The independent student newspaper of Goucher College

Author

Madeline St. John

Madeline St. John has 20 articles published.

mm
Madeline is an English/Spanish double major. She grew up in Hawai'i (no, she doesn't surf) and is happy to experience life on the opposite side of the U.S.. She is immensely glad to be part of the Q and proud of everyone who makes it run. You've probably seen her behind the library help desk in the Ath. Next time you do, please say hi.

No Long-term Mental Health Treatment On Campus

by

On Campus Counseling Services Are Unable to Support Students with Long-term Mental Health Concerns

Last semester, Olivia Robertson, ’19, was having trouble sleeping and, as she put it, “things weren’t going well” with her mental health. She couldn’t remember the details of her appointment with the counseling center because it was “a hazy, emotional time,” but she remembered being told that by the center that they couldn’t help her because her situation sounded like a more serious, long term issue. She recalled a counselor telling her something like “we don’t think that we can really treat you here.”

Goucher’s counseling center, like almost all college counseling centers, operates on a short term treatment model, which ranges from 8-12 sessions. There is no “hard” limit on sessions, and they often see students for the duration of a semester, but they do typically recommend that students with needs for specialized services and/or persistent counseling, seek services off-campus. The center is only open ten months out of the year and it doesn’t have the capacity to serve students with long term or specialized needs.

A high percentage of Goucher students suffer from mental health conditions that are more long term and serious than coming-to-college anxiety or anything that a few trips to the counseling center might fix. According to the 2016-17 Healthy Minds Study, 14% of Goucher students screened positive for severe anxiety and 20% for major depression, 15% reported suicidal ideation, and 38% reported self-injury. 38% of Goucher’s undergraduate population means about 560 students.

Nationwide, mental health demands in institutions of higher education are increasing, and it is typical for students to come in for one or two counseling sessions. However, it is less typical at the national level for students to come in for more than ten sessions. In contrast, at Goucher many students use the counseling center for the length of a semester, and others are in need of even more prolonged services. “Pragmatically, I just don’t know that there’s a way we can manage that,” said Monica Neel, the Director of Counseling Services.

The counselors at the center are also “generalists,” Neel explained. “We need to be able to treat anything that walks in the door,” she said. For students with long term or more serious mental health concerns, it is important that they have access to more specialized care.

When students are advised to go off-campus, however, they might not seek services elsewhere. Through a Google search, Robertson found a therapist that she consulted with for a while, but she didn’t follow up with the off-campus resource list provided by the counseling center.

Robertson was also discouraged by the services she did receive from the center. They provided her with a list of local service providers and asked her to fill out a plan for suicide prevention. “[It was] a very DIY [Do-it-Yourself] kind of sheet, like ‘instead of trying to kill myself, I’ll call my mom,’ which is not…super useful? It was just a lot of information that I could’ve just googled…It serves the purpose but is not the same level of usefulness as actually having counseling available.”

Robertson didn’t schedule a follow-up on-campus appointment, and she hasn’t returned to the Goucher counseling center since. “I think it was discouraging because they were sort of saying that there weren’t really the resources here to treat me, and I guess I would extend that to say probably any real sort of mental health issues, compared to like, short-term, adjusting to college issues,” she said. And she’s right. The counseling center isn’t able to treat students with severe or serious mental health issues. Like almost all campus counseling centers nationwide, they must operate on a short-term model.

The counseling center is “tremendously well-staffed for a school our size,” according to Monica Neel. The nationally recommended number of counselors is 1 per 1400 students enrolled, and at Goucher there are 3.5 staff for an undergraduate student body of 1,473.

The counseling center is reaching maximum capacity simply because so many students need and use the center’s services. In the past school year, the counseling center completed 354 individual intakes and there were 97 crisis walk-in sessions, for average of three a week.

This semester, the counseling center did not reach a wait list level, but it has had one for the past three semesters. The counselors do their best to manage it; the average wait time is 7-12 days. The counselors assess students over the phone for safety before putting them on the wait list. While there is an assessment of immediate need made within 1-3 days of a request for an appointment, simply knowing that there is a wait list can discourage students from seeking on-campus help. “It’s unacceptable,” said Olivia Siegel, ’18, who works as a Resident Assistant and Peer Mentor. “No student should ever have to wait to speak with a mental health profession in person.”

This wait list may also soon improve with the new counseling center space in Mary Fisher. However, even with the new larger facilities, increased counseling staff, and longer clinical hours, the on-campus counseling center won’t be able to treat students with long term or specialized mental health concerns.

The counseling center hopes the short term restrictions will not deter students from at least making an appointment and completing an intake form. In situations in which counselors recommend off-campus resources, they typically provide a minimum of three clinicians, taking into consideration the student’s clinical needs, transportation situation, and insurance type.

