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Life at Goucher - page 2

Frisbee Golf at Goucher

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Map of Goucher’s Disc Golf Course Photo Credit: Professional Disc Golf Association

Do you know where to find Goucher’s Frisbee Golf course on campus? Did you know that Goucher actually has a Frisbee Golf course? Do you know what Frisbee Golf is?
Frisbee golf (officially called disc golf) is a sport that combines the core premise and scoring system of golf with the use of specialized frisbees and frisbee golf baskets as opposed to golf balls and holes in the ground. The goal of disc golf is to throw the frisbee into the frisbee golf basket, called a hole, in as few throws as possible while navigating the terrain of the course. Following the first hole, players throw from the tee box based on score, with the lowest scorer going first, just like golf. Official disc golf courses range from 200 to 400 ft. long and often include many obstacles such as trees, foliage, and elevation changes. However, the most important thing players must consider for every throw in frisbee golf is the wind current. The strength of the breeze (or lack thereof) is pivotal to the destination of each disc thrown, forcing players to adjust their throws accordingly. To start each “hole” in disc golf, players throw their discs off of concrete slabs known as tee boxes that also provide the hole number, the direction of the disc golf basket, and distance to the target disc golf basket from the tee box.
The disc golf baskets have chains that allow them to catch discs thrown at them and are usually painted bright colors to make them more visible to players. In order to complete a hole, discs have to land either in the basket or on the chains. The disc golf frisbees themselves are smaller than conventional frisbees to allow longer and more accurate throws. Discs come in many different shapes to allow for various types of short to long range shots. Putter discs are meant for slow, accurate, and controlled shots at a close range, usually when attempting to score in the disc golf basket. Mid-range discs have slightly sharper edges at the bottom of the disc compared to putter discs and are meant for faster and longer distance shots at the cost of decreased accuracy. Driver discs have the sharpest angles at their bottoms and are meant for the fastest and longest distance throws at the cost of accuracy. Drivers are often used to tee off at the beginning of each hole. However, owning a wide collection of different type discs isn’t essential to the sport, and you can easily play a course only using a single disc per person.

Frisbee golf basket with disks. Photo credit: https://beanmimo.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/bringing-disc-golf-to-ireland/

Goucher’s disc golf course can be found in the woods behind Van Meter Hall, with the tee box for the first hole located by the tennis courts. Disc golf may sound intimidating to newcomers with so many rules and technicalities, but the reality is that if you can toss a frisbee, you’re ready to play. So grab some discs, a couple friends, and play some frisbee golf right here in the woods of Goucher! To see a map of the 9 hole course here at Goucher and get more specifics on the course, check out https://www.dgcoursereview.com/course.php?id=1321&mode=lf.

Freshmen Perspectives: Homesickness

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“As humans, we instinctively crave familiarity, security and some degree of a routine. All of this disappears when you are thrown into college: a completely new, unpredictable and ever-changing situation.” Photo Credit: semionbarbershop.com

