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From CDO to CEO: The CDO Rebrands

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The CDO changes its name to the Career Education Office (CEO). Photo Credit: CDO Goucher on youtube.com

We all know that room at the end of that hallway in Van Meter. The one that has lights around the door and doughnuts on Fridays. It’s the Career Development Office, a.k.a. the CDO. However, on January 29, 2018, during the first-year group advising meetings, it was announced that the CDO would soon become the CEO.
Now, let’s backtrack a bit to when this plan was initially being discussed. At the end of last semester, the CDO was having focus groups with students ranging from those who have visited them to those who have not. The goal of these focus groups was to talk about what the student body thought of the CDO and what changes they hoped could be made. During these meetings, pizza was distributed, ideas were thrown out, and the general feeling was that the student body did not quite know what the CDO did. To be more precise, it seemed that students were scared of the CDO because it represented “the real world” after graduation. To students, the CDO seemed like a place to go after a resume had been drafted, a cover letter written, and an interview lined up.
So here’s a small snippet of what the CDO actually does. The CDO is a place to go for help writing a resume or cover letter. It has a closet for when one is unsure of what is worn typically for an interview, or for a formal or semi-formal event. It is an inviting place that offers discussions with alumni/ae both on Tuesday afternoons over tea, and on Friday mornings over doughnuts and coffee. Alums give advice ranging from when to go to Human Resources to when to quit a job.
In the spirit of innovation, the CDO has taken student advice and has decided to incorporate its services more into the experience both in and out of the classroom. Starting next year and with the class of 2022, the CDO will become the Career Education Office, or, CEO, the same acronym as Chief Executive Officer, although unintentionally .
What does this mean for Goucher? Well, for one thing, it means another wacky acronym that Admissions Ambassadors can throw around. But for future students, this means classes will incorporate goal-setting with regards to career plans within the curriculum and that hopefully, every student will have a resume by the end of their first year. However, for students graduating in 2021 or before, this means that the CDO (or CEO) will start to become a place that resembles less a door at the end of the hallway that should be avoided at all costs, and more of a friendly helping hand along the way to the next stage of one’s life, beyond the hallowed halls of educational institutions.

Title IX Talkbacks: Sex and Gender While Abroad

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Photo Credit: Google Images

Recently Goucher’s Title IX office hosted an event called Title IX Talkbacks: Sex and Gender While Abroad. This event provided a space for students who have been abroad or were about to go abroad, to discuss their experiences with sex and gender. The goal of this event was to provide a student centered space where students could discuss their experiences, unpack their struggles, and provide feedback for the Goucher study abroad office. This feedback was given anonymously to the Goucher Title IX office and the Office of International Studies (OIS). Olivia Siegel, a senior and peer educator at the Title IX Office who helped organize this event, said the event was inspired by seeing an issue in the way Goucher addresses sex and gender while abroad and wanting to raise awareness about it: “The Title IX Peer Educators do genuinely care about supporting students and improving the resources we have on campus to address student need. Part of this program was just seeing a need and using the resources we have at hand to address it.”

Photo Credit: Google Images

Siegel spoke about how OIS does not prepare students for processing and addressing sex and gender while abroad. During pre departure orientation students receive general information from several different Goucher departments. At these pre departure sessions, Lucia Perfetti-Clark, the Goucher Title IX Coordinator, explains what resources and support are available while abroad. The Goucher Title IX office can advocate for students in several ways while they are abroad, in the same way Title IX can advocate for students while they are at Goucher. If needed, Title IX can advocate for students if they need to switch host families, request mental health assistance, or for academic accommodations. “Basically Lucia will try to advocate for your needs to the necessary party, but it doesn’t guarantee the host country will cooperate!” Siegel said.

This also means that the OIS doesn’t warn you about going to an area with higher amounts of sexual violence or street harassment. This can leave students without the resources to process their experiences, and can lead to some harmful assumptions about the culture of the host country. “When I witnessed or experienced street harassment and sexism, my first instinct wasn’t to call the Goucher Title IX Office. None of what I experienced at the pre-departure orientation could have prepared me mentally or emotionally for the gender-related issues my friends experienced,” said Siegel.

