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Features - page 7

Stories of Immigration

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Note: This article was written at the end of last semester. It remains relevant, however, especially in light of Trump’s recent attack on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Two recent Goucher graduates, Sabrina Jimenez, ‘17, and Fernando Parra Chong, ‘17, shed light on the continuously misrepresented, marginalized members of the United States: immigrants. For their senior independent project, Jimenez and Parra Chong, both Latino immigrants themselves, took on the task of conducting, recording, and transcribing interviews from local Latino immigrants living in Maryland. The project began spring semester, 2017, as they interviewed people from El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, Mexico, and Honduras.
Why is it important to retell these stories of immigration? In the age of Trump and mass media, immigrants are often misrepresented by statistics and generalizations. Parra Chong stated, “these misconceptions [of immigrants] are because the public hasn’t heard their stories.” What better way to truly understand the experience of an immigrant than by listening to them?
Both Parra Chong and Jimenez have conducted numerous interviews and gained insight into the factors that persuaded or forced people to leave their home country, their families, and their comfort. One story included a woman who chose to move her immediate family, (herself and her two sons), from Mexico to Maryland after being targeted by rebel groups. She was a professor in a University in Mexico and was only given a one-year visa to stay in Maryland upon presentation of her legal documents. She is currently approaching the end of her stay and has the choice to live undocumented in the States, risking deportation, or move her family back home and face the same threats. Jimenez stated, “A lot of these immigrants are refugees from their own countries, yet they’re not classified as refugees.”
Jimenez noted the increase in fear, specifically related to the Trump administration, that has permeated through the latino community. “People have been living here undocumented for years, a lot of them are developing back-up plans. Not everyone has the choice to leave.” Unfortunately, due to the high stress and uncertainty of their situations, “many immigrants here struggle with mental illness.” In addition to the high stress environment, immigrants cope with leaving their home and families behind while adapting to a new culture in the States in which they are often discriminated against.
By presenting their findings and interviews in psychological summaries, pamphlets, and at the Goucher Symposium on April 26th, Parra Chong and Jimenez hoped to “give voice to the marginalized group of people.” These stories allowed others to “view them as people, not immigrants, put themselves in their shoes, and empathize.”

Fresh Check Day: a New Goucher Tradition

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Fresh Check Day aims to improve mental health awareness on campus. Photo credit: UBC

On September 22,  from 2-6pm in the Athenaeum Forum, Goucher College is having its very first Fresh Check Day. The event will be a resource and activities fair dedicated to improving mental health through raising awareness of the mental health obstacles college students often face, as well as introducing tools students can use to tackle these issues head on. There will be booths on topics such as mental health issues, suicide prevention, positive coping and life skills, and stigma reduction. Fresh Check is a program developed by the Jordan Porco Foundation, a family foundation that came about after the suicide of their son. This national non-profit will provide prizes for the event, such as a TV, t-shirts, and some other small items. JED Campus, a nationwide initiative of the Jed Foundation, also supports the event. The JED foundation works to promote emotional well-being, reduce the risk of suicide and serious substance abuse, and encourage the creation of healthy, thriving student communities.
Cameron Cox, the new Student Development and Outreach Coordinator, and co-chair of Goucher’s JED Campus Committee, states “I hope students learn as much as possible. I hope that we can dispel some of the myths about mental health, and really get the campus talking more about the importance of mental health.” Cox is not the only one interested in disposing with the stigma regarding mental health; students from the Peer Mental Health Advocacy Group, a club currently in the process of becoming official, are also aiding the event. This club-in-development hopes to build a base of motivated students who will explore the educational and support programs desired by the Goucher community, and create safe space in which they can educate their peers on matters related to mental health.
Jacob Givelber, a student helping to lead the establishment of the Peer Mental Health Advocacy Group, hopes that the Fresh Check Day is a success. He can’t express enough how important it is to rid Goucher, as well as other colleges and universities, of the negative stigma that surrounds mental health. He emphasizes that not talking about problems does not make them go away and that while mental health disorders cannot be seen, that doesn’t make them fake. Purging Goucher of the mental health stigma could save lives. Cameron Cox hopes “this is something where everyone can leave feeling like ‘I feel comfortable talking about this with my peers and the people I work with on campus, whether they be my professors, coaches, other students, or staff members I come in contact with.’”
Goucher’s Fresh Check Day has received support from the wider community and on-campus. Fresh Check community sponsors are The Bergand Group, Greater Baltimore Counseling Center, The Renfrew Center, TurnAround.  On-campus sponsors are Athletics, Community-Based Learning, CREI, Peer Listeners, The President’s Office, The Provost’s Office and faculty, Residential Life, The Student Affairs Office, Student Counseling Services, and the Title IX office.

