Center for Community Engagement

Introducing the Community Engagement Orientation Trip coordinators

Meet the four Amherst students working to make CEOT 2012 a reality
 
August 2012—story by Jenny Morgan, photos by Kate Berry '12 and Sam Tang '15. Left to right: Paula Escobar '13, March Fan '15, Roshard Bryant '14E, and Liz Namugosa '14

Each summer, a small team of students transform the Center for Community Engagement office into a slightly chaotic (yet impeccably organized) orientation headquarters of stacked sleeping bags, complex spreadsheets, and daily meetings. Crowded around the CCE's communal working space, these students put their planning skills and creativity to work in order to orchestrate one of the CCE's most cherished programs: the Community Engagement Orientation Trip.

Year after year, students who participate on the CEOT cite the experience as being foundational to their lives at Amherst College—and the CEOT coordinators are the true backbone of the operation. With tireless energy and enthusiasm, these students throw everything into creating a fun and deeply meaningful experience for new students. Meet the four incredible students working this summer to make CEOT 2012 a reality.

Name: Roshard Bryant
Major(s): Black Studies
Hometown: Bronx, New York
Favorite place in the Pioneer Valley: Skinner Mountain. The summit has the most beautiful view of western Massachusetts.
The best class you took during your first semester at Amherst: Self & Society with professor Ronald Lembo, and Action & Character with professor Peter Lobdell. These two classes gave me the constructive tools to think critically about the community I live in and how to really connect with the people around me.
Your favorite superhero: This is a funny one, because as a kid I loved the movie Blankman and this incredibly cheesy but creative superhero became my idol. One of my other favorite childhood superheroes was Piccolo from Dragonball-Z.
What three things should a student on CEOT bring with them? 1. A real open mind and heart.  CEOTers should enter this trip with a desire to challenge themselves.  Every year I walk away from the trip having learned something new about my unique qualities as an individual and the incredible talents of my fellow peers and community members. 2. Something to present during our Cultural Sharing Circle.  Any item that they believe tells something unique about the person they are today. 3. A smile. 
How did you build community during your first year at Amherst? I helped to build community by engaging with the youth at El Arco Iris in Holyoke after my basketball season ended and by helping to organize and support campus awareness/activism events that were held by the affinity groups I am a part of.
Why are you stoked for CEOT 2012? This will be my fourth year in a row participating on the trip.  I am a huge fan of CEOT and love the relationships that I build with my new Amherst peers and the local community members.  I recently went on a retreat to the Highlander Research Center in New Market, TN, and learned so much about effective ways to properly learn from and assist in community building, so I am really hoping to share these useful tools with everyone on the trip this year.

Name: Paula Escobar
Major(s): Sociology
Hometown: Eagle Rock, Los Angeles
Favorite place in the Pioneer Valley: The fountain in the town of Amherst because the water drowns out the noise and the thoughts in your head, so it's a good place to sit and relax or read. 
The best class you took during your first semester at Amherst: Global Sound with professor Jeffers Engelhardt.
The superhero power you most wish you had: The power to change peoples' minds. 
What three things should a student on CEOT bring with them? An open mind, a whole lot of energy, and their best dance moves!
How did you build community during your first year at Amherst? I helped to build a strong community of fellow CEOTers that continues to love and support one another in our passions inside and outside of the classroom. This community is my backbone and CEOT brought us together.
Why are you stoked for CEOT 2012? CEOT always brings beautiful, brilliant and compassionate people together to share in learning and laughter, so I know CEOT 2012 will be another opportunity to surround myself and others with the perfect community to kick off the school year. 

Name: Zhengyuan Fan, but almost all my friends in Amherst call me March
Major(s): Undecided. Potentially economics and mathematics.
Hometown: Zhengzhou, Henan, China. It is a wonderful city in central China. It’s the crossroads of two important railways, and it’s very famous for historical sites.
Favorite place in the Pioneer Valley: The Amherst Commons. Last year during CEOT, I played some wonderful games with some really lovely kids there. Oh, and it was the place that I first learned how to play Duck, Duck, Goose. I had never heard of it in China before.
The best class you took during your first semester at Amherst: My first year seminar, the Rule of Law, taught by professor Lawrence Douglas. That class revolutionized my ways of thinking. It taught me to perceive problems from multifaceted perspectives. I strongly recommend that class.
The superhero power you most wish you had: I want to have the superpower to lose weight easily. Actually, I don't know any superhero who can do that.
What three things should a student on CEOT bring with them? Happiness—because you have to have fun. Curiosity— do your best to explore. Team spirit — because you will meet some of your best friends on CEOT.
How did you build community during your first year at Amherst? I visited the town of Amherst on weekends with my friends to get to know it better. Also, I participated in different activities on campus to get more involved in the Amherst community.
Why are you stoked for CEOT 2012? I had a wonderful experience at CEOT last year. I learned a lot about the Amherst community, and made some really wonderful friends. It was one of my best memories at Amherst, and I want to enjoy it again this year, from a completely different perspective.

Name: Elizabeth (Liz) Namugosa
Major(s): Sociology
Hometown: Phillipsburg, NJ
Favorite place in the Pioneer Valley: Girls, Inc in Holyoke, where I tutor, because the girls help me to get out of my Amherst bubble two days a week.
The best class you took during your first semester at Amherst: None of them were a favorite of mine, but sophomore year, I figured out what I wanted to do and my favorites are now my sociology and anthropology courses.
The superhero power you most wish you had: The power to use 100% of my brain...when I wanted to.
What three things should a student on CEOT bring with them? 1. An open mind 2. Confidence 3. A water bottle.
How did you build community during your first year at Amherst? I spent a lot of time "studying" in the common rooms of my very social dorm, Charles Pratt.
Why are you stoked for CEOT 2012? Besides the fact that it gets better every year, I'm excited to build another community of trip leaders and trippees.

Visit the Community Engagement Orientation Trip homepage to learn more about CEOT. Ready to sign up? Follow the instructions on the Trip Registration page.