Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Zachary Nullmeyer on Sustainability and Positive Change

           After being in Denver for over 3 months, the only complaint I have is that it all went by too fast! It is going to be hard to go back to Iowa. The thrill of adventure is so enticing and I have loved doing something new and different this semester.
           One of the things which I have been thinking about since I have been here is a way to use my accounting/business degree to promote sustainability and to make positive change in my community. The class trips which we have taken have been good ways for me to get ideas and see how other people used their educations to contribute. One particularly thought-provoking trip for me was the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora.
           The first thing you would notice about the Stanley Marketplace is how different it is. The founders wanted to create something special. They took an old, abandoned airport, reused as much of the building as they could, and turned it into what they call an anti-mall. Stanley is a place for Colorado businesses only. No chains are allowed. The building is fascinating. Bits and pieces from the airport were reused, a reminder of the historic site which they took over. When you shop in the Stanley Marketplace, you can rest assured that you are buying local, quality products. You are giving back to the community. The Stanley Marketplace is a gift to citizens in the Greater Denver area.
           The tour guide, who was one of the founders, was so passionate about the project and his vision for sustainability. Not only was the marketplace a great business investment, but he could feel good in it too. I have always thought that one of the keys to happiness in life is to help others. Even though I doubt I will ever start a marketplace, the overall mission was so inspirational for me. The founders had found a way to use their backgrounds to make a difference.
           When I think about my own vocation, I am sometimes overwhelmed. The world can be so big, which is even more apparent when you live in a metropolis like Denver. Can one person like myself really make a difference? The Stanley Marketplace was one of the many trips in Denver that have really caused me to believe in my own vocation. This semester has been more than skiing, hiking, and eating tasty Denver food. I have developed a passion to do my part in creating a smarter, more sustainable world. When I go back to Wartburg, I am excited to bring that with me.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Maya Weatherall on New Growth and Fresh Perspectives

Before coming to Denver I was very nervous about a lot of little issues, like how am I going to afford food, where am I going to church, how will I get to my internship? So many questions and fears but very little answers. I didn’t think, coming to Denver, I was going to find my voice and be confident in my ideas. Taking RE 325 and ID 360 has really shown me what it is like believing in an issue and then going out into the community and talking with different individuals who are also passionate about the same thing.
I am not much of a person who is into talking about politics or religion in a group manner, but I have shared my own opinions at several events we went to, like Interfaith Alliance and going to the Aurora Area Strategy at a Lutheran church where I spoke with Lutheran pastors about how the church can play a vital role in the community. From all these experiences I have learned that there are things that I am very passionate about at Wartburg College, and I want to take what I have learned in the classroom and the community and make that same difference in Waverly.
From the classroom I have met so many people at my internship at Fourth Wall Productions who are passionate about the work they do for Colorado through video. Every day, I am happy to get up and get ready for my internship. I have grown mentally and emotionally by working with so many different personalities and physically by humbly learning more about video. Alongside, outside of the classroom I have had the opportunity of participating in a service trip and making a difference in little kids’ lives by tutoring them or helping a mother and her daughter clean their house and yard. I can go on and on about how many blessings I have received, but Wartburg West is not just a time to be in a new city, but to grow and learn more about yourself and the community that is around you. You start to realize that you can make your voice heard, that you can make a difference by meeting people, and that you do gain new perspectives at your internship. I love that I made the decision to come out to Denver for a semester. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Garrett Grimsman Discusses Handling Conflict

