UND Center for Community Engagement

Archive for 2013|Yearly archive page

Tiffani’s Post: Day #5

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2013 at 8:41 am

Today was the final day on our trip. When we woke up we got to go over to a bed and breakfast and got to have some lefse with our breakfast. Next we went over to the historical school building. The building is now under construction. There is a small gift shop inside that all of the money made from it goes to the renovations. I feel that this building is the main asset to the town since it brings them all together for a common cause. We got to do some service by helping clean and organize at the schoolhouse. We were served lunch and got to speak with some community members before we left to head back home.

Minori’s Post: Day #5

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2013 at 8:40 am

The last day was today, and we mainly helped in Buffalo. We helped to clean up the old high school and meet up with people in the town for lunch. Cleaning up the old high school is not easy because it was closed for 40 years and they just started using it again. The people cleaning and reconstructing are all volunteers. So, people in the town get together and do it. The building is open sometimes with a gift shop and a dining room. It is so pretty and the things for the gift shop are from donations from people, and the money goes toward the building, cleaning, and reconstruction. I didn’t know that Buffalo was a city of historic preservation commission. They are good at fund-raising. It is not easy to do, but community members get together with ideas, and they are good at. I really liked that people are moving on with their own ideas, and people are so passionate.

Lindsay’s Post: Day #5

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2013 at 8:39 am

Buffalo, ND has mostly internal connections.  They don’t have any big factories or plants that employ most of their town like some other small towns do.  They work a lot on just their community and restoring the history of it.

The community life is one where everyone helps out.  It’s more service than networks, but I suppose one could see the network as the community itself.  They help the companies in the community out when they are in trouble and that creates their internal network.

Service plays a big role in this town.  Everyone seems to help out and not just in one part of the community but in multiple.  That is what it takes to make all the things happen in a small town with not too many people and most if not all the positions are volunteer.  We visited an old school house that is being restored and made into a possible place for events such as wedding receptions.  Right now they have restored the main level into a place where people can bring things they no longer use and they sell it to help pay for the costs of the building.  The people in the town have volunteered much of their own time to make this historic building usable so it can be remembered.

This town doesn’t have much for capital other than it is sort of close to the interstate, but Tower City gets most of the business from that.  I believe Buffalo, with all the hard work and willing people, could do a lot more if it was closer to the interstate.  They would be able to create a lot of revenue and interest off of it.

Nicole’s Post: Day #5

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2013 at 8:38 am

Our journey concluded in Buffalo, where we helped clean the old school that is being turned into a community center. Yesterday, I was a little skeptical about Buffalo and Tower City but after working today, I realized it is unfair to even compare the two since they are so different. Buffalo has hope for its future and it was great seeing how many members showed up to help today.

This trip was awesome and we have Anna and Kiley to thank for its planning and happening. We also need to thank the individuals that took time out of their days to show us around, and the people who let us stay in their homes. I can’t believe how much we saw and learned in just five days. This really was a great opportunity.

Tiffani’s Post: Day #4

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2013 at 8:24 am

Today we spent the morning in Bismarck. First we went to the office of rural development at the USDA and spoke with Jasper Schneider. He gave us a good outlook on what their office does. We then went over to the Capitol building and were able to sit in at the house floor meetings. We each got to sit with representatives from the districts we have been visiting. I sat with Representative Stanford. He explained how everything works and what he does while in session.

Then we were off to Tower City where we got a quick tour of the town and got to go into the Tower Travel Center. I think that the connections here could use some help with having a more positive outlook on life here. If these connections were stronger I feel that this community would be a lot stronger and get a lot more done. Buffalo on the other hand seems to be quite a bit more positive when talking about their life in a small town. Nikki Zinke is a local woman who has started a free newspaper called the Independent, which is something that is linking the communities together.

As far as service goes we did not really hear much about that. The main asset that Tower City has is the Tower Travel Center; you can get anything you would find at any convenience store here. There is also an attached restaurant with a full menu. I feel that this is what brings people off the interstate and into the town. While at dinner we got to talk with some of the townspeople. They had very different views on things here in town. Some thought that the small class sizes are a bad thing while others love the one-on-one attention their children get.

Lindsay’s Post: Day #4

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2013 at 5:36 pm

The first place we stopped today was in Bismarck, ND.  We met with Jasper Schneider from the USDA and I learned a lot about the work they do around North Dakota.  They can pretty much fund anything with the few exceptions of pools and bars. This is rare for this state as others aren’t that flexible and also pretty much every town in North Dakota is rural by standards.

I was able to sit with Joan Heckaman in the Senate floor meeting.  There were mostly amendments to bills that have already been brought up.  This was interesting because most of it was over my head, which I learned is normal for even new senators because these bills have been in the legislature for many years.

We then went to Tower City where we ate at the Tower Travel Center right off of I-94.  Here we learned the networks they have are basically the interstate.  They rely a lot on the travel center to bring in customers traveling.

The networks could be used more to their advantage, but they may not advertise or have as many enticing deals as other interstate towns may have.  They might be able to have better business and therefore more money coming into the town if they were able to do this.

