CELEBRATIONS!

SO many things to celebrate in the office:

1) Richard AND Ruby’s birthday is tomorrow!!!!!

2) And Wes just got back from getting married!!!!!!

3) AND Sun Park is coming back from vacation next week!!!!!!! (We didn’t really celebrate this, but this is exciting news as well)

4) Last, it is FRIDAY! WOOO!

And how does Swat Admissions celebrate? With cake, of course! Here are some pictures from our lovely celebration today:

Richard and Wes getting ready for their picture!

Richard and Wes getting ready for their picture with the yummy cake!

 

Picture time!

Picture time! (The cake is ice cream cake, btw)

Awww, cutting the cake!

Awww, cutting the cake together!

 

<3

<3

 

Photo of the Day: July 29th, 2013

Boston Commons!

Boston Commons!

Salman and I (Sarah) traveled to Boston this weekend to visit various friends and family! It was a really hot day and lots of people were cooling off in the pond (Make Way for Ducklings anyone?)! Beautiful skyline too! Although Boston is a bit further from Swat than Philly (about a 6 hour drive…as opposed to 20 minute) it was a really fun weekend for the both of us!

Photo of the Day: July 25th, 2013

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Having a nice picnic in Rittenhouse Square Garden with our HipCityVeg!

After work earlier this week we were feeling like having an adventure so we hopped in the car and drove to Philly! First part of the adventure entailed trying to find parking and then parallel parking…..luckily Sarah was driving the car and she rocks at parking and succeeded on her first try (okay, maybe like 20th). Because Estefania is a recent vegan, we decided to try out HipCityVeg, an all vegan restaurant. They have “Groothies” aka “green smoothies” and a bunch of sandwiches and “burgers” that apparently don’t have real meat in them! It was deeeelicious. We then of course, being near a lot of shopping, went shopping for a bit. The evening ended with driving home singing songs and trying to connect to other songs by finding lyrics that were the same  (Pitch Perfect, anyone?). Anywho, after driving around 30th street station twice trying to find the highway exit, we finally got back to Swat quite content with our adventure :)

Student Profile: JASON HEO!

Hey everyone! This is Jason, one of our favorite people ever:
JASON!

JASON!

He is in Rwanda all summer working on a project through the Lang center, and he’s guest blogging for us today! Jason is a rising junior and is an absolutely incredible all around individual. He is an Econ major with a minor in Poli Sci, DIII track athlete, Lang scholarship winner, Campus Life Representative for StuCo, SAAC member, and he was Sun’s big sib for SAO! Also, he’s dating Estefania’s best friend Kate, but she’ll get mad that we mentioned this so hopefully she’ll never know.
So ladies and gentlemen, we present to you, Jason Heo:
“I’m going to have been here in Ndera, Rwanda, which is just east of the capital city of Kigali, for eight weeks this summer working for a non-profit organization called Gardens for Health International (GHI).* The mission of GHI is to provide lasting agricultural solutions to pressing public health problems, namely malnutrition, in rural Rwanda. In short, the organization partners with health centers to find families with malnourished children and equip those families with the tools and knowledge necessary to setup and maintain a home garden. Additionally, GHI offers health and agricultural training for the remainder of the year to ensure that the families have a stable support system to get off the ground.
My regular schedule entails getting up around 7 to make breakfast (oatmeal and eggs) and catching the truck to the GHI office, just down the road. We hop into the truck bed for the fifteen-minute trip, which would probably take five minutes on paved, cement roads. Upon arriving to the office, one of the interns (we take turns) will water all of our home gardens that we planted on the GHI farm surrounding the office. Afterwards, it’s time to get to work. I’m here this summer to help the monitoring and evaluations (M&E) team here look for solutions to implement a mobile data collection system for its field workers. I spent my first four weeks here learning more about all of the necessary M&E procedures and starting preliminary searches for existing mobile data collection systems. Since its onset, GHI has done all of its data collection by pencil and paper. Because of the number of families GHI services and because it will be expanding next season, it only makes sense to move to a better collection system. Their current model utilizes too much paper and is logistically difficult to manage with field workers bringing their data and observations into the office intermittently. Not to mention, all of the data then has to be manually uploaded to a computer. For the remainder of my time here, I am exploring a program called Open Data Kit, which we think could offer tons of solutions. I am currently building forms online and testing them out on a mobile phone.
We get off work at 5 and take the truck back to the house. Some days I’ll go running and others I’ll go to a gym about ten minutes away. Unfortunately the sun sets around 6 every day. We usually all pitch in to help cook dinner every night – there’s a lot of stir-fry involved. Luckily, there’s a lot to do in the city of Kigali over the weekend. Just this weekend, there was a huge music festival featuring Rwandan and other popular East African artists. Otherwise, it’s also really easy to travel around Rwanda. You can generally take a bus for about five to six hours to get anywhere else in Rwanda. Over Independence Day weekend, a number of us traveled to northeast Rwanda to enjoy the beauty of Lake Kivu.
Fortunately I have some financial support from the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility at Swarthmore for most of my adventuring. In addition to a number of other funding opportunities provided by the Swarthmore Foundation to support student internships in social justice, the Lang Center offers a Lang Opportunity Scholarship for up to six sophomores every year. “As its central feature, the Program offers each Scholar the opportunity and related funding to conceive, design and carry out an Opportunity Project that creates a needed social resource and/or effects a significant social change or improved condition of a community in the United States or abroad.”** So, I’m not only here to help GHI with their mobile data collection, but I am also working with mobile technology for my own learning. My Lang Project deals with creating an efficient food distribution mechanism utilizing technology in order to help communities around Swarthmore.
Clearly I would not have had this outstanding summer opportunity without the support of Swarthmore and the Lang Center. However, there was more to my college decision than the Lang Opportunity Scholarship Program. Not only do I get to participate in DIII athletics, but I can also be a part of several campus groups that either want to have fun outside the classroom, act as a liaison between the students and faculty/administration, or support positive change on and off campus.
I’m most grateful for the relationships I’ve been able to develop and maintain here at Swat. I admire the passionate, motivated, and interesting (dare I say quirky) people that surround me every day on campus. My friends, teammates, classmates, and peers make the Swarthmore experience what it is. These are the people that help me learn just as much outside the classroom as I do in.”
Pretty incredible huh?
(Thanks for sharing with us, Jason!)
Love,
Your lovely tour guides

