O’Bannon Institute Pushes Political Participation, Community Service

Herald-Times Editorial Staff  | Apr 27, 2017

BLOOMINGTON – The O’Bannon Institute of Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington continues to be a highlight of the community’s academic calendar.

This is the 14th year of the event, which focuses on political participation and community service.

Tonight’s sold-out fund-raising event has scored another in a long line of relevant speakers with presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jon Meacham. He’s well suited to offer insights into the most recent presidential cycle, which ended with the election of Donald Trump as president.

On Friday, focus will switch to helping the community through the Day of Service. Chancellor Jennie Vaughan has invited the entire community to help meet a goal of providing 1,000 hours of community service at local nonprofits. At last report, there were more than 100 volunteer slots remaining for a wide range of projects in Bloomington, Ellettsville and Bedford.

For an update on projects that still need volunteers, go to ivytech.edu/obannon and click on Day of Service.

Former Indiana First Lady Judy O’Bannon will again speak at the event, which is named for her late husband, former Gov. Frank O’Bannon. Plaques handed out at previous O’Bannon Institutes featured this quote from the governor’s inaugural address: “Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as I can before turning it over to future generations.”

That sentiment exemplifies the goals of political participation and community service, and fits very nicely with the value of this annual event.


Meacham: Empathy Among Traits Needed for Leaders

By Michael Reschke 812-331-4370 | mreschke@heraldt.com | April 28, 2017

BLOOMINGTON – Jon Meacham, one of America’s most prominent public intellectuals, headlined Ivy Tech Bloomington’s 14th annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service fundraising dinner on Thursday, April 27. The fundraising dinner took place on Ivy Tech’s main campus with proceeds benefiting the Ivy Tech Center for Civic Engagement.

Despite deep divisions in this country, Jon Meacham is optimistic about the future. But his optimism comes with a caveat.

“That optimism requires that we practice and we insist on certain temperamental characteristics in those who lead us and in ourselves,” he said.

Meacham, a presidential historian who won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Andrew Jackson, was the keynote speaker for the 14th annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service fundraising dinner Thursday night at Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus.

The O’Bannon Institute consists of three days of activities focused on community service and civic engagement. It’s named after the late Indiana Gov. Frank O’Bannon for his role in creating the state’s community college system and his commitment to community service. The dinner is Ivy Tech-Bloomington’s signature fundraiser.

Meacham drew on his knowledge of past presidents to illustrate the importance of curiosity, candor, humility and empathy.

He explained that the American Revolution was an experiment in self-governance at a time when the world was shifting from a vertical organization, with kings and princes lording it over others, to a horizontal one where people started to believe everyone is born with certain divine rights.

“The only reason we were able to begin that experiment, which continues unto this hour, is because of the curiosity, the hunger for knowledge, the addiction to books and book buying of the founding fathers,” Meacham said.

He explained that while Winston Churchill is highly regarded today, that wasn’t always the case. In 1942, Singapore fell, Adolf Hitler was on the march, the U.S. was still reeling from the attack on Pearl Harbor and the British House of Commons called for a vote of confidence in its prime minister. Churchill gave a 10,000-word response detailing what he had done up to that point, and then said the British people can face any misfortune with fortitude and buoyancy as long as they are convinced that those who are in charge of their affairs are not deceiving them or are not themselves dwelling in a fool’s paradise.

“In other words, if the people at the top give it to us straight, we’ll do what it takes,” Meacham said.

After botching the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, John F. Kennedy swallowed his pride and asked Dwight Eisenhower for advice. The 34th president asked his successor if he had a meeting where everyone involved in the decision sat in the same room, with the same evidence, and defended their positions in front of each other so he could hear what was sound and what was not. Kennedy had come into office thinking that kind of meeting was old-fashioned and too slow, but he didn’t forget the advice, Meacham said.

In October 1962, Kennedy received photographic evidence the Soviet Union had deployed nuclear weapons into Cuba. Remembering what Eisenhower said, Kennedy convened the executive committee of the National Security Council, which ultimately led to an agreement between the two superpowers instead of a nuclear conflict that would have killed millions.

“Eisenhower was only able to give that advice because Kennedy had had the humility and the courage to ask for it,” Meacham said. “If only that were a more common characteristic for all of us.”

Years before that pivotal moment, George H.W. Bush was the reigning obstacle course champion at his school. On his way through the course his eighth-grade year, he found a fellow student stuck in a barrel. Bush helped him out and the two finished the race together.

“There’s a direct line between that personal characteristic, that sense of empathy, and the shape of our world,” Meacham said.

In 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell, there were calls for Bush to fly to Berlin and declare a great victory against Communism. He wouldn’t do it.

“He was thinking about a guy stuck in a barrel, and that’s (then-Soviet Union leader) Mikhail Gorbachev,” Meacham said. “Mikhail Gorbachev had an enormous problem on his right wing.”

To have an American president spiking the ball in Berlin was going to radicalize Soviet hardliners. Bush knew he had to give Gorbachev room to breathe, so he took the criticism and ultimately saw the Cold War end in 1991.

