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Why Zumba?

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Instructor Moe de La Viez leading Zumba. Photo Credit: Rob Ferrell.

Peering through the 60 students drenched in sweat and the steamed-up mirrors of the multipurpose room in the Sports & Recreation Center, you will find Moe de La Viez at the front of the room, swaying to the beat of Shakira’s “Waka Waka” as she instructs the cool down of her semiweekly Zumba class.

De La Viez, a senior production and design interdisciplinary major, first started teaching Zumba at Goucher in August of last year, not really knowing what to expect. “Part of me didn’t really expect a lot of people to be there or for me to even be that good at it. It’s hard to get Goucher students to do things so I expected the worst,” de La Viez said.

There exists a widely held belief that Goucher culture is one of being uninvolved and lackadaisical. “So many events are just so under-attended,” said sophomore Natalie Simendinger. She thought back on an event she went to last semester held by the music club, at which several non-Goucher bands came to campus to perform, including a band from New Jersey, and “less than 15 people showed up,” Simendinger recalled. This is just one example of countless under-attended events at Goucher. “I’ve heard that nobody shows up to sports games either, but I wouldn’t know because I’ve never gone to one,” Simendinger said.

So, expecting the worst, de La Viez was pleasantly surprised when 25 students showed up to her first class back in September of 2018. As the semester continued, this number grew. “It just became more popular and like midway through the semester I maxed at having 60 people!” de La Viez said. “I have at least 15 people who come to every class, and most classes have new people too. It’s awesome.”

The regulars who attend de La Viez’s class have an inside look into how she accomplished the amazing feat of getting 60 Goucher students to attend something, breaking the stereotype of the indolent nature of Goucher culture. Derek Borowsky, a first-year, tries to attend every class, describing Zumba as a combination of dance, cardio, and stress relief.

“I enjoy the music and the fun environment,” Borowsky said. “While it is definitely a workout, I don’t go there to be active. I primarily go to have fun and let go of some stress.”

Borowsky believes the class has reached such outstanding attendance records because it has so much to offer, including community, fun, dance, a chance to unwind, and good music. “Most people find at least one of those ideas appealing, so while we all might go for different reasons, a lot of people really love it.” Borowsky said.

Sophomore Amelia Meier, another Zumba regular, describes the class as upbeat, casual, fun, and chill. “The combinations are hard, but so fun. It gets your heart beat up, the room gets steamy and everyone is all smiles by the end.” Meier said. “Also, it’s so dang fun, and such a great workout!”

Meier also attributes the class’s success to the instructor, Moe. “Moe is amazing; she keeps things interesting in the class by changing which routines we do.” Meier said. “Having Moe as a teacher makes the class even better.”

De La Viez first discovered her interest in Zumba when she started taking classes at her local gym after graduating high school. She got certified as a Zumba instructor over the summer and wants to instruct Zumba after graduating Goucher. She hopped on board with Goucher Recreation this semester to launch her Zumba club.

So –– what exactly is Zumba?

Zumba is an hour long, Latin-inspired, high-intensity dance and fitness class. It was created the mid-1990s by Beto Perez, a Colombian celebrity fitness trainer who forgot to bring his aerobics music to class one day and decided to improvise using the Latin music he had in his car.

In 2001, Perez brought Zumba to the United States and partnered with Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion, creating Zumba Fitness, LLC, thus starting a world-wide craze. By 2015, there were over 14 million Zumba students in 186 countries.

Zumba uses music that comes from Latin dance, including cumbia, salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, chachacha, reggaeton, samba, hip hop music, and tango. Each song in the class has a repeated set of movements, including lots of squats, lunges, and hip movement. The repetition allows the participates to pick up on the choreography, regardless of their previous dance experience. In a single Zumba class, a person can burn up to 600 calories.

Students of all years, experiences, and fitness levels gather on Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m. and Saturdays at 1:30 p.m. for de La Viez’s Zumba class.

The low pressure, fun, and communal nature of Zumba contributes to its popularity over other, more intimidating, fitness classes that Goucher Recreation offers, such as High Intensity Interval Training, Weightlifting Basics, or GopherSHRED.

