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Open Letter to the Goucher Community

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To the Goucher Community,
Following the Goucher Identity Survey Follow-Up discussion, our class made plans for how to best deliver the thoughts of the student body to the administration, faculty, and remaining students that were not in attendance, in hopes of unifying the community around a conversation of our shared stake in Goucher’s identity, budget and future direction. We conducted a survey which received a response of 255 responses. We advertised for the dialogue through tabling that allowed us to collect direct suggestions for the Board of Trustees and President Jose Bowen. Approximately 60-70 students (in addition to invited faculty and administration) attended the session on Wednesday, May 9th from 1:30-3:30 pm. After hearing the students elaborate on some of the responses or percentages represented in the data, we opened up the floor for the community to share its thoughts and feelings.

It seems that students feel that they come into Goucher excited and have fun engaging with the community. Many students love the community, and demonstrate their care through addressing the school’s structural problems. Students have felt demeaned and impeded when attempting to implement these changes. Students expressed hope that this could change. “Goucher can be an experimental and interdisciplinary place that integrates student power through supporting their studies,” said one student.

Some resonating comments highlighted that we are a communal environment, that relies on a close, personal network of friends and professionals. Students are grateful for the support we receive from faculty, though this is dependent on the professors that are here. Without them, students can feel overwhelmed, juggling their academic responsibilities amidst their administrative concerns on our campus. It’s not sustainable for students to lead and market student-run programs without the school providing further support for said students in other areas of their lives. These student-run initiatives are then co-opted by administration for marketing purposes. This ignorance of students’ grievances with structural limitations of certain departments leaves students dissatisfied, and seeking other schools that may address their needs. These students feel disconnected from the Goucher community.“We’re breaking eggs for an omelette that students didn’t ask for, and current students are the eggs,” said one student.

Students expressed feeling panicked with Goucher’s lack of a unified vision. A campus that totes a liberal identity but ignores the needs of marginalized voices poses a challenge to students seeking to engage in true community. Despite Goucher’s shortcomings, Goucher students also seem hopeful that Goucher could truly be a place that engages students from different backgrounds in critical conversations about identity. However, as a student body, we need to be receptive of different views to adapt to a changing community and political climate, and we must be also able to have these conversations in a way that does not depend on students of color to provide the education for those with privilege.

Students value their Goucher experience because of the diversity in thought, and the freedom to think and explore on this campus. Some students appreciated study abroad as the opportunity to connect to communities globally, and that allowed students to experience something outside of their comfort zone. When engaging with outside communities, students want to see Goucher fully embody its social justice identity as demonstrated through its actions and dedication to institutional change. Students wish to see our administration acting proactively in response to issues on our campus and/or political issues that impact members of our community. Students inquired about the history of Goucher’s land as a slave plantation/”farm”, asking that Goucher College maintain honesty with students about our school’s history and intentions for the future. Students also suggested Goucher interview current students about their Goucher experience in addition to conducting exit interviews.

There is an underlying issue of mental health that plagues most students as they continue to have their needs go unmet. Most students are left to figure out how to navigate the system on their own causing much stress and burden for a college student learning how to navigate the world. The services on our campus need to provide more stable options for counseling, as well as more consistent access to advanced treatment. In addition, these mental health challenges prevent leaders from engaging in the community as they must recover themselves. This heavily impacts the campus as we rely heavily on student-run initiatives. If students are not empowered to succeed in their academic and social experiences, our campus climate will decline as more students experience depression and struggle to maintain positivity.

Research into the budget allocation reveals financial information which students value understanding, as students also have an interest in Goucher’s economic stability. Students wish to be seen as equal and valued collaborators in the administration of our campus. What students seek is POWER not support.
Issues that students mentioned needed resolution or sought further conversation on, were:

  • Academics
  • Student Life
  • Social Apathy
  • Mental Health
  • Athletics Department
  • Accuracy of Marketing
  • Structural Limitations in Implementing Institutional Change
  • Goucher’s Identity Crisis
  • Goucher’s Transitional Period
  • Administration’s Focus on the First-Year Class
  • The Goucher Bubble
  • Study Abroad
  • Faculty of Color
  • Financial Restraints/ Economic Advisor for First-Generation Students

This reflection captures some of the perceptions expressed at our Identity Survey discussion. However, it lacks full student input and struggles to weave together opposing views into a unified voice. There are still more questions to consider. What kind of students do we want to attract to Goucher? What does Goucher embody and what does that mean? Are we losing the essence of our identity? How can we make the ideals of study abroad be what we do within the college?

