Community Voices - Aliya Rednour

AliyaAliya is going to be a senior at Oberlin High School this fall. This summer she worked for the Aspiring Ninde Scholars Summer Program as a Summer Fellow. As a Fellow, Aliya acted as a role model for the younger Ninde Scholars in facilitating discussion and keeping a positive attitude. After high school, Aliya is considering going to school for nursing.

Q: So if you want to just introduce yourself, say anything that feels relevant.

A: Okay, I’m Aliya, I’m 18 and I’ll be a senior at Oberlin High School this fall.

Q: Awesome, okay so two questions first, how long have you been in Oberlin or what’s your relationship with living here and going to school here?

A: I’ve lived in Oberlin since 3rd grade, I moved from Fairview Park and I’ve been here even since and I just last November moved to Elyria, but I still attend Oberlin and I like it. I like Oberlin so I didn’t want to trade schools, transfer.

Q: What do you like about Oberlin’s schools?

A: The diversity and the relationships and it’s like we’re a whole and nobody’s separated from one another or felt differently or treated differently so its really nice. We all come together and always have each other’s backs, when we go on field trips and stuff, so its cool its like a big family. There’s so much culture and stuff behind it and history.

Q: Yeah, it seems like a town that’s small enough to really sustain that group sense of history and culture.

A: Yeah there’s a lot to get involved in like how they do Juneteenth and the sidewalk chalk day and that’s just fun and its free and everybody can come.

Q: Yeah, community gatherings.

A: And there’s a lot of work like artwork

Q: Yeah, did you do chalk walk?

A: No I didn’t. I’m not really good at it, but I guess you don’t really have to be good at it to go and have fun, but I didn’t go, but I always see it when I walk downtown and it’s cool.

Q: Yeah, I was so sad it rained so soon after.

A: Yeah, it always seems to do that.

Q: I know, that’s Ohio for you. Okay, so when you think of Oberlin is there a word or image that’s come to mind just like free association

A: What comes to mind is that picture of the earth and there’s a bunch of different kids holding hands around it. That’s what comes to my mind when I think of Oberlin. Its really weird because I, before I moved here, I never heard of Oberlin and now that I’m here it’s just like I wish I would have been here from like newborn and grew up, but I kind of did grow up from third grade up and I really like it so when I think of Oberlin its that picture. I never think bad things it’s always positive words and vibes when I think of Oberlin and when I’m here, I feel accepted here. I didn’t have that so much in Fairview so it was a new change. I don’t like change, but I’m glad that we moved because it was a good change, it was a good feeling here.

Q: Yeah, I like that picture as a description. So we’ve been talking a little bit about sustainability and all the things that can mean. What is the definition that feels most true to you? What does sustainability mean to you?

A: To me, it’s taking care, coming as one or being that one voice that makes a change and recycling and really thinking about the environment that we live in and the world we live in and how one voice can make that change. If just one person steps us, even if they’re standing alone, it can help make a change. So I think sustainability is just making sure you’re healthy, the world around you is healthy, the environment and recycling – just being aware of all the things that we do because it is going to affect us and we want a good environment around us.

Q: So keeping that mutuality in mind like being sustained by that and giving back. So, what actions are you engaged in day to day that you see as being related to sustainability?

A: Turning off the TV before I go to sleep instead of leaving it on or during the daytime not turning on lights because there’s the natural sunlight. Making sure that we are recycling, we just started that in my house and so now if I open the trashcan and there’s a milk jug in there I’ll take it out and put it in the recycling bin and I’m just more aware of how much we use like TV and everything else and how we could cut down on that and when it’s nice outside instead of watching TV just going outside and enjoying it. Picking up trash that’s in the yard or something, just trying to keep things green around us so its like taking care of not just my yard area, but at school and stuff when you see something on the ground pick it up and throw it in the trash and just clean that part because one person can make that change.

Q: And I feel like that is also looking out for your community because if you don’t pick it up it either stays there or someone else has to.