Siegel spoke about her experiences with processing street harassment in Santiago, Chile. “I found that a lot of our conversations about the topic were fairly superficial—either we were told by our in-country program advisors that this was normal and cultural (which is true), or we turned our nose up at how “machismo” (chauvinist) Chilean culture is. Often we were told this was part of Chilean culture, and came to the conclusion that this was ‘bad’ or ‘backwards.’” However, Siegel did not find that this was a helpful way of processing, nor did it help her examine her own assumptions. “I found neither of these conversations were productive or helped us process and question these cultural differences head-on, or examine our own misogyny and issues related to sexism in the U.S., and how we viewed these issues through an ethnocentric lens.”

Siegel hopes that this event will promote awareness and bring change to the way OIS helps prepare students studying abroad. “Goucher can better promote and identify students who have gone abroad and are invested in these issues, and create a more formal way to contact and seek support/mentorship from these people through OIS from students about to embark.” Siegel believes that students should be given the tools to help them process their experiences, so that study abroad can be a learning experience and so that they do not label something that they may not understand, as she was tempted to do in Chile.

When Siegel has brought up the possibility of warning students who are studying abroad in areas that have higher rates of sexual violence and gender based issues to OIS, she has been told that they do not want to scare students who are about to embark. Siegel responded with frustration, “I’m only going to say that the obvious answer to this challenge, which I shouldn’t even have to mention, is that studying abroad is not supposed to be easy. Goucher should encourage students to go into this experience with an open heart and mind.”

Famous Ojibway Songwriter Speaks to Goucher

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Jody Gaskin fills the Hyman Forum with captivating melodies. Photo Credit: Olivia Baud

On November 16th and 17th, Goucher welcomed world-renown indigenous songwriter, Jody Gaskin. Adam Geller, ’18, who is known for his flute playing and drum circles on campus, applied for a social justice grant a couple of weeks before the event. Having gotten to know Gaskin by traveling the Powwow trail selling tea, he knew that he would be the perfect guest artist to familiarize Goucher students with native music and history.

On the night of the 16th, Gaskin performed a Native American rock concert in Merrick. He began with some storytelling followed by a couple of songs about his tribe and native history, and ended the evening with a hoop dance, using hoops to make shapes representing different animals. “I’ve been singin’ on a drum since I was in diapers,” he said in an informal interview, “and I’ve been dancing since I could walk.” Inspired by his mom, who was a “big rocker” and listened to a lot of Motown, Gaskin began playing the guitar at 14 and began writing songs off-the-batt. At 15, his mom bought him his first, acoustic guitar. Today, Gaskin has won numerous awards for his work as well as performed to a variety of audiences around the world.

For Gaskin, songwriting is about “telling a story, not just meaningless stories.” He explained that social justice songs were big in the 80’s but not so much today. On the 17th, during his roundtable discussion, he demonstrated just what good storytelling was about. “1,000 to 15,000 years, ago, a young boy was given a vision to leave,” he began. He recounted the origin story of his people, the Ojibway (often misnamed the Chippewa), explaining how their migration throughout the continent was at first shaped by the foresight of a boy given a prophecy by megis shells rising out of the water. The boy warned his people of a threat coming from the East and spoke of “a place where food grows on the water”: the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior, where wild-rice grew in abundance. This area eventually became the capital of the Ojibway nation. Gaskin then interwove the origin story with a historical overview of Indian-White relations, explaining how colonists like Samuel D. Champlain “sent soldiers [to the Great Lakes region] to break s**t.” In 1763, a group of frontiersmen in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Paxton Boys, shot Indians on-sight and hacked them to death in what became known as the Conestoga Massacre. “There’s a historic trauma that comes with that,” Gaskin said.

Native Americans’ feelings of anger and frustration are exacerbated by the fact that the US government continues to pose a threat to their existence and ways of life. “Life in the res sucked, sucked, still to this day!” Gaskin said. “They’ve got a bottomless bag of dope and a bottomless bag of booze.” Despite numerous instances of benevolence on the part of native peoples towards whites, their contributions to the US via military service, economic participation, etc., and a number of treaties signed with the US government, natives to this day must fight for basic rights. The events at Standing Rock are just one example. While officially recognized native groups retain reservation rights, mineral rights must be bought separately. Any oil or mineral company can drill beneath their lands unless they purchase those rights. What’s more, the US government has driven deep divides between groups through an uneven allocation of funds according to blood-ties. While some nations, like the Seminoles (who own every Hard Rock Cafe around the world) have been incredibly successful, others are struggling to make ends meet.