There are also additional resources available like the after-hours mental health hotline that provides phone support by licensed clinicians. “They are there for students who need some support, and it can be something more benign all the way up to suicidal ideation,” said Monica Neel. These clinicians are familiar with Goucher and Goucher’s campus. They have a map of campus and can provide students with information on where to go to get help. Goucher also has a communication agreement with St. Joe’s Medical Center to ensure a smoother process if students need to be hospitalized.

Alexandra Graves and Cameron Cox are Goucher’s case managers, and they can collaborate with students to create individualized plans of support.

Faculty have some basic training in mental health through the counseling center, and Residential Life and Public Safety staff complete their own training.

Goucher also offers access to psychiatry, through health services, although it is limited. The psychiatrist is only on campus six hours a week.

Other on-campus resources that may be helpful for students include Peer Listeners, the Student Bereavement Group, the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), the Center for Race, Equity, and Identity (CREI), and the Office of Accessibility Services.

Addendum: [This information was published in a earlier article but it was deemed beneficial to include it on the same page on the website to create a more holistic picture of mental health services at Goucher]

Many Goucher students are taking action regarding their mental health, and those that use the counseling services generally have positive things to say. According to internal statistics, in 2016-2017, the Goucher counseling services completed intakes with 354 individuals, which is roughly 25% of the student body. 1,349 individual counseling sessions occurred, and there were 97 crisis walk-in sessions, for an average of three a week while classes were in session. Of the 2017 graduating class, 45% of graduating seniors used counseling services at some point during their enrollment at Goucher.

“I’ve personally had a really good experience with counseling center,” said Monthie. “They technically say that they do have a policy you’re not supposed to go back-to-back semesters but I’ve done it. You just fill out a new form.” Director of Counseling Services Monica Neel confirms that there is no hard limit to the number of sessions that students can have, although the center does operate from a short-term treatment model.

In the Healthy Minds Study, students also reported high satisfaction with the counseling services. 87% of students reported having knowledge of mental health services on campus, 37% thought counseling was “very helpful” for mental health, compared to a national average of 31%. Student satisfaction with hours, scheduling and quality of therapists at the campus counseling center was all in the high 80% range.

The stigma surrounding mental health and mental health services is also relatively low at Goucher. In the Healthy Minds Study, only 38% of students reported perceived stigma, considerably less than the 47% nationally, and only 4% of students reported that they would think less of someone who received mental health treatment, compared with 6% nationally. “[At Goucher,] it’s pretty accepted to take a mental health day,” said Adina Karten, ’18.

Correction: An earlier version of this article included the phrase “turn away” which does not accurately represent the services provided by the Goucher counseling center.

Campus Construction Continues, “Undaunted”

by
Construction Plans: The orange indicates construction locations for the new science, interfaith, Mary Fisher Dining Hall, First Year Village, new athletic facilities, and new equestrian facilities. Photo Credit: Goucher College FMS

On March 10th, Goucher announced Undaunted, a new fundraising campaign to raise $100 million. A large portion of this campaign is dedicated to raising funding for new construction projects. There will be no major construction of buildings during the fall semester of next year (Fall 2018), but the new tennis center will be under construction. Both the first year village and the new campus dining hall are on track for completion in August 2018, while several other projects are in the works.

The First Year Village will feature a gaming lounge, a rehearsal space, a student success center, a demonstration kitchen, and an outdoor courtyard with tiered seating, a gas fireplace, and spaces for hammocks. The courtyard amenities in the First Year Village were inspired in part by a student workshop on creating community spaces. The new buildings are part of an initiative to prevent isolation and increase social interaction through the design of buildings. (See P-Selz article on page 5).

The new dining hall opening in Mary Fisher will have a retail and a to-go area on the first floor and six stations on the second floor which will be all-you-care-to-eat dining, including a pizza oven and Mongolian grill. There will also be a Kosher station; rather than being a separate space as it is currently, Kosher will be integrated with the main dining hall.  There will also be a small reservable dining room in Mary Fisher. (See Dining Hall article on page 1 for more details).

With the re-opening of Mary Fisher, the Gopher Hole will return and the dining halls in Stimson and Huebeck will be converted into student spaces. In general, there will be many more spaces on campus available next semester for student meetings and performances.

Counseling Services will also be moving to new, larger, facilities on the third floor of Mary Fisher, along with Case Management (See article on Counseling Center on pg. 2).

This summer, there are a couple smaller projects planned for Van Meter that will be funded in part by capital renewal funds. A tiered seating classroom in Van Meter will be converted into a recording studio (with funding by the Sherman Fairchild Grant and Academic funding from the capital renewal budget) and a student hub/gathering space will be created on the first floor of Van Meter, in the location of the fishbowl classroom across from the Writing Center.

Construction for the new science addition to Hoffberger Science Center is slated to begin June 2019, with possible completion date in 2021. The new Tennis Center, featuring 12 new tennis courts, stadium seating, and new lighting, will also be underway, thanks to a generous donation from 100-year-old alumna Evelyn Dyke Schroedl ’62.

