THRIVE convo series concludes with lively discussion

Posted on May 10, 2012

The Erskine Building

A series of THRIVE convocations centered around Erskine President Dr. David Norman’s “Presidential Initiative for Human Restoration” concluded April 26 with a session in which students heard from the president and contributed to an impassioned discussion that incorporated the first officially sanctioned live tweeting during an Erskine convocation.

“You have conversations of enduring consequence while you are at Erskine,” Norman told the students, as he stressed the need to think and talk about “why and what is worth doing, not just how to do things.”

Demonstrating his meaning with gestures, the president advised students to “learn to study like this”— hands open, looking upward —“not just like this”—looking down into a book.

Several students were among the key participants in the conversation.

Daniel Prohaska, a sophomore from Moncks Corner, talked about his experience at a social entrepreneurship retreat in Hendersonville, N.C., sponsored by the Sullivan Foundation.

The retreat “introduced young, inexperienced people to individuals who have already gone into the world and started some form of ‘social entrepreneurship’ to make a difference in someone’s community,” he said.

Sophomore Hannah Collins of Fountain Inn, who also attended the Sullivan Foundation retreat, spoke about her realization that she wanted to become a social entrepreneur.

Daniel Prohaska, left, and Hannah Collins work on a project at the Sullivan Foundation retreat.

Describing herself as someone who asks “what if,” she said she envisions a community center that would encourage interaction between college students and year-round residents of Due West, strengthening bonds of community and offering benefits to both groups.

“Ideas like the community center are part of the ‘Year of Listening and Learning’ and will help the Erskine community determine the best course of action to take in the future as more plans are made to implement Dr. Norman’s vision,” Prohaska said.

Another participant in the THRIVE conversation was Jeron Crawford, a sophomore from Gastonia, N.C., who will be attending a social entrepreneurship course sponsored by the Sullivan Foundation this summer in Costa Rica.

Juniors Schadell Brooks of Belmont, N.C., and Morgan Allison of Pelzer worked with the Erskine administration to arrange for officially sanctioned and encouraged live tweeting during the final THRIVE convocation of the semester.

From left, Bryson Bottini, Samantha McCurry, Professor of Education Dr. Maggie Emery and Jeron Crawford work together at the retreat. In addition to those pictured, Christine Dumouchel and Vice President for Communications Cliff Smith were part of the Erskine contingent at the retreat.

“I noticed that students were tweeting their thoughts and comments during the previous convo,” Brooks said. “They were asking good questions and commenting on Dr. Norman’s address.”

She thought advertising and encouraging tweeting during convo “could create great energy and really encourage students to continue the conversation.”

Allison “stepped in and helped make the posters for it,” Brooks said, and together they spread the word among students.

Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Brad Parker served as moderator for the discussion.

Other convocations in the THRIVE series, designed to expand the growing campus conversation regarding Norman’s focus on service, restoration and flourishing, included an address by the president April 12 and a visit from New York Times columnist David Bornstein April 19. Other sessions have been conducted with faculty members.