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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.

Goucher Students Organize Restore the Night

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Restore the Night is a weeklong campaign of events and workshops that intend to raise awareness, create a sense of solidarity, and ultimately put an end to sexual and gender-based violence. While this campaign’s ideology is derived from the worldwide campaign Take Back the Night, it is not the same. Take Back the Night events have been held on Goucher’s campus in past years. The event consisted of a single-night gathering where survivors’ stories were shared. With only a single night to focus on such an emotionally charged topic, it can often be a very heavy, upsetting and somber night. Sarojini Schutt (’18) and Maggie Ratrie (’18) wanted to do something different, and organized a campaign addressing different aspects of the multifaceted topic of sexual and gender-based violence through different events over the span of a week.

Restore the Night differs from Take Back the Night in regards to the focus on restorative justice – an approach that aims to mend the harm caused by a crime, emphasizing accountability of offenders and healing for victims. With Schutt’s senior Peace Studies capstone project, her focus of study is restorative justice in the survivor community, while Ratrie’s senior thesis holds a focus on restorative justice on the side of the perpetrator. Schutt is hopeful that this method will take hold, saying that, “When I leave Goucher, I want people to understand that restorative justice is just one of many methods that can and will work on this campus.” Another goal of Restore the Night is to create a more inclusive space than that of Take Back The Night.

Concerning the new goal, Schutt said “[At Take Back the Night] there never feels like a space for other stories, of people who don’t identify as survivors, people that know something happened to them but are not really able to call themselves a victim or a survivor. This week-long campaign is giving a space for so many people to jump into the conversation, whether it is just a guy that doesn’t know what his role is, or a nonbinary person that doesn’t feel comfortable labeling themselves as a survivor because the term is so feminine.”

Schutt also hopes to dispel any myths surrounding sexual violence and rape culture, perpetuated through certain language and dialogue, stating, “Take Back the Night doesn’t shatter the myths enough for me, and does not include the multitudes of stories that need to be told.”

The events held over the week-long campaign share an emphasis on community. Ratrie hopes for more of a community effort, rather than one person doing all the work or feeling alone in the matter, stating, “Injustice anywhere in our community affects all of us.”

Photo credit: Sarojini Schutt (’18) and Maggie Ratrie (’18)

Schutt believes it “takes a community to be able to say enough,” and so we must work together in support of each other to put an end to sexual and gender-based violence. Every community member holds responsibility in rape culture, and has a hand in being able to demolish it.” As Schutt aptly described it, Restore the Night is “a place to understand what your role is.” Additionally, Schutt said that Restore the Night is “about raising awareness of power and privilege” among different groups and individuals within a community.

 

Through months of hard work and emotional labor that began in October, Restore the Night has finally become a reality. Sarojini Schutt and Maggie Ratrie are the main organizers of the campaign, but mentioned they could not have done it without the work of Lydell Hills, Kate Erickson, Jamison Curcio and Elaine Millas. This is the first time this campaign was held at Goucher but Schutt proclaims, “This is the first Restore the Night, and hopefully not the last.”

Goucher Ranks High in Percentage of Students with Mental Health Conditions

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Charts comparing percentage of students who screened positive for anxiety at Goucher in comparison to other schools that took the Healthy Minds survey. The red bar is Goucher. Photo Credit: Healthy Minds Network Data Interface

In the 2016-2017 school year, for the first time, Goucher administered a Healthy Minds Study, an annual web-based survey that specifically examines mental health and the use of mental health services on college campuses nationwide. 49% of Goucher survey respondents said that they had a previous diagnosis of a mental disorder, higher than the national average of 36%. Goucher students are also more likely to have anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation than students at other universities and small liberal arts colleges.

In the 2016-2017 school year, 54 institutions completed the survey. Goucher had a student response rate of 30%, which is higher than the national average of 23%. Healthy Minds also receives demographic information on the entire student body, which enables the college to see if the students who responded are demographically similar to those who didn’t respond. This ensures that the data is more likely to be representative of the entire student body, and not only of students who took the survey.

According to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health’s sixth annual survey, anxiety and depression remain the top two mental health conditions experienced by college students across the country. The Healthy Minds Study results show that 37% of Goucher students screened positive for anxiety and 43% for depression. These percentages are high in comparison with national averages of 26% for anxiety and 31% for depression. At Goucher, 14% of students also screened positive for severe anxiety and 20% for major depression. This news may be unsurprising for many students. “I know a lot of people on campus that generally suffer from trauma…depression…anxiety is a huge one for a lot of people,” said Katie Monthie ’19.