So you want to leave the bubble?

According to the swarthmorepa.org homepage, “Swarthmore is a tree-lined residential community of distinctive homes and quiet neighborhoods, anchored by the campus of Swarthmore College.”  Yes. It most definitely is.  Located about 10 miles southwest of Philly, it has total land area of about 1.4 miles and has been coined by Swarthmore students as “the bubble.”  (Even though technically it’s considered a borough #imfromthewestcoastwhatisthat)

There are always a lot of things to do on campus,  but sometimes (like during finals week) you just really want out.  The beautiful thing is that access to other cities from Swat is super simple, because we have a train station right at the foot of campus…

300px-Swarthmore_Station

Swarthmore Septa Station

The SEPTA (South Eastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) has trains that take you in and around Philly. Swarthmore is on the Media/Elwyn Line, and it’s only a twenty minute train ride into University City (UPenn) or twenty-five into Center City. In Philly, there are a thousand things you can do or see like concerts, museums and restaurants (but that’ll have to wait for a different post).

From 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, you can take the greyhound, amtrak, megabus, and other modes of transportation to other cities further away.

I’m from Western Washington where we don’t really have Megabuses or the like, so it BLEW my mind when I went to New York on a Megabus for $20 roundtrip my freshman year. It was the greatest:

I was so excited to see Elmo in Times Square

I was so excited to see Elmo in Times Square

This past weekend me and Natalie took the Megabus to DC  as well, where we visited a friend who was staying in Foggy Bottom for an internship. The bus ride was only two and a half hours and once there, we did all the legit tourist stuff:

menatsteven

Natalie, Steven and I at the Washington Monument

Yay Capitol!!

Yay Capitol!!

We even checked to see if Barry was home. He wasn't.

We even checked to see if Barry was home. He wasn’t.

We had a great time and a great weekend, and I absolutely love the EASY accessibility that our college has to Philly and it’s surrounding cities.

Until next time!

Traditions at Swat: Screw your Roommate

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking: “what the heck is that?!” Before you jump to any conclusions, let us explain.

Swarthmore gives students a LOT of great opportunities. Great academics so that later in life you succeed doing something you are passionate about. Super intelligent professors that you get to know outside of the classroom as well as inside. Beautiful campus that you get live in for four years. Fast and easy connections with Swat alums post-graduation. Great friends. I could go on. BUT.

MOST importantly: every February students get the unique opportunity to set  up their roommate(s) on a blind date. Not only that, they also get to dress up their roommate in a costume of their choice. Here are the basics: you tell your roommate to go to Sharples at a certain time that night dressed up in a certain costume. Then they have to go and find the person that matches their costume and eat dinner with them. For example: Supply curve finds a Demand curve, a green bunch of grapes finds a purple bunch of grapes, Google finds Firefox, Sine finds Cosine, Little Bo Peep finds her sheep, T-Swift finds Kanye, Salt finds Pepper (the rappers), Salt finds Pepper (the spices), Eggs Benedict finds Pope Benedict XVI, Brittany Spears finds Kevin Federer, Pavlov’s dog finds Schrodinger’s cat, Cat finds Dog, Cup finds Cake, the list is endless…

Excited yet?

Here are some pictures to get you more excited:

screw3

Roomies getting ready for Screw! Here we have a farmer’s wife and Tweedle Dum ready to find one of the three blind mice and Tweedle Dee.

screw2

Beyonce and Jay-Z!!!

screw4

D’awww Mario and Luigi :-)

Lollipop Guild and Munchkin!

Lollipop Guild and Munchkin!

This past year, Screw your Roommate took place during the weekend of February 14th. Kind of funny, no? Good thing is no one is lonely on Valentine’s day if they don’t want to be! Sometimes Screw dates go really well but if not, worse comes to worse you only have to make awkward eye contact for the next 3 years!

:) Hope you all are enjoying your summers!

And if you have any Swat related questions, email us at swatsummerguides2013@gmail.com!