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Elizabeth Underwood

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Bio Summary
Cohort Year: 
2015
Home Institution: 
Temple University
Heinz Programming Area: 
Arts & Culture
Study Abroad Country: 
Italy
International Experience

Elizabeth "Ebby" Underwood spent six weeks of her summer studying at her University’s campus in Rome, the “Eternal City” and one of the art capitals of the world. Ebby, a graphic design major, participated in a class called the Collaborative Design Workshop. Each week her class, composed of design and journalism students, visited a cultural site and designed spreads for a book of their experiences of these locations, combining imagery and text to communicate powerful statements about the significance of these locations. In her other class, Early Renaissance Art in Italy, Ebby learned about the development of the Italian Renaissance, critically examining key works of art in person and understanding their impact on history and on Italian and Western culture. In her free time, Ebby made it her goal to explore in depth Italy’s visual culture and rich artistic tradition and heritage. Whenever possible, Ebby sought out recommendations for things to see from native Italians, allowing her to understand the aspects of their heritage they were most proud of or identified most with. She was fortunate to experience the festivities of two national holidays during her time abroad, the Festa della Repubblica and the Festa di San Pietro e San Paolo. These celebrations raised her awareness of important components of Italy’s national identity. On weekends, Ebby was able to travel outside of Rome to understand differences in culture between regions, and to see works of art both covered by and outside of her coursework in order to situate her learning in a greater context. She was especially excited to be able to experience the Venice Biennial Art exhibition, where she discovered a connection between Italy’s past and present art worlds, and experienced the globalized nature of the contemporary art scene. 

Community Engagement Experience
CEE Title: 
T.U.C.A.R.E.S., Temple University Community Advocating for Renewed Environmentalism and Sustainability

The Temple 2015 Vira I Heinz Cohort based their CEE on their observations of other countries’ environmental policies and problems. They wanted to address how the environment is not something to think about in a removed sense, and how easy it is to get involved with environmentalism and sustainability while living in the heart of North Philadelphia. Temple Student Government hosts an off-campus clean-up, though it usually has low attendance and no educational component. The Cohort coordinated with this program, Adopt-A-Block, as well as with on- and off-campus environmental organizations. The Cohort created the program T.U.C.A.R.E.S., Temple University Community Advocating for Renewed Environmentalism and Sustainability. The program took place on a Sunday morning-- the event attracted over 80 participants, which is more than two times the usual attendance of the Adopt-A-Block events. The Cohort began by sharing their experiences abroad, as well as what the Vira I Heinz Program entails. Two organizations within Temple University spoke about their missions and how to get involved on campus, as did an organization that works in the greater Philadelphia area. The organizations also set up informational tables and passed out flyers to the participants. After the discussion and instructions, the group was assigned specific blocks off of campus. The Cohort helped distribute gloves and trash bags to the participants, and then the groups split up. The participants and the Cohort left campus to clean up their blocks, which was greatly appreciated by the students and residents living off campus. 

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