The survey, discussion, and efforts of this PCE 220 class were merely conducted in hopes of sparking more conversations about our respective stake in Goucher’s future. Where do you stand? Where do you agree or disagree? We encourage you to engage in these conversations in the future with your peers or future organizers on this topic. Whatever your concern may be, don’t be afraid to jumpstart conversation and act on your beliefs. We cannot have any collective power until we have the courage to unify amongst ourselves.

LYDELL HILLS ON BEHALF OF PEACE STUDIES 220

Students Dive into Goucher’s Budget and Identity

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For the past semester the Peace Studies 220 (PCE 220) class has been learning about different historical and current approaches and methods of social movements and activism. For the fieldwork component of this class students needed to choose an issue or organization at or near Goucher to immerse themselves in in order to apply what they have learned to the real world. They identified important issues in the Goucher community and chose to immerse themselves and address these issues.

PCE 220 students want to “bridge the disconnect,” as one student put it, between Goucher’s administration and current student body. While they avoided talking on behalf of other students, many students in PCE 220 said that they sense general discontent in the student body currently. They said that some of this may be due to the fact that Goucher markets itself in an accurate way. They also want to address information gap about Goucher’s budget, and provide students with their research on how it works. They are also trying to learn about the decision making process at Goucher and our Board of Trustees. Students pointed out that before this project many of them did not have any knowledge about these issues but that as they looked into them more they became more curious and began to care more.

Through researching Goucher’s tax forms (9-90 forms) the students gathered information about the budget and by creating and releasing a student survey (which went live April 25) they hope to gather data about students’ opinions about Goucher’s identity and whether we are actually the school we are marketed as. After they analyze data from their survey the students of PCE 220 plan on having two open dialogues to discuss their findings with the wider Goucher community.

Several students in the class emphasized that they are not trying to incite anger in the student body or criticize the administration. Their main objective is to share information and create conversation. They feel that sharing this information will benefit students by allowing us to have an informed opinion of how our school is run. Many students in the class said that they think that the administration will benefit from their work as well, especially from the data they will gather from the student survey about Goucher’s identity.

PCE 220 has been very thorough in their research. They read from Nathan D. Grawe’s book Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education which examines the issues of liberal arts colleges financial sustainability on a national scale. With the guidance of a former Goucher finance employee they studied Goucher’s 9-90 tax forms of the 2012 through 2016 fiscal years. They sought out the help of statisticians when crafting their student survey. In the week after my interview with them they had made plans to  speak with a Goucher staff member about Goucher’s retention rate and exit data. They were also planning on speaking with someone who sits on Goucher’s Board of Trustees to talk about the decision making process at Goucher.

When asked about Goucher’s transparency, the students of PCE 200 had different opinions. The students agreed that the staff and faculty they reached out to were very responsive and helpful. One student said, “Goucher does do a phenomenal job as far as producing their tax forms to the general public.” Another student said, “Legally we [Goucher] have to share that information [tax forms]” and pointed out that while Goucher’s tax forms are available their contents are not accessible to most people who do not know how to decipher them. Another student said, “Goucher could be a lot more transparent but students have not demanded this.”

The students of PCE 220 are shedding a light on the budget which is a topic that is not in the forefront of most student’s concerns and is not an issue students have time to look into for themselves. The student survey will also reveal data about current student opinions and perceptions.

Below is a summary of Goucher’s budget made by the PCE 220 students.

Goucher Budget 101

Goucher College has two types of budgets (an amount of money that goes toward paying for specific types of expenses)

The Capital Budget is money that goes toward paying for fixed assets (resources that will last more than 5 years such as buildings and vehicles)

Capital Budget Sources of Revenue (Where the money comes from):

Debt (like a mortgage), Donations/Campaigns (like the Undaunted Campaign)

The Operating Budget is money that goes toward paying for everything else (such as salaries, materials, uniforms, debt repayment, and other ongoing expenses)

Operating Budget Sources of Revenue: Tuition, Housing/Dining

Expenses, Endowment (invested money that has been donated), and Grants.

*73% of the operating budget comes from tuition and room and board expenses.