Center for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching (CAST)

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C.A.S.T is here to support students. Photo Credit: CAST’s Facebook page

All students have complained about a professor or an assignment or a particularly bad incident in a classroom at least once in their lives. Maybe you’ve written these complaints in an end-of-course reflection or approached a professor directly about the issue. But how do faculty know the best ways to resolve these issues and navigate the feedback they receive? What can they change in order to make the next renditions of their courses more successful?
As of last year, Dr. Robin Cresiski at the brand new Center for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching (CAST) is that support system, which will “provide resources to faculty to help them be the best teachers and scholars they can be.”

Cresiski will help faculty integrate the latest research in effective teaching in their classrooms, promote undergraduate research, and cultivate student success. “Making faculty happier without increasing student performance is a failure,” according to Cresiski.
There is a variety of ways she is and will be undertaking this role. Faculty workshops and Lunch & Learns about a variety of topics are one route. The topics are selected from a survey Cresiski administered to faculty at the beginning of the semester to gauge the ones that are most in demand among Goucher’s faculty. Topics include “best practices for week 1,” “transparent assignment design,” and a variety of topics surrounding inclusivity and accessibility. While attendance is optional and some professors’ schedules may conflict with such workshops, Cresiski is working on a website where recordings of all the workshops will be available for faculty to consult if they could not attend.
She is also available for individual consultations to help faculty revise areas of their curriculum where students are falling asleep, to discussing ways to address a classroom incident, to anything else faculty made need support for. Faculty research is another area Cresiski will help with, such as thinking about research design and organizing research into a publication plan. Faculty may reach out to her or may be referred to CAST by another faculty member, administrator, or department chair. When faculty wish it, Cresiski will also observe their classes.
“The administration was very forthright with me about various issues on campus before I came forward,” says Cresiski, “[such as] the change in curriculum and the video from students about their experience as diverse students on campus. I am absolutely going to be a resource for faculty to make their classrooms more inclusive.”
In an effort to confront these issues, Cresiski has already started collaborating with the Academic Center for Excellence in order to help faculty reinforce the messages that ACE tells students and the Center for Race, Equity, and Identity about not only the Phoenix Program, but also what kinds of faculty programming CAST and CREI can collaborate on.
“Several of the workshops will revolve around helping faculty make their content and curriculum and lessons accessible and engaging for all students,” Cresiski promises. “There have been limited opportunities for faculty to learn how they might do that up to this point.” She cites the transparent assignment design workshop as an example of how she will empower faculty to be more inclusive. “Faculty that make just two of their assignments more transparent have smaller equity gaps between white and non-white students and between continuing and first generation students.” She also knows that addressing the issue of inclusivity and accessibility will require deeper work, more self-reflection and confrontation of the implicit bias one has when regarding examples used in class, hiring students for research or teaching assistant positions, and orchestrating class discussions.
Cresiski’s previous experience has definitely prepared her for this new role at Goucher. After completing a PhD in Immunology and serving as a visiting biology professor at Mt. Holyoke College (she will also teach biology at Goucher), she was hired at a small start-up college in Nevada where more than 50% of the student body were students of color, 67% were first generation, and almost all were low-income. Cresiski helped build a biology program and an undergraduate research program before becoming an administrator. As an administrator, she oversaw faculty development because she had become “very interested in developing faculty practices, especially in relationship with students who are very different than themselves and their experiences.”
In order to best serve the faculty, Cresiski is trying to figure out the best way to get feedback from students about their experiences with faculty at Goucher: “I’m a nice neutral resource…I’m nobody’s boss. So if students would love to see something happen differently in a classroom, I’m a place where they can come talk to me and they’re not getting anyone in trouble.” She’s hoping to figure out how students can compare and contrast their experiences and point out trends that they see, which students currently don’t have the opportunity to do in end-of-course reflections. Other colleges have advisory committees or pizza hours, which Cresiski has considered. In the meantime, she has been in conversation with ten students from a variety of disciplines that Dylan Margolis from GSG put her in contact with. She intends to form a working group including these students to think about the new center pair exploration courses—curriculum development being another aspect of faculty support that CAST will be a large part of.
In the meantime, students are welcome to email Robin.Cresiski@goucher.edu their ideas about how things could be better. She’s also welcoming students to tell her about really positive experiences they’ve had with faculty so that she can highlight such great teaching in her faculty newsletter.
“I’m really excited to be here!” Cresiski says, not only because her great-grandmother was a Goucher alumna, but also because she is “so inspired by [President Bowen’s and Provost Lewis’s] dedication to building Goucher into an accessible, transformative liberal arts institution.” Their dedication to accessibility is very important to her and she’s excited to contribute to the process of implementing the changes that will ultimately achieve this vision.