As you, a first-year, enter your first spring semester of college after a month-and-a-half long winter break, a familiar wave of discomfort and longing for home may wash over you. This unease and anxiety can be summed up in one word: homesickness. In a paper co-written by Chris Thurber and Edward Walton, published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, homesickness is defined as “distress and functional impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home and attachment objects such as parents.” Even though homesickness stems from being away from home, it isn’t always directly about missing your house or the physical aspects of home. Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Alabama’s School of Public Health explains, ”You’re not literally just missing your house. You’re missing what’s normal, what is routine, the larger sense of social space, because those are the things that help us survive.” When moving to a new environment, one can easily get overwhelmed because quite suddenly, nothing is familiar anymore. As humans, we instinctively crave familiarity, security and some degree of a routine. All of this disappears when you are thrown into college: a completely new, unpredictable and ever-changing situation. Homesickness is more of a spectrum and something that comes in waves. Homesickness is not black and white. Every individual experiences it to a different degree, at different times, and in different ways. The following quotes are from several first-year students at Goucher regarding homesickness during their first semesters of college:
“In the beginning of the first semester there was so much going on I wasn’t really able to focus my energy on missing home, and it was all so surreal I think my brain didn’t really believe that this was my new home. I would say it took until [the] end of September or October for me to get really homesick, and it was pretty bad.” -Emma Needham (’21)
“During the first few days, I was excited rather than homesick. There was a lot to get used to. But then as we progressed into October, I felt really homesick. I began counting the days until I could go back home and I felt isolated from everything I have known. I thought of home everyday and tried to find anything that could connect me back to home.” -Dina Diani (’21)
“About halfway through the beginning of the first semester I got pretty homesick. I was just missing the familiarity and the comfort of home and I was missing a lot of the good food that I ate back home. I miss my family, but I think just like the comfort and easiness of living back at home was getting to me because everything was so new and to some degree difficult and hard for me.” -Ramona Kamb (’21)
“I think I felt especially off because break was so long-I had gotten so comfortable at home back into my old routines and habits that it felt actually kind of sad to come back here. I was excited to see my friends and all but I for sure was missing home last week.” -Emma Needham (’21)
“Because of the first semester acting as kind of a trial for me, this semester is bringing a lot of new excitement with different classes and a more rigorous schedule so I’m not as homesick as before. But I have my moments where I miss the mountains and my family and my boyfriend.” – Tiana Ozolins (’21)
“Things feel much more normal and natural this semester.” -Esther Gordon (’21)
“I mean, the second semester only just started but I know I was homesick more first semester because again everything was so new and I really wasn’t adjusted to this new chapter of my life in college living. Now that I am more comfortable around my peers and that I know people it’s gotten a lot easier and I definitely feel less homesick.” -Ramona Lamb (’21)
Evidently, everyone has had a different experience. Even though current freshmen are now more accustomed to the college lifestyle, having lived it for a whole semester, returning from the long winter break can bring back feelings of homesickness, and this is normal. The goal here is to provide freshmen with different personal accounts from their peers, so they can hopefully to find aspects that may resonate with them, and ultimately know that they are not alone on this journey.

Club Chat – Economic Education Club

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Naked economics by Charles Wheelan. Photo Credit: Google Images

Even at a small school like Goucher, there can be dozens of clubs active at any given time. Every semester, organizations are created and disbanded in the blink of an eye. How is someone supposed to keep track of it all?
I’m here to help! Club Chat is an issue by issue profile of an active club on campus. From long established to newcomers, Club Chat will give you an in-depth glimpse into an organization so you can figure out if it’s the right fit for you.
This week we will look at Economic Education club, formed this semester. I spoke with club President Surbhi (‘19) for more details.

Q: What is your Club’s general purpose?
A: We go to Goucher, and it’s very politically liberal. And there are a lot of things brought up in economic classes that aren’t brought up in the liberal community. It’s little things, like, what is bitcoin? Or talking about the new tax law–what is good about it? What is bad about it? Trade treaties–are they good? Are they bad? What I want to do is start a conversation and have an educated seminar; this is why they [tax laws, trade treaties] might be hated, but they aren’t the worst things in the world. There is a middle ground, and a lot of the things you enjoy are because of these capitalist things that you might not realize.

Q: How does your club work structurally? Do you have meetings? Are you more event based?
A: More of an event based club. I attended a conference with the Foundation for Economic Education while I was interning for the Charles Koch Foundation and it was very good! I did the entrepreneurial track, and we learned so much about how to do your taxes, how to have a passive income…
We learned a lot of these things that I wished was talked about more by Goucher students. I have contacts through this organization for people who can come talk. We’ll sort of do a weekly meeting, where we will have a webinar where someone can talk to us online. We’ll also have actual events, and sometime at the end of the semester we would like to have a debate.