           The biggest conflict in my mind is definitely when the office has not prepared in the right way or has fallen behind in its preparation for the weekend when the games usually are. This is a huge source of conflict because when it comes to game day, everyone is scrambling to get tasks done. Alternatively, if the preparation is done, but not done thoroughly, then it makes for an awkward situation where things don’t run as smoothly or there are more issues that pop up that have to be dealt with. I have seen this conflict come up a couple times, but in the instances I saw it, it was a preparation problem, and more so a problem that was kind of unlucky. The first time I saw conflict on game day was the first weekend of softball and baseball at home, and the conflict was mainly just due to it being the first time that there were softball and baseball games for the year. Whenever you start a new season, things have to be refreshed to everyone. A lot of it had to do with making sure everyone was getting their particular job done right and refreshing everyone on how everything would work. Because there were some new individuals to this process, including both Abby and I, it definitely was a little shaky to begin with, and Abby was not really herself at the beginning of the day. I saw her get extremely stressed and a little upset about how things were running to begin the day, and John basically had to calm her down and help her understand that everything would end up working out all right. At the same time, there was not a whole lot he could do to help her out because he had his own responsibilities. At the end of the day, everything ended up turning out just fine, and I think that was due to the leadership that is present within the administration, especially John himself. There is a lot of experience within the administration that helps take over in these situations and brings calmness to the various issues and problems that come up. You have to have this leadership though in athletics to have successful programs because there are always problems and issues that arise from day to day. Often times, these issues are out of the control of those in charge of the tasks and operations.
           Another instance of conflict that I saw on a game day was for a men’s/women’ basketball doubleheader. The conflict arose because the individuals in charge of the stats book and running the clock for the game both got stuck in traffic on the way to the game, and were going to be late. Just as I explained above, this is a major problem that is out of the control of the individuals in charge of making sure game days run smoothly. John was on it right away, and showed great communication skills to get everyone in the right places necessary to get the jobs done right. He had to make a few changes to make it all work until the individuals got to the gym. Once again, he showed an extreme calmness because I am sure he has been in situations plenty of times before that are similar to this; it’s probably almost second nature to him at this point in how he handles things. Just the way he carries himself in such a professional manner during these situations where it would be so easy to just get upset and start blaming others is incredible and has honestly taught me quite a bit about myself. It really has showed me how in times of stress I am not nearly as professional and calm as John is, and I don’t handle these types of situations in the best manner all the time. That doesn’t mean at all that I struggle in stressful situations because I actually think I do pretty well for the most part in situations of conflict, but I definitely don’t handle them the best all the time. I just struggle to communicate in an appropriate manner, as a lot of times I will raise my voice at other individuals and really get into them because I feel like I am doing my job, but they aren’t. That isn’t the right attitude for me to have at all, especially as someone who strives to be someone who positively impacts others through great leadership. So this has definitely helped me see in person what really good leadership looks like and how to act as a great leader in tough situations that can be extremely conflicting at times. Game days are extremely important in showing this manner of professionalism because they are public events and you want to carry yourself in a manner that represents the program in the right way. That means all the way down to me, and I feel like this administration does that extremely well in the way they present themselves in public as people that are extremely approachable people that enjoy conversation with the fans of the athletics program. I just feel like I always see them having conversations and building relationships with students, faculty, and members of the public that are all fans of the program. This is an extremely important part of building a successful program because this is how you get donations and fundraisers started that help to fund the growth of the program so it doesn’t just flat line, but instead continues to improve and rise in the amount of success that it’s having.
           Finally, although I mentioned a couple of conflicts on game days, within the office the days are much more stressful because that is when all the preparation happens. In order to have successful game days, there is so much work done each week. So in the office you see much more frustration between the administration at times, as well as especially with people outside the organization that are partners or that play a role in the program’s success.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Garrett Grimsman on Exploring and Interacting in the City