Gaskin’s event took place shortly before Thanksgiving, a holiday that tends to perpetuate a false narrative of Indian-White relations. His performance on the 16th, followed by his roundtable discussion on the 17th were a reminder that, while spending time with family is important, it is equally important maintain awareness about the persisting discrimination towards the Native American peoples. Just as easily as a story can be told, a story can be unwritten.

8 Career Tips to Maximize Your Winter Break from the CDO

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Feeling overwhelmed? Not sure where to start when it comes to majors, internships, jobs, and this thing called a “career”? The CDO is here to help every step of the way. Check-out tips below for getting started and using winter break to your advantage-take one step at a time. No matter your year or major, it’s never too early to get started.

Learn more about yourself and careers, build your network, start your summer internship search, or begin your post-Goucher job search.

  1. Build Your Network! (breaks are a great time to connect)
  • Start to talk about jobs and careers with people you already know – when meeting friends, family, mentors, co-workers, community members, teachers and, really, anyone you come across over the winter break, start to ask questions about jobs, careers, their experiences and who else they might connect you with. Focus on gathering information, paying attention to career clues, and expanding your circle.
  • Conduct informational interviews – this is an excellent opportunity to explore career fields and jobs, connect with professionals in your field(s) of interest, develop an understanding of those fields. Through this process you will often gain advice, and learn about internship/job opportunities without specifically asking for the job.
  • Reach-out to Goucher Alumni Career Coaches – nearly 200 alumni who have volunteered to connect with you, current Goucher students, for career and major advice, industry insights, and job market opportunities. Use the Alumni Career Coaches tab in Goucher Recruit to search and message alumni.
  • Create (or update) a LinkedIn profile – begin to build a network of contacts and showcase your interests, experiences, skills and education. Connect with alumni, faculty, staff, peers, and family to get started.
  1. If unsure about a career direction, complete the quick Traitify assessment for personality insights and recommended job titles, available on the CDO homepage.
  2. Spend time identifying (or reviewing) your career/work values, interests and motivated skills. Stop by or contact the CDO for an appointment to further explore YOU.
  3. Update your resume to include community service, academic projects, on-campus jobs, and other relevant experiences. Utilize the CDO’s Resume Check service through Goucher Recruit to have your resume reviewed by a professional.
  4. Check for on-campus jobs, internships, and off-campus openings on Goucher Recruit and through other websites (e.g. LinkedIn, Baltimore Collegetown Network, Indeed, Idealist), professional associations, and personal contacts.
  5. Develop a prospect list of organizations in which you are interested or want to learn more about. Review their websites for opportunities and checkout LinkedIn and Goucher Alumni Career Coaches (in Goucher Recruit) for potential contacts working at those organizations.
  6. Draft a cover letter that is targeted to a specific job or internship.
  7. Pursue an internship experience (ideally multiple across your Goucher experience)! Learn about (or review) the Internship Learning Agreement, available on the CDO website, if you intend to apply for academic credit. And, remember that Goucher Intern Fellowship funds are available to support summer internships (with an application deadline in late April).

And don’t forget, the CDO is here to help and we look forward to connecting with you. We meet with students year round, even over breaks, through scheduled appointments (email us at career@goucher.edu or call us at 410-337-6191) and drop-ins from 2pm-4pm Monday-Friday (just stop by!). We also host events and programs throughout the year to help you to become career ready! Follow us on social media @GoucherCollegeCDO to keep up with all that’s happening at the CDO or visit our website for more resources.

BY JENN LEARD, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF CAREER ADVISING AND STUDENT ENGAGEMENT

This Month in Goucher History

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Photo Credit: Goucher College Digital Archives

 

At Goucher, we have the luxury of having all of our publications digitally archived! Any student here can access old issues of the Quindecim through the library website. When examining these issues, it is interesting to see how our college has evolved over the years. This time of year, when winter break and finals are coming up, is especially fun to look back at in Goucher’s history to see what was happening.

Photo Credit: Goucher College Digital Archives

December 14th, 1922: The Goucher Weekly came out on December 14th, 1922 and had some interesting events happening on campus. Goucher’s debate team, called the Agora, held a debate about whether fraternities should be allowed on Goucher’s campus. Three faculty judges sided with the team that said fraternities shouldn’t be allowed, on the grounds that they are undemocratic, lower academic standing, and destroy college unity.

The student decorum committee submitted a small poem, which said that, “A Goucher girl upon the street/ Should look precise and very neat”.