Q: What gave you the idea to start the club?
A: Basically I just wanted to do a few events, like talking about bitcoin. I’ve had bitcoin since it was like ten dollars, I’ve made about two to three thousand dollars on it, and I have a lot of bitcoin left: I paid tuition with what I gained from bitcoin. That’s what I wanted to do. There are options that you might not know about: investment banking, which checking account or banking account is best for you…

Q: Why should people participate in your club out of all the other options out there?
A: For their own development. All of these things that I’ve learned in classes in seminars I thought were very valuable things. Basic financial empowerment, knowing what’s happening with tax laws and economics outside of the college can be so helpful when you’re going out into the job market. These are things that might not necessarily be taught at the college, but they can be helpful when deciding what job to get or how to progress in their jobs.

Q: Anything else people should know?
A: This is not a propaganda club—free market or otherwise. A lot of things we’ll talk about are things like why is Planned Parenthood good economically, or why immigration is good economically. I’m definitely going to have a speaker come in to talk about how amazing immigration is. Those are liberal issues – so it’s not a partisan club like “you love free markets or you don’t show up”. These are things in economics and they aren’t black and white—so let’s explore it. It’s purely educational, there’s no motive to turn people to capitalists or republicans.

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 of club chat.

Possible Rise in First-Year Transfers

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When a high school senior commits to a college or university, they must be absolutely sure that the institution is their dream school, right?
It is as if there is a universal expectation for high school seniors to have this important next step in their education figured out. Most prospective freshmen apply to an institution with no doubt that they will be satisfied with their decision. However, after experiencing their first semester, some may discover that their school does not meet all of their needs. Two scenarios can happen after this stage: either the student solves their problems at their current school, or they decide to transfer to a school more capable of suiting their needs.

How many students within the Class of 2021 are contemplating transferring?

It cannot be accurately determined. For the Fall 2016 cohort, Goucher College maintained a decent first-year student retention rate. According to Goucher’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness, 78% of first-year students from the fall semester returned to Goucher to continue their education, and the remaining 22% did not return (2017 Student Profile). The amount of students who transferred is unknown. However, there are a number of current first-year students who are considering transferring. Two students came forward with their accounts, and both wish to be kept anonymous due to personal reasons.

This specific student has not yet decided whether they are transferring. However, they are in the process of thinking it over. Here is their story:

“Before I came to Goucher, I thought that I had chosen the right school. I thought that I would fit in and have a smooth first semester. From what I have experienced so far, that was not the case. In the beginning of the year, it felt like I was meant to be here. But the longer I stay here, the more I realize that it’s not the school for me. First, I think that I am paying too much money into investments that I believe the school does not need at the moment. Instead of expanding the first-year village so fast, more funding could go towards the educational buildings for academic resources. Also, my social experience hasn’t been so great. Sometimes I feel like an outsider in the Goucher community, and that’s not how you should feel at any school, especially while away from home. And when you feel like you don’t fit in, it takes a toll on your emotions. I have an amazing support system here but sometimes that’s not enough to keep me happy. I would rather have a positive connotation for the school that I’m attending than a negative one. Also, I will admit to having some bad experiences during my first semester which could be altering my opinion of the school as a whole. I will keep that in mind as I determine whether I will transfer or not.”

The next student believes that they will transfer after the Spring 2018 semester. This is their story:
“I loved Goucher during the first month of classes. Faculty, staff, and even my peers were so nice and supportive. But, as the semester dragged on, my opinion of the college began to change. Goucher has a very small community, and as a latino student, I feel that my culture is not represented well enough. The school advertises that they have a high ethnic diversity, yet the majority of the student population is white with a sprinkle of other races mixed within. My cultural identity is very important to me, and I feel detached from my home because of the lack of latino representation within the community. Also, the community does not act as close-knit as Goucher states. There are many cliques throughout the school who only interact with people who are similar to them. It’s as if after the first month, people settled on a certain friend group and did not want to branch out and make new friends. I had a hard time finding a consistent friend group, and because of this, my social anxiety rose. As for academics, my classes do not challenge me. I feel that I am paying way too much for a school that doesn’t challenge my mind. And, Goucher policies seem to change every year whether it be in academics, housing, etc., and this appears to me as being unstable. Despite all of this, I do believe that Goucher possesses many pros, however, I think that I could find the same pros at any other school I were to attend.”

