I live at DePauw University, not Greencastle. Though as a bonner, I am much closer to Greencastle than most other students. The DePauw Campus and the city of Greencastle exist on two totally separate planes. No space, equipment, parks, or buildings are shared between the two.
So, I live at a school. Let me begin by saying I’m rather grumpy right now. I’ve experienced plenty of greatness at this school but that isn’t what’s on my mind right now. Here are this school I have experienced a lot more inattention and disregard than I care for. I can no longer count the number of speakers and visitors and films I have attended with attendees I can count on my two hands. It’s sad, it’s frustrating. Where is everyone? I really don’t understand. Part of the college experience is to go to all these ventures. We are a liberal arts school.
I know the bonner’s main purpose is to revitalize and enhance and be involved in the Greencastle community, but it seems to me that the DePauw community needs revitalization as well.
I was raised on the south side of Chicago and Greencastle is the only other city I’ve ever lived in.
As first-year Bonners, our class had to come on campus a few days earlier than other students. The ‘not your average campus tour’ led by Jeannette Johnson was part of our orientation. I remember tensing up when she came to the part about violence and racism on campus. But when she finished telling her stories, I was like, “that’s it?”
While the hate crimes that have occurred on campus are serious and troubling, I was expecting blood, a string of violent acts… or something similar. Before I came to DePauw, I was listening about murders and gun violence every other day on the news. At least once a month, my parents would remind me to be careful outside because of the rising number of (violent) robberies in my neighborhood. I grew up thinking that this was the norm. Living in Greencastle has allowed me to see that such unnecessary deaths and violence are.. abnormal.
I hear a lot of disgust pertaining to our school’s racial segregation (and/or racism). Events such as the recent attack on DePauw’s Latino community are especially alarming, but all in all, DePauw and Greencastle could be worst. As collegiate scholars however, we should expect the utmost respect, understanding, tolerance from our peers (and ourselves).
I was recently honored with Greencastle’s “Green Citizen of the Year” award, yet I am not even a citizen of Greencastle! Living in a college town is strange. It’s hard to get involved with a community you know to be a temporary home, and I think that is why most students don’t. Not until this year, with my work at the Greencastle Community Garden, did I feel like a member of the Greencastle community. Now, I am able to walk into stores on the square and Kroger and recognize all kinds of people not directly involved at DePauw. It is a true blessing.
The foundation of community is positive one-on-one relationships. Only by getting to know others have I really felt comfortable in Greencastle; I hope other students step outside of their comfort zone to do the same. For a long time, I thought I was too liberal, or urban, or eccentric to get along with Greencastle people and that kept me from growing. It simply wasn’t true.
The Greencastle Sustainability Commission has been a great project uniting the DePauw and Greencaslte communities on multiple levels. We have shared goals and a shared sense of how the community should transform. I highly recommend people get involved with the garden, farmer’s market, local food for neighbors in need, recycling projects, or other joint DePauw-Greencastle sustainable efforts. For me it’s been a fantastic way to implement my values and get to know people outside of professors and the limited 18-22-year-old demographic that lives at DePauw. In the end, my experience at DePauw would not have been complete without my friends in the larger community.
I come from a small town in southern Indiana. It’s an hour south of Bloomington and an hour north of Louisville, Kentucky. It is basically considered the middle of nowhere. Paoli, Indiana is where I hail from. I love my home town and the school system. The school is by far more famous than anything about my home town. The school is the center of my town and really is the heart of it. I really like living in a small town, because it has given me so many more opportunities. I got to be in so much more because of the size of the school I went to. The town is a quaint little town that has a big white town hall. It is so picturesque and a wonderful place to live.
I live in a town a lot like Greencastle, only smaller. Known by a few as the proud town of Tony Stewart-even though all of us know he doesn’t really claim it. I would say since I don’t have a family of my own, I have a biased opinion of that little town nestled in between covered bridges and amish. If my kids were growing up there, great. But since they’re not and I’m still what some would call a kid, it’s not the greatest of places. There’s not much I did to keep myself out of trouble. In fact, I did everything possible to find trouble. You name a law, I probably broke it. It seemed to be encouraged by our surroundings. “Do whatever you want, just get out of my hair.” There’s always work to do there and if that’s the case for your parents, there’s not much supervision no matter how strict your parents think they are. Apart from the rebellion that comes from sheer boredom, drama reeks havoc throughout the entire county. All of us go to the same high school of eight hundred kids which is home to many festering lies and rumors. However, the place is quiet I’ll give it that. There are a few nice spots embedded in Rush County that seem almost like an escape from the crazy teenagers and drama. But, every town no matter how big or small has ups and downs right?
What has shaped me most in my life has been my first home. I grew up in Marlboro Projects in Brooklyn,NY. A place that has forced me to become a man while I was young. Learning at 12 years old that I had to walk with my head high and never show no fear. Fear is seen as a sign of weakness and will be preyed on. There’s a mentality of the neighborhood that is attached to the social circumstances that are prevalent. The demographics being a predominately African Americans and Caribbeans there is an exclusion and an instilled hatred towards any other racial group.Opened minded to others is not something associated with the neighborhood. This is a close knit and almost a family like place that for those in these 24 buildings can rely on anything. You may even go as far as saying the people are very autonomous in their everyday actions. I learned to love and fight for my neighborhood. Nothing was better than my neighborhood and no one could tell me different. Fear is something that Ilearned was not accepted. But I learned once you left the neighborhood you are excluded from this community. The only family for this community is the people in it because that’s all they can trust. Every where I go I continue to walk with my head high and fear is never an emotion that I can reveal.
I grew up in the Midwest but had been away for years and years when I moved back here about two years ago. I moved here to take a job at DePauw, but there were underlying reasons: connecting more with relatives who live in the area, connecting with the landscape, connecting with the people. After living a lot of years in a big city, I wanted to say hello to my neighbors in passing and when I went to the Post Office or to Kroegers.
My expectations have been fulfilled – mostly. The job has turned out well, and I get that nice connection in Kroegers – even when I run in to do my shopping and am not looking my best! I’ve made some deeper connections with people here, but I am reminded that Midwesterners are not superficial people (isn’t that what what I was looking for???), and that it will take some time to build “real” relationships. I love how it looks here – all four seasons of the year. I love the house I live in – it’s a good place to go home to to just hang out and to get recharged to come out into the world again. I’ve been shown unexpected kindnesses. I am learning the underground economy – the one where you ask another person, “I have to have xxx done to my house. Who should I call to get that done?” I am able to have political conversations with people who believe and vote differently from the way I do – but I am still reminded that there are probably some people here where it wouldn’t be a good idea
to tell what it is that I am really thinking. I read the local newspapers to get a bigger understanding about what’s going on here. I buy local whenever I can.
Yes. Greencastle has become home.