For college students, swamped with classes, work, clubs, etc., it is easy for fitness to fall by the wayside. Because of the lack of time, intimidation of the athlete-filled SRC, or just pure hatred of cardio, many students aren’t getting the exercise needed to fuel active minds. Zumba can be a great entryway into fitness.

“I know a lot of people are nervous to work out in the weight room, or others, like myself, may not like traditional methods of cardio like running,” de La Viez said. “Zumba doesn’t feel like cardio, so it rocks! You still sweat like hell though. It’s a fun workout and people get really into it.”

De La Viez’s Zumba class, with all odds stacked against it, managed to attract up to 60 students at a time, and de La Viez wants it to continue to grow.

WiFi: An Ultimate Guide for the Best Connection

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photo credit: Goucher College IT

Welcome back to Goucher! As the semester starts, we are all getting re-adjusted to early mornings and late nights, meaning hours spent on homework. On January 25th, IT informed students, via email, that there will no longer be a GoucherMultiMedia server. Because of this, I thought I would give a little update on the best places to connect to our WiFi servers. The last thing we need is to be stuck with poor WiFi connection, especially when turning in an assignment at the last minute. Whether you do this from your dorm, or the middle of Van Meter Highway, minutes before it is due, here are some of the best, and worst, spots on campus to connect online.

Mary Fischer Dining Hall: this is mostly a great place to connect to the internet. The front room, yes, the one overlooking Van Meter Highway, has great and speedy WiFi. Feel free to go there in the morning to work on some homework while eating breakfast. The back room, however, is not so great when connecting to WiFi. Sure, it may say that you’ve got full bars, but the speed is spotty, many times making me have to disconnect from it to check something as simple as my email on my phone.

The Outdoor Classroom: this is the cluster of rocks outside of Van Meter. What a lovely place to sit outside, either between classes, even during class if your professor decides to hold class outside. I would suggest bringing a book or pre-downloading anything you may need off the internet, however, because the WiFi is not so great at this spot. Do not let this discourage you from getting your daily dose of vitamin D, though, especially once the weather starts getting warmer and more pleasant to be outside.

Van Meter and Julia Rodgers: two of our lovely academic buildings, so of course the WiFi is pretty good. The only days that it’s slow is either when the server is down, or when there is some-sort of over-flow of users. In this case, you may need to go back to good old-fashioned handwriting with your note-taking, and hope that the professor will be able to continue class without needing the internet.

The Athenaeum: this is a great hotspot, whether you are in the Ath by Alice’s or at the very bottom floor of the Library. So, sit down and enjoy a drink and snacks from Alice’s while you work on that five to seven-page essay that is due in a couple of hours or days. If you need deep focus, find a comfy spot/desk on a quiet floor in the library. If you want to be able to work with friends, work in the Info Commons by the desktop computers. Or, if you are like me and like to have a possibility of running into friends, sit at one of the high tables that overlook the Hyman Forum. This spot gives you a great chance to sit and focus, but still be joined with friends and you can both be social, or quiet while working. No matter where you are, anywhere is a great place in the Ath and Library to stay connected to the WiFi.

Great Lawn: this is where everyone will be once the weather goes above sixty degrees and the sun is out and shining. Unfortunately, like the ODC, this is not a great place to stay connected to the WiFi. Simply download what is needed, or try to grab a spot on Alice’s Patio which has pretty decent connection. Sure, you may not be able to stream music without wasting away your data, but the great lawn is a wonderful place to relax. Perhaps the faulty connection is purposeful, making us have to socialize with others.

So, here you have it! Your ultimate guide on where to find some of the best WiFi on campus. Thank you to the IT Department at Goucher for keeping our connection as fast as possible, and for keeping us up to date when it is down. Let us not let our connection fail, and hope for a great semester of WiFi connection.