December 1st, 1950: This issue of the Goucher Weekly reported that Robert Frost spoke to a huge, campus audience. He shared that he usually wrote his poems with logic in mind at first, then moved on to a witty idea. He also stated that he especially enjoyed writing ‘eclogues’ (a poem in classical style) for the same reason he enjoyed chewing tobacco: because women couldn’t do it.

There was an editorial written on communism, critiquing the policy of the Red Scare. The student who wrote the editorial also recounted an incident where a Baltimore man ranted about how all Communists should be in jail. When the man realized that the student did not agree, he said, “You’re from Goucher aren’t you? That place is loaded with Communists, too!”

December 1st, 1999: This issue of the Quindecim reported that Muslim students were struggling to have accommodations made for Ramadan at Goucher. The student writer raised dietary concerns, in part regarding the availability of food during Ramadan, and emphasized the need for a prayer room for Muslim students.

There was an article which raised concerns with the addition of the shuttle stop by the Towson Town Center. Goucher had been the first college in the area to set up a shuttle system for students. The Collegetown shuttle had only been established a few years earlier, and was being expanded. Students worried that adding additional stops would make it harder to come to class on time. One student complained that the shuttle was supposed to be for “educational purposes and not for mall stops.”

Goucher was also undergoing construction at this time, similar to our campus currently. One article comments about how Stimson was built ‘nearly half a century ago’ and needs to be replaced soon. Goucher was also changing to more electronic systems, putting in place the OneCard system and implementing online class registration.

December 10th, 2003: In December 2003, the Quindecim reported that Goucher was still under construction. There was an article detailing the plans for building the Athenaeum. Goucher was also revamping its curriculum and finding new ways to integrate general education requirements.

Additionally, Goucher was trying to find new solutions to busy dining halls. Pearlstone was seeing much more student traffic than Stimson and was overcrowded, which meant it had difficulty keeping food in stock.

Faculty Insider: Dr. Gillian Starkey, Center for Psychology

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Dr. Gillian Starkey, who came on as Assistant Professor of Human Neuroscience for the Center for Psychology fall of 2016, seems to have fit right into the campus culture. Photo Credit: Olivia Baud

For new professors at Goucher, an adjustment period is not unusual — Goucher has its own unique and eclectic atmosphere that differentiates it from other colleges and universities. Yet Dr. Gillian Starkey, who came on as Assistant Professor of Human Neuroscience for the Center for Psychology fall of 2016, seems to have fit right into the campus culture. She is already highly regarded as a kind, patient, and inspiring mentor. At the request of several curious students, I sat down with her for an interview to learn more about her journey coming here and the work she engages in now.

Having graduated from Bryn Mawr with a Bachelor’s in Psychology with a concentration in Neural and Behavioral Sciences (’08), Dr. Starkey has experienced liberal arts education firsthand. Yet, to her, Goucher students have different priorities than students from many other, similar colleges. “I’ve only been here for three semesters and this stood out to me right away: Goucher students are much more interested in making a difference,” she told me. This was the kind of community she sought to be a part of when applying for her position. Students seemed less competitive, less centered on grades, and to have, in her words, “much more of a social justice orientation.” Moreover, faculty strove to foster students’ curiosity by seeking innovative approaches to learning. “When I was here for my interview, I asked a lot of faculty about the kind of classes that they taught. Some fell into traditional canon of psychology classes, but they had different names, and they used different, more creative methods of teaching,” she said.

Dr. Starkey’s interest in education predated her studies in neuroscience. It wasn’t until becoming an undergraduate student, however, that she began to consider teaching herself. One of her biology professors, a neuroscientist and philosopher, was a big influence. “He had us debating about the nature of consciousness on the first day of class,” she remarked. Her facial expression and body gestures recalled the astonishment she had felt at his impactful lessons. “I was just hooked.” After receiving her PhD in Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience from Vanderbilt, she decided to go into teaching.

This semester, she is teaching both an Educational Neuroscience seminar and an Introduction to Psychology course. The Center tried to keep the Introduction to Psychology class small, capping it at around 22-24 students instead of 80-100 (as was the case in previous years), so Dr. Starkey has had more of an opportunity to integrate activities and experiments in her classes. She uses them as a tool for emphasizing student experience, connecting complex topics with real world issues. “Science can zoom in so closely to the level of a neuron and students can feel removed from that,” she explained to me. “For my classes, I really…I try to give things a context.”