Goucher will be relocating the equestrian program to facilities on the back part of campus,  around and including the area of the old equestrian fields. The plans for the facility include building two new barns for the varsity team and a barn for broader use. The plans include classroom space, indoor and outdoor arenas, and a residential cottage for the equestrian center residential staff person. Goucher is also partnering with the state of Maryland to bring the Maryland Horse Breeders Association to Goucher. Their facility which is planned to be in a reclaimed local banker barn, and it will include a museum, an office space, and an archive for the Maryland Horse Breeders.

The project will require the removal of a number of trees. The college has surveyed the area for “specimen trees,” meaning trees are particularly unique or old, and will attempt to keep as many of them as possible, although it is unlikely that they will be able to keep all of them.

The project will occur over the course of three years, in part because two years are needed for the grass to grow. According to a study of the Maryland horse industry, cited by Goucher’s “In the Loop,” Maryland horse farming brings in more than $1.15 billion in economic activity every year.

Construction plans for an interfaith addition to the chapel are also complete. The addition will include six offices, four prayer spaces, a great room, a space for Hillel, a community kitchen, and a quiet meeting room for groups like Surviving Together and the bereavement group. The offices are intended for the chaplain and the executive director of Hillel, with additional offices for any part time staff, which will currently most likely be used by student interns and Goucher Christian Fellowship staff and the Israel Fellow to Hillel.

The goal of the Interfaith Center will be to create spaces for people who practice a variety of religions. One of the prayer rooms will include a Muslim absolution station. While the other spaces could change intentions because their religious affiliation will be determined

by furnishing rather than by architecture, the plan is to have Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian prayer or meditation spaces. In an interview, Chaplain Cynthia Terry also made clear that the interfaith addition will be open to all students, not just students who are religious.

The original projected start date for the Interfaith Center was much earlier, but the plans for the building turned out to be considerably more expensive than initially expected, with a cost estimate of $4.5 million. In order for construction to begin, more fund-raising will be necessary.

This is generally the case for the building plans. The new science center is projected to cost $22.5 million, and that is only in hard construction costs, not including costs like architects or paying for furniture.

“It’s a tough time to be a liberal arts school,” said Darragh Brady, project manager. “Liberal arts colleges are fighting to stay alive, fighting to survive. It is smart of Goucher to do this construction. They are recognizing that in order to lure students, they have to have science labs like the ones at University of Maryland, otherwise students will just go to the University of Maryland.”

Down the road, Goucher plans to lease the land for a building between the main entrance of the college and the Sheraton and Edenwald. While they currently have proposals from about twenty developers, it is still undetermined to whom the ground lease will go and when construction will begin.

For more information on Dining Halls, see page 1. To read about student perspectives on the First Year Village, flip to page 5.

New Counseling Center in the Works

by

With the re-opening of Mary Fisher in the fall semester of 2018, the counseling center will have new, larger facilities on the third floor, with seven offices instead of the current four. The center’s staff will also increase in number. Currently, there are two full-time staff, three part-time staff, and three graduate externs. Next year, there will be three full-time and one part-time staff members, for a slight decrease in active staff hours. The largest increase will be in graduate and doctoral externs, going from three externs to six in the fall.

These new facilities are part of an effort to respond to the high demand for mental health services. According to the 2016-17 Healthy Minds Study, about 49% of Goucher students have a previous diagnosis as of a mental disorder. Students also display a high rate of anxiety and depression, with 37% screening positive for anxiety and 43% for depression.

On-campus counseling services are highly utilized. The center has needed a wait list for the past three semesters, with an average of 10 students being on the list. In 2016-17, the center completed intakes for 354 students and there were 97 crisis walk-in sessions. Of the 2017 graduating class, 45% of graduating seniors used counseling services at some point during their enrollment at Goucher.

Currently, the center’s clinical services are limited by its space. The center has two full-time staff three part-time staff, three graduate externs, and four offices. Because they have expanded, the counseling staff also sometimes holds counseling sessions in their lunchroom in urgent situations, and one of their offices is a re-purposed laundry lounge room. Counseling in this re-purposed office is more challenging because of the room’s distance from the other offices, which makes it difficult to consult with other counselors if necessary.

Monica Neel, Director of Counseling Services, hopes that the new facilities will provide more than enough space for counseling services. “We’re pretty much getting what we need out of it…I think we’ll have ample space…and a capacity to grow,” she said.

The new counseling space in Mary Fisher will also be separate from health services. The current counseling space is attached to the health center, and students are processed in a waiting room that is focused on physical health. With the new facilities, the space will be more centered around mental health. The center will include self-care spaces such as a self-use resource library and a small, low-stimulation meditation room, that students will be able to access without passing through the counseling center.

The new counseling waiting room will also be equipped with electronic medical software. Monica Neel, Director of Counseling Services, hopes this technology will give students a sense of “ownership…for their own care and progress.” The electronic software will also allow the school to more easily and efficiently collect and analyze data regarding students’ mental health.

Case management offices will also be in the new space, for easier communication between counseling staff and case management.