There are two notable patterns between the students’ statements. Both believe that they do not belong in Goucher’s community, and although the school strives to strengthen community building, these individuals do not think that there will be a change in the way students interact toward each other. Both students also think that they are paying too much money for what they are receiving from the college. These appear to be the most relevant claims for the students’ decision to transfer. However, they may have a bias against the school from negative experiences encountered throughout their first semester.
Although these are only two accounts from the freshman class, there could be many more first-years who have similar beliefs. It is vital to discuss these issues in order to discover what can be done to change the campus for the better. Not only for current students, but for future students as well.

Works Cited
2017 Student Profile. (n.d.). Retrieved February 08, 2018, from http://www.goucher.edu/institutional-effectiveness/2017-student-profile

Welcome to the Office of Public Safety!

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Located on the ground floor of Huebeck, is the Office of Public Safety. To many, this is a safe haven and to some, unexplored territory. Established in 2007, Public Safety has worked to keep our campus safe through many programs and services. Now, 10 years later, they have made significant changes to campus, and have more in the works for the future. I sat down with Director David Heffer, to find out more!

“We consider ourselves to be very proactive. We don’t wait for a problem to arise before we try to solve it.” -David Heffer, Director of Public Safety Photo Credit: Usha Kaul

Q: How long have you been director and how many officers make up the squad?

A: I have been the Director of Public Safety since August, 2015 [and]  our force is made up of about 35 officers including full and part timers.

Q: What do you look for in an officer when you are hiring?

A: There are a number of factors that we look for when hiring public safety officers.  Previous experience in public safety and customer service is helpful.  We also look for individuals with positive attitudes who have a real passion for helping people.  The office appreciates a diverse workforce and strives to sustain that diversity.  The job of being a public safety officer is demanding both physically and mentally so we look for individuals who can make good decisions under difficult circumstances.

Q: What are some responsibilities of our officers?

A: We always have an officer at the gatehouse, the communications center, patrolling the residential side and the academic side of the campus.  We also post an officer at the Athenaeum overnight.  We do staff large planned events.

Q: What have been the recent changes to some of the campus resources and what has sparked them?

A: A number of changes have been made around campus including; closing off the pond and the back gate to vehicular traffic; inserting cameras into the blue emergency phones on campus to see the emergency; and the new app 911Shield.

Heffer has been “told that our user adoption rate (for 911Shield) is one of the highest of any type of this product in the country.  Many campuses use this type of product but we utilize a system that mitigates some of the deficiencies we have with GPS location on campus by using Wi-Fi.”

Heffer brought me into his office and explained the app, and allowed me to test it out and see how it rings in the office and how my location can be detected no matter where I am. The hope is to never have to use this app, but, in the case of an emergency, I’ll be prepared.

Some other changes to the campus include face-to-face emergency training with new staff members to ensure their complete understanding and proficiency in emergency situations. Public Safety has also updated their website that lists services and also allows people to easily report concerns anonymously. There is also a new ID policy in place, where all persons are checked at the front gate (pedestrians and vehicles) after 8pm. The athenaeum goes through a full sweep every night at midnight by the officer on duty.

Students and their families have raised the concern that vehicles and pedestrians are not stopped at the gate house. According to Heffer, “We now have staff there 24 hours a day 7 days a week during academic session.  Vehicles are stopped after 8pm every day of the week.”

Q: What are some public safety changes that are coming soon?

A: We hope to increase the number of cameras on campus as well as reconsider some of our traffic control patterns.  We also actively monitor situations occurring on other college campuses as well as around the nation to identify issues that might impact us so that we can develop strategies to prevent and/or mitigate the impacts.

In response to a question about the connection between campus culture and safety, and there is no comment at this time.

“The job of being a public safety officer is demanding both physically and mentally so we look for individuals who can make good decisions under difficult circumstances.” -David Heffer, Director of Public Safety. Photo Credit: Usha Kaul

To close, here are some programs and services offered by Public Safety:

They help run the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). They are the home of the famous Lost and Found. They provide support in emergencies.

Feel uncomfortable walking around campus? Call up Public Safety and they are happy to help out!