           My post has to do with my walk to my internship everyday and how much I walk in the city in general. I walk down Colfax everyday about 40 minutes to my internship. Simply observing and exploring the area is an experience in itself; walking around the city and doing as much walking as possible is the best way to get an understanding of the city life, as well as experiencing all that Denver has to offer. There have been plenty of times that we have been told that many individuals really do not enjoy walking on Colfax and around areas where there is a large homeless population. However, I do not mind it at all, and actually enjoy interacting with the people in this area regardless of who they are. I am able to learn a lot more from talking and being in the same space as individuals that are very different from me even when some of the situations can be a little awkward to begin with. It also helps that I care about the issues surrounding the problems with homelessness; it gives me a chance to learn from and actually see what is going in these parts of the city.
           Not only is it interesting to interact with these individuals on my own, but it is also remarkable to see how they interact with one another. I saw individuals that did not look too well off, from my perspective, playing/rolling dice and betting money on the games. This was probably the most interesting thing that I observed on my way to and back from work. It was interesting to see that they feel the only way to get back on their feet is to get lucky and win money some way from playing a game or from taking big risks to be able to make enough money to get going down the right direction. I do not feel like they are confident to try to make this move in a slow and steady way. Likely, they probably feel like they do not have the time to be able to get back on their feet. Perhaps doing it the slow and steady way makes them feel that they are falling into an even bigger hole then they are already in.
           Not only is it much more of an experience interacting with these people, but through walking, it is much easier to figure out all the places within the city that are a must-visit. It also helps that our apartment building is in such a great location where it is easy to get to practically every part of the Denver and surrounding area. Because Denver is so nice in the winter, it is a perfect time to be out here to be able to see all that I want to see without even having to drive anywhere. I have had such a great experience so far because of how much I have taken advantage of the different things to do, and how much I enjoy trying new things and taking on new challenges that are much different from what I am used to. So far, Denver has been everything I could have imagined and more. It has allowed me to experience so many new things that I have never had a chance to experience before. Denver is definitely a place I could see myself living after school and far into my future. I am enjoying it so far and plan to keep enjoying it and keep learning more and more about this wonderful city.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Taylor Evans: From a Small Hospital to a Level 1 Trauma Center

            The population size of Waverly, IA is about 10,000. This is where I had been living and volunteering for the past three and a half years. I signed up to work in the Emergency Department of the Waverly hospital so I could begin to learn the ropes of real patient care. I often sat at the nurses’ station waiting for a call that would send the paramedics on their way to bring back a patient in need of help. During the majority of my shifts, I did not see that happen. Oftentimes, instead, someone would walk in with an injury or complaining of pain and they would be admitted and taken care of. I found the atmosphere to be fairly relaxed. Not in a bad sense, there just were not normally very urgent injuries. Typically, there were not a lot of patients at once, and injuries or concerns could be easily diagnosed and treated. I enjoyed working at Waverly Health and I am very grateful for the things that I learned there. Before moving to Denver, I thought I had a great feel for what an emergency department looked like. Boy, was I wrong.
            The population size of Denver, CO is about 650,000. To say this is larger than Waverly would be an understatement. This is where I am now living and volunteering, spending much of my time at Denver Health, specifically within the Emergency Department. Volunteering here showed me that I knew next to nothing about working in a hospital. Denver Health is the Rocky Mountain Regional Level 1 Trauma Center, meaning they receive patients from all over the region to give them the best care. This was quite a change from the small hospital of Waverly, IA where I came from.
            Things at Denver Health are urgent, fast-paced, and demanding, just as the patients and the injuries they sustain require. Half the time, I think I am more in the way than of any help to doctors and nurses who are constantly taking care of their normally full Emergency area. They are often receiving calls as well as walk-in patients that they sort through to work to get each patient taken care of. I have seen things here at Denver Health that I would not have experienced anywhere else, and I have already learned an incredible amount along the way. I have been able to see broken femurs splinted, manic episodes resolved, lacerations stitched, a trauma thoracotomy, and that was only in the past two weeks!
            I have learned so much at Denver Health, and continue to learn more every day. I have even found that carrying sticky notes and notepads in my pockets is beneficial because more often than not, information comes at me way too fast and I can’t keep up! It definitely helps to write things down and ask questions later. Slowly, I am learning the jargon, the thought processes, and the protocol that comes with working in such a large and experienced hospital. Luckily, I have two more months so I can continue to learn and work on my own medical education. I get excited to work at Denver Health every day, and I look forward to (hopefully) making my way back here and becoming an employee of the hospital that I have grown to love.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Joe Chamberlain on Denver: Weather, Parking, and Transportation

Students take part in Wartburg West for many reasons. One reason I came out to Denver was to get the experience of living in an urban environment. I want this experience because I do not know where I want to live when I graduate from Wartburg. I have lived in the Midwest my whole life in a rural environment, so living in a city for a period of time should give me insight on potential places I want to live post-Wartburg. Here are a few differences I have noticed in my short time here.