The plans to use this space in Mary Fisher as a new location for the counseling center happened very quickly. Previous plans for the third floor space had included the possibility of putting in dorm rooms, but after the decision to move and preserve the Froleicher building, the beds were no longer necessary.

Conversation about using the space as counseling facilities began this semester, with Vice President Brian Coker, Dean Andrew Wu, and Monica Neel. The first mock-ups of plans were prepared within a month after conversation started. “I think we’ve got great ‘buy in’ everywhere,” said Neel. “It’s not like we have a VP or President who is resistant to talking about mental health.”

The project is part of efforts Goucher is making through its partnership with the JED foundation, a non-profit dedicated to emotional health and suicide prevention for young adults. The JED Foundation provides a framework to ensure that the school meets certain benchmarks of best practices regarding mental health. Prior to Monica Neel being Director of Counseling, there was no director; the counseling center was part of the health center. Because of this, there was no mental health model on campus or frame of reference as to how the counseling center compared nationwide. After Monica Neel learned about the JED Foundation at a conference in Fall 2016, Goucher began its partnership with JED in January 2017.

The new counseling center facilities have been authorized to be completed in the fall, although the funding has not yet been secured. The college is currently looking for donors among alumnae/i.

Goucher Ranks High in Percentage of Students with Mental Health Conditions

by

 

 

Charts comparing percentage of students who screened positive for anxiety at Goucher in comparison to other schools that took the Healthy Minds survey. The red bar is Goucher. Photo Credit: Healthy Minds Network Data Interface

In the 2016-2017 school year, for the first time, Goucher administered a Healthy Minds Study, an annual web-based survey that specifically examines mental health and the use of mental health services on college campuses nationwide. 49% of Goucher survey respondents said that they had a previous diagnosis of a mental disorder, higher than the national average of 36%. Goucher students are also more likely to have anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation than students at other universities and small liberal arts colleges.

In the 2016-2017 school year, 54 institutions completed the survey. Goucher had a student response rate of 30%, which is higher than the national average of 23%. Healthy Minds also receives demographic information on the entire student body, which enables the college to see if the students who responded are demographically similar to those who didn’t respond. This ensures that the data is more likely to be representative of the entire student body, and not only of students who took the survey.

According to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health’s sixth annual survey, anxiety and depression remain the top two mental health conditions experienced by college students across the country. The Healthy Minds Study results show that 37% of Goucher students screened positive for anxiety and 43% for depression. These percentages are high in comparison with national averages of 26% for anxiety and 31% for depression. At Goucher, 14% of students also screened positive for severe anxiety and 20% for major depression. This news may be unsurprising for many students. “I know a lot of people on campus that generally suffer from trauma…depression…anxiety is a huge one for a lot of people,” said Katie Monthie ’19.

The percentage of Goucher students who reported suicidal ideation and non-suicidal self-injury is also higher than the national average. 15% of students reported suicidal ideation, higher than the national average of 11%. Of schools surveyed, Goucher also has one of the highest percentages of students who have self-injured in the past year, with 38% of respondents reporting self-injury, compared to 21% nationally.

These statistics are spurring action by the administration, although, due to a lack of publicity around these initiatives, students may be largely unaware of the steps being taken. “[Administration] should be saying, ‘this is what we’re going to do to address it,’” said Olivia Gallegos-Siegel, ‘18. “I don’t see that happening. Maybe I’m out of the loop…but you would think that, with what has happened on this campus, there would be a more immediate response.”

Administering the Healthy Minds Study is part of a number of steps Goucher is taking to improve mental health services on campuses. In January 2017, Goucher formed a partnership with the JED Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to emotional health and suicide prevention for young adults. When the survey is administered again in 2019-2020, it will demonstrate whether or not there have been changes in the culture of the school and/or benefits from Goucher’s partnership with the JED Foundation.

 

According to Health Minds, Goucher students also rank low on The Flourishing Scale. This scale is used by the Healthy Minds Study to determine the percentage of students who are deemed to be “flourishing.” The scale is based on a summary measure of responses in eight categories, including relationships, optimism, purpose, and self-esteem. According to this scale, 32% of Goucher students met the criteria for “flourishing,” a lower percentage than the national average of 44%.

“My general perception of mental health for myself and my peers at Goucher is that I feel as though people often put their mental health second,” said Jacob Givelber, ‘19. “It’s usually done unintentionally and through no lack of effort on their part…It’s very easy I think to let life get you down and feel like you have nowhere to turn.”

Another section of the survey looks at how mental and emotional difficulties affect students’ academic performance. Of the survey respondents, 30% of students said that they had had 6 or more days in the past four weeks during which mental or emotional difficulties had hurt their academic performance. This is higher than the national average of 18% of students. Additionally, only 15% of Goucher students reported that they had had zero days in the last four weeks during which their academic performance was affected by their mental or emotional health, a significantly lower percentage than the national average of 26%.