The Psychology of Climate Change

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In 2009, New York Times’ Dr. Paul Krugman compared climate scientists today to Cassandra of ancient Greek mythologies. Through a series of circumstances, Cassandra was gifted by the gods with the ability to prophesize the future, but was also cursed that people wouldn’t believe her prophecies. Throughout her lifetime she predicted a number of deaths and disasters. Her warnings of these impending events, though, went unheeded, and the disasters played out just as she foretold.

Today, we don’t have Greek gods gifting us with the ability to predict the future, but our modern sciences are doing a pretty good job of picking up the slack. However, they too are going largely ignored as they warn us about the dangers of climate change.

Why? Why is it that a scientifically proven phenomenon is being locked in a debate over its existence? Media technologies have offered a unique platform, not only for climate science communicators but also for climate science deniers to argue their positions. As our technologies become more expansive components of our daily lives, science communicators have broadened their tactics of reaching wider audiences. The situation that exists today suggests that although the data are available to the public as clear evidence of climate change and humans’ influence on its increased severity, people still don’t address this as a problem. Furthermore, they don’t address it as a problem they have any relation to or power to change.

In the last decade, climate scientists have taken direct measures to better communicate their research to a broader public audience through a more expansive media approach. Reaching beyond print platforms, web-based strategies such as blog and social media outreach have aimed to provide comprehensive basics of climate change research and discussions on small and large-scale advocacy and action.

The Union of Concerned Scientists’ website works to spread information through videos and blogs to engage a wider group of internet users. ClimateCentral.org also works specifically to provide climate change information to a mainstream audience through multimedia. And these are just a few of many organizations and campaigns working in similar ways to utilize our technological society.

Youtube, television programs, and documentaries are full of initiatives to connect popular media users to scientific conversations. The discussion is present and available, and yet on a national scale we so easily choose to ignore or disregard this information or fail to find ways to apply this information to our own lives through preventative action and advocacy. Whether disengaged, dismissive, or uninformed to some degree, there are psychological foundations to our ability to tune out and turn away from environmental conservation, advocacy, and action.

Humans are easily influenced by confirmation bias. We have a natural tendency to engage and agree with information and individuals who reconfirm beliefs we already hold. Similarly, we have a more difficult time connecting with information that opposes our beliefs. This plays out in self-enforced limitations and a general narrowing of the sources of information we seek out. It is easier to read news that already flows with our understanding of the environment rather than something that completely disrupts what we think we know.

Similarly, accepting that climate change is a global issue, and accepting that our behaviors have had and are continuously having negative impacts on the world, creates cognitive dissonance. In the United States just as in other countries throughout the world, we have built our economy and many of our social structures around practices that prove to be wasteful and harmful. Admitting these practices are leading to larger consequences pertaining to global health both on an environmental level and a human level changes how we can view our behaviors.

If we know our actions are directly or indirectly harming others and harming our planet, we are caught in a moral and ethical struggle of what it means to maintain our behaviors in the face of this knowledge. Choosing to ignore the consequences, or instead choosing to downplay their severity or their connection to our actions, is easier than recognizing ourselves as part of the problem and altering our comfortable lifestyles to fix that.

This leads to the concept of risk assessment. A recent study published by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication showcases that areas in the United States that are experiencing consequences of climate change are more likely to recognize and prioritize climate change as a global issue. As the study explains, these are nonpartisan results. Regardless of one’s political stance, you are more likely to address a situation when you see yourself directly being affected. This is a dilemma in the United States because we are not directly exposed to many of the consequences of our actions.

The toxic digital dump wastelands and devastating deforestation that result from our technological and paper product consumption, for example, leave many communities throughout the world with devastating health consequences and a diminishment of resources. A community facing the day to day struggles of existing during a drought will better relate to the science of climate change because they are experiencing it with a higher personal risk assessment.