A: Yeah and then it’s another of that role model. If someone else sees you doing it, ‘hey they’re doing something good,’ and then they’ll follow and usually you’ll have a good outlook.

Q: So maybe sustainability is like something you’re always doing with other people around, it’s always affected by and affecting other people.

A: And I feel like Oberlin does a good job of embracing that and to just be aware of everything, I feel like Oberlin does a good job of that. Because I used to not be aware of it, but the more it was brought up and the Dashboard and all that it made me more like ‘Oh, maybe this is an issue, maybe we can do something.’ Now that’s it brought to my attention I notice it more.

Q: Just being aware of where things come from and where they go.

A: Yeah and just like when we were talking about the corn, I never knew that. I always looked at some ingredients, like ‘Oh, corn’s in this’, but I didn’t realize that it’s in everything so its almost like creepy that it’s in everything, but that made me more aware. And, I knew we treated animals bad, but I didn’t know how bad they were treated and how they are fed corn instead of grass and stuff so I’m more aware of that now and I wasn’t before. A lot of new things that I am aware of now.

Q: Is that part of what inspires you to make those daily changes?

A: Yeah, because I’m like ‘aw, the animals’ and I feel bad because that’s like some feeding us the same thing, like taking away something we enjoy and giving us something that is not good for us. Treating people how you want to be treated.

Q: Are there places in Oberlin that feel restoring that feel like they give you the energy to do those things.

A: This building [the AJLC] and I noticed it more today when we were in our groups and we were talking about the living machine and it just made me want to do more because they are trying and they have this building here and they have this system already going here and we could just add to it and help make it better. All of the gardens that they have, when I think of it now, like that garden that they have right outside, and then I think of Jones farm and at school when we’re in the kitchen cooking for nutrition she makes a compost pile that she takes home to her garden. It makes me think we should start doing compost and all that instead of just throwing it away. We should just start using it more because I notice at home when we are cutting up stuff, we just usually throw out the leftover vegetables instead of going to put it in the garden or even bringing it to somebody who uses them. We could that more, it makes me want to do more.

Q:  I think definitely part of that is knowing what’s going on around you not just in an environment sense, but also like a neighbor sense. Thinking about other people and who needs what and who can use what.

A: You never know how important it is until it’s brought to your attention and you see the change that you can make by just doing it and being involved. I never knew how important it was, I knew it was important, but not to what extent it was important. Being here and learning about it just helps me learn more so I like it and I’m glad that we are all engaged in it. I know that some of the kids had their heads down, but I was like ‘it’s going to get fun, this is a cool thing to learn about.’ Because its not everyday where we just can take a break and learn about sustainability and stuff.

Q: I like it because it’s a way of talking about sustainability while talking about being present and looking both behind and forward. What would you like to share with the community about caring for the environment or about being in nature or anything like that? Is there something you want to share?

A: Definitely getting more kids involved and I think it could be more beneficial if it was little kids and older kids working together instead of just ‘hey high schoolers here’s community service you can do.’ Why don’t we get all the kids involved from each school?

Q: At every age, yeah.

A: So that’s what I would offer, because most of the time here you have high schoolers who need to do some type of community service and I think we should have younger kids involved and be those leaders in helping them and showing them so that when we leave they already have experience with it. Big kids helping little kids make Oberlin and the world run better. Then you have a bonding experience so you really don’t think of it as community service after doing it.

Q: It’s just being with your community.

A: Yeah, and coming together to help out.

Q: I think service is also kind of a weird word for that.

A: And it makes people sigh. People usually think of it as a negative instead of a positive until they get there and they are doing it. Most of the time when I think of community service I think of it like the court assigned this person to do community service. Then I don’t want to do that if people are going to ask why are you doing community service? I think the name should be changed itself.

Q: What would you change it to?

A: Something along the lines of a helping day in Oberlin or something that makes it more motivational instead of community service. I think the name should just be changed.

Q: Language has a huge effect on how we think of things definitely.

A: It does.

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