Spinning on the Axis with Carl Hobert

Stephani Spindel, Editor

ODA is pleased to have welcomed Mr. Carl Hobert back to campus for two days of seminars with sophomores and seniors. The program, Axis of Hope, was developed by Hobert in the hopes of inspiring leadership and critical thinking in young people in the context of global issues, past and present.

On Thursday, the seniors discussed the complexities of Mexican immigration to the United States. Students used personal experience to drive the discussion. Also, each student had to take on the role of an assigned individual. The grade was split up into the six following groups: Mexican Immigrant, Border State Representative, Mexican Government, Tax Payer, Border Patrol, Unskilled Labor Worker. In three rounds of debates the students were asked to reach consensus on three issues, education, citizenship, and economy.

When asked what she liked about Axis of Hope, senior Victoria Williams said “I liked how Mr. Hobert made the whole process more interesting by incorporating different activities that we could all learn from and relate to.”

Mr. Sommers brought Axis of Hope to Out-of-Door three years ago, “hoping to engage students in a new way of learning by forcing them to see all sides of a complex issue.” When asked why he thought Axis was an important addition to ODA he said, ” I don’t think the learning process should be limited to learning and regurgitating facts,” but rather, “a self exploration and an opportunity to see all sides of the truth.” He also added that he thinks it is important to have, “an opportunity to have one day to really get depth on an issue, rather than only seeing a superficial overview.”

ODA sophomores were also able to take part in the process and learn from Mr. Hobert on Friday, when they discussed the modern day issues facing citizens of Rwanda following the Rwandan genocide. The students were told to read basic background information prior to the event, and were assigned into separate groups to debate what would be a fair compromise regarding land-ownership for a group of citizens living in Rwanda after the war. “It was a great experience,” said an enthusiastic sophomore, Jimmy Kuebler.

Once the program came to an end, both seniors and sophomores drafted a 250 word document proposing resolutions for the problems they discussed. Mr. Hobert then sent the documents to Republican Presidential Nominee, Mitt Romney, Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, and President Barack Obama in hopes of inspiring change on a more global scale.

In his desire to keep interest in global issues alive, Mr. Hobert plans on working with Mr. Sommers to plan a trip to Rwanda with a group of ODA students next summer.