Source: a presentation to our class on Goucher’s finances by a former Goucher finance employee.

Cecile Adrian

Get Into Goucher April 13th 2018

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Click on the photos above to see more photos of GiG.

On a lucky Friday April 13th, Goucher Students took to the Great Lawn, enjoying a community lunch, performances by student acapella groups, live music, a mechanical bull, and more.

Photo Credit:

Clayton Reynolds. Instagram: ClaytonReynolds27

Yuwan Zhang

May Hathaway

Students Pictured:

Madeleine Lemen

Dustin Taylor

Duncan Miller

Abigail Jones

Lydell Hills

Sarojini Schutt

Nathaniel Magloire

Kara Taylor

Wayne Cornish

Arthur Mutijima

Hannah Lane

Ashley Alyward

Sophie Friets

May Hathaway

Artist Pictured:

Sharnell Huff (Goucher Alum) AKA XennyDreamr

Onye

 

The Poetry Corner Part Two

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As a part of this semester’s theme of community, the Kratz Center for Creative Writing is sponsoring an event series called “Poetry as Community,” bringing local poets to campus. In conjunction with this theme, the Q has asked student poets to send in their own poems along with poetry recommendations. Here are student poets Sebastian Bronson Broddie, ‘20, and Thalia Richter, ‘20 on poets whose work they appreciate.

Sebastian’s Poet Recommendation: Gwendolyn Brooks is well known for crafting powerful poems about racial identity and many hold evidence of her engagement in politics, from when she worked with the NAACP in college. What I most love about Gwendolyn Brooks’s work is her ability to make me feel a great deal more like who I am supposed to be, or to feel a greater appreciation for who I am right now. I always feel like she knows exactly who I am when I read her poems, and that who I am is to be celebrated. Her subjects…sometimes seem to leap right off the page and envelop you in a warm, soft, comforting light.

Thalia’s Poet Recommendation: My favorite book of [Maggie Nelson] is Bluets, which is written as a cross between poetry and prose, ruminating on depression, loneliness, and love through the lens of the color blue. The book begins, “Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color. Suppose I were to speak this as though it were a confession.” Nelson’s obsession with the color blue bleeds into her discussions of depression, sometimes eliding the two, so that emotion gains literal visibility. Loneliness is blue, and perhaps parts of love are red, but no matter what, Nelson made me believe in the tangibility and physical realities of these emotions…Her poetry depicts love and heartbreak side-by-side, as though the latter is inevitable, but worth it for the sake of the former…by articulating her loneliness, Nelson creates a sense of shared sadness, and perhaps that can help lessen the burden.

To read the work of Sebstian and Thalia, look here.

Featured Image: Gwendolyn Brooks. Photo Credit: The Poetry Foundation

Hidden Gems: Shopping and Recreation Near Goucher

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Writing 206/Spring 2018

Have you ever wondered what amazing places lay hidden deep beneath the areas around Goucher? Have you ever sat in your room, bored because you’ve already done all the “mainstream” activities offered to you by your friends? If you’ve felt yourself pondering these questions then look no further than the newest segment of the Q for ideas of your future adventures! We are helping students find other activities in and around Goucher that we feel are hidden. These places provide wonderful experiences for you and your group!

10 Car Pile Up
If you’re looking to get off campus, try thrifting at 10 Car Pile Up by the Towson Circle! It is a funky second hand vintage shop with a huge variety of clothing and accessories to choose from. Even if you’re not looking to buy, just walking around and trying on old coats and hats can be a fun outing. With its bright yellow exterior and eccentric window displays, it’s hard to miss when walking past. You’ve probably walked by it without even noticing! It’s a different way to get off campus and enjoy the spaces in Towson that doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money.

The Sound Garden
The Sound Garden is a well-loved part of Fells Point, Baltimore, celebrating their 25th year, however many Goucher students might not know about it. It is a local small business music store that has always been a supporter of up and coming bands and is filled with every CD and vinyl imaginable. From the most obscure album to the most popular, it’s the spot to get a hold of your favorite music. Recently, they added a room that is completely dedicated to vinyl. But, if you’re more of a movie fanatic, they have an entire section of DVDs as well! They have a huge collection ranging from music, DVDs, and band merchandise.
Surrounded by restaurants, shops, cafes, and a short distance away from the water, The Sound Garden’s location makes it ideal to visit and turn a warm, sunny day into a great trip to Baltimore with friends. You can also sell your old CDs and DVDs to the store if you’re looking to get rid of some stuff you don’t use anymore. They make sure they separate the new and old stuff in the store to make it convenient for buyers as well.
They also hold outdoor and in-store concerts and meet-and-greets whenever bands come to town. One band in particular that enjoys performing at The Sound Garden is All Time Low, as all band members are from Baltimore and were given the opportunity to perform at the store when the band was just beginning many years ago.

