Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services (OASIS)

William Waters

Bill Waters

It is always a difficult task to write about oneself because often that which is important to one person is not understood by another person. There is a Haitian proverb that describes this situation, "Roch nan dlo konnen Roch nan soley", which translates, the rocks in the water don't understand the rocks in the sun. It is with this knowledge I begin.

I earned my B. A. and M. A. in Anthropology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and my Ph.D. in Anthropology at Syracuse University. My academic training and subsequent fieldwork with Native Americans and rural Haitian cultivators has helped me to shape my development as a person. Working more that two decades with the aforementioned groups has provided me with the opportunity to learn how to listen to people and work with people to help resolve their identified problems. Perhaps, the most important lesson I have learned, in my role as a community and campus advocate , has been how to be effective for the individuals and/or community I am working with.

The practical application of my knowledge and experience is at the heart of my work. Again, I am reminded of a Haitian proverb, " Sa je we ke pa tounen", translates as what the eye doesn't see, doesn't move the heart. I believe it is important to provide students with every opportunity to become more familiar with learning possibilities that are available outside the classroom. If you want a student to run a mile race, you do not let them stop at a mile. If you want students to do well academically at UNL, you must offer experiences beyond the classroom. The extracurricular experience goes beyond the intellectual exercise of the classroom to shed light on who we are as individuals and members of the larger society.

My charge, in part, was to answer the following question; "if I could do one thing while working at OASIS, my dearest wish would be". My response is to help the Office of Academic Support and Intercultural Services develop into an office that offers a unique blend teaching and cultural experiences that will assist students in not only graduating but, in preparing them for life beyond the university setting. I close with another Haitian proverb, " Deye mon gen mon", which translates as behind mountains there are more mountains. I understand this to mean that while we rightly celebrate the ways we differ, we must also remember the values we share and work towards creating a campus and community based on those common values. While two mountains cannot meet, two people can.