The Art of Economics


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This semester I am taking Economics 101, my first step in completing my economics major! The class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour and a half, a bit longer than Monday, Wednesday, Friday courses. Last Thursday, my class went on a field trip, my first field trip of college, so naturally I was very excited.

We set off in little groups, taking the Bengal Bus (Oxy-owned and operated vans) onto the main strip of Eagle Rock. We arrived at our location a few minutes later: an art gallery. An art gallery? For Econ? I was confused too. Once we met the curator of the gallery we learned that we would be helping her record data for her interactive art project. The gallery consisted of different sized squares of paper that were to be folded into boxes. Elementary school children from Eagle Rock came to the gallery to write down on the paper something they believed Eagle Rock lacked, or something they wish Eagle Rock had. The answers ranged from "ziplines", to "more parks", and everything in between. Once the idea was jotted down, the children would then be instructed on how to turn the flat piece of paper into a 3-dimensional box. A collection of the boxes lay across the floor behind us, each filled with an idea of how to enhance the community of Eagle Rock. The display changed everyday, we learned. Children would arrange the different sized boxes into unique sculptures, creating walls, steps or unorganized piles.

Eagle Rock is already an eclectic neighborhood, with busy cafes, ethnic foods and restaurants, workout studios and much more. The main goal of this project is to create safer areas for kids to play, away from traffic, to ultimately build a stronger community.

Soon, our class will use data sorting programs to organize the responses and present the data to the officials in the Eagle Rock area who are responsible for community based projects. This project is valuable to me as an econ major because it will give my peers and myself the opportunity to practice data collection, analysis and presentation, which is an integral part of economics. I enjoyed learning more about what is happening in the area around Occidental, and how to get involved both on and off campus. I am looking forward to both reviewing what the children believe could make Eagle Rock even better, and also the rest of my econ classes at Oxy!