Articles tagged as: the Bush School

February 25, 2013

Texas A&M Students To Celebrate Wall-Raising Saturday for Habitat “Bush House”

Students from the Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University, along with Habitat for Humanity supporters, will hold a wall-raising ceremony Saturday (March 2) for a house that will be built in honor of President George H.W. and Mrs. Barbara Bush.

The ceremony is set for 8 a.m. in Bryan’s Faith Subdivision, located at the intersection of East Martin Luther King Drive and Military Drive.

Over the past year, students led a fund-raising effort with the help of Bush School Dean Andrew Card to raise the necessary $40,000 to sponsor the Bush House. Student leaders said that the fund-raising process involved sending out letters and making phone calls to more than 150 people, including former students, faculty, staff, and supporters of President Bush and of Habitat for Humanity.

Additionally, Bush School students hosted fund-raisers such as a “trivia night” and kickball tournament and made a final push by reaching out to family, friends, and into their own pockets during the last few weeks of fund-raising. To date, the students have raised over $42,000 for Habitat for Humanity, with the majority of donations coming in since November. Since the “Bush House” will cost approximately $70,000 to build, supporters can continue to donate to Habitat for Humanity to honor President Bush, organizers note.

Andrew and Stephanie Ybarra with children Andrew Jr. Cassidy, Adam, Janie, and Lilianna

Andrew and Stephanie Ybarra with children Andrew Jr. Cassidy, Adam, Janie, and Lilianna

The house is one of 24 new, energy-efficient homes going up in the Faith Subdivision. The five-bedroom house will be presented to Andrew and Stephanie Ybarra and their five children on May 11, one day after the current Bush School second-year students graduate. Volunteers, including several Bush School students, will help build the home each Saturday between the wall-raising and the home dedication.

Students said they hope this house will not only serve as a lasting tribute to President Bush long after they graduate but will also continue to connect Bush School students to the community in which they live. The Bush School engages in numerous volunteer activities each year, but this project is unique in that it is long-lasting and the philanthropy was student-led, organizers emphasize.

For additional information on the project, please contact volassistant@habitatbcs.org

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Media contact: Tom Hughes, News & Information Services, at (979) 862-4001

October 29, 2012

Bush School Students Volunteer To “Shadow” Board Members Of Nonprofits

Bush School logo

The Bush School is a graduate program at Texas A&M University for students who are dedicated to public service.

In increasingly complicated economic and political environments, nonprofit organizations can use all the help they can get. One valuable source of help in Bryan-College Station is the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where volunteers from the School’s Public Service Organization (PSO) sign up annually to serve as “shadow” board members on various nonprofit boards of directors.

President George H.W. Bush, the School’s namesake, devoted his life to public service and called for Americans to “get off the bench and get into the game” by getting involved in their government and communities. Rather than sitting on the proverbial sidelines, Bush School students actively participate in a variety of service projects. The PSO shadow board program is one way they are giving back and starting their lifetime of public service.

This year, seven second-year master’s students from the Bush School are serving on four nonprofit boards: the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Keep Brazos Beautiful, and the Brazos Valley United Way. Although they do not vote, these students are considered full members; attend all meetings; and are given full access to board minutes, financials, and other relevant documents.

“Understanding how a board of directors operates can equip me to be a more effective employee and, ultimately, a more faithful public servant,” PSO president and second-year student, Grace Norman, said. Norman currently serves as a shadow board member on the BCS Chamber of Commerce board. “I feel it’s imperative to understand the governing body of a nonprofit and how it sets the tone and culture of the organization.”

The program is mutually beneficial; students supplement coursework with hands-on experience in a working nonprofit, while the organizations benefit from the students’ different perspectives and classroom knowledge. The Bush School’s Master of Public Service and Administration (MPSA) program offers relevant courses in fundraising, management, and leadership, which prepare students to participate as shadow board members.

“The shadow board program has given me the opportunity to see what I’ve learned in class actually being utilized in a nonprofit,” second-year student Reid Squires said. Squires’ studies focus on nonprofit management, and he currently serves as a shadow board member for the Convention and Visitors Bureau. He was interested in serving on the Bureau’s board because he was initially unfamiliar with the type of work they do.  “Though my experience as a shadow board member has just started, I hope to be able to contribute to the organization based on what I have learned from the Bush School,” Squires said.

