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Periclean Scholars 2016
We're a group of students attending Elon University who are part of the Periclean Program, a unique experience that draws together socially-engaged, globally-minded young individuals to learn about a developing country, partner with its citizens, and design a sustainable project at the end of our three years. Check our blog for updates on our mission!
What Actually Makes Things Go Viral Will Blow Your Mind. (Hint: It's Not Headlines Like This.)




By now it’s fairly well known that we care a lot about headlines here at Upworthy. We write at least 25 of them for each post. We test them rigorously. Sometimes, we even make up a word to catch your eye.

Why? Because for us, headlines are an important means to an even more important end:


So this morning one of my children was delivered to school in a tiny cardboard box on the back of a motorbike. Ellen thought it was pizza.

Truly unbelievable. 

“I do think this is one of the blessings and curses of social media: To fit in, you have to sound like a person, not an institution. And people can be so much more annoying than institutions. And also so much more interesting. I think that’s the trade-off.”

- And more honest insights on making “important civic issues” go viral, via Upworthy Co-Founder Eli Pariser Explains What Upworthy’s Doing And Why It Annoys Me So Much - On The Media (via bestpracticesfororgs)
Honduran Food Fiesta

On Monday November 18th, we held a Honduran Food Fiesta, and here’s how!

First our group was thinking of doing a cliché Moseley table bake sale, but with some suggestions from the class this idea evolved. Though the Honduran Food Fiesta took a lot more planning than the bake sale would have, it was immensely better because it raised awareness of the Periclean program, and of Honduras.

To begin, we went to the international grocery store to buy ingredients (a few other things were picked up at Dollar General and Lowe’s Foods). The international grocery store was amazing, there was such a vast selection, and there was even a pile of live crabs in the seafood section. We mostly followed the recipes from Suyapa, a woman native to Honduras who had previously taught us how to prepare Honduran food. We bought plantains, chicken, chayotes, carrots, onions, rice, eggs, and other spices and little things necessary for the recipes we were hoping to complete.

We came together the night before and began preparation of some of the food, knowing that this would be a big undertaking and the sooner we began preparing for it, the better.  We started cutting plantains, chayotes, and the carrots. After all the plantains were cut we began frying them, and the kitchen became a sauna. We also prepared buñelos beforehand, hoping that we were doing it right because we found this recipe on our own.

The next day after class let out at 3:20, everything got crazy. We were running around from the Oaks and back to Moseley trying to think of every little detail. We began cooking, only to find out that the burners wouldn’t turn on, and seemed to run into many similar obstacles throughout the rest of the preparation. We began making the rice at 4:45, and got extremely stressed once we realized that our food was not going to be completely ready by the time we finished preparing. We were vigorously chopping onions, cutting chicken, and throwing the recipes together. The vegetables just simply refused to cook, and we were doing everything we could to get all of our dishes (chicken and rice, the rice by itself, plantain chips, and the vegetables together. Luckily the desserts (brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and buñelos were already done, I don’t know how we could have juggled those too. Finally around 5:10, ten minutes after our event had officially begun, all of the rice was put out, music was turned on, and a PowerPoint of Honduras played in the background.

Many of our first customers were our fellow Pericleans; we felt so fortunate to have classmates that are willing to support our event and our overall program.  In the initial half hour of the Fiesta, we discovered how helpful it was to have a Phoenix card reader.  This allowed people to use Phoenix cash to pay for the meal; seldom do college students carry a lot of cash on them on a regular Monday, so this accessory added an extra convenience factor.  Another decision we made turned out to be a very good one: making vegetarian rice and rice with chicken in it.  Many of the people who came to our event were concerned with what had meat in it.  Having a no meat option increased the number of potential students this event appeals to, which means that more people were able to come.

The most popular dishes we made were the rice dish and the desserts.  Around 6:30 we found ourselves refilling the tins filled with rice and getting more vegetables to add.  The traditional Honduran desserts were also a hit.  They are somewhat simple: fried dough covered in powered sugar, but they were a great way to end the meal and added an aspect of Honduras’s culture.  The music was also very popular among the people that came.  Many Spanish-speaking students found themselves singing along to the music playing in the background of our informational PowerPoint.  It was great to see people having fun while also enjoying learning about the country of Honduras.

After the peak around 7, we started cleaning up our supplies around 7:30.  At the end, we didn’t have any desserts left and only had three boxes of juice left over.  The plantain chips were also scarce.  When comparing this to the amount of food we transported to the kitchen from the Oaks, it could be said that the event was a success.  We ended up making around $100 in cash and $50 in Phoenix cash.  Our group is excited to present these funds to the leaders of the Hogares Sanos group to use however they see fit.  We decided to donate the money to this cause because the amount was not significant enough to be influential in our class fund, but it is enough for the group to do something fun with the women.


