“Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces”  by Kathleen G Scholl and Gowri Betrabet Gulwadi does a great job to summarize the importance of campus landscapes for educational advancement in students. At the beginning of the article the authors contextualize the reader by giving recent statistics about the growing number of student enrollment. Also, they emphasize how student involvement has changed over the years.  According to Scholl and Gulwadi, ” Increased technology use within today’s multitasking society is likely to hijack a student’s attentional resource placing her/him at risk of underachieving academic learning goals and undermining success at a university.” In other words, society has shifted the way students develop in universities and deeply affected their success.

Following the critique to the way university success has shifted Scholl and Gulwadi proceed to talk about the history of campus landscapes. Scholl and Gulwadi states, “Physical landscape features had a direct impact on shaping human behavior.” In making this comment, Scholl and Gulwadi urge us to believe the way campuses are designed may deeply affect the learning process of students. Many statistics shown afterwards prove this assertion is true.

In conclusion, the way campuses are designed deeply affect university students. According to Scholl and Gulwadi, “Traditional campus indoor spaces, by necessity and function, provide ample opportunities for structured learning experiences that draw upon students’ direct attention.” Scholl and Gulwadi make a claim that university administrators must be careful with the way campuses are set up due to the implications this may have with students abilities to succeed.

 

 (American University Campus. Photo taken from AU webpage)

Reading the ninth chapter of City of Rhetoric, was a good way to tie up everything I learned throughout the book.  David Fleming finalizes the book restating many of the claims he developed throughout it. He begins the final chapter calling for the readers to have “humility toward the built world”.  In other words, Fleming makes a call for his readers to view environments as places crucial for human development. Nowadays, the majority of people see environments as minor and not determinant for human flourishing.

Following the call for a change of perspective for built environments, Fleming proceeds to one of the greatest parts of this book in my opinion. He narrates an ancient Greek myth about the Gods giving cities humans as a compensation for their lack of abilities. Fleming himself writes, “In time, the city became humans chief competitive advantage over nature, chance and other animals, as well as the home of civilization itself.” (196) Basically, Fleming considers cities as the most important advancement humanity has made and that all of the others are due to it.

Fleming  advocates for more public support for cities in the United States, the same way the government does to suburbs, more powerful regions and “civic” education for students. Fleming quotes utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill views on political education, “raised the intellectual standard of the average citizen beyond anything known since.” In other words, Fleming continues to advocate for the importance of public education and the way “cities teach us.”

 

 (Cover of Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill)

 

My name is Alejandro Rengifo. Currently I am studying Economics and Public Administration Policy at American University. I am from Bogota, Colombia, I had lived there all my life, until I moved to Washington DC to study last year. I have always loved to travel and explore new places. One of the goals I made as soon as I arrived to this city was to become a local Washingtonian and explore the city to its fullest. This project permitted me to explore and understand one of the most important areas of Washington DC, Adams Morgan. I hope you enjoy all the resources available at the site and feel the passion I felt while doing it.

I still remember the first time I came out ot the metro station at Woodley Park/Adams Morgan. I had no clue what to expect of The Church of the Saviour and had to walk 20 minutes to get there. I set my Google Map and proceeded to walk. I was highly concentrated in my environment, I took notes and pictures of what surprised me, what I saw as unusual. The shops, people and even cars I saw walking from the station to The Church of the Saviour. As I got closer to my location I noticed how multicultural the shops at Columbia Road are; I remember seeing Chinese Restaurants, Latin American Parlours and African American hair salons. Furthermore, I remember seeing many liquor shops and check trade offices. Almost at the end of the street, where The Church of the Saviour was supposed to be, there was a brand new “hipster” cafe. I thought to myself “well at least I found a place to have lunch after I finish.” 

I walked a block more and found two different churches: All Souls Church and Community of Hope. I was amazed by how many churches there were in such a small area. amazed how I could not find The Church of the Saviour. So I went into the cafe to have lunch. The menu only contained a few items, the books that were for sale depicted pretty progressive ideas and the artwork exposed portrait minorities figures such as Sonia Sotomayor, Martin Luther King Jr and Cesar Chavez. This was not your typical hipster cafe it had something more the rhetoric in the place spoke more than a simple trend, the place had a life of its own. When I approached the bar to make my order there was an item in the menu that caught my attention, there was a soup that was offered that had no price, it simply said pay what you can. I order a Cappuccino (this item will appear later represent a metaphor for one of the themes explored in this project), I took pictures of the place and the elements I considered important and left.