Many Goucher students are, however, taking action regarding their mental health, and those that use the counseling services generally have positive things to say. According to internal statistics, in 2016-2017, the Goucher counseling services completed intakes with 354 individuals, which is roughly 25% of the student body. 1,349 individual counseling sessions occurred, and there were 97 crisis walk-in sessions, for an average of three a week while classes were in session. Of the 2017 graduating class, 45% of graduating seniors used counseling services at some point during their enrollment at Goucher.

“I’ve personally had a really good experience with counseling center,” said Monthie. “They technically say that they do have a policy you’re not supposed to go back-to-back semesters but I’ve done it. You just fill out a new form.” Director of Counseling Services Monica Neel confirms that there is no hard limit to the number of sessions that students can have, although the center does operate from a short-term treatment model.

In the Healthy Minds Study, students also reported high satisfaction with the counseling services. 87% of students reported having knowledge of mental health services on campus, 37% thought counseling was “very helpful” for mental health, compared to a national average of 31%. Student satisfaction with hours, scheduling and quality of therapists at the campus counseling center was all in the high 80% range.

The stigma surrounding mental health and mental health services is also relatively low at Goucher. In the Healthy Minds Study, only 38% of students reported perceived stigma, considerably less than the 47% nationally, and only 4% of students reported that they would think less of someone who received mental health treatment, compared with 6% nationally. “[At Goucher,] it’s pretty accepted to take a mental health day,” said Adina Karten, ’18.

The Healthy Minds survey also examines whether students use alternative routes to seek help for their mental and emotional health, such as talking to professors, academic advisors, or other staff. At Goucher, a high percentage (77%) of students reported participating in this kind of informal help-seeking. “I’ve really loved having a professor I can trust. This may not work for everyone, but I have a few professors I know that if something goes down, I can go talk to them,” said Monthie.

This statistic helps the counseling center to justify mental health-related trainings for faculty and non-clinical staff, which they refer to as “gatekeeper training.” Through this process, counselors train faculty and non-clinical staff in understanding warning signs and how to refer students to counseling services. “It’s a bigger bang for the buck,” said Monica Neel, Director of Student Counseling Services. “Whereas I can only work with one student who comes into my office, if I can train faculty…they have much farther reach than I do.”

Of students who had sought help through Goucher academic personnel, 95% of students found them to be “supportive,” or “very supportive,” greater than the national average of 91%.

While the counseling center has internal statistics on the students who use their services, the benefit of the Healthy Minds Study is that it creates a picture of all the students in the college, and not just the ones who are seeking out services. This allows the college to better target their outreach, create more effective programming, and to justify the increase of funding around these areas. “To some degree its important how we compare nationally, and to some degree it doesn’t matter, because we need to just be dealing with what’s happening in our campus community,” said Neel.

To read more about the initiatives emerging from the partnership with the JED Foundation, including the construction of a new, larger space for the Counseling Center, look for an article in the next issue of the Q. Future issues of the Q will also include more on student experiences and mental health resources on campus.

For more information about the JED Foundation, visit: https://www.jedcampus.org/our-approach/

Charm City Stories Releases First Publication

by

Baltimore’s New Student Art and Literary Magazine of Mental and Physical Health Debuts

You know an event is a success when there are more people than chairs. On Friday, April 6th, Charm City Stories, Baltimore’s first student literary and art magazine of mental and physical health, released its first publication with a poetry reading and gallery showing.

The slim and bold art magazine features the work of at least five Goucher students, including Natasha Hubatsek, ‘21, Michelle Cheifetz, ‘20, Ruth Diaz-Rivera, ‘20, Donche Golder, ‘19, and Sarojini Schutt, ‘18.

The magazine was founded by Johns Hopkins student Arunima Vijay. Through her experience living in Baltimore, Vijay had begun to notice many experiences with illness in the community around her, as well as the abundance of art. She desired to find a way to combine medicine with art, a desire which eventually led to the creation of this publication. Charm City stories is inspired by the field of Narrative Medicine, which is rooted in the idea that effective and humane healthcare relies on the ability to interpret and be moved by the stories of others.

Starting out, Vijay was nervous about how others would respond to her idea. “I didn’t know if I was the only one who thought there was a need for a publication doing this kind of work,” she said.

As it turned, however, Vijay was not alone in wanting a student publication focused on health. She was able to form a team of editors with three other students from Johns Hopkins: Anuradha Haridhas, Julia See, and their magazine and website designer, Coleman Haley. The team publicized through social media, student writing/art groups, and outreach to the heads of the art and writing departments at Johns Hopkins, Goucher, Loyola, UMBC, University of Maryland College Park, and Morgan University. Through these various outlets, they received student poetry, art, creative nonfiction and fiction, all of which was related to physical and mental health. “The most fulfilling part was the overwhelmingly positive response we got from the community,” said Vijay.

