Thursday, July 13, 2017

Lecture: Dr. Jonathan Bush

My Pit Partner Hailey and I
beginning excavation of our unit
(Photo Cred: Mallory Moore)
           Hello everyone! My name is Ashley Barry and I am a senior anthropology student participating in this season’s excavations at Fort St. Joseph! Yesterday was quite an exciting day for us at the flood plain. We were each assigned our pit partners and coordinates for our units, which will serve as a home base for us in the field every day for the rest of the season. We finished setting up our units and were lucky enough to break ground before the rain moved in! We were all a little disappointed about packing up and moving out early, but that left us with some time to participate in a lab session before dinner. During lab, we each examined a previously discovered artifact and performed our own research utilizing several resources to determine four primary characteristics about our artifact. These characteristics include what the artifact is made of (raw material), the way in which it was made, its function, and its style.  
Erika Loveland and Dr. Nassaney
at the book signing
(Photo Cred: Ashley Barry)
In more exciting news, today marked the first lecture of a four-part Lecture Series this summer. We had the great honor of hosting Dr. Jonathan Bush, Professor of English at Western Michigan University, and his wife, Mrs. Erin Bush, for dinner. Fortunately, we had the privilege of speaking with him in an open forum at our living quarters about the importance of establishing community partnerships and community based service-learning. This was a great opportunity for us as students, as we were able to engage in a stimulating discussion with Dr. Bush about the benefits and challenges of establishing community partnerships between Western Michigan University and the city of Niles, as well as challenging the dominant narrative within a community. This was extremely beneficial, as a primary focus of this season’s field school is building lasting community based partnerships.   
Following dinner, we piled into our vans and drove down to the Niles District Library to engage in a more formal lecture by Dr. Bush. It was inspiring to see the community support for both the Project and for Dr. Bush’s public lecture! Prior to the lecture, a book signing was held by our very own Erika Loveland, field director, and Dr. Nassaney, lead investigator, who co-authored “Sheltering New France”, the third booklet in a series of Fort St. Joseph booklets.

Dr. Bush giving his presentation
(Photo Cred: Erika Loveland)
Dr. Bush’s lecture, titled “Building and Sustaining Meaningful University – Community Partnerships in Context”, was very intriguing and informative. Aside from being a Professor of English at Western Michigan University, Dr. Bush also serves as a service learning fellow. During his lecture, Dr. Bush laid out some of the long-term objectives and goals of his program, which include establishing relationships and connections between Western Michigan University and the city of Niles in the hopes of maintaining a beneficial relationship for all parties involved. One of the most impressive projects he is currently working on is taking place at the Niles District Library, which aims to establish a social work internship to serve the needs of both Western Michigan University students as well as the community of Niles. The primary focus of Dr. Bush’s lecture and project is respecting communities and engaging in mutually beneficial partnerships, which resonated strongly with all of us at Fort St. Joseph. Our project wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for the strong support and bonds we have formed with the surrounding community! We here at Fort St. Joseph extend our sincerest gratitude to Dr. Bush for taking the time to speak with us, as well as the community of Niles.

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