Ventura College Publication for Student Writing Seeks Submissions by 3/28

VC Voices

Close up of hand writingNeeds student writing!

Get published for cash prizes!
Get extra credit by submitting your work and including a copy of it and a screen shot that shows you did it!

Submissions due Friday March 28!

What is eligible: any essay, short story, or poem written by a student for an English class at Ventura College within the last year.

How to submit:

  • Complete a online submission form here.

Contact the editors for more details: VCVoices@vcccd.edu

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Ventura College To Host Environmental Lectures

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You are invited to attend guest lectures for ESRM1/BIO 10.

Guest lecture on fracking:  RL Miller

Wed. 3/12 at 1:30-2:45pm in rm: ECT-8

Guest lecture on SOAR: Steve Bennett

Wed 3/19  at 1:30-2:45pm in rm: ECT-8

Guest lecture on Climate Change: Don Price

Wed 3/26 at 1:30-2:45pm in rm: ECT-8

RL Miller

RL Miller is a climate blogger at outlets including DailyKos, Climate Progress, Grist, Calitics, and Takepart.com on climate, environment, and clean energy policy. And you can Follow @RL_Miller on Twitter. He has recently founded Climate Hawks Vote, a superPAC devoted to electing climate-centric candidates. He has spoken at Netroots Nation (coal exports and climate), Netroots California (led environmental panel, 2010) and locally on issues such as Proposition 23, nuclear power, & fracking, and has appeared on radio shows including Lila Garrett’s KPFK. Miller’s work has been written up in the New York Times, Washington Post, Time, and Guardian (UK). He is also chair of California Democratic Party’s Environmental Caucus. Current interests, in all that spare time, include practicing law, keeping chickens, and – on rare occasions – sleeping.


Steve Bennett:
Steve Bennett serves on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, representing the citizens of District 1. He graduated in 1972 from Brown University with an Honors degree in economics. Before being elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2000, Steve was a teacher and high school administrator for 20 years at Nordhoff High school in Ojai. Steve served on the Ventura City Council from 1993 to 1997. He co-authored the Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources (SOAR) that has made Ventura County a national leader in land-use planning. SOAR slows urban sprawl by requiring a vote of the citizens before greenbelt areas outside of the cities can be rezoned for development. http://www.ventura.org/steve-bennett/biography

Don Price

Don Price is a professional engineer now retired from the Ventura County
Air Pollution Control District. A graduate of Purdue University, he
has over 30 years of experience in the control of air pollution and has
been following global climate change since 2007.

Extra credit or make up an absence for my students who attend and write about these events!

Save the date: Earth Day April 22, 2014 Earth Day at Ventura College.

Find us on Facebook!

In Recognition of Martin Luther King Jr

No school on Monday January 20, 2014 at Ventura College! Celebrate MLK’s birthday and honor him by being of service!

Note to current students: links to today’s readings and discussion materials embedded here to make it easier for us to prepare for class.

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From Martin Luther King’s “Drum Major Instinct” sermon, given on 4 February 1968:

Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.

You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.

You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.

imagesYou don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.

You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.

View original post 463 more words

Joan Didion’s “Holy Water”

PoseidonPasadenaP1This semester, my English 1A classes are going to tackle some tough environmental problems, with a focus on water.  We’ll also share what we’ve learned at an Earth Day event we’ll organize.  Water has been on my mind for a while now, and in 2013 I was commissioned by the City of Pasadena to write a poem about water and power which will be part of an art installation in 2014 (part of the poem is pictured). I’ve also been concerned about plastic in the ocean and following a lecture by Chris Jordan, I wrote on this topic here and here, as well as a paper for my degree in Ecopsychology.

In anticipation of where we’ll go and what we’ll learn this semester, here is Joan Didion’s celebrated essay “Holy Water” from her 1979 collection of essays, The White Album. I found it here as part of a special look at water called “Thirst” on PBS.

Some of us who live in arid parts of the world think about water with a reverence others might find excessive. The water I will draw tomorrow from my tap in Malibu is today crossing the Mojave Desert from the Colorado River, and I like to think about exactly where that water is. The water I will drink tonight in a restaurant in Hollywood is by now well down the Los Angeles Aqueduct from the Owens River, and I also think about exactly where that water is: I particularly like to imagine it as it cascades down the 45-degree stone steps that aerate Owens water after its airless passage through the mountain pipes and siphons.(1)

As it happens my own reverence for water has always taken the form of this constant meditation upon where the water is, of an obsessive interest not in the politics of water but in the waterworks themselves, in the movement of water through aqueducts and siphons and pumps and forebays and afterbays and weirs and drains, in plumbing on the grand scale. Continue reading

It Matters How We Say It

“I wrote the same, but in different words.”

