haiti since 1996, and has actively worked for just US policies towards Haiti.
The benefit concert, called Singing for Haiti/Chante Pou Ayiti, included Northfield, St. Olaf and Carleton bands. The main event was a show by the Brothers Frantzich who founded a nonprofit called Feed them with Music. OASIS hosted a dinner at St. Olaf with the Frantzich brothers a couple days before the concert to discuss how they started their nonprofit. All of the procedes from the concert, amounting to around $4,000, went to the What If? Foundation, Partners in Health, and Feed My Starving Children. We thank everyone who was able to give during this extremely difficult time for Haiti. Read more about the concert.
Keeping Hope Alive in the Parish of the Poor
In November 2010, we joined forces with various St. Olaf, Carleton and Northfield groups to bring Margaret Trost to campus. Margaret Trost is the founder of the What If? Foundation which funds a feeding program in Haiti. Margaret spoke about her book On That Day Everybody Ate, which documents her experience visiting Haiti and founding What If? Foundation. At a luncheon hosted by OASIS, Margaret emphasized the importance of Haitian community members running the program in order to make her project sustainable. Hear her Chapel Talk here!
Addressing Poverty through Sustainable Agriculture
OASIS brought in Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin to speak about his Agripreneur Training Center. Regi, who originally hails from Gautemala, has long been a social entrepreneur. Among many other ventures, he founded the Fair Trade Federation and created Peace Coffee. He is now the director of the Rural Enterprise Center in Northfield.
Regi's current project, the Agripreneur Training Center, will help low-income people, primarily Latino immigrants, develop critical business and farming skills so they can eventually start their own sustainable farm. According to Regi, this project puts a plug in the black hole of poverty becuase people are given more than what money or food hand-outs can provide. They are given the opportunity to make a living, grow food for themselves, have a higher quality of life, and create stronger communities. OASIS also brought groups of students out to tour Regi's farm.