Like the undergraduate professor who inspired her, Dr. Starkey tries to relay her passion  for neuroscience to her students. “There are so many mysterious things about the brain. It’s just always exciting. I feel like every week I just learn something new that just blows my mind,” she said. For her, it’s not just an exciting field, either. It is also a practical one. Neuroscience relates to many social justice issues, including educational inequity. “I always had an awareness about issues of privilege related to access to education,” she said. Both of her parents worked in Head Start schools where they developed math curricula. “Hearing them talk about that at home I think is what clued me in that my educational experience was a little bit different [than that of the kids they taught].” As a result, she often refers back to a key question in her coursework: how can educational neuroscience help explain the disadvantages and threats that children face as their brains develop, and how they should be addressed?

This is a question that she has also sought to answer through research, focusing primarily on the neural basis for children’s math development. Educational neuroscience often involves examining brain imagery through EEG — caps with electrodes worn by participants. Dr. Starkey has been conducting EEG research for 10 years, beginning with undergraduate school and continuing throughout her postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. Luckily, Goucher provides her a nice EEG setup which has allowed her to build on that research. She has thus had the opportunity to work with both undergraduates and elementary school children, who are tasked to play number-related computer games while their brain activity is recorded.

What she and her research partners have found is that pedagogical practices in education aren’t really capitalizing on brain development. “Many kids are starting school at 8 am or starting second languages in middle school that aren’t in line with findings in neuroscience,” she told me. In examining the development of math skills in elementary school children, “We found that basic number skills, just like the most fundamental things… a lot of kids cannot do. That goes on to severely impact them as they go onto higher level math.” She gave me an example with addition. Kids who continue to depend on their fingers to add numbers together throughout elementary school tend to struggle with more complex math problems down the road. “You’re building on fluency,” she explained. In light of these findings, her goal is to develop some training programs in math for kids who are coming from backgrounds in which their exposure to math was limited due to school resources or learning differences.

When she is not researching or teaching, Dr. Starkey enjoys spending time in the outdoors, whether it be by jogging, hiking, or even skiing. As a cook and food enthusiast, she takes advantage of the underrated food scene in Baltimore. She also “love love love[s] to read,” setting the goal for herself on any break from school to “read a book that has nothing to do with neuroscience.” After all, as she imparted to me, “neural connections that you don’t continue to use you will lose over time. But older brains can still pick up information.” It’s never too late to learn something new!

Goucher Pets— Poe the Bunny

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Poe the bunny! Photo Credit: Paige Harris

Owned by Paige Harris (’19), Poe the bunny is a popular rabbit on a variety of social media platforms, including Tumblr (poethebunny.tumblr.com) and Instagram (@poethebunny). His full name is Edgar Allan Poe Dameron, and though he is small in stature, he makes up for it in personality. At three years old, he is full of energy and has plenty of love to give.

“When people first meet him, they always comment on his fur,” says Harris. “Mini Rexes are known for their soft fur and friendly disposition. He’s a good specimen of his breed, and if his previous owners hadn’t lost his papers, I would have been able to show him.”

Poe was bought off of Craigslist, and has been on campus with Harris since her freshman year. “Originally me and three other people adopted him, but things got messy, custody got complicated, and now I’m his owner. He was living in a fish tank and had two toddlers constantly picking him up and dropping him. He was underweight as well. But he’s doing so much better now.”

Poe is Harris’s emotional support animal and has helped improve her overall mental health. “He’s so sweet and energetic,” she says. “It’s nice to come home to someone who’s always excited to see you.”

“It’s nice to come home to someone who’s always excited to see you.” Photo Credit: Paige Harris

When not being held or kept in his cage, Poe will run around Harris’s room. He’ll do quick circles and jump into the air for fun, an action called a binkie. He’ll also play with almost anything. “He’s played with plastic forks, sunglasses, key rings, and even phones if you put them where he can get to them. He especially loves keys though. He likes to pick them up and throw them in the air.”

Another favorite activity of Poe’s is eating, so like many other pets he is always on the lookout for food. He eats alfalfa and hay, with supplemented fruits and vegetables as treats. “His favorite food is apples. If given the chance, he would absolutely eat a whole one in a single sitting. I don’t let him though because apples are very high in sugar – something a rabbit doesn’t need a lot of,” says Harris.