The Book Thing
Founded in September of 1999, The Book Thing is a free book store located in Baltimore. The store’s philosophy is giving books that people don’t want to people who do want them. Every book in the store is completely free. The only catch is that the books are not for resale.
Russell Wattenberg founded The Book Thing after hearing teachers talking about how they were not able to provide lower income students with enough reading materials. There is a limit of “150,000 books per person” so there is essentially no limit to the number of books that an individual can take with them.
The Book Thing is able to keep their doors open because of volunteer workers, and a consistent flow of in-person and mail-in donations. The store is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm, however volunteers work at the store Monday through Friday from 10am to 4pm to keep the shelves stocked.
For more information visit: http://bookthing.org/#home

The Tin Roof
The Tin Roof is a small live music joint that serves both cheap beer and tasty food. The fun, casual and eclectic feel of the bar makes it the perfect spot to have fun with friends and make new ones.
The bar has hosted hundreds of bands since their creation, and live musicians are showcased on their stage seven days a week. Apart from live music, The Tin Roof also hosts events ranging from bar crawls to watch parties and karaoke nights. It’s even possible to book the bar for group parties and events with a customized entertainment package that caters to your group’s specific wants and needs.
The bar is open Tuesday-Sunday 11am-2am, Mondays 4pm-2am, and is located within Baltimore’s Power Plant Live at the Inner Harbor. If you’re looking for a laid-back atmosphere and a friendly crew, grab a brew, eat some food, make some friends and support local musicians at the Tin Roof in Baltimore.
For more information visit: https://www.tinroofbaltimore.com/about

The National Aquarium
Although this is not exactly a hidden gem, there are still a great deal of people who don’t know about the Aquarium. Tickets to the National Aquarium normally run $24.95 for children and $39.95 for adults.
Recently I was looking through their website and found that they do half price Fridays after 5 pm. This half price deal makes it much more accessible for college students or those on a budget. Half price Friday night starts at 5 p.m. and the last entrance is 7:30 p.m. which gives you ninety minutes to tour after the last entry–plenty of time to make it through the whole aquarium!

Rocky Point Park and Beach in Essex, MD. Photo Credit: Google Images.

Rocky Point Park and Beach located in Essex, MD
If you are looking for an adventure on a sunny day, check out Rocky Point Park and Beach located in Essex, MD. The park is open to the public year round for fishing, boating, and swimming. The park includes a sandy beach with a designated swimming area and an expansive view of the Chesapeake Bay. This is an ideal spot for a picnic with friends.

Club Chat: Eco Team

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In the last issue of the Q, there was an article about a recent coalition of environmentally minded clubs on campus. Goucher has a long history of environmental organizations, and this week we’ll look at the newest member of this legacy: the Eco Team. I spoke with club president Kat Elicker (‘19).

Why did you decide to start the club?
I’ve always known since I was a freshman, that I was going to be an environmental studies major. It was one of my passions. I’m also a Dorsey scholar, and they encourage you to find some kind of niche to grow your leadership skills. And I thought ‘well, I’ll be part of the environmental club on campus, and work my way up’.
When I had first toured the school, I had heard of four different ones, and when I got here I went to the club fair and couldn’t find any except for Ag Co-op. Don’t get me wrong: I love gardening, but it wasn’t really what I was looking for. I found out there was a club named GEAR – but it was dying down. I couldn’t figure out when their meeting times were.
My Sophomore year, I was like ‘you have to find this club!’. And I found it, and found out is was no longer a club. So I looked into a few other clubs, tried those out. My junior year I told myself ‘ you know, the Dorsey people said find your niche and grow in it, but maybe I should grow my niche myself.’ So I decided to create an environmental club on campus, sort of like GEAR. Since I didn’t have the same goals or guidelines set up like GEAR did, I wasn’t going to rename the club GEAR. So we go by the Eco Team. Had a good ring to it.