Lounging with the CEO’s Career Mentors While Writing Resumes and Cover Letters

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Every Tuesday from 6-8 p.m., the Career Education Office’s two Career Mentors transform the couches by the laptop kiosk on the third floor of the Athenaeum into a dedicated work space for students to come work on specific career-minded tasks. Called the Resume and Cover Letter Lounge, it is run almost exclusively by the CEO’s own Career Mentors: Elizabeth Tran, ‘19 and Alex Steitz, ‘21.

Tran explained to me that this Lounge space has been in the works since last fall, when the CEO (formerly the Career Development Office) organized student focus groups asking questions such as “What are you coming to the office looking for, and what suggestions do you have for improving the office?” Tran continued by mentioning that lots of students requested an “approachable” space outside the standard 9-5 work day where they could workshop their resumes and cover letters. This formed the basis of the Lounge as a weekly space.

By starting the Lounge at 6 p.m., Tran hopes that students who have classes all day and have limited time to designate for career searching can come get suggestions on their resumes and cover letters at a time that works for them.

Steitz echoed this idea, emphasizing that “[s]tudents can bring drafts of their resumes and cover letters. If they don’t have a draft and want to start from scratch, that’s okay! It’s helpful if they can bring a laptop.”

Jenn Leard, the Associate Director of Career Advising & Student Engagement in the CEO, also added that “the Lounge provides a low-key space for students to create, workshop, and get real-time feedback on their resume and cover letter materials. The Lounge also, as we have heard from multiple students who have already attended, provides accountability and support.”

When asked about his goal for the Lounge, Steitz replied, “My goal is for students to have stronger resumes and cover letters after coming to the Lounge. More importantly, we’re working to teach students skills, build their confidence, and give them a greater understanding of what makes an effective resume/cover letter. I want to prepare students to continue to strengthen their applications in the future when we aren’t there.”

Photo Credit: goucher.edu

Part of this, Tran suggested, could involve expanding the types of writing that the Lounge will focus on in the future. This gets a little bit tricky, Tran points out, because they don’t want to create overlap between what what the Career Mentors do and what Career Counselors at the CEO do. Steitz enforced this idea by emphasizing that “[w]e can’t help with personal statements. Students who need help with that can make appointments in Goucher Recruit to meet with a Career Counselor.” Tran also mentioned that if a student comes to the Lounge looking for help with finding an internship or any other CEO-related question, the Career Mentors are more than happy to give them resources or point them towards a specific Career Counselor.

Steitz ended by saying, “So many students express being terrified of applying for jobs, internships, and graduate school. If that’s you, it’s okay! It can be scary! But hopefully we can make it less scary by showing you that you’re not alone in those feelings and we can give you tools to overcome that. No one is born knowing this stuff; it takes time, so don’t feel bad if the process seems daunting and unfamiliar. We’re excited to help you learn!”

Want to stay involved with the CEO or the HUB (which includes the Offices of International Studies and Community-Based Learning)? Tran suggested checking out any of the following events:

  • Tuesday: Tea Time from 3:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Friday: Coffee Chats from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Friday: Open Studios from 2-4 p.m.

 

See you there!

Hidden Places on Campus

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We all have places around campus that we enjoy to hide out in and be by ourselves. Many times, I don’t like to share where I am with friends when I’m in one of my hidden places, usually because I worry that they will take the spot from me. However, I want to share some of these spaces with you so you can experience the same joy that they have provided for me.

Go to the bottom floor of the library and sit at one of the desks by the windows. Now, be sure to use one of the big blue comfy chairs because who wants to sit in an uncomfortable chair? The bottom floor always seems to be one of the more quiet, non-quiet floor, floors. Easy to get work done, not many people can find you, and it’s fun to watch the rain/snow fall when it comes to that time of the year.

As mentioned in a previous article, there is a labyrinth between Bacon and the Chapel, right off of Van Meter. It’s secluded enough where, when you sit there, no one can find you. It’s a nice place to go to if you’re having a stressful day and just want to be surrounded by flowers and bushes.

My next favorite place is the swing down past Stimson and the South Lot. Keep going down the path, and you will be greeted by a swing in an open space. I swung on it during the first snowfall of the season and can honestly say that that may have been one of my happiest moments there. If you keep going down the path, there will be a path to your left and if you go through it, you will end up in the old equestrian field! Then, from there, you can relax in another favorite spot of mine.