The percentage of Goucher students who reported suicidal ideation and non-suicidal self-injury is also higher than the national average. 15% of students reported suicidal ideation, higher than the national average of 11%. Of schools surveyed, Goucher also has one of the highest percentages of students who have self-injured in the past year, with 38% of respondents reporting self-injury, compared to 21% nationally.

These statistics are spurring action by the administration, although, due to a lack of publicity around these initiatives, students may be largely unaware of the steps being taken. “[Administration] should be saying, ‘this is what we’re going to do to address it,’” said Olivia Gallegos-Siegel, ‘18. “I don’t see that happening. Maybe I’m out of the loop…but you would think that, with what has happened on this campus, there would be a more immediate response.”

Administering the Healthy Minds Study is part of a number of steps Goucher is taking to improve mental health services on campuses. In January 2017, Goucher formed a partnership with the JED Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to emotional health and suicide prevention for young adults. When the survey is administered again in 2019-2020, it will demonstrate whether or not there have been changes in the culture of the school and/or benefits from Goucher’s partnership with the JED Foundation.

 

According to Health Minds, Goucher students also rank low on The Flourishing Scale. This scale is used by the Healthy Minds Study to determine the percentage of students who are deemed to be “flourishing.” The scale is based on a summary measure of responses in eight categories, including relationships, optimism, purpose, and self-esteem. According to this scale, 32% of Goucher students met the criteria for “flourishing,” a lower percentage than the national average of 44%.

“My general perception of mental health for myself and my peers at Goucher is that I feel as though people often put their mental health second,” said Jacob Givelber, ‘19. “It’s usually done unintentionally and through no lack of effort on their part…It’s very easy I think to let life get you down and feel like you have nowhere to turn.”

Another section of the survey looks at how mental and emotional difficulties affect students’ academic performance. Of the survey respondents, 30% of students said that they had had 6 or more days in the past four weeks during which mental or emotional difficulties had hurt their academic performance. This is higher than the national average of 18% of students. Additionally, only 15% of Goucher students reported that they had had zero days in the last four weeks during which their academic performance was affected by their mental or emotional health, a significantly lower percentage than the national average of 26%.

Many Goucher students are, however, taking action regarding their mental health, and those that use the counseling services generally have positive things to say. According to internal statistics, in 2016-2017, the Goucher counseling services completed intakes with 354 individuals, which is roughly 25% of the student body. 1,349 individual counseling sessions occurred, and there were 97 crisis walk-in sessions, for an average of three a week while classes were in session. Of the 2017 graduating class, 45% of graduating seniors used counseling services at some point during their enrollment at Goucher.

“I’ve personally had a really good experience with counseling center,” said Monthie. “They technically say that they do have a policy you’re not supposed to go back-to-back semesters but I’ve done it. You just fill out a new form.” Director of Counseling Services Monica Neel confirms that there is no hard limit to the number of sessions that students can have, although the center does operate from a short-term treatment model.

In the Healthy Minds Study, students also reported high satisfaction with the counseling services. 87% of students reported having knowledge of mental health services on campus, 37% thought counseling was “very helpful” for mental health, compared to a national average of 31%. Student satisfaction with hours, scheduling and quality of therapists at the campus counseling center was all in the high 80% range.

The stigma surrounding mental health and mental health services is also relatively low at Goucher. In the Healthy Minds Study, only 38% of students reported perceived stigma, considerably less than the 47% nationally, and only 4% of students reported that they would think less of someone who received mental health treatment, compared with 6% nationally. “[At Goucher,] it’s pretty accepted to take a mental health day,” said Adina Karten, ’18.

The Healthy Minds survey also examines whether students use alternative routes to seek help for their mental and emotional health, such as talking to professors, academic advisors, or other staff. At Goucher, a high percentage (77%) of students reported participating in this kind of informal help-seeking. “I’ve really loved having a professor I can trust. This may not work for everyone, but I have a few professors I know that if something goes down, I can go talk to them,” said Monthie.

This statistic helps the counseling center to justify mental health-related trainings for faculty and non-clinical staff, which they refer to as “gatekeeper training.” Through this process, counselors train faculty and non-clinical staff in understanding warning signs and how to refer students to counseling services. “It’s a bigger bang for the buck,” said Monica Neel, Director of Student Counseling Services. “Whereas I can only work with one student who comes into my office, if I can train faculty…they have much farther reach than I do.”

Of students who had sought help through Goucher academic personnel, 95% of students found them to be “supportive,” or “very supportive,” greater than the national average of 91%.