In addition to the support of the community, a student publication also requires financial backing. Charm City Stories was fortunate to receive funding by the Mellon Arts Innovation grant from Johns Hopkins University.
Between applying for the grant for funding, contacting writers and artists, designing the magazine, creating the website, and planning the exhibition, Vijay estimates that, altogether, putting together the magazine took several hundred hours. “It’s a year’s worth of hours and effort,” she said.

The publication opens with a poem from Goucher student Natasha Hubatsek entitled “maybe that’s another morning.” Hubatsek’s free verse poem wanders from crisp detail to sensory snapshot, tracing the thoughts of someone asking and answering the question of why they keep on getting up in the morning.
Further into the publication, Michelle Cheifetz’s contemplative poems, “Don’t cry,” “What isn’t,” and “science: Rome,” slide between italics and regular font, images and ideas, beauty and destruction. Cheifetz and Hubatsek both read from their work at the gallery showing and magazine opening.

About halfway through the magazine, Donche Golder’s poem, “This is what you need to hear, and why” speaks directly to the perpetrators of sexual assault. At the end of the poem, the poem’s speaker then addresses a particular yet general “you,” saying, “I could have inserted a name, but this poem isn’t for one person./ This poem is directed at “you,” whoever “you” may be,/ wherever “you” are, for whatever “you” have done wrong./ This is what you need to hear, and this is why.”

Many of the Goucher students involved submitted to the publication because they were in a writing class with Professor Katherine Cottle, and wanted to see how their work would be received outside of the classroom and the Goucher community. It appears that the response was largely a positive one, as the publication features the work of so many Goucher students.

The current team of Charm City Stories editors, consisting entirely of JHU students, hopes, in future years, to have more students from other schools involved in editing the publication. They would also like to have a broader audience, more submissions, a larger event venue…and more chairs.
To read the publication online, visit charmcitystories.com.

If you’re interested in applying for an editor position for next year, click here to fill out an application form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeV8pkhuw70NKOcwf_rL-jcQe-CIFfAuf3sSIrOTzwAHm_TZA/viewform

Featured Image: Charm City Stories Logo. Photo Credit: Charm City Stories Facebook Page

What is the Green Fund?

by
Goucher’s Renovation plans. Photo credit: Goucher Blogs

The Green Fund was created in 2013 with the goal of making the college more environmentally friendly. Every student living on campus pays a Green Fund fee of $18 a semester or $36 a year, for an approximate $50,000 a year, depending on the number of undergraduates living on campus. The money from the fee also rolls over from year to year if not all of it is used.
Every year, $5000 of the fund is allocated for student projects. Students can access this money through a grant-style application process, for which applications are processed by GESAC. Previous Green Fund grants have funded research on bicycle use in Towson, and the purchase of beekeeping supplies.
A portion of the fund goes to the GESAC itself for administrative costs such as advertising for the Green Fund, and the fulfillment of reporting requirements for sustainability initiatives, such as the President’s Climate Commitment. Money from the Green Fund fee also pays for consultants and for Goucher’s memberships to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Education (AASHE) and the President’s Climate Commitment.
GESAC also acts as a link among representatives from various sectors of campus (IT, Communications, and Bon Appetit, for example), who report problems and discuss problem-solving strategies in their different areas. For example, GESAC and FMS are currently working on an interactive online user interface to monitor our energy and water usage in near real-time, called Energy Dashboard.
The remaining funds of the Green Fund fee go to Facility Management Services (FMS) to support campus projects related to sustainability, like the Energy Dashboard.

Click here to read about decisions involving the sustainability coordinator position, or here, to read about the new student environmental coalition.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article published the Green Fund fee as being $84 a year when it is in fact $36.

Sustainability Coordinator Position Approved

by

In the fall of the 2016-2017 school year, Matt Harmin was hired as the sustainability coordinator. As sustainability coordinator, his main role was to facilitate environmental action on campus, serve as a resource person, and collect data for annual reports. Harmin was paid an annual salary in the low $30,000 range, using funding from the Green Fund fee.

Now that Matt Harmin is no longer at Goucher, the Goucher Environmental Sustainability Advisory Council (GESAC) has been discussing whether or not to retain the position. Part of this discussion includes determining whether or not it is ethical to pay a salary from a fund created through student fees, as it may not be feasible as a long term source of funding. The newly formed student organization of environmental clubs, the Goucher Green Coalition, planned to petition for the position to continue, but before they could send out their petition, the position was approved by the administration and sent to be reviewed by Human Resources.

It remains a question, however, whether or not the coordinator will be paid through the Green Fund. In response to this, Grosso stated, “I think that I speak for a lot of students when I say that I would vastly prefer a Sustainability Coordinator paid via the Green Fund than no coordinator at all,” in an email conversation. She envisions the sustainability coordinator as essential in connecting environmental clubs and spearheading environmental action on campus.

For the year and a half that Matt Harmin was Goucher’s first sustainability coordinator, he chaired GESAC, acquired grant funds to support Energy Dashboard system, and worked with students on Green Fund projects, among other responsibilities. He also organized events like mushroom hunting, and instated a discount for students who brought their own bottle or mug to the dining halls.