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Goucher College Library. Photo Credit: The Chronicle of Higher Education VIA Google Images

My last favorite place is the old equestrian field. On any nice, or at least decently warm day, it’s a great place to lay out on a blanket and either do some art or bring homework that does not require the use of WiFi and be somewhat productive. Yes, many people may think “well, everyone knows about the old equestrian field.” However, there are certain parts that are hidden from people just walking around — you will have to find those on your own! One of these is further back, closer to the track field because there is less through traffic. You can even walk along a path that goes deeper into the woods and will lead you to a creek. Be sure to bring your hammock with you as well because it’s a great place to hammock.

So, here you have it, some of the spots on campus to hide away and be alone for a little bit. Yes, it is always good to go out and socialize, but it’s also a good idea to take some time for yourself. Why not spend this time out in nature in the old equestrian field? I did not share all of my favorite places; those will have to wait for another time.

The Mary Gaitskill Reading: Navigating the Twisted

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On Tuesday, October 16 at 8 p.m., renowned writer Mary Gaitskill stood on the stage of the Hyman Forum behind a wooden podium and read aloud a portion of her short story, “The Acceptance Journey,” to a crowd of Goucher students and faculty. Taking off her glasses to read, she described the life of Carol, a woman who took a job at a small liberal arts college after separating from her husband.

“The Acceptance Journey,” while referencing some graphic material, was, at least for the portion she read, one of her less disquieting stories, referencing Carol’s interest in torture and violence on the news and crime shows. While Carol’s fascination with these heavily negative subject matters is certainly disturbing, this first section of “The Acceptance Journey” was less dark than many of her other stories. Her 1988 short story collection entitled Bad Behavior included raw descriptions of multiple forms of abuse. The collection is perhaps most well known for its infamous short story “Secretary” (the inspiration for the movie of the same title with Maggie Gyllenhaal). Gaitskill is also known as a National Book award finalist, earned for her novel Veronica in 2005, and received the O’Henry Award for her short story “The Little Boy” in 2008. Gaitskill’s most recent work, Somebody with a Little Hammer, is a collection of essays and reviews, the only book of non-fiction that Gaitskill that has published. She is known both for her command of craft and for her blunt, raw depictions of abuse, trauma, and, more generally, the actions of selfish people.

The reading, while potentially needing a disclaimer regarding sensitive material, effectively highlighted the blunt, direct, and decisive tones of Gaitskill’s prose. Gaitskill varied her voice and tone very little throughout the story, except for when Carol begins writing letters to a little girl who writes to “The Grinch” for Christmas presents. During this part, Gaitskill slightly shifted her tone for thoughts and put on a low-toned, crotchety voice for Carol’s writing as “the grinch” and a higher pitched, dignified voice for Carol’s writing as “the winged assistant,” shifting her posture and stance as she did so to adopt the mannerisms of these characters.

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Mary Gaitskill Photo Credit: goucher.edu

The following Q&A, facilitated by Professor Bill U’ren, covered a variety of topics from all around the crowd. Some questions lead to a deeper analysis of the night’s reading. When asked about how she starts to write a story for instance, she described the different things that influenced “The Acceptance Journey” in particular: her time as a visiting professor at a small college, driving past the billboard for “The Acceptance Journey” in Pittsburgh, and the constant terror and traumatic events that pepper the news and TV shows. Other questions focused on Gaitskill’s other writings and her influences as a writer. One question-asker in particular asked Gaitskill about her interest in the figure of Ayn Rand in her novel Two Girls, One Fat One Thin, which led to Gaitskill sharing her dislike for Ayn Rand’s ideology and how strange and varied she has found the writer’s following to be. Addressing her influences, she described her mother’s reading to her as an important part of her becoming a writer and named Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty, whose short stories share a raw dark humor that is found throughout Gaitskill’s, as main influences for her work.