In warmer months, Harris will put a harness on Poe and bring him out to the Residential Quad to let him run around. “He loves being out in the sunlight and eating the grass. I’m always a little afraid that a hawk will come down and snatch him up though.” The rabbit has met many people, including Jose Bowen. With winter having officially set in though, he is no longer allowed outside. Even Sondheim gets too chilly for the rabbit sometimes. “He hasn’t been as active lately since he really dislikes the cold on his paws. That’s the only thing that bothers him, really. Other than the fire alarms, which has luckily only gone off once.”

Sadly, though, this will be Poe’s last semester at Goucher. Harris will be transferring to another school, so she will be unable to care of Poe any longer. But don’t fret! Poe is to be given to Mikaela Smith (’19), who owns Poe’s friend, Rascal the rabbit, before becoming the class pet for a class of third graders.

Professional Clothing from the CDO

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As the fall semester slowly comes to an end, we know you’re excited to put your newly acquired networking skills to use and land your dream internship during J-term, the spring semester, and perhaps even the summer. The Career Development Office recognizes that the internship search process and job search in general can be very hectic. We’d like to help you take one thing off your plate!
Professional attire is a vital element of any interview, job, or internship experience. We know that sometimes it is not so simple to figure out what to wear to a professional meeting or setting. You no longer have to worry about what’s ‘too casual’ or ‘too formal’ thanks to the CDO Professional Clothing Closet. The Professional Clothing Closet is completely free and open to all students. Whether you need a whole outfit or just another item of clothing or two, it is here to serve you! Thanks to the many donations of our faculty, staff, and alums, the closet is stocked with a wide array items such as blazers, suits, jackets, blouses, slacks, sweaters, collared button-ups, skirts, dresses, ties, and shoes (in both men and women’s styles) in a number of sizes. This semester alone, we’ve received over two hundred new donations for our closet. We are also sponsored by Zips for dry cleaning so that the clothes are clean and ready for you to pick up and keep. Do not miss out! Over twenty students have already used this service this semester. In addition to finding an outfit, you can get a LinkedIn headshot taken by the CDO staff.
Stop by the CDO in Van Meter 117, Monday-Friday, from 10am-4pm to check out the closet. Tell your friends or bring one along!

Charles Blow: Musings on Modern activism

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On November 1st, visual op-ed columnist for the New York Times, political commentator, and best-selling author, Charles M. Blow, was invited to lecture in Meyerhoff. Addressing the Goucher and wider Towson community, Blow framed his discussion within the context of relationships, resilience, and reflection; a motto adopted by Goucher to describe the ideal outcomes students would gain from their education. While the three Rs were originally meant for usage in an academic setting, Blow applied them to his philosophy behind the fight for equity in an unjust society.

“Blow’s stance on the necessity of open expression is one that has been interpreted by some as a critique of ‘sheltered spaces’ often associated with liberal arts colleges like Goucher.” Photo Credit: John Patterson (via Charles Blow’s Instagram)

Goucher prides itself on its sense of community. In reference to this, Blow began his remarks on with his own thoughts about communities. He pointed out the need for communities that stretch across identity. These types of communities don’t occur as naturally as would be hoped, which Blow explained was the result of an age old idea that “sameness is safety”. As humans, Blow stated, we are attracted to people who are similar to us, and congregate in such groups. He argued that these groups rob us of something important: growth and empathy towards others.
‘Privilege’ and ‘oppression’ were two frequent terms that Blow used. In his remarks, Blow borrowed the words of Toni Morrison to describe racism as “a robbery”. Blow expanded the use of the word to encapsulate all kinds of oppression and to capture a core idea of why these oppressions must be fought against. Discrimination robs us of time, energy, motivation and other personal facets that could have been used in a more productive way, he argued. In this sense, it hurts the whole of society, not just the individuals specifically targeted by it. It must be actively combatted. “Inaction is a choice,” he stated. “If you are not totally against oppression, you are for it.”
Blow regarded the recent election “backlash” as nothing new. He cited it as a pattern that has always been a part of American history. He described the battle for equity as “messy” and a necessary process where “feelings will be hurt.” Blow’s stance on the necessity of open expression is one that has been interpreted by some as a critique of “sheltered spaces” often associated with liberal arts colleges like Goucher. Blow emphasized that the emotional pain associated with open discussions must be felt in order for real progress to be made. “Fragility cannot be the frame for these discussions,” he said. Though he did not state it explicitly, he seemed critical of the concepts that drive ideas like safe spaces and affinity meetings. He argued that fragility made discussion untruthful by leading people to lie to try and make others comfortable. “You have to be hurt,” he emphasized.
Blow also made a few humorous remarks on politics. “You may have heard, I have a few thoughts on that,” Blow joked when he first brought up the topic. Blow commented on politics when he began answering audience questions.  Blow discussed the role of media coverage in politics, particularly during an administration in which the president is an avid tweeter. Blow felt he had an obligation as a journalist to cover Trump’s tweets, yet he made it clear that the president’s behavior, especially toward his disabled colleague Serge Kovaleski, was completely inappropriate.
Another topic brought up through audience questions was the current state of news and media organizations, something which Blow had surprisingly left out of his initial remarks. Blow was particularly critical of news organizations preventing minority reporters from covering stories within their communities. He explained that by assuming minority reporters are “biased” towards other minorities, news organizations are simultaneously claiming that being white, cis, male, Christian, etc. is a “neutral” position. He also criticized the trend toward “snap news”, which is characterized by shorter and shorter segments and “Yelling, yelling, yelling,” as he described.
As his final comments for the evening, Blow reflected on what the end result of advocacy for social justice would look like; What would an equitable world look like? “Liberation looks like the truth,” he finally said.

