EXCO November 2009 Newsletter

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In this issue:

  • Fall Forward Fest: Eat and get schooled
  • EXCO Wellness Core Kick-Off
  • EXCO Community Reflection
  • On the phone with Batucada do Norte
  • Class incubator
  • Spring application deadline: January 18

Fall Forward Fest: Eat and get schooled

Wednesday, November 18, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Hamline-Midway Library
1558 West Minnehaha Ave. St. Paul, MN

Google Maps

Class showcase and potluck!  Performaces/Skillshares given by our very own EXCO classes!  There will be turkey (and a vegetarian option)...plus a cook-off.  Bring a dish to share, and if your recipe is the bomb, enter it in the contest and win a prize.  ALSO: Fancy Certificates of Completion for those enrolled in EXCO courses this session!  Come celebrate the end of the Fall EXCO semester! *Please bring your own plate, if you can*

EXCO Wellness Core Kick-Off

Friday, November 13, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Helland Center Room 1200, MCTC

1501 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN

Google Maps

EXCO is launching a Wellness Core, a place for people passionate about mental, physical, and spiritual wellness practice to come together to request, design, and/or generally support the creation of amazing Wellness Curriculum through EXCO.

Interested in being involved? This is a great opportunity to meet other folks interested in wellness, and to support EXCO's offering amazing wellness classes for various Twin Cities communities.  There will be food so please RSVP!  Bring ideas, business cards, and friends interested in wellness!

RSVP or send questions to Tess Galati at [email protected] or to David at 651-315-4222. You can also RSVP on our website!

EXCO Community Reflection

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the community reflection event on October 24th!  We had some good discussion and generated a lot of great ideas for how to move forward.  We lost several key organizers over the summer so we are now working to refocus and rebuild the momentum. 

As a group we discussed the things we love about EXCO (the new and improved web site, the chance to explore new parts of the city and meet new people, free education, redistributing resources, flexibility, broad/beautiful spectrum of classes and knowledge diversity, inclusivity); and things we’d like to see changed (more radical/outside/alternative curriculum, more organizers, a greater commitment to classes from people who register, deeper community collaborations, more labor stuff, greater outreach beyond the website, sources of independent funding).
We then broke out into three small groups:
•    Communities: focused on specific communities to do outreach in and how we can fill niches that aren’t filled by other organizations.
•    Resources: brainstormed ideas for targeted outreach, building coalitions, utilizing alternative teaching styles that exist in other communities, creating a broader network, creating more discussion groups to generate class ideas, adding more one-time workshops
•    Website: discussed streamlining the front page of the website, making it more accessible to first-time users, adding photos, creating a more personal connection, adding a media center/pressroom, more help docs, FAQs, links to/from other sites

The group agreed that the open process of critical reflection is a good practice to continually engage in.  We will build on this energy to make EXCO even stronger, but we need your help!  Get involved: come to an organizing meeting to help keep the momentum going.  All are welcome!
•    The Macalester chapter meets every Monday at 5:30pm in the Macalester College Campus Center Room 206
•    The MCTC chapter meets every Tuesday at 5pm in the Helland Center on campus 
•    The UMN chapter meets every Thursday at 6pm at the Purple Onion on the UMN campus
•    Contact [email protected] to get more details

On the phone with Batucada do Norte

Thanks to the Patriot Act, we now have access to transcripts of many private cell phone conversations. Here is an excerpt from an exchange between a happy EXCO participant and a friend:

Hey girl! How are you? What are you doing next Wednesday night? Uh hu…is that what you usually do?....pardon my saying so, but it sounds kind of boring…Well I am glad you asked and I’d be happy to tell you. I play with Batucada do Norte, a Brasilian drumming group of about 15 – 20 people playing a range of Brasilian beats, like Samba, Samba Reggae and Maracatu…..Oh don’t worry I didn’t know much about Brasilian music when I joined either….Sure, we are always looking for people who know hand drumming or stick technique, but anyone who is willing to learn can come give it a try. We welcome everyone and do some basic technique lessons for the first 45 minutes of rehearsal and the remaining time we spend practicing material for gigs that we play every month or so. Drums are provided at rehearsals and best of all, it is a really welcoming group of men and women playing the poly rhythms that make us all want to get up and dance….Yeah that’s right, we are that crazy sound you hear coming out of Kagin Ballroom [at Macalester College] Wednesday nights from 6:30 – 8:30….oh crap my battery is dying…anyway come check us out, or if  you have questions, contact EXCO and they can put you in contact with us….gotta run…my battery is about to…. 

Class incubator
We will be posting class ideas in the newsletter in hopes that people can band together and organize classes around common interests.  If you know something about any of the topics below, contact us ([email protected]) and let's talk!  Chances are you know more than you think you do, and you could at least get a discussion going with others who are interested.  Real learning happens when we all work together to figure out the answers to our questions, right?  The possibilities are endless! 

Classes people want to see happen:
American Sign Language, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, graphic design, photography, cooking, wilderness survival, hiking/camping, folk music/bluegrass/improv/jam, book club, practical activist skills, violent/non-violent labor struggles, screen printing, canvas stretching, matting/framing, welding, metal working, carpentry, community art and organizing

Use the forums on our website to start a conversation!  Find other people who are interested in similar topics and work together to create a class.  Sign in and post a new forum topic to get started.  Keep checking back to see if you get any replies!

Spring class application deadline: January 18

We want to include your voice in the newsletter!  Submit ideas for the next newsletter to [email protected] by December 1.

Callie and the EXCO Organizing team

Experimental College of the Twin Cities
Where everyone can teach and take classes, and all are free!

We have a new phone number!  (651) 998-9268
[email protected] | www.excotc.org