Working on our Mission Statement

The Periclean class of 2016 has decided on our mission statement. It was a process but with some collaboration it ended up working out very smoothly. To begin with we decided on a small committee to lead the mission statement writing, that committee was composed of Drew and I. To begin with Drew and I sat down and talked about all the things that we thought were important to include in our mission statement. The list ended up being this…

Main Goals

  • Lasting Sustainable Change
  • -Build partnering relationships with each other, Honduran people, (local community?)
  • -Advocacy (either Honduran people) (or for the issue that we chose to focus on)
  • -Create the lasting sustainable change
  • -Inspire other people to be interested in service/ civil engagement…. involvement in the future

We then came up with our preliminary mission statement, which included the list that we had made. We presented it to the class and let them ask questions. After answering questions and comments we asked the class to partner up and write down what they would like to change or have included in the mission statement. The list that we came up with from all of their suggestions was this….

  • -Pan Periclean
  • -Adding whom we are going to partner with
  • -Adding what our field of focus is
  • -Interpersonal growth

We took our classmates ideas into consideration and then we reworded and did some finial changes on our mission statement and presented it to the class again. We had some discussion about if we wanted to include our in our mission statement a commitment to the local community. In the end we decide that if community involvement becomes a bigger part of out class in the future we will add it to our mission statement. We also talked about how once we decide our place of focus and our project then we will change our mission statement to reflect our goals in that community and project. Then we finished with some slight rewording.

Our final mission statement as of Fall 2013 stands as such-

Our mission as the Periclean Scholars class of 2016 is to make a positive, lasting and sustainable change in the Honduran community that we choose to take part in. By becoming advocates for and partners with a Honduran community as well as continuing to participate in our field of focus, we will inspire others to become involved in creating positive change and furthering the Periclean Scholars program in the future.


Hogares Sanos and the Class of 2016: Forging New Connections

Last Friday, members of the Class of 2016 had the opportunity to meet the Latina women of the Burlington community for an afternoon of Mexican cuisine, storytelling, and laying the groundwork for profound, cross-cultural relationships.   As anticipation builds for the 2016’s to implement their plans to sustain the legacy project of the Class of 2013, Hogares Sanos, this lunch served as the springboard for a world of opportunities and the foundation of what we hope will become a strong, lasting connection.  Keeping in mind the fundamental roles of collaboration, trust, and continuity in this pursuit to sustain—and even evolve—the Hogares Sanos program, our Class will be able to move forward from this experience, taking what we have learned to nourish the relationship that has been created between the Periclean Scholars and the Burlington community.

When we arrived at Mex-Am, we were able to meet Dr. Nienhaus, the mentor for the Class of 2013, along with his wife, Blanca.  Professor Post also joined us at the restaurant, in addition to a representative from Wake Forest who is in the midst of carrying out research regarding immigration and public health.   With such a diversity of attendees at the lunch, it was gratifying to know that there were members of the outside community who showed an express interest in both the Periclean Scholars program and the focal groups to which this program has extended its efforts.

Having met some of the guests at our lunch, we sat ourselves among the women and their children.  The room was alive with conversation as we met the women’s families, exchanged personal histories, and shared our love for food.  All of the women we met were from Mexico; nevertheless, each of their stories, experiences, and perspectives showed a clear richness and diversity that is intrinsic to this small community with which we intend to work over the coming years.   By the end of the lunch, simply talking to the women and having the chance to meet their families hugely amplified our eagerness to take on this project and get to know them better through Hogares Sanos.  Especially after hearing the women’s input on authentic Mexican cooking, we look forward to hopefully getting the chance to try some of their favorite recipes!

As one of the first of many cross-cultural connections we will make as Pericleans, this first meeting with the women of Hogares Sanos exemplified the integral part that personal interaction and cultural awareness fulfills in the process of civic engagement.  Despite any cultural or language barriers that may have existed between the students and the women at the beginning of the meeting, it was clear that through forging positive, holistic, and authentic connections, we began to transcend these barriers.   As we move forward in this project with new perspectives and a stronger sense of enthusiasm, the 2016’s must keep in mind not only the goals and mission of our predecessors, but also the role that we have in moving this program towards new horizons for future sustainability.  What an honor it is to be able to have the chance to fill this role and stand on the shoulders of the members of the Class of 2013!

Also, a special thanks to Dr. Nienhaus, Blanca, Professor Post, our special representative from Wake Forest and all of the women for joining us and sharing your wisdom! ¡Mil gracias!

Hogares Sanos Lunch