So what does all this mean? If people aren’t listening to our modern day Cassandra foretelling the future, where do science communicators and educators come in? Where do people with firsthand experience of the consequences of our current actions come in? What role do science deniers play and why do they continue to hold such influential roles? What policies and structures are at play or could be at play to address these issues? How can we, as students and community members, be positive forces in addressing this ever-growing alteration of our planet?

 

Garrison Keillor Visits Goucher

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Keillor-Headshot-2.jpgErika DiPasquale, Associate Editor

March 5th, 2017

On Monday, February 20th, Kraushaar Auditorium was filled to capacity for the sold out Garrison Keillor Event. The master storyteller was the first performer of “The Power of Storytelling” themed-semester event series, which strives to encourage “learning to gather stories, learning to craft stories, listening to one another’s stories, hearing master storytellers, and community reflection on stories,” according to Emily Perl, Assistant Vice President for Student Success, and leader of the themed-semester committee. The event was funded entirely by the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Visiting Professorship fund.

Garrison Keillor hosted his very popular radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, from 1974 through July 2016 when he retired. His career earned him 3.5 million listeners on 700 public radio stations and Grammy, ACE, and George Foster Peabody awards, the National Humanities Medal, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He’s also an author of many books and editor of poetry anthologies. According to Emily Perl, Mr. Robert Meyerhoff and Ms. Rheda Becker “were instrumental in the decision to bring Garrison Keillor to campus this semester.”

Keillor entertained the crowd for 2 hours and 45 minutes straight—without stopping. Even during a ten minute intermission about an hour and a half in, he remained on stage and sang nostalgic songs with anyone in the audience willing to join in, expressing more than once how blessed he was to be in the same room as people who know the words to the same songs he knew—something he expects to not experience again in the coming years.

As for the content of his performance, his stories were certainly tailored to the audience, which consisted of more people with gray and white hair than Goucher College students. The age demographics of the audience shouldn’t come as a shock, being that a goal of the themed-semester is “to have a variety of speakers who appeal to different audiences and achieve a number of different goals,” according to Perl. Keillor started with stories about his brother-in-law’s hip replacement and his prostate, and then jumped backwards in time to share stories about college and his childhood. The audience heard stories about his first kiss, childhood punishments, and a couple funerals he’s recently attended. None of the stories he told took place during his impressive radio career. This organizational decision contributed to the development of the theme that “We strive to go far and then we end up back in the same place.”

Another theme he kept circling around to—one that is very relevant to the goals of the storytelling theme semester—is the act of writing things down and being remembered. After his longer stories, he would repeat the statement, “And I thought…I should write about this. But I haven’t written it down because I haven’t figured it out yet.” The first time he thought this, he was six years old. He wished to preserve the memory and prevent himself from simply disappearing from this earth. He wanted to write “to make sense of it.” The “strongest impulse of a writer,” according to Keillor, is “to hold onto the past and not let it vanish.” In his more recent reflections on his own mortality, as his performance illustrated, he’s felt this impulse even more so, in part because of a desire to be quoted posthumously like the greatest writers of all time—something he perceives as more meaningful than if he were to have a building named after him.

Because he told ordinary, relatable stories about his pre- and post- career life, the most resounding take-away from his performance is that anyone can tell their stories and be remembered in any form and style that comes naturally to them. Keillor’s style was one that evoked consistent waves of laughter and involved the audience in song at the beginning, middle, and end. Perl said, “The audience thoroughly enjoyed their evening with Garrison Keillor—I would call it a rousing success!”

A list of the remaining events in the series is below. Reserve your free tickets in advance at http://www.goucher.edu/tickets .

Queen Nur: Monday, February 27th, 7pm

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy: Wednesday, March 1, 7pm

Alec Dun: Thursday, March 23rd, 4:30pm

Ann Hamilton: Thursday, March 30, 6:30pm

Curtis Sittenfeld: Monday, April 3, 7pm

Peter L. Borst: Wednesday, April 5, 7pm

Anna Deveare Smith: Wednesday, April 12, 7pm

Participate in various Story Circle Sessions throughout the semester to listen and share stories in the ATH.