Goucher Pets: Botticelli the Ferret

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Botticelli the ferret, owned by Rebecca Silber ’19, is one and a half years old and has been at Goucher since August of 2017. Silber has owned Botticelli for a little over a year.

Botticelli the ferret. Credit: Rebecca Silber

“We met at Petco,” says Silber. “I’d been frequenting the local pet shops looking for the right match for several weeks. I went to visit him multiple times until I knew he was the right one. He was much bigger, and a bit older than the other ferrets because he’d been adopted and returned. The Petco staff said that he’d been returned malnourished, with cigarette burns on his ears. I couldn’t help but get him after hearing that.”
Now, Botticelli doesn’t have to worry about mistreatment. Silber cares for him just as much as he cares for her. As her emotional support animal, Botticelli helps alleviate Silber’s anxiety. “Having him grounds me to the space and allows me to feel a sense of home,” she says. “Having him means I have to be conscious of my surroundings and that I have to be there for him. Sometimes just looking at him helps calm me down, and if I’m having a panic attack I’ll let him out and he’ll run around. Focusing on him means not focusing on myself, and I calm down far quicker.”
Running around is one of Botticelli’s favorite activities, along with digging. Silber’s succulents have been dug up more than a few times, and most of them are now dead. Botticelli also loves cat toys, such as laser pointers and anything with a string. “He’s also a big fan of any sort of bag he can get into, especially if it makes noise while he rustles around,” says Silber.
Though ferrets are a fairly common pet in the United States according to the American Veterinary Association, people often do a double-take when they see Botticelli around campus. “He’s harnessed-trained, though many ferrets aren’t because you have to get them used to the harness as soon as you get them,” says Silber. “A lot of people think he’s a very small dog or kitten when they first see him. They often ask to pet him, which he loves, and he especially loves getting attention from children. I’ve had a lot of older people tell me that they remember ferrets from the ‘80s. He’s a unique one.”
Ferrets come in a variety of colors, including chocolate, silver, albino, and cream. Like cats, ferrets can squeeze themselves into nearly any space, thanks to their flexible rib cage. Unlike cats, though, ferrets require a lot of attention.
“Ferrets aren’t good for inexperienced pet owners. Botticelli can be destructive and loves getting into my trashcan. That he’s deaf doesn’t change the fact that he can be quite mischievous.” According to Silber, about 75% of white ferrets are deaf and affectionately known as Wardys. “Because he’s deaf the construction doesn’t affect him at all. He loves it here! I spend more time with him here than I do at home.”
Ferrets, like otters, are part of the mustelidae family and are carnivores. “[Botticelli] eats a special ferret food that I get off of Amazon. Most of the ferret food in pet stores is the equivalent of junk food for ferrets. Admittedly, he likes junk food a lot more, but I’m trying to be careful because malnutrition can lead to issues with the lymph system. He loves chicken and eggs,” Silber says. “A lot of people will feed their ferrets mice or chicks, but I used to have pet rats and I can’t stomach it.”

Botticelli the ferret. Credit: Rebecca Silber

Botticelli is very friendly and can often be found sleeping, as ferrets sleep about seventeen hours a day. “He’s a great pet for a busy person. If you ever see us out and about, feel free to come say hi.”

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