Happy World Earth Day from AIB!
Today we are doing our share for this important day through joining forces with a non-government run gardening project called Cologne Neuland. Cologne Neuland was founded in 2011 to support education, environmental protection and social engagement. Basically, it is one huge garden, where the community and participants can use the space to grow food, spend time and come together. The area was left to fallow, and Cologne Neuland can use it until the city makes further plans for it.
As long as people take part in the project by looking after the boxes and helping the community, they are allowed to take whatever they want from the public planter boxes and enjoy some delicious veggies. But it's more than just vegetables! There is even an arrangement of bee hives that is being cared for.
Cologne Neuland is a trendsetting project, showing that even in a big city such as Cologne, nature can be right around the corner! It brings the community together and gives the area, which has not been used between 2008 and 2011, a GOOD purpose again.
We, the students from AIB, built our own community planter box in Cologne Neuland this week. It was great participating in the project, learning about how the association works and how they manage everything.
We can't wait to see what's going to grow in our planter box! We wish all the best to Cologne Neuland, silently hoping that the city will not use the area any time soon.
More under: NEULAND
We say Dankeschön!
This is a big thanks to all students, faculty and staff who signed up for the Charity Weekend: The International Big Event and /or the Bonn Marathon!
Our Marathon Runners deserved some rest after crossing the finish line, they were fast!
And guess who came out fastest: do you recognize her?
Our partner in South Sudan, the Marol Academy appreciates your effort very much: the money that you guys helped to raise will go into the fund to construct a new large 3-room classroom block, which is now built up and likely to be completed within another month. This new building, once completed, will be used for secondary school this academic year.
And what would the Bonners have done without your great help for the International Big Event: a "green" playground was built, school yards cleaned and painted and you did so much more. Check out our International Big Event video to see everyone at work
Read more about the International Big Event in our Local Newspaper Bonn General-Anzeiger: General-Anzeiger: 100 American students volunteer
21 brave and sporty AIB students, faculty and staff teamed up to participate in the 2016 AIB Charity Run on Sunday, April 10 - as part of the annual Bonn Marathon - in order to raise money for AIB's affiliate Marol Academy in South Sudan.
Under sunny skies, six students courageously ran a half marathon of 13.2 miles, whereas the others formed relay teams covering the full marathon distance of 26.4 miles. All of them were carried on by the fantastic atmosphere in the city, with thousands of Bonners cheering on the sides of the streets.
In the end, all runners managed to cover their distances in great times and with a lot of fun.
And equally important: A total of € 750,- was raised towards Marol Academy to support their efforts in providing education to children in distressed South Sudan.
So - all around this event turned out to be a great success!
It was the first time we had seen a sunny blue sky appear in months and it was like greeting an old friend. With the sun at our side and a cool breeze accompanying us, all AIB students set out to perform, in the Aggie Tradition, The Big Event.
Since its introduction in 1982, The Big Event has become the largest, one-day, student-run service project in the nation. Each spring, tens of thousands of Texas A&M students come together to say "Thank You" to the residents of Bryan and College Station. For the past 3 years, the study abroad students at AIB have participated in this event across the seas by performing services to Bonn.
Water buckets and soapy sponges in hand, a team headed out to the city central of Bonn to clean the graffitied street signs. As the group worked, citizens would stop and curiously watch the students climb ladders or bend down to wash away the grime and dirt that had collected. Like the bright colors of the signs reviving once again, smiles started to appear across the faces of the onlookers. A little girl on the shoulders of her father pointed and read the words Hauptbahnhof making the students grin with satisfaction and her father nodding a "Danke" in return.
On the outskirts of the town groups of students shoveled and moved dirt around, planting new trees, flowers, and de-weeding the earth. While some constructed massive nests out of sticks and wood, others repainted benches and chairs. At Natur Freunde Bonn (nature friends Bonn), bumble bees seemed to buzz their gratitude as the smell of newly planted dirt and flowers became the fresh aroma in the air.
At a retirement community a group served the elders by raking leaves, planting a new garden as well as settling down to a charming lunch filled with stories of old and laughter. Across the town, a team organized clothes and supplies for refugees, sorting them by size, gender, and season. These would later be placed in bags and given to provide comfort to those in need.
Walls were painted with a fresh coat of color at a local school in hopes that the transformation would bring excitement to the kids who would soon walk the halls.
The AIB students were even on the banks of the Rhine River, scooping up discarded waste and picking up trash left behind. A content feeling in the wind blew around the group as they stared out across the water at their work.
So like Spring excitedly arriving to the city of Bonn, the Big Event brought about new life and smiles all around. At the end of the day, we were proud to serve our community and give back to our semester long German home. As we Aggies say, "Thanks and Gig'em!"
This Saturday, our 80 American guest students will take action together to thank the Bonners for their hospitality. It is the third year that AIB will host the International Big Event to provide students with the opportunity to give back to the local community. The Big Event originates from Texas A&M University, our partner in College Station, Texas.
By hosting the International Big Event, we aim to encourage our students to get involved with the local community. Among others, a clean-up project in the city center and at the river bank is planned together with Stattreisen Bonn, as well as a gardening project with Bonns Fünfte, a local school. Another group of students will help the local volunteers in one of the refugees homes. Our students from Texas A&M, LMU and Penn State are looking forward to meeting their project partners on April 2, 2016.