While the counseling center has internal statistics on the students who use their services, the benefit of the Healthy Minds Study is that it creates a picture of all the students in the college, and not just the ones who are seeking out services. This allows the college to better target their outreach, create more effective programming, and to justify the increase of funding around these areas. “To some degree its important how we compare nationally, and to some degree it doesn’t matter, because we need to just be dealing with what’s happening in our campus community,” said Neel.

To read more about the initiatives emerging from the partnership with the JED Foundation, including the construction of a new, larger space for the Counseling Center, look for an article in the next issue of the Q. Future issues of the Q will also include more on student experiences and mental health resources on campus.

For more information about the JED Foundation, visit: https://www.jedcampus.org/our-approach/

Sustainability Coordinator Position Approved

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In the fall of the 2016-2017 school year, Matt Harmin was hired as the sustainability coordinator. As sustainability coordinator, his main role was to facilitate environmental action on campus, serve as a resource person, and collect data for annual reports. Harmin was paid an annual salary in the low $30,000 range, using funding from the Green Fund fee.

Now that Matt Harmin is no longer at Goucher, the Goucher Environmental Sustainability Advisory Council (GESAC) has been discussing whether or not to retain the position. Part of this discussion includes determining whether or not it is ethical to pay a salary from a fund created through student fees, as it may not be feasible as a long term source of funding. The newly formed student organization of environmental clubs, the Goucher Green Coalition, planned to petition for the position to continue, but before they could send out their petition, the position was approved by the administration and sent to be reviewed by Human Resources.

It remains a question, however, whether or not the coordinator will be paid through the Green Fund. In response to this, Grosso stated, “I think that I speak for a lot of students when I say that I would vastly prefer a Sustainability Coordinator paid via the Green Fund than no coordinator at all,” in an email conversation. She envisions the sustainability coordinator as essential in connecting environmental clubs and spearheading environmental action on campus.

For the year and a half that Matt Harmin was Goucher’s first sustainability coordinator, he chaired GESAC, acquired grant funds to support Energy Dashboard system, and worked with students on Green Fund projects, among other responsibilities. He also organized events like mushroom hunting, and instated a discount for students who brought their own bottle or mug to the dining halls.

Having a staff position entirely dedicated to sustainability also makes Goucher’s commitment to the environment more evident. The petition leverages this, bringing up the fact that Goucher is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and that President Bowen has signed the President’s Climate Consortium, and positing that hiring a sustainability coordinator will help Goucher uphold its commitment to these agreements.

Another reason for hiring a sustainability coordinator is for increased continuity of leadership around environmental issues. However, the salary may be detrimental to this proposed goal. Sophia Hancock, ’18, expressed concern that if a coordinator is paid a salary of around $30,000, they won’t stick around. How long would it be, she wondered, before they found a higher-salary position? If the sustainability coordinator were only in the position for a couple years, they would not be at Goucher longer than most of the student population. While the question of continuity may remain difficult to answer, if the position is renewed, Grosso is considering applying for it after graduation, and she encourages other students to do so as well.

To find out more about the Green Fund, click here.

If you’re interested reading a full job description for the sustainability coordinator, or in finding out more about the Goucher Green Coalition, contact Rachel Grosso at ragro001@mail.goucher.edu.

Environmental Clubs Create Coalition

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On Tuesday March 27th, a group of student leaders met to discuss the future of environmental action on Goucher’s campus. The group, currently named the Goucher Green Coalition (GGC), hopes to enact greater positive change through increased connectivity and communication among environmental clubs on campus. Because some of the clubs involved rely heavily on volunteers, such as Food Recovery Network, one goal of GGC will be to create a network through which clubs can ask for volunteers. The coalition also hopes to organize its own events, such as an Earth Day Campus Clean up on April 18th, and a Call-A-Thon for students to contact their representatives.

Rachel Grosso, ’18, was inspired to organize the coalition after attending the first annual Baltimore Student Environmental Conference, which brought together student leaders of environmental organizations from colleges and universities in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins and Loyola University both have an umbrella group that coordinates collaboration among environmental clubs, and this organizational structure inspired Grosso to start something similar at Goucher. Grosso noted that since Goucher Energy Action Revolution club, or GEAR, dissolved 3 or 4 years ago, Goucher has not had a “strong environmental presence,” which is something she hopes to change. As this is her final semester at Goucher, however, the continuance of GGC will rely on other students.

To form the group, Grosso made a list of people she had spoken with at the conference and looked for related clubs on the club page on Goucher’s website. As she began talking about her plan, more students became interested who were not already involved in a particular environmental group.

