Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

student-experience

Berklee Students Produce Second Yellow Dog Music Fest on Cape Cod

2_YDMF LOGO_Share copyIn coordination with the Office of Experiential Learning,  a crew of Berklee students helped produce the inaugural Yellow Dog Music Fest. The following post was written by Selina Meuross, one of the festival organizers. Read a post by fellow organizer Noah Gopen.

By Selina Meuross

I first heard about Yellow Dog Music Fest (YDMF) when a job opening for a social media coordinator became available in the summer of 2015. The festival was marketed as an all-day music beach event that featured seven talented Berklee bands. In addition, it was a benefit for The Barnstable Land Trust (BLT), a Cape Cod environmental organization. As much as I loved Boston, its crazy snowstorms made me miss the sun, beaches, and music festivals back home in Australia.

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Building America Street

It wasn’t until the four young boys from the Habitat house next door came sprinting on to the lawn like a makeshift football team that I realized the magnitude of what my colleagues and I were doing in New Orleans as part of Berklee’s trip with Habitat for Humanity.

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Reflections on New Orleans

The devastation New Orleans went through during the hurricane in itself is hard to wrap your mind around, but going there and see with your own eyes the work that is still needed is truly heartbreaking.

Often when disasters happen around the world you have a deep sense of not being able to help out more. So to be able to volunteer and together with my awesome colleagues – people I am happy to be able to now call my friends, was such a rewarding experience.

It was very apparent that the 8 of us are very different personalities, but just as apparent that it didn’t matter, but only made it even more inspiring and interesting to work with one another. No matter the task and whom you were working with it was all about teamwork and how to best get the job done.

As I’m writing this blog I was reading through the blogs written by my new friends, and can only nod in agreement. Agreeing that you might leave a small mark of accomplishments with the work we did on the houses while there, but you carry with you a huge bag of memories and impressions that forever will be with you. Friendships that forever has being formed. Enjoyed the vibrant culture of New Orleans with all the music that thankfully still happening there.

The heat exhaustion and stomach bug I caught while there are minor issues that will quickly fade away. But the memories, the friendships, the sense of accomplishments will forever stay with me, and I’m very thankful to have been chosen to be part of this project.

It’s been a week since we had our last day at the site, working on the two houses in New Orleans, and it has been 10 years Berklee’s Gracenote program has been going to New Orleans working with Habitat for Humanity helping in the aftermath of Katrina. However our work is not done there, they still need our help and I truly hope that Berklee will continue to send faculty and staff to work with and help the people of New Orleans.

student-experience

여름학기 오리엔테이션 학생 패널

이번 한주간은 다음 주에 시작하는 여름학기가 첫 학기인 입학생들과 부모님을 위한 오리엔테이션으로 학교가 바빴습니다. 다양한 학생 클럽들의 운영을 돕고 관리하는 Laurel의 소개로 학생 경험을 나누는 학생 패널로 부모님과 면담을 하게 되었습니다.

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student-experience

The Befores and the Afters

The before and after is such a cliche blog post that I figured I had to do it. It’s been 3 days since I’ve been back from New Orleans, volunteering with Gracenotes and Habitat for Humanity. Besides from the heat rash, and bizarre tan lines, life has resumed as usual and I’m back in the office for the summer semester check-in.

However, since I’ve been back, I have been overwhelmed and touched by how many people have come up to me to ask me how my trip was. I suppose that they saw my picture at Brass Day (I hope it was a good one!). The best type of people to approach me, however, are the ones who previously went on the trip. They are all so eager and genuinely interested in hearing how it went and now that I’ve experienced it myself, I can see why they would want to know if my trip was as fulfilling as theirs, and if I had the same amazing time as they did. This is the kind of trip that sticks with you, the kind of experience that you want to share with others.

So the obvious “before and after” would be the houses that we worked on. As you can see below, before we arrived the exterior of the house was very bare. When we left, we left these people’s homes with with a brand new stained front porch, and a shiny new fence, and a beautiful front yard, complete with grass, a sidewalk and a driveway. It’s amazing what just four days can do.

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However, when you put this particular “before and after” alongside the bigger picture of New Orleans before and after Katrina, it can seem like such a small drop in the ocean. So much work has gone into rebuilding the city over the past 11 years, but what not everyone realizes is that there is so much more work still to be done. We took a drive through the Lower 9th Ward on a sunny happy day and drove past rolling fields of green grass. At first glance, it seems like a tranquil, quiet, rural area, but then you realize that all of these empty grassy plots actually used to be people’s homes, and the reason that it is so quiet is that not many of them have returned.

Thousands of people’s houses were completely wiped out, and because they didn’t have the proper flood insurance, they were never able to rebuild their homes.

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Even a simple search on Googlemaps can show you how desolate this area still is

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As a result, once you get out past the touristy Bourbon and Frenchman St, New Orleans is a completely changed city that may never bounce back. Even worse, the situation in New Orleans has gotten lost in the news. You don’t hear about the people who are still struggling to make life work, in fact you don’t even hear about the massive oil spill right off the coast.

In a world where information is blasted at you 24/7, it is so important to remember that even if something is dropped from the news, it doesn’t mean it isn’t still happening. I feel so lucky to have had my eyes opened in this way, and I really hope that we can continue to promote this cause.  #berkleenola

 

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