The connection between the author and her work was incredibly visible during this reading, not from a content perspective so much as a voice perspective. Through this reading, one could really develop a sense of Mary Gaitskill’s voice and the ways in which it overlaps with her writing.

A Rocky Horror Picture Show

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Picture Source: CelebMix.com

At least one hundred students were sitting outside of Merrick Lecture Hall Friday night, October 26th. Anticipation went through everyone as they waited for the doors to open, where they would be led into the world of Rocky Horror. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a movie about Brad and Janet, who get stuck with a flat tire outside of transvestite scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s mansion. They are taken for a wild ride in the mansion, where they meet an array of different characters including Rocky, a creation of Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

Goucher College’s rendition of the movie is done as a shadow cast, meaning cast members dress in lingerie and mouth out the words to the movie while the actual movie is projected onto a screen. Goucher has been doing this since the 1980’s, which explains why students get so excited when it gets close to Rocky weekend.

This year’s co-directors were seniors Chris Meyhew and Sophie Mezebish. Mezebish was a part of the cast her sophomore year, and then was assistant director her junior year. When asked why Rocky Horror is performed the way it is with a shadow cast, Mezebish said that because it’s such a cult classic, “people didn’t want to stray too far from the original movie,” hence why it is performed in front of it with actors mouthing words. Mezebish says that the reason why Goucher’s production is so unique is because it is so close to being a theatrical version but is still a shadow cast.

Zoe Gilmore and Jared Sumar played the loving couple Janet and Brad. Gilmore and Sumar are both sophomores, and it was both their first times being a part of the Rocky Horror cast. Gilmore decided to audition because she wanted to “step out of [her] comfort zone” as well as think about the different ways theater presents itself. She was in the theater department in high school but took freshman year of college off so she could scope out the theater scene here at Goucher. The rehearsals, meaning staying up past midnight to perfect scenes, was a great bonding experience for her as well as for the rest of the cast.

Jared Sumar, on the other hand, was not a total fan of the show at first. He decided to audition because his friend Chris said that he had to go because his name was on the audition list. Sumar enjoyed the fact that Meyhew and Mezebish made it a fun environment for the cast. Sumar wants to be involved again but most likely not until his senior year.

One of the most anticipated character reveals was Dr. Frank-N-Furter, played by Moe de la Viez, a senior here at Goucher. After a singing number, the spotlights moved to the top of Merrick, towards the entrance. Ensemble members held a white sheet, and with a sudden drop, De la Viez was revealed.

De la Viez has been a part of Rocky Horror for the past three years. She first watched the shadow cast before even knowing what she was getting herself into. She then portrayed Magenta her sophomore year, Eddie her junior year, and, of course, Frank her senior year. “Ok ya, everyone is going to be half naked” De la Viez said, describing it to be the culture of the show.

Having the show in Merrick lets there be much more audience participation throughout the show. As an audience member, you volunteer yourself to be crawled over, sat on, and even consensually made-out with by ensemble members. This kind of intimacy, however, is a one of a kind experience.

Too many details cannot be given, however, because then the surprise of the show will be ruined for all those who did not get the chance to see it this year. Thank you to this year’s cast for creating such a fun experience for all. If you did not get the chance to see it this year, get to Merrick even earlier next year.

The Labyrinth: A Place of Peace for Stressed Out Students

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Picture by: Aubrie DiBenedetto

When someone finds a spot that they consider a hidden gem, they might be compelled to tell everyone they know, but something usually holds them back and they may only share it with a few people. Most hidden gems are meant to stay hidden. They provide their finders with a private space that they can call theirs.

It’s no surprise that a lot of Goucher students don’t know about the hidden gems on our campus. My favorite, located between the Haebler Memorial Chapel and Mary Fisher Hall, is one that shouldn’t go unnoticed and be hidden anymore. From the outside, it looks like a small circular garden and seating area, but if you walk to its entrance, you will see a brick and gravel maze-like path. But it’s not a maze, it’s a mindfulness and meditation labyrinth.