Students not enrolled in the nonprofit degree program also participate as shadow board members. This year, second-year Master’s Program in International Affairs student Bain Craddock signed up for the program.  “As international affairs students, we tend to focus on public service in the form of national defense; but it’s also interesting to see domestic problems being solved,” says Craddock.  He currently serves on the Brazos Valley United Way Board of Directors. “I want to know what the United Way does daily, how they do it, and what the level of effectiveness is.”

Although students from the Bush School also work with local nonprofits as interns, volunteers, and advisors, the PSO shadow board program is unique in that the students get an inside look at the nonprofits and become fully engaged in the organizations’ strategic planning; current events; and, most importantly, mission.

This program prepares students for a life in public service by giving them the tools and experience needed to serve as a volunteer or board member after graduation. Even if they choose a career path outside the nonprofit sector, the shadow board experience encourages them to remain active and involved in their communities.

“What students get out of this experience is a peak behind the curtain and a sense of who these nonprofits are,” PSO adviser and Brazos Valley United Way board president, Dr. William Brown, said. “Students get to learn about what is useful, how decisions are made, and what works and doesn’t work in nonprofits from a variety of perspectives.”

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Media contact: Krista Smith, Communications Coordinator, (979) 845-4645

April 30, 2012

Women Key To World Peace, Says Texas A&M Prof, Co-author Of New “Sex and World Peace” Book

Women — more specifically the treatment of women — are key to world peace, contends a Texas A&M University professor who has studied and written extensively about the subject, most recently co-authoring a scholarly but tantalizing titled book: Sex and World Peace.

The book’s underlying thesis is that if the systematic insecurity of half the world’s population were to be reduced, the insecurity of the nations of the world would be significantly diminished. To quote the authors: “The security of women would in time reduce conflict in the international system and literally become the basis of greater security for the nations of the world.”

Valerie M. Hudson

Valerie M. Hudson

Prof. Valerie M. Hudson, a political scientist who holds the prestigious George H. W. Bush Chair at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service, wrote Sex and World Peace in collaboration with three other professors whose fields of expertise range from psychology to geography, political science and international studies.

Her co-authors are Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, professor emeritus of psychology, and Chad E. Emmett, associate professor of geography, both of Brigham Young University, and Mary Caprioli, associate professor and head of the Department of Political Science and director of international studies at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The 289-page book was published by the Columbia University Press.

Sex and World Peace is far from Hudson’s first venture into writing about the sexes in national and international contexts. Earlier in her scholarly career, she developed nation-by-nation data on women and children around the world that triggered both academic and public policy interest. She also co-authored a book titled Bare Branches: Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population, which received major media attention and won two national book awards. Those and other studies and writings prompted Foreign Policy to name her one of the “Top 100 Thinkers of 2009.”  The highly regarded Washington-based publication recently published two articles written by Hudson that relate to the central topic of Sex and World Peace

In the concluding “Taking Wings” chapter of Sex and World Peace, Hudson and her co-authors use a Bahá’ í Faith quotation to underscore their man-woman equality thesis: “The world of humanity is possessed of two wings; the male and the female. So long as those two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly. Until womankind reaches the same degree as man, until she enjoys the same arena of activity, extraordinary attainment of humanity will not be realized; humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real attainment. When the two wings . . .  become equivalent in strength, enjoying the same prerogatives, the flight of man will be exceedingly lofty and extraordinary.”

Hudson and her colleagues build on the bird analogy, noting that when a bird’s wing has been injured or broken through violence, the bird will not be able to fly.

“If the women have never had the opportunity to experience a true ‘peacetime’ in their lives, the lives of not only women but also men and children will be crippled and unable to reach their full potential,” they point out.

“Our research confirms the assertion of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that ‘the subjugation of women is a direct threat to the security of the United States’,” the authors add.

They contend this is “not a zero-sum game” being played between men and women in which if women are elevated, then men are debased.

“We were meant to win together,” they emphasize.

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Media contact: Lane Stephenson, News & Information Services at (979) 845-4662

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