What’s the purpose of your organization?
Where GEAR was environmental action, we’re environmental awareness. The point really is to raise awareness on campus about how people can have more green practices, and be more sustainable in their everyday living. I feel that Goucher is a school that looks at the broad picture when it comes to sustainability, but then they forget the little things. Things that we as students are going to have to take on, because they are not going to implement them.
So the idea is to have at least one or two action projects a semester. And hopefully if the club continues on after me, they might do more environmental action.

What are your plans this coming semester?
We hope to do some club bonding: probably a documentary movie night within the club. We also want to work with FMS and construction in making sure there is proper recycling in the new buildings. We are also putting up new recycling posters soon. Moving into future semesters, it’s going to be a case by case basis. We’ve heard about some freshman peers who want to deal with the single use plastic issue at Alice’s and Huebeck, and we might partner with them next semester.

Do you think Goucher is an environmentally friendly campus? How can it improve?
It was difficult as a student to see how Goucher isn’t sustainable, but it’s really in day to day life. When they were moving the buildings, they had initiatives to try and reduce construction waste and buildup- but that led to a bunch of trees being cut down. They say they have an initiative where for every one tree they cut down they plant two, but where do they plant them? There are just logistical things, where their overall mindset is green, but I see a lot of faults in the things they do. Thankfully, there are places you can go if you want to see change happen. That’s part of the reason why I started the club, so there would be another place you could go to.

Why should people participate?
It’s a space where people can talk about their environmental passions, and also make friends. If you want to come to my club, if your looking for the environmental side of things where you are making recycling posters and talking to people about the practices they have – then our club is the place to do it. But if you don’t, I would be more than happy to have people come to our club if there is a problem they see on campus that they would like to address. I don’t want them to feel like they need to be committed to the club after that. Come and say your piece. We can work on it, maybe only a small change, and after that, you can stay with us or put your time somewhere else until you have another idea.

And that’s that for this installment of club chat! Interested in having your organization featured in the next issue of the Q? Email me at firut001@mail.goucher.edu for your chance to be in the next edition!

Featured Image: Eco Team focuses on increasing environmental awareness on campus. Photo Credit: Google Images

In Memoriam: Professor Emerita Marianne Githens

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In late February, Goucher received the sad news that Professor Emerita Marianne Githens had passed away. She was 83 years old.
Professor Githens was born in New York City and raised in Long Island. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Marymount Manhattan College before travelling to England to study further. In 1960, she obtained her doctorate from the London School of Economics. While there, she studied European political organizations and French political beliefs.
Professor Githens taught full time at Goucher from 1965 until her retirement in 2014, where she then continued to teach courses part time until 2016. During her tenure, Professor Githen’s advocated for inclusion, diversity, and equity. She supported women’s rights and rights for urban neighborhoods in Baltimore. She is recognized by many as a pioneer scholar in the field of women in politics and was the co-founder of the Women’s Studies Program at Goucher. She also served as the chair of the political science program.
In 1993, Professor Githens was appointed by the European Commission’s Commission of European Communities for Program Development to write a report on women in Europe.
In 2000, Professor Githens was named as Goucher College’s Elizabeth Conolly Todd Distinguished Professor. She won a myriad of awards from Goucher, including the Outstanding Teaching Award, Caroline Doebler Bruckerl Faculty Award, and a Human Rights Scholar Award. She also received a Distinguished Alumna Award from Marymount Manhattan College. After her retirement, she was honored with the title of Professor Emerita for her contributions to academia. Professor Githens helped shape the community that Goucher is today and dedicated her life to ensuring that those without a voice could be heard.

Featured Image: Marianne Githens. Credit: Baltimore Sun

Spin Bikeshare Comes to Goucher

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Goucher’s Bikeshare Program. Photo Credit: Madeline St. John

What’s orange, has two wheels, a couple gears, and makes me think of popsicles and summertime? That’s right. I’m talking about those neon bikes we’ve all seen around campus. They showed up sometime within the past few months, and everytime I see someone on one, I wish I could drop everything and go for a ride. But where did they come from? How can I use one?