Meacham told the crowd of 370 people at Thursday’s dinner that while the aforementioned characteristics are important for the leaders of a country, they’re just as important for its citizenry.

“We talk a lot about leadership in this country, but the nature of a republic is that we are only as good as all of us,” he said.

Ivy Tech to host Express Enrollment Day next Wednesday

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College spring classes begin January 16 and Express Enrollment Day will be held on Wednesday, November 8 from 11a.m. to 6p.m. Express Enrollment Day will be held at Ivy Tech locations in Bedford, Bloomington, French Lick, and Martinsville.

During Express Enrollment, students can apply, enroll, and get questions answered all in one stop. Financial aid information will be available. Admissions staff will guide students and answer general questions about the enrollment process. Accuplacer assessments will be available and students who will need to take the assessment must arrive before 4p.m. To learn more visit http://www.ivytech.edu/assessment/.

Ivy Tech’s Bedford location is at the StoneGate Arts and Education Center, 405 I Street. The French Lick location is at the Orange County Learning Center at Springs Valley, 479 Larry Bird Boulevard. In Martinsville, Ivy Tech staff will be available to assist at The Main Connection, 460 Main St.

For more information, students can visit Ivy Tech Bloomington at 200 Daniels Way, call (812) 330-6013 or email bl-info@ivytech.edu. Regular hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ivy Tech book launch to benefit youth in Centerstone program

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech is hosting a book launch and reading of Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volume 2 to benefit teens in Centerstone’s Stepping Stones program who are experiencing homelessness. Each book sold provides one bus pass for one teen in the program, to help with transportation to school or work. The event will be held Thursday, November 9, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ivy Tech Waldron, located at 122 S. Walnut St.

Bobo Books is a project of Ivy Tech English professor, Emily Bobo, Ph.D. Volume 1 was published in July 2016. Both volumes involved collaboration between Ivy Tech students and the community to benefit a local organization.

For Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volume 2, student poets in Ivy Tech’s ENGL 214 class taught people in their communities to write poems in response to art. Students then selected poems to feature in the volume, and the poems were edited by Dr. Bobo. In addition, some students in the IU INSPIRE living-learning center contributed poems to the volume. The volume features photography by Charity Heggestad at The Joy of Film.

A previous Bobo Books project, Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volume 1, benefitted the Monroe County Community School Corporation’s Reduced Lunch Program. To-date, volume 1 has raised enough to provide 1,500 free lunches for children in the program.

Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volume 2 can be purchased at the event or at Amazon.com for $14 each.

Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volume 2 is a collaborative project between Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington, Stepping Stones, a program of Centerstone, The Joy of Film, and Hemlock House Press.

Book launch reservations are requested. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP online at https://donorlynk.com/centerstone/bobo-books/.

About Stepping Stones
Stepping Stones is a non-profit organization located in Monroe County that serves youth ages 16 to 20 years old who are experiencing homelessness. Stepping Stones provides transitional housing in a safe environment and supportive services that aid in the care of present needs, but also in preparation for the future. The program is designed to provide youth with the skills necessary to become self-sustaining, successful adults.


Entrepreneurship student accepted to B-Start program


BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech student Jack Dreesen was accepted into the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) B-Start program, which aims to coach early-stage startup businesses in Bloomington. B-Start accepted 11 Bloomington startups and the 22-week program began on Wednesday, October 18. The program matches each participant with a mentor and provides guidance in developing their business, culminating in a final business pitch competition for cash prizes in March 2018.

Dreesen’s business idea is “Elephants on Mars,” a venue for people to experience immersive virtual reality (VR) and also allow developers a space to create new technology. He explained that the name is designed to evoke curiosity.

“VR technology is projected to grow 10 times in the next five years in the industry as a whole,” said Dreesen. “If that’s where the growth potential is, why can’t it happen in a place like Bloomington? I’m not exactly reinventing the wheel with this new thing, but I just need to figure out a way to bring it to Bloomington.”

Dreesen said he first experienced VR at an event at the Monroe County Public Library.

“The first time I went, I tried a carnival game and time just slowed down,” he said. “VR is like being in a dream and watching somebody in that dream. I was also surprised at the level of interest among all ages. People have limited time slots so they can only be in for 10 minutes, but they come out wide-eyed and want to do more.”

The experience made Dreesen want to share it with everyone and he began thinking of ways to turn his idea into a business.

Spring Semester 2017, Dreesen presented his idea in Ivy Tech’s Duke It Out business pitch competition, sponsored by Duke Energy.

“I wouldn’t have known about B-Start if it wasn’t for Duke It Out,” he said. “The Duke It Out competition was how I got into entrepreneurship. It’s a contest but they help you grow. That’s how I met people from the SBDC and Ivy Tech’s Cook Center for Entrepreneurship who told me, ‘If you really want to do this, you should sign up for the entrepreneurship program.’”

Dreesen is now pursuing his technical certificate in entrepreneurship and is looking forward to the B-Start program to supplement his studies.