Having a staff position entirely dedicated to sustainability also makes Goucher’s commitment to the environment more evident. The petition leverages this, bringing up the fact that Goucher is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and that President Bowen has signed the President’s Climate Consortium, and positing that hiring a sustainability coordinator will help Goucher uphold its commitment to these agreements.

Another reason for hiring a sustainability coordinator is for increased continuity of leadership around environmental issues. However, the salary may be detrimental to this proposed goal. Sophia Hancock, ’18, expressed concern that if a coordinator is paid a salary of around $30,000, they won’t stick around. How long would it be, she wondered, before they found a higher-salary position? If the sustainability coordinator were only in the position for a couple years, they would not be at Goucher longer than most of the student population. While the question of continuity may remain difficult to answer, if the position is renewed, Grosso is considering applying for it after graduation, and she encourages other students to do so as well.

To find out more about the Green Fund, click here.

If you’re interested reading a full job description for the sustainability coordinator, or in finding out more about the Goucher Green Coalition, contact Rachel Grosso at ragro001@mail.goucher.edu.

Environmental Clubs Create Coalition

by

On Tuesday March 27th, a group of student leaders met to discuss the future of environmental action on Goucher’s campus. The group, currently named the Goucher Green Coalition (GGC), hopes to enact greater positive change through increased connectivity and communication among environmental clubs on campus. Because some of the clubs involved rely heavily on volunteers, such as Food Recovery Network, one goal of GGC will be to create a network through which clubs can ask for volunteers. The coalition also hopes to organize its own events, such as an Earth Day Campus Clean up on April 18th, and a Call-A-Thon for students to contact their representatives.

Rachel Grosso, ’18, was inspired to organize the coalition after attending the first annual Baltimore Student Environmental Conference, which brought together student leaders of environmental organizations from colleges and universities in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins and Loyola University both have an umbrella group that coordinates collaboration among environmental clubs, and this organizational structure inspired Grosso to start something similar at Goucher. Grosso noted that since Goucher Energy Action Revolution club, or GEAR, dissolved 3 or 4 years ago, Goucher has not had a “strong environmental presence,” which is something she hopes to change. As this is her final semester at Goucher, however, the continuance of GGC will rely on other students.

To form the group, Grosso made a list of people she had spoken with at the conference and looked for related clubs on the club page on Goucher’s website. As she began talking about her plan, more students became interested who were not already involved in a particular environmental group.

In this first meeting, which only lasted a half hour, the GGC discussed their purpose, vision, and concrete goals. Most of the meeting was spent discussing a petition to hire a new sustainability coordinator, but club leaders also made announcements about what they are working on.

Food Recovery Network (FRN) leader Allie Sklarew, ’17, stated that FRN will be hosting a Move Out for Hunger event at the end of the semester. This event encourages students to donate any leftover non-perishable food they have in their dorm rooms to be delivered to food banks, homeless shelters, and/or other organizations fighting hunger.

In a similar vein, Brett Rapkin-Citrenbaum, ’17, announced plans organize the “free store” at the end of the semester. A large project, the end-of-the-semester Free Store involves maintaining an on-campus space where students can bring items that they no longer want or need (clothing, books, electronics, etc.). The items brought to the Free Store can then be taken up by other students, or, if they remain in the “store” at the very end of the semester, be delivered to Goodwill. While there is a Free Store throughout the semester located on the top floor of Mary Fisher between Hooper and Dulaney, the Free Store at the end of the semester is much larger.

Because this Free Store project only operates at the end of the semester, unlike FRN, there is no consistent pool of student volunteers to pull from. For this reason, the Free Store exemplifies exactly the kind of project for which an organization like the Goucher Green Coalition can be helpful.

The Goucher Green Coalition had their second meeting on Monday, April 2nd.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Goucher Green Coalition, contact Rachel Grosso at ragro001@mail.goucher.edu. And if you’d like to volunteer to help with the end-of-the-semester Free Store, contact Brett Rapkin-Citrenbaum, at brrap002@mail.goucher.edu.

Featured Image: The Second Meeting of Goucher Green Coalition. Photo Credit: Rachel Grosso

Goucher Students Published in Charm City Stories

by

On Friday, April 6th, Charm City Stories, Baltimore’s first student literary and art magazine of mental and physical health, will release its first publication. The magazine will feature the work of at least four Goucher students: Donché Golder, Natasha Hubatsek, Michelle Cheifetz, and Ruth Diaz-Rivera.

Print copies of the free publication will be released at Johns Hopkins University at a gallery exhibition in the Second Decade Society Room of the Center for Visual Arts from 7-9pm. The publication will also be available online at charmcitystories.com.

Charm City stories is inspired by the field of Narrative Medicine, the idea that effective and humane healthcare relies on the ability to interpret and be moved by the stories of others. The first annual publication builds on the collaboration of writing departments at Johns Hopkins, Goucher, Loyola, UMBC, University of Maryland College Park, and Morgan University. The first annual publication of the free magazine is sponsored by the Mellon Arts Innovation grant from Johns Hopkins University.