I don’t know if this is a “true” story, or based on one, but the point about how we use our words, and how our words convey our thoughts and ideas is the truth.

How we convey our ideas, our message, is as important as the ideas themselves.

As writers, we have many choices. For me as a writer, I struggle and I revel in those choices. As a writing teaching, sharing those choices is both a challenge and a joy.

I’m not trying to change my students writing, change what they have to say, but to show them that there are other ways to express their ideas that will be more moving, more transformative for their audience…and for themselves.

What is wrong with this picture?

Actually there is nothing wrong with the picture–but there is a lot wrong with the text! What do you think this gallery is trying to say? How would YOU revise this text? Please comment and leave a link to your blog!

Only 15 days left to apply….  

Collector’s Choice 

Sylvia White Gallery   

15 of the galleries best collector’s

will jury this exhibition

A Celebration of Irish Literature & Sights in honor of St. Patrick’s Day

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! This guest post comes to you from John McNally pictured here with his wife, Sally and their daughter on Summer Solstice 2008. They visit Ireland often; in this photo they’re touching the Lia Fáil or Stone of Destiny on the Hill of Tara at which the High Kings were crowned.

A few years ago, Sally and John McNally gave a presentation about Ireland and its culture to my college composition and literature students that included a Reader’s Theater performance of John Millington Synge’s classic Irish tragedy, Riders to the Sea. Read the play Riders to the Sea; this study guide will help you see Synge’s brilliance and this post will tell you something about the traditional language.

To celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, and to help people appreciate the Irish people and culture, John put together a selection of Irish websites along with a brief narrative for anyone with an interest in Ireland or who may be planning a trip there. “These are my favorite places and activities,” writes John, “carefully selected and happily experienced as a result of a dozen visits to the Old Sod over the last three decades.”

John McNally’s Top 20 Places to Go in Ireland
or at least visit on the web!

Around Dublin

1) The National Museum of Archeology on Kildare Street, Dublin.   It’s free, located in central Dublin, and has artifacts from throughout Irelands history from stone age gold jewelry and mummified Bog People to the uniforms and weapons of the Irish Rebel leaders.  http://www.museum.ie/en/exhibition/irelands-gold-introduction.aspx

2) The National Library: Next door, it has with a superb exhibit on poet W. B. Yeats:  http://www.nli.ie/yeats/

3) Kilmainham Goal Tour is unsurpassed in telling the story of Ireland.  This former prison is preserved as a museum and is filled with history.  It has also been the site of several recent films. http://www.bing.com/reference/semhtml/Kilmainham_Gaol?fwd=1&src=abop&qpvt=kilmainham+gaol&q=kilmainham+gaol

4) Walking tour: the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl.  http://www.dublinpubcrawl.com/

5) Dublin Writers Museum offers an excellent one hour presentation. http://www.writersmuseum.com/

6) 1916 Rebellion Tour Another lively and informative walking tour http://1916rising.com/

7) Sinn Fein Bookshop: If you have further interest in Republican (Rebel) Ireland then visit the Sinn Fein Bookshop:   http://www.sinnfeinbookshop.com/catalog/index.php

8) Tourist Center on Suffolk Street. You may have noticed my personal interests lean towards history and literature so naturally my selections favor these enduring sites.  For a wider variety of activities visit the Tourist Center on Suffolk Street where you can find information on events, shows, and tours of all types.  http://www.visitdublin.com/seeanddo/TouristOffices/Detail.aspx?id=256&mid=2090

9) Grafton Street is a favorite with street entertainers and should not be missed.

10) Temple Bar is Dublin’s Cultural Quarter where you can find modern and traditional Irish music and art.  It’s also a handy place to stay because it’s in the center of the city so you can walk to nearly all other venues.   http://www.tascq.ie/

11) Hop-On Hop-Off Busses The best way to see central Dublin in a day or two and not worry about getting lost or paying for parking are the Hop-On Hop-Off Busses which stop at all the major attractions and are a tour in themselves.   http://www.dublinpass.ie/dublinpass/transport/default.asp?refID=

Outside of Dublin

12) The most significant attraction is Newgrange. These ancient Temples predate Egypt’s Pyramids and England’s Stonehenge.  http://newgrange.com/ Tours take small groups inside the Passage Tombs from this well run center: http://www.knowth.com/bru-na-boinne.htm