Mazes are meant to trick and confuse you. They’re meant for you to find your way out of them on your own. A labyrinth has no tricks, isn’t meant to confuse you, or make you choose your own path. It’s meant to help you find your center and find clarity. It’s a tool that’s been used for centuries for mindfulness and meditation. The labyrinth is a representation of the journey inward to our own true selves and then back into the real world. On top of likely having an emotional and even spiritual response to walking a labyrinth, the body also has a physiological response.

The labyrinth, located between the Chapel and Mary Fisher, is one of two labyrinths on Goucher’s campus. The second one is a portable canvas one that when fully spread out barely fits in the Heubeck forum (it actually goes up the walls a bit). But the permanent one is more than just a calming place.

While all labyrinths are very similar, there are differences that come with each one. For Goucher, the outdoor labyrinth is also the site of two very special trees that are dedications to two students from the class of 2010 who tragically passed away in 2006. Goucher wanted to build the labyrinth before the students passed away, and thought that combining the labyrinth and the dedications would be the perfect way to not only provide a space for others to enjoy and memorialize two students but also might bring more meaning to the Goucher labyrinth. The trees and their significance set it aside from the other labyrinths located around the area.

I sat down with Goucher’s Chaplain, Cynthia Terry, to talk about the labyrinth and how it came to be. I asked her “Why put one on Goucher’s campus?” She told me that, “a college campus is a perfect place for one.” They are used as a calming space and a place for mindfulness and meditation; and I have to agree with her because I think a college, full of very stressed out students, is the right place to have a labyrinth. The Goucher websites labyrinth page says that the labyrinth can be used as an “opportunity to reflect on the transitions and decisions of your life”. A place that can be calming and possibly bring clarity to students? Everyone needs that peace and space in their life.

If you want more information on labyrinths, there is a wonderful documentary called “Labyrinth Journeys” by Cintia Cabib that Cynthia Terry recommended.

2018 Baltimore NEDA Walk: Hope, Strength, Recovery

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Photo Credit: NEDA Walk shirt obtained by Anonymous

The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) is a “nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders.” NEDA’s vision is a world without eating disorders, and their mission is to support and serve as a “catalyst for prevention, cures, and access to quality care.”

Every year, all throughout the country, NEDA hosts walks to raise money and awareness about eating disorders. NEDA walks are a great way for people with connections to eating disorders to seek support from a community of people who understand what it’s like, support those who need it, hear empowering messages from speakers, and be a part of something bigger.  

On Sunday, September 30th, Goucher hosted the NEDA walk at the Dorsey Center. After getting a chance to check in, participants had time to meet other people at the event and talk to representatives of NEDA programs before a voice came through the speakers and announced Kara Richardson Whitely as the first speaker of the morning.

Kara is a motivational public speaker, an author, a mother, and she is in recovery from an eating disorder. In her speech, she shared how, as a part of her recovery, she’s climbed to extraordinary heights, both figuratively and literally, by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro three times.

The second speaker of the day was Andrew Walen. Andrew is an author, speaker, advocate, and certified eating disorder specialist with expertise in males with eating disorders. He joked about how he didn’t know what to say until five minutes before getting in front of everyone, but in his speech, he talked about his battle with an eating disorder, how he overcame it with the help of his wife and son, and he talked about all the amazing things he’s seen people do in recovery, which I saw as very impactful for men with eating disorders because, while eating disorders aren’t as common in men, around one-third of those with eating disorders are male.

After the speeches, the walk began. We gathered behind the NEDA banner and started to walk from the Dorsey Center, around the Loop Road, between Stimson and Heubeck, down Van Meter, and back to Dorsey. In the concluding announcements, three individuals and one team were identified and recognized for their fundraising contributions. After that, people started to dwindle away, and the walk ended.

One year ago, I sat in my P. Selz dorm on Goucher’s campus struggling with my own mental health. But this wasn’t something new to me. I have struggled with mental illness for my entire life. I won’t get into numbers, but I have been in a multi-year long battle with an eating disorder. A year ago, I wasn’t a person; I was the embodiment of my eating disorder pretending to be me.