A Day in My Life Abroad: Tuesday, March 7, 4pm

The Place Where I Grew Up: Wednesday, March 22, 3pm

Hair Stories: Tuesday, April 11, 4pm

Goucher Stories: Wednesday, April 19, 3pm

Immigration Stories: Tuesday, April 25, 4pm

Visit http://www.goucher.edu/storytelling for more information about the speakers/performers and the Story Circles.

Who Gets to Be a Jazz Musician?

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Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Katie Van Note, Staff Writer

March 5th, 2017

What does a stereotypical American jazz musician look like? This is the question Naomi Moon Siegel asked that prompted conversation in Jeffrey Chapell’s jazz ensemble class last Tuesday, February 21st. Siegel is a composer, trombonist, and educator who visited Goucher College to present a workshop titled “Gender Equality and The Feminine Principle in Jazz.”

Siegel received her bachelors degree in jazz trombone from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. It was through her training that she realized conversations about patriarchy, sexuality, race, and gender – very much present among students in the liberal arts college – were not present in the conservatory. The majority of her teachers and fellow students were white males. In her music history classes, she learned about men. All of the books she read were written by men. If there was ever a section in a textbook on female musicians, it was given a special label, “Women in Jazz.” Yet, as Naomi stated last Tuesday, “women have always played jazz as instrumentalists.”

So, who is a typical jazz musician in America? Who is given space to sing, play the piano, guitar, drums, flute, clarinet, trumpet, or saxophone? This is where the conversation started at Goucher.

Eight of the attending jazz student musicians were given the task to identify stereotypes of various races and genders in jazz. Siegel asked, “What images and messages does the society receive at large about these groups of people in jazz?” Students identified these stereotypes about men: “they are white, instrumentalists, intelligent, they have an expected level of know-how, they are cool cats, aloof, elitist, middle-class, most able, and most visible.” One Goucher musician added, “they can afford gigging around,” as yet another symptom of privilege and class.

Stereotypes of women in jazz included “non-instrumentalists, sometimes pianists, sex objects, vocalists, wives, and non-composers.” It is important to note that female instrumentalists, such as Lil Hardin Armstrong and Alice Coltrane, both jazz pianists in their own right, were known for their marriages to their jazz musician husbands. Within the first two sentences of their descriptions on Wikipedia, they are mentioned as wives to John Coltrane and Louis Armstrong, whereas both men are described on Wikipedia by musical style and accomplishments with no mention of marital details. This begs the question – would these female musicians have been documented and remembered in jazz history if they hadn’t married male musicians?

Students also offered stereotypes of African Americans in jazz as “natural, the best jazz musicians, best sense of rhythm, and the originators.” Furthermore, stereotypes were discussed of Asian Americans as “classically trained piano players, can’t swing, and non-existent in jazz,” while Native Americans, Arab-Americans, Latino-Americans, were all labeled as “non-existent in jazz” as well. Siegel noted that greater intersectionality between sexuality, gender identity, and cultural backgrounds were not mentioned either, as they further separated a person from the “norm” in jazz.

Yet, how have these stereotypes developed over the hundred or so years of American jazz history? Siegel identified the creation and distribution of magazines in the 1920s as a major cause – propaganda that sexualized women vocalists and prioritized white bands.

In her lecture, Siegel explained her own internalized stereotype as “socialized to believe that females are inferior jazz instrumentalists.” She gave examples by quoting her fellow female jazz musicians, Esperanza Spalding and Kate Olsen: “I’m just a jazz musician,” and “I’m just one of the guys.” In reflection, Siegel pointed to the implicit meaning behind their quotes: denial of the patriarchy “as if somehow it doesn’t exist.”

One female vocalist in the audience told an account of her own experience: “My mom has always said she sees me lying on a piano in a slinky red dress singing jazz.”

As individuals in the jazz arena, Siegel noted the importance of “telling counter-narratives.” These counter-narratives serve as challenges to the perpetual stereotypes marginalized groups face in jazz. She emphasized the development of an individual voice and sound. “My goal is for us to be fully expressive.Only in defining and challenging these stereotypes can we begin to discover our potential as musicians.”

In creating a space for dialogue of this kind, Siegel left some students with another perspective, some with a validation of experience as female and black musicians, and some with inspiration to challenge the concept of a stereotypical jazz musician.