Lose that one card again? No worries! They can print you another!

Locked out again? Just call the office and they will be happy to help!

Register your vehicle!

Register your visitor!

Report incidents! They’ll go in the Q’s Public Safety Blotter, which can be found on the following page.

USHA KAUL

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.

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.”

CDO Student Profile: Brett Rapkin-Citrenbaum

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Brett Rapkin-Citrenbaum. Photo Credit: Brett Rapkin-Citrenbaum

STUDENT PROFILE: Brett Rapkin-Citrenbaum

CDO: We’re talking to Brett Rapkin-Citrenbaum, class of 2020. Brett, let’s start out on a serious note. What two animals would be combined to become you?

Brett: Bear Cub and Caterpillar

CDO: And what’s your major?

Brett: Political Science and International Relations

CDO: How did you go about choosing a major?

Brett: I took a bunch of intro classes to test out the waters, then I looked into the requirements of each major and tried to gauge what I’d like to take. I talked extensively to my advisor and some upperclassmen friends and by the end of it all it seemed obvious!

CDO: In what ways have you utilized the CDO team/resources?

Brett: The CDO helped me find a summer job in my town that was relevant to my career path. They also helped me format my resume and taught me some cool resume tricks for the future. (Note from the CDO: We did not pay her to say this!)

CDO: What has been the result, to date, of being proactive in your career development?

Brett:  I had a fun summer job at an environmental education center which is something I’m passionate about. I also feel a lot more confident looking for internships and applying for career focused positions.

CDO: How do you reduce and manage the stress that can come with being a busy college student?

Brett: Make time for fun! Even if it’s just a quick Stimson lunch with some pals or a walk in the woods or a quick game of chess.

CDO: What do you think Goucher students MUST KNOW about…

o    Choosing a major:

Brett: If you are planning on going to a grad school of some kind your major isn’t super relative. Just take classes you’re interested in and see where it leads you!

o    Getting involved on-campus:

Brett: Do it! Whether you’re attending the student government open meetings or common hour happenings, participating in academic events, or joining clubs. Also, make sure you’re taking part in all the student to administration conversations! These happen during Mobile Dean or common hour or even via email or on Van Meter Highway, but keep your eyes peeled!

o    Gaining work experience:

Brett: Goucher has a lot of resources, specifically at the CDO, but also within the academic departments. Ask your advisor for help!

Thanks to Brett for sharing her insight! Have some perspective about majors, careers, resume writing, etc. you would like to share with the Goucher community? Write to us at Career@goucher.edu!

Staying In-Style With Aubin

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Photo Credit: Aubin Niragira

Who: Aubin Niragira, ’20, from Jersey City, NY

Q: What are you wearing today, Aubin?

A: I’m wearing this sweater that’s not thick enough. And then these pants are from my dad, from like the 90s. It’s a little bit big on me but close enough. I actually waited quite some time to be able to wear his clothes. You can tell when clothes are pretty old and I kind of like that, but [my dad] prefers that I wear new clothes.

Q: Do you thrift?

A: Sometimes… it’s not as cheap as what you would think it would be because it’s become a trend, so now it’s more expensive. The other day I went to [a thrift store] in New York called L Train Vintage. I was expecting it to be cheap, but it was extremely expensive, so I got absolutely nothing.

Q: How have you been been dressing for these fluctuating temperatures?

A: I try to start the day off with more layers than I need. I try to stack up on layers and then slowly take them off. But I don’t always do that. Like I didn’t today. I do have this denim jacket that I could honestly wear every single day. It works with most things, and even if it’s hot out it still works. It’s pretty versatile.

Q: What inspires your fashion?

A: I get a lot of inspiration from Instagram. I feel like Instagram is somewhat about showing off, you know? Also just the way people pair things together is something I see on Instagram.

Q: Do you use Instagram to capture your own style?

A: It used to be about just picking up on fashion but now I’m using it to show off my style. It’s kind of stressful, actually, because then I hold myself up to a high standard – but I’m trying to do that less. I follow some random, really upscale brands like Versace. Like I could never buy their stuff, but the silhouette of things and the way that they pair things could apply to regular streetwear.