Nikki Zinke is the editor of “Independent” newspaper, which serves many small towns around Tower City.  This helps because as she said instead of people knowing only what’s going on in their town, they can also travel to other towns that are having events and therefore more people are involved.  This is a free newspaper and its purpose is to connect more than just one or two towns.

One of the community members said one of their assets was their 4-H club.  It teaches kids leadership roles and offers them something to do to keep them busy.  One lady said their school was not as good or as big of an asset as some of the other towns we visited, but that was not the consensus of all the town members.  Others said it was a great school system because it was smaller and the children had more one-on-one time with the teachers as opposed to just blending in.

Minori’s Post: Day #4

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2013 at 5:32 pm

In the USDA office, we could see Jasper Schneider. He told us a lot of things that they are doing. They are mainly doing utilities including internet. He says they are doing everything except building bars, casinos, roads, and swimming pools. It was really interesting to hear because they are building hospitals, and still they cannot build swimming pools for therapy. It was really exciting to listen to his story. We went to the Capitol to talk with representatives, and we could sit in on a session with them. It was a great experience to listen to the discussions for new laws and changing laws a little bit.

After, we came to Tower City to see people in this community. The Tower travel center was a place to shop in Tower City. It is a good place to come and talk because they have a restaurant in it. They also include a bakery. People have to go out shopping, but here was good place. We also could see the editor of the Independent, a local news paper. She had really interesting perspectives also. Education is a good opportunity here, with individual attention and spending time for each subject academically with the teacher. I kind of understand it because I have experienced small classes and big classes. In small classes, I was really close with the teacher and I could get higher grades than before. I also could go deeper in each subject. So, I liked small school with communities included education. They were welcoming to us also and talked with us a lot about them and their perspectives.

Nicole’s Post: Day #4

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Today was a busy day. We left Towner early to get to Bismark. As you probably can guess,  Bismark is huge so we focused on the North Dakota section of the United States Department of Agriculture and the capitol building. The Capitol building has a lot of networks, both internally and externally. The people who work there receive their information from outside sources and the districts they represent. Inside the building, I learned that representatives are constantly emailing back and forth and talking and meeting in sessions several times a day. The networks for this are incredibly important for not only Bismark, but for all the communities (rural and urban) in North Dakota. This is where the “magic” happens and that determines the changes and progression of North Dakota. The representatives are an asset in their own right because they are the voice of their district.

We also went to Tower City and Buffalo which are six miles apart from each other. The Tower Travel Center was very accommodating to our needs and it seems like that is the focal social point of the two towns. It is an asset because it is close to the interstate. They also publish a newspaper and are working on a new community center.

Lindsay’s Post: Day #3

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2013 at 5:18 pm

I learned Towner, ND has some connections on the inside and the out.  The forestry we visited was run by NDSU.   The college funds the forestry so they are able to sell the trees for cheap because they don’t need the profit.  The dairy farm produces all their milk but gets food for their cows from outside the town and also sells their milk outside the town.  In Fort Totten, the community college has many connections with the government.  They receive a lot of funding from them and in the tribe itself in order to make it better.

The community is centered on the agriculture.  The forestry and the dairy farm are strong supports for the community.  Other than that, they don’t have a lot other than their church, courthouse, and as in the other communities a senior center.

The red hat ladies hold the get togethers for the older ladies and sponsor groups like ours coming in to the town and making us feel welcome.  The faculty there mostly does the service at the college in Fort Totten.  They are the ones trying to get everything going not just for the students but also for the community.  They want to make sure everyone knows this is a place to come.

The red hat ladies were really the only group of people we were exposed to that did service around the community.  I’m sure there are others as I got the feeling this is a very open community and they all help each other out when someone asks.

The dairy farm and the forestry are probably the two biggest assets.  The forestry turns out trees to a lot of different communities, and the dairy farm provides milk and dairy products to further communities.

Minori’s Post: Day #3

In Uncategorized on March 13, 2013 at 9:01 pm

At the community college in Fort Totten, faculties are really trying hard to open communities for their classes and facilities. It was much different than what we saw yesterday. They are open auditorium to public for free movies and they open student union for events. The college is trying to get four year education even it is a community college. Students there were mostly single mother or elderly. I could see day care in the College. So, it would be nice chance to open up to community to people in Fort Totten. Most of tribes there are students or working there. Still it is small community but I think they are trying to moving on.

Towner is pretty awesome town. When we arrived here, people are really welcoming us and trying to know us a lot. They are so warm and nice. We went to forest service after lunch. I was amazed that one lady worked there until she dies. It would be about 50 years… I think. They hire 30-50 seasonal workers. Also, we went to dairy farm, and it was really fun. We looked around of baby cows and pregnant cows. We also could experience milking cows. The milk goes to down to Towner to make cheese and others use. We could see a lot of service in the town. Even it is small town, I could see a lot of businesses. I didn’t actually see, but I could know from the mat for meal. There are 40 ish businesses in the town. There are printing place, court house, bar, painting, and so on. Although town is mostly elderly people in the town, they are really nice to talk and having dinner with us at community center. It was really fun time. I guess all of businesses, people who knows a lot about early history of town, everything could be assets I felt.