Goucher EATS: An Ode to My “Vegan Soul”

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Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Jessica Gude, Features Editor

March 5th, 2017

“Wait, I thought you were a vegan.” This is a statement that usually comes as I’m reaching for a piece of chicken or halfway through a forkful of something with bacon. And despite the number of times I’ve heard it, my eyes will widen in disbelief and I’ll exclaim, “Why does everyone think that?” And while “everyone” may be a bit hyperbolic, it is a comment I’ve gotten from many different people in my life: professors, coworkers, friends, and even some extended family members. One particular friend describes it as “my vegan soul”, and while I’ve spent the last four years fighting her on it, I’ll admit she has a point. While I do eat (and massively enjoy) plenty of animal products, fruits, veggies, and other 100% vegan friendly foods will always hold a special place in my heart. So here it is, an ode to my vegan soul.

“Orange vegetables are my favorite” I’ll say, and I’m not missing the noun “vegetable” or even “food” because I’m using “favorite” as the noun, again hyperbolic, I know. This is something I’ll say as I fill up a plate with sweet potatoes, pour myself a bowl of pumpkin bisque, dig a spoon into carrot puree, or describe Stimson dinner as being “on point” on a particular day purely because they had roasted acorn squash. I’m not sure what it is, maybe it’s something about the subtle sweetness, the color contrast, or how well most of them pair with cinnamon, but I’ll eat any orange veggies any time of year.

Anyone who knows how much salad I consume may find it surprising that I refused to eat lettuce until high school, but before then I would have described its taste as either “like grass” or “like water.” I’ve gotten over my aversion since then, and while I’ll probably always take spring mix when give the choice, I’ve also learned to appreciate the peppery taste of arugula and even bitter mustard greens and kale.

While it’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite carb and I’m incredibly tempted to claim bread as my number one, there is just something about potatoes, just roasted potatoes. And while I love the visually appealing blue or purple varieties, I am just as happy with any russet or red-skinned variety. With crispy skin and soft interiors, potatoes are a warm and perfectly carby masterpiece.

I feel that as kids we’re taught that while good for you, vegetables are supposed to be something you dislike, probably because they’re properly cooked only rarely. As I’ve grown up and realized that most vegetables are actually delicious, I’m always surprised when I realize I like something I thought I didn’t. Brussel sprouts are amazing if you don’t steam the bejeezus out of them. Spinach can be wonderful if you don’t serve it as a slimy blob. Beets should be treated and eaten like candy, because they’re that good. As I’ve gotten older and become more responsible for feeding myself, I’ve realized just how many veggies I enjoy and how much I like them.

So I suppose if I can use this much space talking about how much I love vegetables (don’t even get me started on fruits), it’s not wrong to think that I have a vegan soul. I guess if I can eat an entire Cioppino (i.e. ridiculously huge) bowl of sautéed veggies at the end of a shift, it’s fair to assume I may be a vegetarian. But what I’m leaving out of this narrative is how well veggies pair with some non-vegan substances. Because as much as I love kale by itself, it tastes better with bacon. As great as broccoli is, it’s even better in an omelet. And as much as I love butternut squash with nothing but salt and cinnamon, I will not pass up the opportunity to add chicken. So sure, maybe I look like I could be a vegetarian, maybe my soul is in fact vegan, but my diet will always be omnivorous.

Post-Study Abroad Poster Session

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Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Erika DiPasquale, Associate Editor

February 25th, 2017

During the common hour on Wednesday, February 15th, the 45+ students who studied abroad during the Fall 2016 semester took over the Hyman Forum for a poster session. The poster session is a brand new addition to the mandatory study abroad curriculum. OIS asked students to choose topics from a list that they were most interested in presenting—such as arts, transportation, sports, education, food, etc.—and assigned them into groups based on those preferences.

The poster session is the brain-child of Jennifer White, the Associate Director of OIS. According to White, “The Office of International Studies, along with many on campus, has long recognized the need for creating opportunities for students to share reflections on their study abroad experiences.” The poster session is the most recent attempt to fill this void. Each group had about three students and “in most cases, the groups [were] comprised of students from different countries, to allow for a comparative framework,” said White. The groups informally presented their spiel to those who approached their table, some groups using posters while others showcased Power Points from their laptops.

