Lillian Rouse – Project Reflection

Wow, this semester has been complicated. From the very beginning when Kendall and I logged in on the first day, driving to the hospital, I knew this would be an interesting semester. It did not disappoint.

Over the course of this COPLAC class, I learned so much. Documenting the non-discrimination ordinance has been a relief from other classwork, and allowed me to channel my interests in research and advocacy all into one. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through City Council documents day in and day out, I felt more connected to my community than I have ever felt before. Reading the thoughts and opinions of individuals within our community, finding new documents, scribbling down dates and times and locations, all of it was so fulfilling and interesting. It was like striking gold when I would find an opinion that I hadn’t read before, or an article that was more detailed than the last.

The most challenging part of this project was coming out of my shell. I have always been a shy individual (although it may not seem like it), and interviewing people, even e-mailing community members and requesting their thoughts, was a complicated and often anxiety inducing process. Now that it is done, I look back grateful that I chose to send those e-mails, speak with Dr. Eckelman and record it, and research everything until there was nothing left to research.

The Montevallo community deserves the explanation of what went on during those two years, and to compile all of that information into an easily readable and easily comprehensible format was more so an honor to my community than to myself. I hope that people within the Montevallo City Council and community can look at this project and benefit from the explanation we’ve provided, and maybe even learn something new themselves.

I am really proud of the way the website turned out, both aesthetically and content wise. I will not forget Dr. Welch’s comment, “More rainbows! We want to see more rainbows!” I tried to make it happen, I hope there are enough rainbows! Designing the logo for the website with Kendall was fun, and helped us to calm our nerves regarding this project in it’s initial stages. Once the research began, compiling it all within PaperPile and Google Docs was immensely beneficial for quick reference. When we became confused about what the narrative would look like, we drew it out on a white board.

We worked long hours on this project, not only compiling information, but mulling over the website tweaking little details. There are things I would have changed, but as the website stands now, I think it does great justice to the conflict and subsequent resolution in Montevallo, Alabama.

It has been a difficult semester, no doubt. I have faced some scary health problems, both at the beginning of the semester and towards the end, and both Kendall and I lost our grandfathers two days apart. But I am incredibly proud of the website we created, the narrative we wrote, and the presentation that we gave, even through all those difficulties. I look forward to showing the website to anyone and everyone who will look at it. I thank all of my fellow classmates for their diligence and kindness, and Dr. Wallace & Dr. Welch for being incredible professors.

Thank you all for a wonderful semester, and for being a part of this experience with me. I have enjoyed it thoroughly and will miss the challenges it presented. I feel like it has enhanced my education, and given me something to show people that I am capable of research and execution of projects. I hope we can all keep in touch!

Good luck if you still have finals, and hope you all have a wonderful summer

Lillian Rouse


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