13) Brigit’s Garden is just the thing if you are a lover of Celtic Heritage and Mythology like ourselves.  http://www.galwaygarden.com/

14) Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is a living museum of rural Irish life.  http://www.group-trotter.net/ireland/places/bunratty/bunratty.html

15) Craggaunowen Nearby is my favorite pre-history site, Craggaunowen. http://www.craggaunowen.org/

16) Cliffs of Moher A virtual tour of the Cliffs of Moher shows you why you’d want to visit: http://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/TakeTheTour.aspx

17) Blarney Castle in Cork can be overcrowded with tourists but if you go anyway be sure to visit the Druid area in the nearby forest. http://www.blarneycastle.ie/

Northern Ireland

18) Black Taxi Tours are a good way to see Belfast. http://belfastcitytours.com/gallery.html

19) West Belfast is the Irish-Catholic side of the city and they offer their own tours: http://www.visitwestbelfast.com/tours.php

20) Dunluce Castle If you get up to the Antrim Coast, Dunluce Castle is unsurpassed with its rugged beauty.  http://www.travelsinireland.com/castle/dunluce.htm

Sin-e’   (That’s it)                                                                                        John McNally    March 2010

VC Students to Read in Artists Union Gallery Tonight 7:30pm

Students from Gwendolyn Alley’s English composition classes will read prose and poetry from their recently published class anthologies tonight, Tuesday Dec. 8 7:30 in  the Artists Union Gallery, 330 S. California St. Ventura California. The reading is free and all are welcome.

Pictured are students from Alley’s English 2 class at the conclusion of Eco-Fest which they organized. Christina Henderson drew the poster; an image with students and the poster graces the cover of their student publication.

Eco-Fest Success

Here are a few photos from Thursday’s successful Eco-Fest event at Ventura College organized by students in Gwendolyn Alley’s English 1A and English 2 classes.

Students had tables set up with information on growing your own food, reasons to ride bikes, a bicycle mechanic was on duty, and more.City of Ventura Environmental Services shared information about recycling, composting, worm bins and more. Kendra from VCCool encouraged people to join in climate change activism. Daniel and Jennfier Richman showed off and sold some of their handmade jewelry. Albert Hernandez dj’d the event with some help from his classmates (and his dad!)

Thanks to everyone for making the this wintry event a success!

VC Eco-Pirates Present Eco-Fest Dec. 3

Save Santa! The Ventura College Eco-Pirates Present:
Eco-Fest– A DIY Day for Action Thursday December 3, 2009 8:30am-1:30pm

Can’t go to the UN’s Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen this December?
Join the Eco-Pirates in Ventura College quad 4667 Telegraph Road
and learn how you can “Do It Yourself” to help preserve the planet and ourselves.
Keep the North Pole from melting!

On Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009 from 8:30am-1:30pm, Ventura College students from Gwendolyn Alley’s English composition classes will offer a free “Eco-Fest: A Do It Yourself Day for Action” which they have organized over the last few weeks of the semester. Student presentations encourage cycling, gardening, ocean rescue, and self-empowerment.  All are welcome to this free event.

Students encourage participants to ride bikes or take public transportation to the event. Student and local bike mechanics will be on-hand to show cyclists how to fix their own bikes and look over bikes to make sure they are in shape for commuting.  Students will also be sharing eight reasons to ride and information about local fun rides including the monthly themed First Friday ArtRides to galleries around downtown Ventura. The next ride, the Save Santa Ride, asks: what will Santa due if the North Pole melts? (details follow)

Another student group will offer information on how to grow a salad. They will have seeds and soil so participants can begin at the event. An additional student group is concerned about women’s empowerment. In the Fireside Lounge, students will curate a film festival on these themes. Other entertainment includes art, music, handmade crafts and eco-friendly gifts.

To encourage participation at the Eco-Fest, Starbucks is donating coffee to those who bring their own cups and Noah’s Bagels will provide bagels. A small donation is requested for cream cheese. From 11:30-1pm, Milano’s is catering healthy pasta and salads for a small donation; samples will be free.

More info: http://bikergogal.wordpress.com and http://artpredator.wordpress.com

What will Santa do if  the North Pole melts due to climate change?
Join us for a Save Santa Bike Ride Fri. Dec. 5
Meet 4:45pm Ventura College corner Day/Telegraph
5-6pm Ride to Artists Union Gallery, California St & the Promenade
6-8pm Ride around downtown Ventura to open galleries
Party 8-10pm CSUCI Gallery corner of Main & CA  (unconfirmed as of 11/18/09)
for music, drinks, veggie pasta & salad from Milano’sVC