Compared to a Midwest winter, Denver is much milder. In the Midwest everyone cringes when they hear the words, “wind chill.” This is much less common here. From the short time I have been here, there has only been one time when I heard those words. From what I understand by talking to people that live here is that this is a rare occurrence. The snow in the Midwest does not come and go as it does in Denver. One day there could be 5 inches of snow on the ground, and the next day it could be 50 plus degrees out. When it snows in the Midwest, it stays for much longer than here in Denver, making the winter much tougher. However, this is completely different from the mountains, which people who are from here seem to obsess. Recently, it has been snowing so much in the mountains that they have had to close resorts!

Driving in the city is completely different from driving in rural areas of the Midwest. Compared to Denver there is no such thing as rush hour in Waverly or any small town in the Midwest. My internship is outside the city, so I am lucky enough to be driving out of the city when everyone is trying to get in, and driving back in the city when everyone is trying to leave. This is nice because I do not have to worry about traffic as much as others do. One nice adjustment to living in the city is you do not have to drive everywhere. The majority of things here are in walking distance. If you do not want to drive a car because of parking issues, you do not have to do so.

Parking in an urban environment can be a nightmare, especially if you fear that your car may get towed. It takes some luck and a little creativity to get yourself one of the tiny spots to parallel park your car into. I will be a pro at parallel parking by the end of this term. This was never really a problem in the Midwest. There seems to always be a good option, and I did not have to fear that my car might get towed. However, in Denver all day parking is hard to come by for free. Otherwise, you can park in places that allow overnight parking but limited day parking. I try to avoid those so I do not have to wake up and move my car. That is why, like stated earlier, I try to walk to places as much as possible. One thing that makes that easier is RTD, which is the bus system in Denver that is fairly easy to use and allows people to get places without having to drive and losing there all day parking spot.

These are just a few of the things that have taken some adjusting to moving here from the Midwest this semester. They all have their pros and cons. I can see why people would want to live in the Midwest rural areas and why people would want to live out West in an urban environment like Denver. I am excited to see what else I may encounter having to live in Denver, which will help me decide where I want to live post-Wartburg. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Elizabeth Crow on Life in the Big City

                I have always wanted to visit Colorado and for some time have been pondering the idea of living in the state after I graduate. When I first heard about Wartburg West I thought it was the perfect opportunity to not only visit but actually experience what it is like living in Colorado.  As I continued to learn more about the program I became curious about what it would be like to live in a big city like Denver. I obviously knew that the large city would be very different from the mostly rural areas in Iowa that I previously lived in, but I didn’t know how different. Upon arriving to Denver the first difference I noticed right away was the weather. I remember walking outside and it was sunny and 60 degrees. Back in Iowa if you walk outside in January the majority of the time it is going to be cold and gloomy.  I thought right away that I could I definitely get used to the milder winters here in Colorado.
                After living in Denver for four weeks, I have grown an appreciation for how close I am to everything. This is definitely not the case where I am originally from. It is nice to be able to walk to almost any location I need. Grocery stores are located only blocks away and I am able to walk down Colfax to the 16th Street mall and have a ton of restaurant and shopping options. I didn’t even need to drive to my internship because it was only a ten minute walk away. In rural areas everything is so spread out and you have to drive everywhere you go. Another appreciation of urban living I have is its pace.  The city life is fast and people are always on the go. Back home I felt like there was more down time that I wasn’t being productive with and that’s why I enjoy the pace because it is always keeping me busy and engaged.
                So far, my experience in Colorado has been a good one. Colorado’s culture is one that I could see myself being a part of. This program definitely won’t be the last time I’m out here.  As for urban life, after living in Denver for a bit, I am realizing that I truly enjoy it.  I am excited to continue to grow and learn out here in the city.