Q: If you could describe your style in one word, what would it be?

A: I would say, like lately, it would be pretty… simple or minimalistic, ’cause I’ve been wearing a lot of black and white. Which is different to what I used to wear because I used to wear a lot of bright colors. I didn’t notice that I was making the change until recently when I looked in my closet and thought I was just really good at matching, but then realized that I just had black and white clothes.

Q: Tell me about that fur coat that you wore at Gala last year.

A: I got it my Sophomore year of high school. It was actually just a joke at first. I went thrift shopping with my friends and it was around the time that Macklemore’s song came out. Then it ended up being very warm. I actually had kind of a scare ’cause I was smoking a cig and some ash got on it and it’s very flammable, but it ended up being fine. It’s not real fur – I got that question a lot.

The Roots of Change: Students Learn to Mobilize

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About four weeks ago, on Tuesday, September 5th, the Trump administration announced that it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (also known as DACA). The program granted work permits and deferrals from deportation, renewable every two years, for immigrants brought into the US as children or teenagers before mid-2007. The political move to end DACA soon took the internet by storm, with DACA recipients (also known as DREAMers) and proponents pressuring political figures on the left and right to respond to what they deemed to be a discriminatory act. I was browsing through my Facebook feed that Tuesday afternoon when a particular video alerted me to the political unrest: student-led walkouts at Denver high-schools were occurring in real-time in my home state of Colorado. Little did I know that only a few buildings away, other Goucher students were viewing the same video. “I didn’t know much about DACA. It was a Tuesday afternoon and I was sitting with all of my friends at Alice’s and then all of my friends were talking about the walk-out in Denver,” said Sarojini Schutt ‘18, a Peace Studies major. After researching DACA and the Trump administration’s decision, Schutt and her friends were inspired to act.

In response to threats to DACA, students took matters into their own hands, tabling on Van Meter and urging other students to call their representatives. Photo Credit: Usha Kaul

First, her friend Sabrina Nayar ‘18 sent out an informal invitation through the Facebook class pages to meet at Alice’s patio. “It started out with just 7 people but then people walked in,” Schutt said of the meeting. At first, students were calling for a walk-out the following day, but this particular method of mobilization was put into question by a few individuals at the table. Eventually, the group decided to call Robert Ferrell, a Goucher Communications staff member, regarded as a campus mentor and activist, for advice. “Rob brought out the point that if we do walk out now, people are going to associate it with Black Lives Matter (BLM),” Schutt told me. In 2015, in addition to leading a walk-out, Goucher students had led a die-in in front of academic buildings. Goucher had changed the listing of its address from “Baltimore” to “Towson” shortly after the Baltimore uprisings began, an act which many black students on campus saw as an affront to the BLM cause. The die-in made an impression on both administration and students alike. Pro-DACA mobilizers began to realized the importance of historical context when choosing appropriate methods of protest.

Goucher students led a die-in in front of academic buildings in 2015, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Photo Credit: Rob Ferrell

Students gathered together that afternoon realized that they themselves were not DREAMers, and that fighting for the program as allies carried different implications. “It was almost like [by walking-out] we would be appropriating [DREAMers]’ protest,” Schutt said. Important questions such as, “what is the proper way to respond to this event?,” “what is the most effective way of protesting?,” and “what message do we want to send?” had to be discussed. “We talked about intent vs impact, and the implications of our actions–like what [DREAMers] actually need and what that looks like,” Schutt told me. After more than three hours of conversation, Goucher students, cycling in and out of the meeting space, conceptualized a new plan for mobilization. “Our plan was to table and kind of disrupt the flow of Van Meter Highway,” Schutt told me.

Sabrina Nayer, ‘18, encourages her fellow students to take some time to learn about DACA. Photo Credit: Usha Kaul

In the next few days, volunteers tabled in front of the main entrance of the Athenaeum, urging students to call their representatives. The way in which these students had decided to take matters into their own hands impressed me, and it reminded me of similar instances of student-led mobilization on campus. Over the course of my three years at Goucher, I had already witnessed students pushing for new student work policy reform. The semester before my first year, students led protests in response to police brutality against black Americans like Freddie Gray. Goucher has a legacy of students coming together on their own to stand up for what is important to them.

