Open arms for tough issues

By Abby Wilson ’10

In 2006, Jamie Tworkowski was living a dream, making six figures for a major surf clothing corporation when a chance encounter changed his life — and ultimately the lives of thousands around the world. He met Renee, a girl struggling with addiction, depression, suicide, and self-injury.

Renee was ineligible for help at a local treatment center because she had carved obscenities into her arm and had drugs in her system, so Tworkowski and his friends spent five days helping her stay clean before entering rehab. Tworkowski wrote about the experience on MySpace, saying that he and his friends wanted “to write love on her arms” to replace the words Renee had put there.

Now Tworkowski runs a worldwide nonprofit organization, To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA). Inspired by helping Renee, TWLOHA serves to bring hope and community to individuals going through similar struggles.

To Write Love on Her Arms

Visit twloha.com for more information.

After hearing Tworkowski’s story, KRISTIN MARTINO ’12, the former lectures coordinator for the Activities Council of Bradley University (ACBU), jumped at the chance to bring Tworkowski to campus.

“My goal,” said Martino, “was to bring in people who would break the stigma that a lecture is someone standing up and talking for an hour about his life. … It was great because I knew that [Tworkowski] would fulfill that entertainment aspect I was looking for, as well as bring in a serious issue that most people don’t talk about.”

Tworkowski was joined by Ryan O’Neal of the band Sleeping Last Night, and Denny Kolsch, director of TWLOHA’s university chapters program.

While Martino planned the November 2010 event, which attracted about 100 people, ASHLEY KOWALCZYK ’13 and JESSICA DOBSON ’11 were working toward establishing a TWLOHA chapter on Bradley’s campus.

“These are issues that we really don’t talk about here,” said Kowalczyk, “because people are afraid to talk about them, or they’re ashamed.”

The group serves as a liaison between students and professional help, like the free services Bradley offers through the Counseling Center. “We are not a counseling group,” said Dobson. “We’re just a group of people who will help students get professional help and support them every step of the way.”

After Tworkowski’s visit to campus, interest in TWLOHA increased significantly. “At the meeting after Jamie spoke, we had about 15 new members,” said Kowalczyk.

“Hearing [the stories from Tworkowski, O’Neal, and Kolsch] may be the encouragement that some need to either get themselves help or to help a friend,” said ASHLEY ELLERSON ’14, a member of TWLOHA on campus.

Igniting an interest

BY Ashley Huston ’11 and Adam Bockler ’11

More than 5,000 people have seen Dr. Dean Campbell and the Bradley University Chemistry Club Demo Crew perform feats of science since 2007.

Igniting an interest

Dr. Dean Campbell, associate professor of chemistry, blows flammable dust from a rolled newspaper onto a torch held by MICHELLE BALISS ’13. They performed the “dragon’s breath” demonstration for about 200 eighth graders in a Morton Junior High science class taught by MELISSA WINCHELL ’02. More than 5,000 people have seen Campbell and the Bradley University Chemistry Club perform feats of science since 2007. Photo by MELISSA WINCHELL '02.

Fifty-six students have performed nearly 60 demonstrations over the last several years. “We mainly focus on grade school kids,” said Campbell, an associate professor of chemistry. But the people the Demo Crew has performed for range from pre-K students to senior citizens.

The demos are made age appropriate and are also based on location and interactivity. A demo might start with a simple change of color. “A lot of cool color changes take place in chemistry,” Campbell said. After that, they generally escalate the performance to include working with fire, freezing objects in liquid nitrogen, or creating explosions. For safety reasons, these are the “hands-off” shows.

A “hands-on” show allows students to walk around different stations and interact with them. For example, Campbell and his crew might have participants feel a bird’s nest or pop the lid off a film canister by combining water and Alka-Seltzer.

“[The Chemistry Club demos] help students work on their presentation skills and get up in front of a crowd,” said Campbell. “It really gets them thinking about chemistry a little more.”

Some shows bring in 20 people, while other events might reach hundreds. Campbell said he hopes the Chemistry Club Demo Crew can perform for at least 1,000 people each year. It is funded by grants from the American Chemistry Society, the largest professional chemistry organization in the world.

Exploring Civil War battlefields

Osher Lifelong Learning InstituteThe key battlefields of Ulysses S. Grant’s Vicksburg campaign during the Civil War will be explored September 6–13 on a learning trip sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), Bradley University Continuing Education, and the Peoria Historical Society. Main stops include Paducah, Kentucky; Fort Donelson and Shiloh, Tennessee; and Natchez, Corinth, and Vicksburg, Mississippi. Travelers will also explore battlefields throughout Missouri, Tennessee, and Mississippi, as well as the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. Bernie Drake, past president of the Peoria Historical Society board, will be the tour guide. SUE MANLEY, MA ’01, program director for Continuing Education, is the host.

For more information, visit bradley.edu/continue, or contact Debbie Devine at 309-677-2820.

Cost for double occupancy is $1,499 per person and $1,799 for single occupancy. Price includes charter coach, lodging, admissions, and most meals. Space is limited.