Beyond the Classroom: COVID Edition!

My global theme is Inequality and Human Rights. I believe that human rights are so important because it is important to understand that we are all human and deserve the same treatment no matter where a person comes from. My beyond the classroom experience was being a remote intern for CASA of Missoula. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates and it is a non-profit organization that advocates for children in court who come from abused and neglected homes. I was able to help supervisors organize paperwork, send out court emails, read through case files and so much more. With this experience, I was able to work with an organization that advocated for children’s human rights and helped these children find a safe place to live when they were not being treated well. Abused and neglected children are a group that cannot often speak for themselves, so it is amazing to work with an organization that helps these children have a voice and live a better life. 

When I first signed up for my global theme, racial injustice was the first thing that came to mind when I thought about inequality and human rights, so I did not expect to be working with an organization like CASA. This experience has helped me understand a different population that could also be a part of inequality and human rights. There are many minority groups in society that can identify with being treated unequal to others and are being restricted by their human rights. Working with CASA has opened my eyes to different perspectives of how inequality affects our society but also what other ways we can help break away from inequality in this world. Even though I did not get to work with an organization that worked on racial equality, I was able to gain so much knowledge from an organization that advocated for children’s human rights and it was such a rewarding experience. This internship allowed me to not only gain more computer skills, considering the internship was remote, but to learn about a population I never had much knowledge about and a way I could help advocate for them as well. I understand now that inequality does not just affect people by race, but many factors of society that may separate a certain population from the rest. With this experience I hope to continue to expand my mind to advocate for equality and human rights in other new ways to learn more about populations in society that are also treated unequally.

A Semester at the PEAS Farm

Hi all! My name is Sydney Lang and my global theme is Resources and Sustainability. For my Out of The Classroom Experience I spent my fall semester working at the PEAS Farm. The PEAS Farm is an educational farm nestled in the rattlesnake. The farm has 5 full time staff members and the rest of the help comes from interns on the farm who are students at the University of Montana. The food that we grow goes to many different programs in Missoula. Some of the food grown goes back to community members through a Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA) where community members invest money in the farm and in turn they get many weeks worth of fresh, sustainably grown goods! The other food we grow goes to the Missoula Food Bank.

View of the Chard and Kale crops at the PEAS Farm

View of the Chard and Kale crops at the PEAS Farm.

The PEAS Farm grows many different kinds of foods! Some of my favorites from my time there were the fresh corn, garlic and carrots. Though we got the chance to eat a lot of local foods, the farm was about a lot more than that. On the farm one of the main things we focused on was how food production is such a key component to sustainability. We learned many different sustainable practices such as cover crops, seed saving and composting.

            I spent every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon at the farm doing a variety of different tasks. Some days we would harvest foods, other days we would prepare food for storage or for the CSA members. As time went on at the farm, my appreciation for local agriculture grew quickly. My eyes were opened to an avenue of sustainability that I hadn’t considered much before. I found my time at the farm to be very grounding. I felt connected to our earth in a new way. I understood food from a whole new lens. I even grew a new appreciation for manure after spending two weeks spreading it on all of the fields!

            This year I have been working on my capstone project for GLI which connects directly into my time at the farm. Our group is working on understanding how to make a local food system sustainable, resilient and accessible. It has been a wonderful experience to go straight from getting my hands dirty in the field to working on connecting with other local farmers for my capstone to understand the importance of local foods at an even deeper level. Through my time getting educated on the farm, I feel more equipped to encourage others and myself to be stewards of the earth. I feel so thankful for this experience and how it has burst open the doors in my world view of sustainability. I now know that great things can be grown with my own two hands!