One day, Goucher writing professor Katherine Cottle asked her writing students to submit at least one piece for publication before they left class, and this was the assignment that led to the publication in Charm City Stories for Donché Golder. Golder, ’18, submitted a poem, entitled “This is what you need to hear, and why.”

Through his poem, Golder explores themes of healing and accountability. “Without beating around the bush,” he said, “the poem is about sexual assault. The bulk of the poem addresses the agony of those who have been effected by sexual violence/abuse and the last four lines drive the point home: ‘I could have inserted a name, but this poem isn’t for one person./ This poem is directed at “you,” whoever “you” may be,/ wherever “you” are, for whatever “you” have done wrong./ This is what you need to hear, and this is why.’”

Golder, a 4th year English Major, Professional Writing minor, was inspired to submit for Charm City Stories because, he admitted, he hadn’t been published since seventh grade. “I’ve come a long way since then and I think it shows in my work,” he said.

To find out more, visit charmcitystories.com.

Poetry as Community

by

It is not so frequent an event that speakers are introduced as having created oceans. Oceans with “clear and clean water,” into which one can be submersed, “with no part left dry.”
On Thursday, February 15th, poets Airea D. Matthews and Ladan Osman visited Goucher for an evening of dinner, conversation, and, most importantly, poetry. They were the first in a series of poets whose visits will be sponsored by the Kratz Center for Creative Writing at Goucher College.
Typically, the Kratz Center sponsors one visiting writer event in the fall semester. For example, last semester Elizabeth Strout made a visit, and in previous years, other big names like Sherman Alexie, Seamus Heaney, and W.S. Merwin have come to Goucher. Then, in the spring semester, the Kratz Center sponsors a visiting writer to teach a course. This semester H.G. Carrillo is leading a fiction writing workshop. Goucher alumni Edgar Kunz is also visiting and teaching creative writing. In addition to these annually-run programs, however, the Kratz Center is also sponsoring something new this year—an “experiment,” in the words of Bill U’Ren, current Kratz Director and Goucher creative writing professor.
The Poetry Series is the experiment. Although U’Ren is the acting Kratz Director, the go-ahead for this experiment was given by last year’s co-directors Madison Smartt Bell and Elizabeth Spires. Meant to work in conjunction with this semester’s theme of “community,” the series involves creating several smaller events with visiting writers, rather than try to acquire big-ticket names. The series is also an attempt to organize a variety of readings which may not be the most traditional. For example, Matthews and Osman both employed mixed media presentations, using images along with their work. Future visiting poets include The Black Ladies Brunch Collective, a group of poets who work collaboratively.
Goucher poetry and peace studies professor Ailish Hopper was the curator of the series (and the author of the lovely introduction at the Thursday night event). As the curator, Hopper reached out to poets in the broader Baltimore community and asked for their help in creating the events. To create a pair for a joint reading, she would first contact one poet, and then ask whom that poet would like to read with, be it “a friend, or mentor or poetry-crush,” as Hopper put it. The poets were then asked what the phrase “poetry as community” meant to them. The focus, or subtitles, for each event, came from their answers to this question. Aptly, Hopper used a metaphor to describe her involvement as curator in this process: “I was like a sail on a sailboat, and all these winds came along to push the sail,” said Hopper, miming the movement of blowing winds to represent the various people who made the series possible.
At the event on Thursday, throughout the evening Matthews and Osman showed their friendship and respect for each other, each sharing stories about the other. At the end of the night, Hopper thanked both for their time, their poetry, and, ultimately, for their togetherness. Matthews and Osman laughed and looked at each other. “We really love each other,” said Matthews.

The Poetry Series has already been building connections between members of the poetry community. Of the 40-50 people at Thursday night event, there were a number of local poets, who teach in colleges, high schools, and afterschool programs. One outcome of this community-building is co-publicity and the creation of a master list of all the poetry events happening this spring. If you’re interested in attending poetry events on or off campus, check out the list below!
The final visiting poet of the semester, Rudy Francisco, who specializes in spoken word poetry, will lead a master class at Goucher in the morning but will perform in the evening at the DewMore Baltimore Poetry Festival. Hopper hopes that Goucher students connect with Francisco and make an effort to travel into the city for the festival.
Upcoming events at Goucher feature Poets Jenny Johnson and francine harris on March 29th, 7-9 in Batza Room and The Black Ladies Brunch Collective on Thursday, April 12th, 7-9, also in Batza.

On a final note, the Q is hoping to publish poems and spark poetry-centered conversation this semester in connection with the idea of poetry as community and poets as truth-tellers.
Go to an event and compose a response. Or be inspired in any other way. Write a poem… passionate, reflective, heart-breaking, fast, slow, rhyming, free verse…whatever your style is and wherever your heart is, just write.
Then send it into the world.

Go to Top