Thank You Blackfriary Scholarship Campaign

Dear Blackfriary Students:

We have some upsetting news to share. Last Friday, we received the shocking and disappointing word that Ohio State has permanently eliminated the Blackfriary study abroad course.

As many of you may know, the two of us worked very hard this past semester to secure two wonderful new resident directors for the program to ensure its long-term success. We believed that the future of the course was secure despite the fact that both of us are soon moving on from OSU. We pleaded with deans and the chair of History, but we have been told that the decision is final. Blackfriary 7 was the last.

After we shared the news with Fin, she let us know that they are shocked and sad, but remain absolutely committed to moving forward post-OSU. They are devastated to lose this major source of revenue on very short notice, but even more, they are feeling the loss of the energy and enthusiasm with which our wonderful students have opened the digging season for seven great years.

I can’t say that we reacted well to the news. First we swore (not one of you is shocked by this!). Then we cried. We sent angry email messages to deans and department chairs. I (Prof. Beach) even cleaned my bathroom floor with my OSU t-shirt (don’t worry Blackfriary 7 -- not my Bovinican one!). As it turns out, having something that you have worked on tirelessly for years – which you passionately believe changes students’ lives in so many amazing ways – destroyed by university bureaucrats makes you angry.

But listen: let’s share our tears and anger and frustration, and then let’s work together to let the amazing field school staff know just how much our experiences there – at the site, on the bus, at Marcie’s, with our homestay families – have meant to us. And let’s do it in a concrete way that is both a celebration of our own experiences in Ireland and a gift to the great folks there who made that possible.

Here is the plan: an anonymous donor has stepped up to provide a full scholarship for one of the students who was planning to take part this summer before the course was pulled to attend one of the BFAS summer courses! That donor has issued us – the over 125 alumni of the course – a challenge: match that donation to send a second student to the site! In this way we can offer a second student the opportunity to experience the greatness of Trim and the Blackfriary, and even more importantly, to let Fin, Laura, and Ian know just how much their work has meant to us. We can give them the huge thank you and show of support for their wonderful work that they deserve.

We have set up a Gofundme page for this matching campaign. If would be so great if everyone could give something, and every little bit helps. The goal is to raise $3,200 to match the generosity of our anonymous donor and send a second student to dig this summer! Level of participation regardless of amount is much more important than what we raise! Any amount, large or small, is warmly welcomed! And please, please, please leave a message for Fin, Ian, and Laura! Share a great memory of your time in Ireland. Or let them know how what you learned there helped you to decide what to study (or NOT!) or what to do (or NOT!) with your life. Or dedicate your gift to the one of them in particular. To Ian’s Snowflakes? To Laura’s tireless Cutting 11 crew. To Fin’s basic awesomeness? How about Lola? Your host family? The Void? What matters most is that they see just how much we have appreciated their dedication over the years.

Thank you for traveling with us, for digging with us, knitting with us, cooking with us, riding the bus with us, shopping with us, learning about monasticism with us, playing Werewolf with us, laughing with us, and even for crying with us! Our seven years of bringing OSU students to Ireland have been the joy and the privilege of our teaching careers.

Please feel free to contact either of us to discuss any of this. We know that this is news nobody wanted to hear in an already stressful time.

A big hug to all of you,

Prof. Beach and Melissa
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Fundraising team: Friends of the Blackfriary (2)

Melissa Clark
Raised $145 from 6 donations
Columbus, OH
Alison Beach
Team member
Raised $460 from 5 donations

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