A couple of days after my first visit to Adams Morgan I went to meet with Professor Hoskins about my location and ask him for help to find my topos/commonplace. I showed him my pictures and a couple of digital archives I had gathered of my location. He helped me shape my investigation and together we Google searched Jubilee Church,  there I discovered that Jubilee Church was a branch of The Church of the Saviour,  an extinct church that branched many non denominational Christian Churches. The Church of the Saviour also founded Potter’s House, the place I had lunch in, then I realized Potter’s House  should be  my commonplace.

One of the most important class we had in the course was the one that as a class we used rhetorical analysis over a couple of university web pages: American University, Georgetown and Arizona State. This exercise inspired me to do the same in my “Rhetorical Analysis of Text Essay”. I analyzed the rherotic  used in Potter’s House webpage in comparison to the one used in Starbucks webpage. While navigating Potter’s House webpage I found a tab that contained a brief history of the place. There I noticed how deeply complex this commonplace was and how great of an impact it had on Adams Morgan. It was my duty to research and find the detailed history of it and elaborate a thesis that showed how this location had been a cultural and social epicenter of the development of Adams Morgan. 

In an informational session with American University Associate Librarian Alex Hodges, I gained key information for my research. He recommended me three databases: Washington Post Historical, American History and Life and ATLA. I found the majority of my resources in those three databases. Even though I new the importance of them I did not began my research with them, it was necessary for me to contextualize myself with rhetorical analysis works before beginning with research that had to do with the history of my commonplace.

I began studying  Lloyd Bitzer one of the greatest American rhetorician of all time,  I used  his work “The Rhetorical Situation” an essay he wrote to explain how context affects the rhetorical discourse of speakers or writers.  This information was necessary to appear in my research, to a great extent I was dealing with information written in different time spaces.Taking this into consideration I needed another source that helped me manage how to treat the rhetoric behind history. So I choose “The Rhetoric of History” by Donald N. McCloskey this research helped me in the development of an argument that needed to contribute with the great amount of persuasion that appears in historical writing. Taking into account the vast majority of my sources were historical I had to have lenses to understand the rhetorics used behind them.

The Washington Post Historical database provided me with the majority of the sources I used in my research in total four, all of them talked about different events at Potter`s House in different time periods. Reconstructing the history of Potter’s House with only news articles would not have been possible. ATLA database contributed with first hand information about The Church of The Saviour, including an interview with Reverend Cosby. The only missing link in my research was the use of detailed information in the social transformation of Adams Morgan, American History and Life helped me in that regard.

To show my final project and deliver all the knowledge I gained from this course I choose Instagram to be my platform to present the information. It was not the first option I tried, I began doing a Prezi but found out the majority of my classmates were planning to use it, I wanted something unique that will stand out from the crowd. I remember Professor Hoskins saying many times that if we were going to fail we should “fail spectacularly.” I finished my Instagram and included maps, photos and descriptions about Potter’s House history and role in the Adams Morgan community. I promise I did not failed to deliver, I invite you to discover something unique and inspiring by following the link to the Instagram below.

 

https://www.instagram.com/potters_house_commonplace/?hl=en

To present my research over Potter’s House Coffeehouse I choose Instagram, the 7th most used social network with over 600 million users. This platform permitted me to incorporate maps, pictures and descriptions to describe the different events that marked the history of Potter’s House and the Church of The Saviour. While exploring this multimedia tool please comment and expand the legacy of this place and Reverend Cosby.

 

The first wedding that I’ve been in my twenties
Thinkin’ maybe someone is not somethin’ to own
Maybe the government got nothin’ to do with it

Biking Frank Ocean Ft. Tyler, The Creator & Jay Z

This song has one of the smoothest melodies I have heard so far in 2017. This highly contrasts what you expect of a song with Jay Z in it. I choose this fragment of the song because it references a highly  controversial issue, government dealing with civil liberties. One of the greatest achievements of the constitution is the continuous respect of civil liberties. Nevertheless, marriage has been presented with countless barriers through out history. This song was released a the same time when the government has issued some controversial comments over same sex marriage and the ultra conservative marriage traditions VP Mike Pence has with his wife  bombarded the media. Is important for a democracy that the rhetoric behind art is used to critique the government. That makes a true democracy.