Yet, while I admired the ways my peers had organized the pro-DACA tabling all on their own, I noticed that many students avoid eye contact with the protesters and hastily walk past, which led me to question the success of the movement. Were they achieving the goals that they had set out to achieve? Brett Rapbaum, ‘20, while a pro-DACA student mobilizer herself, noticed some faux-pas in the way the movement attempted to create change. “It was like 10 people at the table at once, and it was a lot of first years who weren’t even aware of what DACA was,” she told me. While fruitful reflection and discussion had set the stage for the movement, it had been carried out by a decentralized group of people. Since no leadership structure existed, there was no system of accountability for misinformation, or consensus on proper tabling methods. “I heard lot of mega-phony type stuff, just like, ‘You can’t spare 2 minutes? Really?’,” Rapbaum said. As a Student Leader for Civic Action, Rapbaum has learned to avoid blaming people for not knowing something that they’ve never been taught. What she saw in some of the pro-DACA tabling was intimidation, not only of busy students who “wanted to be involved but couldn’t be in that moment,” but also of people who could have been informed about DACA and its importance. “It created enemies where they didn’t have to exist,” she explained. While she noted that the tabling did attract and motivate many students to action, she saw the movement’s tactics as effective in the short term but not so much in the long term. “This is an issue that’s going to be present for several months, and it’s dangerous to have something that’s sparked right away and then fizzles out,” she told me. “This is a long haul marathon, not a sprint.”

This is an endemic problem at Goucher. Student mobilization on campus often carries huge shock value and can spark very specific, short-term changes, but when it comes to long-term change, Goucher movements are faced with a variety of problems. About a year ago, students mobilized against a ‘New Student Work Policy’ announced in June – with great success. Yet the reason for its success was precisely predicated on its short-term goal: to revoke a policy that would restrict salaries for many students, particularly those who were international and/or of low-income. Ahmed Ibrahim ‘19 was one of the leaders of the movement. “I was very worried about what was going to happen with me staying on campus and working to meet the amount I needed to get my education. I knew people who worked on-campus and off-campus. This policy is going to screw them over. So what can we do about it?” Just like the pro-DACA mobilizers, Ibrahim met with other students working on campus over the summer who would be affected by the new policy. Some, like James Williams ‘19, had past experience affecting change, and they formed a core group of leaders. Williams helped the group form an incremental plan where their grievances would be expressed in increasingly visible and confrontational ways until the policy was revoked.

The group established some ground rules for their movement, such as complete transparency with students and administration. Most of the developments had occurred over the summer, so many students, particularly the incoming class, were out of the loop. Ibrahim informed students about the new policy by confronting people on Van Meter or in common rooms. Then, he and the rest of the group met with staff such as Karen Sykes and Luz Burgos-López.“[Their] summary was like yeah I hear you, but we can’t do anything about it because it was a joint decision by Goucher admin.” They took the next step. Williams sent out emails to administrators like Brian Coker and even José Bowen. “They responded. They were like, ‘yeah, we should have a discussion about it.’ Then it was a back and forth, like bargaining about it,” Ibrahim said. They pushed harder, directly confronting administrators like Leslie Lewis, LaJerne Cornish, and Emily Pearl during Student Employment Day. Administrators responded by suggesting an appeals process and encouraging student input.

Subsequently, the group used Facebook and tabling on Van Meter to collect signatures from students, staff, and faculty. Around 600 to 700 people signed their petition. The group then told administration that they would be meeting in the Athenaeum to engage in a more involved discussion about the policy with their peers. “I remember there were 7 us and then 35 people who joined,” Ibrahim told me. “We made a list of grievances on a board and took a picture, and we reflected on an appropriate course of action.” Here his story began to echo Schutt’s description of organizing the Pro-DACA movement. What was clearly different about Ibrahim’s account, however, was that an identifiable structure existed throughout the process. He and the rest of the core group leading the movement were able to convince administrators to convene with 10 to 12 students at a town hall meeting. “The agreement was ‘yes, we’re going to repeal the policy, but we’re also going to work with administration on a new policy’,” Ibrahim stated. Over the course of the next semester, student workers were able to create the more equitable work policy that exists today.