I sat down with Gabi Silver, ‘21, to help me answer these questions. Gabi told me that he first saw Spin back in October, when he was visiting D.C. for the weekend. He reached out to Spin personally, asking about potentially bringing a bunch of bikes to campus, and they responded enthusiastically, saying they’d love to bring 25 bikes to Goucher. The following is a piece of my interview with Gabi. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

NL: If I wanted to rent a bike, what steps would I have to go through to do so for my first time?

GS: It couldn’t be more simple, especially from a user’s point of view. It requires an app, so for iPhone users you go onto the App Store, and for Android users you go onto Google Play. You just search for an app called ‘Spin Bike Share.” It’s an orange app with an orange logo, and once you log on, and you use your goucher.edu email, it automatically sets the rate from $1/half hour to $1/hour. You put in a credit card [number], and from there, you just scan any of the QR codes located on the bike itself, and start your ride. It just kinda charges you for that: from the time the bike unlocks to the time you put the lock down.

NL: Are there rules about taking bikes off campus? How does that work?

GS: Since we’re on a campus, the agreement we made with Spin and the Goucher administration is that when you take a bike out you have to bring it back to campus within 24 hours. So that means that you might want to go to the Post Office, Target, or Walmart, [or anywhere off campus], but as long as the bike is back in the region of Towson within 24 hours, which you can see on the map on the app, you should be good. You shouldn’t get an email from us saying “Please bring the bike back.”

NL: But if someone rents the bike after I end my ride and before I can bring it back to campus, then it’s not my problem.

GS: Exactly. Yes. The actual bike relocation happens between me and the local bike repair company, and that’s not your problem if it happens. And if you do get an email saying you didn’t bring it back, just let me know, and I can definitely forward it to the right party.

NL: How long can I rent the bike for?

GS: We have 25 [bikes], as I said, on the Goucher campus, and there’re 100 at Towson..if you keep it for for 24 hours, you will be charged [the $24] for keeping it for that amount of time. So it’s not the kind of system where we want you to claim it as yours. In fact, that’s highly discouraged and against the Spin user agreement. The intention is to make it a system that’s fun and shareable for everyone.

Hope this helps! If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to Gabi at gasil001@mail.goucher.edu. Happy riding! 

Neve Levinson

 

Restore the Night: Events

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Restore the Night. Photo Credit: Sarojini Schutt (’18) and Maggie Ratrie (’18)

Events

Friday: To begin the campaign, a resource fair was held on Friday, which included off-campus organizations with resources for survivors, allies, and information on how to get involved. Friday night’s event was similar to the original Take Back the Night. This event was for survivors and their support systems, and provided a safe space for survivors to speak and share their stories. When entering the event, a question was proposed that people could contribute to, and there was a conversation about Goucher’s Sexual Conduct Survey. A speaker from Know Your IX, a D.C. organization, came to the event to talk about Title IX as well as survivor and activism work.

Saturday: A talkback about the zine, “Hear My Voice”, organized by Jamison Curcio (’19) and Elaine Millas (’20), was held. The talkback discussed how the zine went and the reactions is received on campus.

Sunday: A brunch was held for survivors, and afterwards there was a self care through movement workshop for the survivors, led by Jamison Curcio. This workshop explored movement as a form of healing.

Tuesday: Lydell Hills (’18) held a masculinity workshop, for male identifying people. This workshop aimed to break down the masks of masculinity that people live in, and discussed what to do to combat the status quo. This workshop targeted unhealthy vs. healthy masculinity and encouraged male identifying people to spread and normalize this concept.

Tuesday night, was the event Sex in the Dark: Clap Back at the Clap. This event aimed to spread awareness and knowledge about STI’s, with a goal of de-stigmatizing STI’s.

Wednesday: A Rape Culture 101 event was held and led by Summer Torres, the assistant director of the CREI. The same day, a Healthy Relationship Culture conversation was held, where Goucher’s hook-up culture was discussed. This event created a space for students to voice opinions and vent about the hookup culture at Goucher and why it is the way it is. This event also provided a space for people that don’t call themselves survivors or victims to talk about what they are going through. Later, an LGBTQIA survivor comfort space was provided.

Thursday: On the final day of the campaign, an activism teach in, led by speakers from Know Your IX, was held. This teach in provided ways to be an activist with all this information, and spoke about the different levels of activism. Restore the Night ended with a community open mic, which gave a space for people to share poetry, or any form of artistic expression, regarding what they are going through.

Charm City Stories Releases First Publication

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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