The presenters had mixed reviews about the experience. Ryan Salamony ‘17 “thought that being able to connect with others concerning our chosen topics and to discuss how such topics impacted our interactions with the local culture…was fascinating and a good way of showcasing different perspectives…It was a good way of letting us step back from the situation, back with our Goucher goggles on, to look at our time abroad in a different way.” Brandon Creed ‘18, who studied abroad in Scotland, liked the poster session because it gave an overview of what everyone experienced. Rachel Grosso ‘18, Meg John ‘18, and Grace Flannery ‘18, the members of the transportation group, all expressed how much they learned from the conversations they had with one another when developing their presentation. Anna Young ’18, who studied in Greece, said, “The centralized space to tell stories about our experiences is beneficial. It validates that the Goucher community does care about our study abroad experiences. There’s room for improvement, but it’s a good step to integrate the abroad experience into the Goucher community in a meaningful way.”

Many of the presenters also agreed that there was room for improvement.  Although Meg John ’18 appreciated the space to speak about her experiences in Uganda, she said “the assignment felt forced.” Transportation, the topic she was assigned, wasn’t all she experienced abroad. “The presentation speaks to the project, not to my experiences…Goucher can do wonders [with the post-study abroad program] so that it’s not a chore,” said Meg John ’18.

Grace Flannery ‘18, held similar sentiments. She “didn’t go abroad [to South Korea] to compare and contrast, but to experience Asian culture.” Love-Moore, who studied abroad in Argentina, said, “I don’t know if [the poster session] is helpful. It was annoying to be arbitrarily put into groups with a more or less random topic.” Anne Werkheiser ‘18 agreed that it wasn’t as effective as it could’ve been, stating, “it feels like something I did in middle school” and “no one is here.” Attendance was extremely low, with as few as three people visiting one of the Education tables throughout the hour-long session, according to Lea Love-More ‘18.

Along with such criticism, the presenters have ideas for how to revise the program. Many suggested small group conversations in place of the poster session. Grosso noted that her group discussed so much beyond their assigned topic, and their fruitful conversation was the beneficial aspect of the assignment rather than the presentation or assigned topic. Desirae Moten ’17 said, “Let’s just have a dinner and chat.” Flannery also thinks that conversations would’ve been “more meaningful.”

A couple of students would’ve preferred formal presentations. Doing so would’ve allowed the presenters to hear other students’ presentations, which was not an option with the poster session format, according to Werkheiser. Salamony also wanted the opportunity to hear the other presentations, but he wouldn’t have liked to present to the entire community. Jennifer White assured that “as with any new venture, we’ll evaluate [Wednesday’s] events to see how it can be enhanced in Fall 2017 for the 95+ students currently studying abroad this spring semester.”

The poster session was just the first step in revising the post-study abroad experience. More changes are to come, with each rendition improving upon the last, in an effort to provide students with the best framework to process, reflect upon, and share their study abroad experiences.

“Picturing Frederick Douglass”: A lecture

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Photo credit: Erika DiPasquale

Madeline St. John, News Editor

February 15th, 2017

At a recent Black History Month event, Donald Trump stated, amidst other comments, “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.” Trump’s use of present tense suggests a possible ignorance of who Douglass was, and of the fact that he has been deceased for many years. A presenter at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore pointed this out in her introduction to the lecture Picturing Frederick Douglass. The lecture, on Saturday February 4th, was attended by about a classroom-full of Goucher students, and focused on the intertwining histories of Frederick Douglass and photography.  The presenter, John Stauffer, Ph.D., Harvard University used a powerpoint of photos of Douglass to punctuate his points.

“Douglass was in love with photography,” said Stauffer. “There were more photos of him than any other American of the 19th century. He was the public face of America.”

Stauffer began his lecture with a bit of historical background on photography in the 19th century, describing the different types of prints and how they were taken. He passed around examples. During that time period, Stauffer explained, it was believed that photo portraits were a “likeness” of someone and contained a part of their “body and soul.”

Douglass was a strong believer in the power of photography. He saw it as crucial in the fight against slavery and for civil rights. Anyone could be photographed and anyone could be a photographer–all it required was “a manual, some chemicals, and about 3-6 months of experimentation,” said Stauffer. Photography was incredibly democratizing and equalizing, and there were hundreds of female and African-American photographers. The photo gallery, where folks came to have their photo taken or look at others, was, in Stauffer’s words, a “model interracial space.”

For Douglass, photography was also a way of showing the humanity of African Americans. “’We cannot trust white artists,’” he said, because he believed that somewhere between reality and the strokes on the canvas, their work became a lie. Photography, on the other hand, held the truth. As well as truth, photography also captured its subjects’ “fundamental humanity,” and their human desire to create liknesses of themselves in their world.

