Mental Health Awareness
Spoke in March 2017 to Purdue University Northwest students about mental health issues. The co-founder and executive director of This Is My Brave, Jennifer Marshall, was the event’s keynote speaker.
Member of the Northwest Indiana Suicide Prevention Council.
Recipient of a 2018 Yale Educator Award.
Advocates for public schools.
Strives to be an engaging, attentive teacher who promotes critical thought and nurtures progress.
Spoke at an “Is Your School Suicide Ready?” Symposium on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 in Northwest Indiana as a representative of school-based Gay-Straight Alliances in Indiana. The event was hosted by the NWI LGBTQ Coalition and the NWI Suicide Prevention Council.
Climate Justice and Environmental Sustainability
Created an iMatter-type environmental action group called Project Green. Participated in the 2017 Peoples Climate Movement march in Washington, D.C. on April 29th.
Participated in the following theatre productions:
- The Constant Wife (staged reading) at The Drama Group in Chicago Heights (Bernard Kersal)
- Words. (staged reading) at Bearcat Theatre Company (James)
- The Mousetrap at Crown Point Community Theatre (Detective Sergeant Trotter)
- The Producers at Memorial Opera House (Kevin/Ensemble)
- Picasso at the Lapin Agile at Crown Point Community Theatre (Albert Einstein)
- A Wonderful Life (musical) at Bearcat Theatre Company (Matthew)
- Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (staged reading) at the Indiana University School of Education (Cornel West)
Institutional Effectiveness and Social Responsibility
From June 2009 to May 2012, worked as a member of the UMC’s Call to Action Steering Team, a group created to identify areas of possible adaptation within the global denomination and to help the denomination focus its efforts around global health, ministry with the poor, growing congregations, and developing leaders.
Each iteration of the Call to Action Steering Team dissected statistical reports from organizations outside of the denomination and discussed possible denominational reforms. As noted in the final Call to Action report, which was signed by Ben and the rest of the Steering Team, the CTA Steering Team advised the denomination to:
- For a minimum of 10 years, starting January 2011, use the drivers of Vital Congregations as initial areas of attention for sustained and intense concentration on building effective practices in local congregations.
- Dramatically reform the clergy leadership development, deployment, evaluation, and accountability systems.
- Collect, report and review, and act on statistical information that measures progress in key performance areas in uniform and consistent ways across all churches and annual conferences, to learn and adjust our approaches to leadership, policies, and the use of human and financial resources.
- Consolidate program and administrative agencies, align their work and resources with the priorities of the Church and the decade-long commitment to build vital congregations, and reconstitute them with much smaller competency-based boards of directors in order to overcome current lack of alignment, diffused and redundant activity, and high expense due to independent structures.
Presented the final Call to Action recommendations to the attendees and delegates of the 2012 General Conference in Tampa, Florida in May 2012.
Active Citizenship and Community Engagement
Served as the 2009-2010 Director of Philanthropy for the Indiana University Residence Hall Association. Created and organized Advocacy Week ’09, a week of events that explored issues related to advocacy, activism, volunteerism, philanthropy, and citizenship.
A variety of individuals, groups, and organizations participated in Advocacy Week ’09, including employees of Indiana University’s Political and Civic Engagement (PACE) certificate program, participants of Indiana University’s CommUNITY Education Program, the African Student Association, the Shalom Community Center, OUT and the LGBTQ+ Culture Center, College Democrats, College Republicans, several student government groups, and the Indiana University or Bloomington chapters of the following organizations: Building Tomorrow, Campus Coalition Against Trafficking, Giving Back to Africa Student Association, Habitat for Humanity, Indiana Public Interest Research Group (INPIRG), Invisible Children, RAW (Revitalizing Animal Well-being), and STAND (a “student-led movement to end mass atrocities”).
The three-part advertising campaign for Advocacy Week ’09 included interactive “Define Active Citizenship” posters that were placed strategically around campus. Passersby were invited to consider personal definitions and write those definitions on the posters.
Organized a healthcare debate between College Democrats and College Republicans that was moderated by a professor from Indiana University’s Political and Civic Engagement (PACE) certificate program.