Before I came to Goucher, I had an entire team of medical professionals telling me to not go to school and to go back into treatment instead, but I refused. I knew what I was getting myself into, but that’s the thing about being sick with an eating disorder: it can make you feel in control and like nothing can hurt you – until something does and you have to leave everything you love behind.

My eating disorder caused an avalanche of events that ruined my life, sending me to the ground in shambles. I didn’t know where to start picking up the pieces to attempt to tape them back into place, so I eventually got up and I went to treatment. And I pretended to be okay until I made it back to school. Then I crashed again, this time harder and faster and in a more devastating way than before. Only this time I didn’t get up. I didn’t even pretend. I was done fighting.

I was done until I, the real non-eating disorder me, asked myself to try one more time. I got myself into to treatment and instantly regretted it. I hated every minute of being there at first, but slowly my mind started to shift. Was this recovery? I wasn’t going to question it because it was forward momentum, real progress! I am standing here proud to say that while yes, my recovery is very little after time and time again of trying and failing, it’s enormous to me and my supporters.

The 2018 Baltimore NEDA Walk was my first walk where I was fully in recovery. It was both inspiring and empowering for me and my recovery. And I hope it is the same for others who are recovered, in recovery, finding recovery, and those who are supporters.

I know it’s hard to find hope and healing, but it is possible. If you’re struggling, reach out for support. Recovery IS possible. You are worth it and you are enough.

BY ANONYMOUS

First-Year Village: Too Much of a Bubble?

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Three years ago, the First Year Village was just an idea in the minds of students, faculty, staff, and administration. The first building of the Village, Pagliaro Selz Hall (commonly known as P-Selz), was up and running in fall of 2016. Only about a third of the first-years of 2016, the class of 2020, got to live in the fancy, new, hotel-like building. Pagliaro Selz is set up in a way where one must walk through all common rooms in order to get to their dorm room. The two buildings that followed, Trustees Hall and Fireside Hall, have been built in similar ways, although each have their own unique features. Some of these features include a dance studio and game room in Trustees Hall, and a demo kitchen (where students can film themselves cooking) in Fireside Hall. Now that the first-year village is complete, it is interesting to discover what the new first-years and their Residential Assistants (RAs) think about their new homes.

Many first-years have been asked about community in the First-Year Village, given that it is exclusive to one class of students. “It’s good because everyone knows each other, but at the same time, it feels a little bit isolating,” says resident Sal Suarez. When asked to explain how it felt isolating, he said that he believed the First-Year Village is a very big bubble and that the only upperclassmen he knows are those he has classes with. “I have absolutely no upperclassmen friends,” he says. He admits that it may be mostly due to it only being his first month of college, but he also feels that he could have already become friends with some of those upperclassmen were he not living in Fireside Hall.

For first-year Julia Gazzola, living in the First-Year Village has been a great experience so far. “I think living in the First-Year Village brings all [of us] together and gives us a sense of community,” which is what the the First-Year Village strives to do. Julia is a member of the Women’s Lacrosse team, so when asked if she felt isolated from upperclassmen, she said that for her, it did not feel very isolating because she gets to be on a team with women in all different class years. She understands, however, that if someone is not very involved, the First-Year Village could be isolating for them.

Interviewing RA Antonia Pettit (’20), provided an upperclassman perspective. Antonia was part of the first cohort to live in Pagliaro Selz back in the fall of 2016. She then became an RA in P-Selz last year, fall 2017, and is now an RA in Trustees Hall. “I loved it! It felt like a great community, although it seemed harder to get to know people my freshman year when first-years lived in [other dorms],” she says about her first year at Goucher. Since being an RA, she has observed many friendships developing in the First-Year Village halls and connections between first-years there developing sooner, even more so than through clubs and out-of-class activities.

The one flipside that Antonia touched on was that she felt that some first-years had not thought about the privilege that they have being able to live in such housing. As a result, their expectations after entering college and living in such beautiful dorms were skewed. Some anger towards Goucher has come from students who have had a chance to live in the First-Year Village and then have had to move into dorms such as Stimson Hall or Mary Fisher Hall, where the living situation is not nearly as high-end as in P-Selz.

