By Lam Ho
Brand new to Sewanee, the “Ask Not” Campaign was started by Caitlin-Jean Juricic (C’14) to promote community growth through gratitude projects, directive dialogues, and attitude awareness. By uniting a core group of student leaders in this club, Juricic intends to address the ways which students can give back to the University.
The “Ask Not” Campaign got its name from the famous John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address that poses the suggestion, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
The Campain was made to ask students and community members to meet each other halfway to create lasting relationships and impacts during their time here. It is a “campaign,” not a simple one-time or one-year project; but an extended, all-inclusive plan to revive thanksgiving on campus.
“Sewanee is an interconnected community between McClurg, Physical Plant Services, students, professors, and various organizations… [they] make Sewanee whole. We’re not perfect, but that gives us aspirations to better Sewanee,” Juric said.
So far, the club has given thank-you cards to the library staff for throwing a mid-term party with homemade baked goods and candy. This is only one step in the plan for bettering the community in terms of gratitude. In the next two weeks, honesty boxes will be placed in various places on campus for students and workers to contribute their opinions regarding campus operations. Hopefully, feedback will include both positive and constructive commentary that can improve relationships around Sewanee.
How can students “better” their world? Juricic’s projects include “A Day in Their Shoes,” “Spotting Sewanee Angels,” and teaming up with the Cornerstone Project/ReThink Task Force.
“A Day in Their Shoes” is an idea within the club to switch roles between students, faculty, and staff to create a wide understanding of each person’s function within the Sewanee system. With this plan, willing students can take on the responsibility of preparing meals in McClurg or cleaning dorms to understand the hard work put into the University’s everyday functions. As such, professors and staff will be given the option to step into students’ shoes: attending meetings and juggling assignments can be their responsibility for a day. By literally walking a day in the lives of others, members of the Sewanee community can grasp a deep understanding of their neighbors’ day-to-day joys and challenges.
“Who has to walk that extra step?” Juricic asks. “The perspective is often fragmented… students pay attention to their professors and their classes, but there are so many other people who make Sewanee run smoothly.”
The seecond project under speculation is the “Spotting Sewanee Angels.” Inspired by the project within McClurg that rewards small tokens to outstanding employees, the plan is to recognize individuals for their monumental contributions to the success of the University. While the details are still being outlined, the literal token idea will be adapted to accommodate the recognition of hard-workers from each part of campus.
Finally, the “Ask Not” Campaign will team up with the Cornerstone Project to create an overarching recognition event that toasts campus organizations and groups that have made a special impact in the 2013-14 school year. Functioning as a sort of community Block Party, the event will be open to the Sewanee community as a whole to commend the hard work of students, faculty, staff, and friends of the University.
Juricic has teamed up with a group of freshmen that includes Ena Aguilar, Nora Vinas, and Gabby Valentine. Advisor Callie Sadler has also been a great contributor to the ideas that the club is executing. Anyone is welcome to join and e-mail Juiric for details.