“The biggest thing I’m looking for with B-Start is how to get seed capital, and also learning about commercial real estate,” said Dreesen. “One of my classes next semester will be about commercial real estate. I’m also trying to find partnerships and looking for help with my business plan.”

Dreesen did not always know what he wanted to study, but Ivy Tech gave him enough opportunities to find out.

“After high school I went to Ball State because I wanted to be a filmmaker and studied telecommunications,” he said, “I moved back to Bloomington, then bartended in Austin, Texas for five years, then moved back to Bloomington again due to a family illness. During that time, I began to figure out who I was and Ivy Tech was part of that exploration.”

Dreesen soon became an editor of Ivy Tech’s student literary magazine, took informatics classes, and was actively involved in student life.

“Ivy Tech has all these amazing opportunities and the only thing you have to do is try,” he said. “I really make an effort to get involved and think of myself as worthy of whatever good thing can come. I’ve embraced being a student again.”

Dreesen’s B-Start pitch video can be viewed online at https://youtu.be/JZZ8MfIKV5c.

Ivy Tech Bloomington’s entrepreneurship program continues to grow in enrollment, with 56 students currently enrolled, a 10 percent increase from last year. Statewide, 218 students are enrolled, a 5 percent increase from last year.

Ivy Tech Bloomington’s campus hosts the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship, which provides practical tools to help entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. More information can be found online at ivytech.edu/entrepreneurship.

Ivy Tech to host Human Library Project, challenge stereotypes

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus is hosting the second annual Human Library Project on Tuesday, November 7 and the public is invited to participate. Ivy Tech’s Human Library Project will feature individuals acting as “books” that readers/ attendees can “check out” to learn more about them as individuals, to challenge stereotypes and prejudices. The event will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Ivy Tech Community College, Shreve Hall, located at 200 Daniels Way on the west side of Bloomington.

The 17 individuals participating as books have written their own book titles, which will be on display for readers to select. Examples of self-titled books that will be available include, “Mormon,” “Law Enforcement,” “Drag Queen,” “Atheist,” “Transgender Woman,” and others.

The Human Library Project was initiated by Ivy Tech Bloomington’s diversity committee. The committee was awarded the 2016 Nancy Howard Diversity Award by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce for creating a diverse campus experience through events like the Human Library Project.

Brad Thurmond, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology, says the event was organized primarily to benefit Ivy Tech students. “The Human Library Project is a great opportunity for students to spend time with a person who has a unique experience to share with our community,” said Dr. Thurmond. “It provides a chance for connection as well as a bridge to build empathy and understanding with one another.”

The Human Library Project is a worldwide movement, intended to challenge stereotypes and promote understanding through civil and open dialogue. Background information about the Human Library Project can be found online at http://humanlibrary.org/.

Questions about Ivy Tech’s Human Library Project be directed to Dr. Thurmond at (812) 330-6816 or bthurmond@ivytech.edu.


Ivy Tech’s 2017 Community Arts Awards winners announced

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus will host the 2017 Community Arts Awards on Friday, November 10 to honor local arts advocates, educators, and businesses. The event will be held 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, located at 122 S. Walnut St., and tickets can be purchased at the BCT box office.

Categories and recipients of Community Arts Awards are as follows: Arts Advocate, Audrey Heller; Arts in Business, The Vault at Gallery Mortgage; Arts in Education, Diane Davis-Deckard; Regional Arts Service, Kathy Thompson; and Special Citation/Lifetime Achievement, Peter Jacobi.

Winners were juried by an independent community group, including artists, administrators, and long-time residents and supporters of the arts.

Audrey Heller (Winner: Arts Advocate)
Heller is clinical assistant professor emerita at Indiana University in the department of speech and hearing sciences. She has been involved with Puck Players Puppet Theatre, Diversity Theatre, The Jewish Theatre of Bloomington, and the MOSAIC Film Festival (an extension of Diversity Theatre).

The Vault at Gallery Mortgage (Winner: Arts in Business)
Gallery Mortgage supplies a gallery space for professional artists to show their work. The proceeds from the gallery go to the artist or local charitable organizations.

Diane Davis-Deckard (Winner: Arts in Education)
Davis-Deckard has worked as an art teacher at Bloomington High School North for 25 years. She has taught at many other schools in Bloomington, Martinsville, and Owen County.

Kathy Thompson (Winner: Regional Arts Service)
Thompson is founder and artistic director at Kat’s Performing Arts Studio in Bedford, Indiana.

Peter Jacobi (Winner: Special Citation/Lifetime Achievement)
Jacobi is professor emeritus at the Indiana University School of Journalism, former member and chair of the Indiana Arts Commission, and columnist and music critic for The Herald-Times.

The 2017 Community Arts Awards ceremony will also celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Ivy Tech’s Center for Lifelong Learning. Entertainment will include a performance by jazz musician Monika Herzig and engaging demonstrations from Center for Lifelong Learning instructors. Instructors will perform magic, demonstrate guitar swirl-painting, and host a Q&A about backyard chickens with live chickens. A beer and wine bar and culinary treats will be available.

Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased online at www.bctboxoffice.com.