Caption: The First Year Village.
Picture taken by Sarah Meehan for the Baltimore Sun

Evan Vann, a current first-year who lives in Fireside Hall, has enjoyed calling the First-Year Village his home. Like Julia, he believes it is a home with a good community and positive vibe. “It took a bit of time to get everyone comfortable with each other, but it’s starting to come together really well,” Evan said about his building and floor. He has not felt very isolated from upperclassmen because he knows that there are on-campus opportunities, such as clubs, to get out of the first-year bubble. Evan was one of the first freshmen interviewed to say that they have gotten to know a good number of upperclassmen without the help of being on an athletic team.

Overall, according to the freshmen interviewed, the First-Year Village has many great qualities and only a few negative ones. Most of them have enjoyed living there so far and believe that its proximity to the dining hall, Sports Recreation Center, and Academic Quad is well thought out. While they may not be able to live in the more historic dorms at Goucher and mix with upperclassmen that way, they do get to be a part of an important community environment in the newer buildings. While evaluating the First-Year Village now, after the opening of Fireside and Trustees Hall, was a must, The Quindecim will be checking back up on first-year impressions at the end of the year.

 

 

New Campus Sustainability Coordinator, Daniela Beall

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How do I exist within the systems around me? How is my environment influenced by economic factors, weather patterns, systems for managing waste, and the moods of the people around me? How can I work with others to make our shared environments more equitable? How do I even engage with these questions on a philosophical level, much less in a way that creates a tangible impact on Goucher’s campus and the world beyond?

Daniela Beall, Goucher’s sustainability coordinator, is an invaluable resource for students grappling with some of these huge questions. After working on sustainability initiatives as both an undergraduate and graduate student at Towson University, she brings an incredible level of energy to her new position on campus. When I asked about what she views as her role on campus, she responded in part that, “there are a few ways of looking at it. One is providing leadership for sustainability initiatives, being an advisor to student groups and helping support student initiatives… and then a large part [of my role] is to be a connector”. By serving as a person who knows about all the types of sustainability initiatives happening in all niches of campus, she can put different individuals or groups in touch with one another so that they can, as she put it, “build power together and build on each other’s work instead of recreating the wheel”. Beyond just connecting people who come to her directly, she also plans on communicating with the campus population as a whole regarding larger-scale initiatives.

When asked about ideas or projects that she would not consider in her purview, Beall told me that she “[sees] sustainability as really broad. I consider myself a generalist, I know a little bit about a lot of things, and trying to see the systems and ways they are interconnected. I am a big fan of collaboration and partnership”. If a student comes to her wanting to talk about equity through a sustainability lens, for instance, she wants to “talk to folks in CREI and to faculty members and bring their specialties and their resources to the table as well,” and if she isn’t the best resource for the situation, she can still connect students to other people on campus who might be more able to help them out.

What is a project that you want to bring to Goucher that will allow us to build more sustainable systems on campus? This can relate to waste management or energy conservation, as is traditionally considered when thinking about sustainability, or it can relate to any other idea that is able to last a long time and improve our ecosystem. One long-standing sustainability initiative that Daniela highlighted that allows students to enact projects like this is the Goucher Environmental Sustainability Advisory Council (GESAC). GESAC is the governing body that awards financing for sustainability projects from the Green Fund. Daniela is “more than happy to be a resource” in this process, and encourages any student who wants to work through this process to come talk to her. There are also a number of student groups dedicated to sustainability, such as the Food Recovery Network, Goucher Green Coalition, Eco Team, Trail Maintenance Club, Plant-based Nutrition, Bee Club, the CBL Environmental Justice Partnership, and many others.

Photo Credit: LinkedIn (via a quick Google search)

Want to learn more about sustainability? Beall recommends reading the United Nations’ “Sustainable Development Goals,” posted on the door of her office, which is located in Hoffberger 116. You can contact Beall through the Gopher app, via email (daniela.beall@goucher.edu), or by phone (410-337-3035).

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