To be sure, the pro-DACA movement had its own successes. Schutt, Rapbaum, and a number of other mobilizers were able to identify key resources on campus that helped them inform and empower a large number of Goucher students. For example, they knew to go to CREI (Center for Race, Equity, and Identity), which supplied them with many of the flyers and print-outs that they handed out. They also coordinated with OSE (Office of Student Engagement), which provided additional information on DACA during common hour. Finally, they were able to identify key spaces for organizing and mobilizing more students. “We met in the P-Selz lobby, which is just like a really accessible space. It’s big, and there’s a projector that all students can use. We were able to send out mass emails, and also we were able to post on the Facebook pages about stuff,” Rapbaum told me. Some mobilizers even convinced a professor to bring their class to the DACA information table.

The Emergency Trump Task Force (ETTF), which formed out of the pro-DACA movement, created a Hurricane Relief Fund for victims of the recent hurricanes. Photo Credit: Usha Kaul

Yet, just as quickly as it had appeared, the pro-DACA movement melted away. As was seen with the movement against the New Student Work Policy, students from disparate groups tend to coalesce around certain issues, but not for long. Had the New Student Work Policy movement sought to change an economic policy beyond Goucher’s campus, it would have encountered many of the same problems that the pro-DACA movement faced. Goucher students thus lack the structure necessary to make the long-term changes they seek. Some, like Williams, have taken notice of this missing puzzle piece. “Ideally, we should have gotten more of a campus conversation about [mobilizing], because student activism stuff seems to pop up and go away really quickly,” he told me. The Goucher Leadership Council, a group of nominated student leaders, could have assumed the role of shaping a student network, but as Williams pointed out to me, it became more of an important ‘therapy space’ for leaders who are stretched thin. Having helped found the Radical Student Union (RSU), Williams hopes to achieve radical change on campus, but acknowledges the difficulties in doing so. “Some people start out and really start to spread agency of who’s going to do [the organizing]. But what ends up happening is, there’s so many people that have people in their pockets and nobody really knows who’s in charge, so the movement dissipates,” he explained. RSU members hold different views of what constitutes ‘radical change’, so the group hasn’t been able to agree on an effective system for student mobilization. That being said, the group has been working on building community. “Student mobilization needs to look like something where students come together – and clubs are dying, or if not dying, living in a silent-ish way,” Williams said.

 

Ridwan Ladwal, ‘20, behind the table for the Hurricane Relief Fund, organized by ETTF. Photo Credit: Usha Kaul

One group that has emerged out of Goucher’s past activism may be planting the seeds for the kind of consolidation Williams envisions. The Emergency Trump Task Force (ETTF) formed out of the pro-DACA movement when Usha Kaul ‘17 and seven other students decided that DACA’s revocation was only one of many Trump administration decisions that needed to be confronted. Zahir Mammadzada ‘21, one of the seven, questioned the effectiveness of shock-value protests. “Protests are effective to some point. Pressuring government bodies is more effective because shutting your mind off doesn’t really legally change anything.” Kaul chimed in, “often times I feel like people don’t understand the issue completely when protesting. They often just join the mass.” To Mammadzada and Kaul, ETTF serves as a pre-existing support structure of activists who will help table and inform when mobilized. When Kaul decided to create the Hurricane Relief Fund, she knew where to go. “We’re really pushing the whole ‘education and understanding the issue’ concept. We know that we can’t fix world problems 100%, but in order to move forward we need to educate people about the issues we’re facing,” she told me. Mammadzada added, “You’ve got to start somewhere!” Admittedly, ETTF’s political objectives are unlikely to draw in all of the Goucher student body. However, the group serves as a starting model for pulling the campus together, a process which, if ever completed, would empower students more than ever before.

 

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