In his own portraits, several patterns emerge. Douglass used a “signature pose,” in which he stared at the viewer with a “defiant” gaze. He was always “immaculately dressed” and, although they were common at the time, he used few props, wishing to keep the emphasis on himself, the subject. In a number of portraits, he clenches his hands, like a boxer, and Stauffer described his appearance as “majestic in his wrath.”

Stauffer highlighted Douglass’ relationship with Abraham Lincoln, pointing out his presence in a photograph of Lincoln’s second inauguration.

At the end of his presentation, Stauffer showed photographs of modern representations of Douglass, highlighting how influential he continues to be today. Perhaps President Trump was not so far from the truth, he suggested, in using the present tense to describe Douglass’ influence in the present day.

After the presentation, an audience member stood up, as if to ask a question. “I just want to make a comment,” he said, “that the next time you show that picture of [Lincoln’s] inauguration, you should point out that there was a much bigger crowd then, than there was a week ago [at Trump’s inauguration].” The audience responded positively to this comment, as they had to comments made by Stauffer throughout the lecture that connected Douglass’ fight for rights with the current political situation and modern struggles, like the Black Lives Matter movement.

This event was promoted by History Professor Matthew Hale, and a bus transported students between Goucher and the event.

Future Black History Month events at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore include a Black Memorobelia and Fine Arts and Craft Show, on Sat., Feb. 11th, and an open house on Sat., Feb. 25th. For more information about upcoming events, visit http://www.lewismuseum.org/main-calendar.

Other participating Baltimore Black History Month museums and organizations include the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Baltimore Visitor’s Center. For more details on Black History Month events in the Baltimore area, check out http://baltimore.org/article/black-history-month-events-baltimore or http://www.baltimoremagazine.net/2017/1/30/black-history-month-events.

S.E.T.: Winter Carnival and G.I.G Planning

by

Katie Van Note, Staff Writer

February 15th, 2017

The Student Engagement Team set the bar high for events on campus this past weekend, with their Winter Carnival. Formerly know as Programming Board, S.E.T. is a group of Goucher students and professional staff members that meet once a week in the Office of Student Engagement (O.S.E). Their purpose is to create fun, entertaining, and enticing events on campus that the majority of the student body will enjoy.

In the past few years, S.E.T. has experienced a lack of participation at their events. They have held pop up events such as spin art, dance parties, and palm readings that haven’t always generated the participation they desired. In order to combat this, their new goal is to hold fewer, but higher quality events. Now, with more money going towards these events, they can generate more interest and student engagement!

The Winter Carnival on February 4th, 2017 is exactly the kind of event Goucher students have been waiting for. The Carnival was held in the the Hyman Forum of Goucher’s Atheneum and included a variety of activities, musical performances, and free food that attracted over two hundred Goucher students. S.E.T. gave priority to student bands, bringing to the stage two Goucher favorites: Mustang Riddle and Sharnell Huff (a recent Goucher graduate). Activities included bamboo planting, spray on tattoos, a photo booth, giant jenga and connect four, and inflatable twister. The favorite of the night, however, was the free food. Outside of the bottom doors of the Atheneum, students stood in the cold to receive their free Korean barbecue, crab tacos, gyro sandwiches, pulled pork, and cookies. Students sat on the steps of the Forum eating food and listening to music while others broke it down on the dance floor. There were activities on each floor of the Forum which kept students engaged after they finished their dinner. Ultimately, the program was well executed by S.E.T. and generated a large student attendance despite the lack of advertising.

S.E.T. will set their sights next on the highly anticipated Get Into Goucher day, (G.I.G), on April 7th. G.I.G. is Goucher’s annual outdoor festival where students get the day off (after 12:30pm) to enjoy festivities. The team is currently in the brainstorming stage for G.I.G. with potential ideas including free food (a crowd favorite), a beer garden, performances from local bands, and inflatable bounce houses. In the past, Goucher has hired outside performers such as Bosley and Khleo Thomas (the actor, Zero, from the 2003 movie, Holes). Currently S.E.T. is pushing for more student bands at events like G.I.G.

S.E.T. has meetings once a week that are open to Goucher students. If you’d like to see an event on campus or have additional ideas for an upcoming event like G.I.G., stop by the O.S.E. outside of Alice’s Cafe. Professional staff members include Aisha Rivers, Christine Krieger, Amber Barnett, and Kimberly Spicker.

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