In this first meeting, which only lasted a half hour, the GGC discussed their purpose, vision, and concrete goals. Most of the meeting was spent discussing a petition to hire a new sustainability coordinator, but club leaders also made announcements about what they are working on.

Food Recovery Network (FRN) leader Allie Sklarew, ’17, stated that FRN will be hosting a Move Out for Hunger event at the end of the semester. This event encourages students to donate any leftover non-perishable food they have in their dorm rooms to be delivered to food banks, homeless shelters, and/or other organizations fighting hunger.

In a similar vein, Brett Rapkin-Citrenbaum, ’17, announced plans organize the “free store” at the end of the semester. A large project, the end-of-the-semester Free Store involves maintaining an on-campus space where students can bring items that they no longer want or need (clothing, books, electronics, etc.). The items brought to the Free Store can then be taken up by other students, or, if they remain in the “store” at the very end of the semester, be delivered to Goodwill. While there is a Free Store throughout the semester located on the top floor of Mary Fisher between Hooper and Dulaney, the Free Store at the end of the semester is much larger.

Because this Free Store project only operates at the end of the semester, unlike FRN, there is no consistent pool of student volunteers to pull from. For this reason, the Free Store exemplifies exactly the kind of project for which an organization like the Goucher Green Coalition can be helpful.

The Goucher Green Coalition had their second meeting on Monday, April 2nd.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Goucher Green Coalition, contact Rachel Grosso at ragro001@mail.goucher.edu. And if you’d like to volunteer to help with the end-of-the-semester Free Store, contact Brett Rapkin-Citrenbaum, at brrap002@mail.goucher.edu.

Featured Image: The Second Meeting of Goucher Green Coalition. Photo Credit: Rachel Grosso

An Acceleration in the Rising Sea Level

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Photo credit: Doug Garland ‘10

On Monday, February 12th, 2018, a new study titled “Climate-change–driven accelerated sea-level rise detected in the altimeter era” was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It stated that, according to 25 years of satellite data, the rise of the global sea level is accelerating dramatically. Lead author of the study, Steve Nerem, suggests that due to increased glacial melting, the rise in sea level may be two times higher than what was originally projected for year 2100. This means that the sea level would rise another 26 inches within the next 80 years, causing severe problems for the majority of coastal cities.

As the Earth’s atmosphere collects more and more greenhouse gases, the temperature of air and water molecules increase. Due to this gradual increase, warmer water expands, causing “thermal expansion” of the oceans. Author Steve Nerem said that about half of the 2.8 inches of the global mean sea level rise observed in the last 25 years was contributed by thermal expansion. Then, because of the warming of the atmosphere, glaciers on land melt into the oceans, which also raises the sea level.

Since 1992, organizations such as NASA, Centre national d’etudes spatiales (CNES), European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) managed satellite missions Topex/Poseidon, Jason-1, Jason-2 and Jason-3 to capture satellite altimeter measurements of the global sea level. Brian Beckley, principal scientist of NASA Goddard and second author of the study, explained how the altimeter measurements were conducted. He said, “The Topex/Poseidon/Jason altimetry missions have been essentially providing the equivalent of a global network of nearly half a million accurate tide gauges, providing sea surface height information every 10 days for over 25 years.” He then said that with almost 30 years of climate data, ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica can now be observed in the mean global and regional sea level estimates.

Collecting a climate data record over the course of 25 years has a high chance of possessing variability. The main causes for variability in the altimeter data are El Niños, La Niñas, and volcanic activity. In order to account for potential errors, Nerem and his team used tide gauge measurements, which assess the satellite measurements from the ground. Despite the aid these measurements provide, not much else can be determined from them, such as whether or not the melting of ice sheets have truly caused significant changes in the average sea level.

Although the sea level rising is an imminent issue, there are ways in which it can be minimized and possibly controlled. There are natural buffers against the sea, such as mangroves, marshes, coral reefs, and barrier islands that aid in protecting the coasts from the ocean. Many of these buffer zones are being destroyed due to human interaction, but if they could be maintained, they can act as protection for cities around the world. However, that is only a temporary fix. If humanity were to lower the release of carbon-based emissions into Earth’s atmosphere, it would slow the heating of Earth’s particles, allowing the the glacial melting to reduce and the oceans to slow their expansion. By massively lowering the carbon footprint, perhaps the sea level would adjust to a manageable state.

 

Lexi Hengeveld

Mice Infest Dorms

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When Rachel Peters, ‘20, arrived back to her suite in Welsh Hall after winter break, she noticed a strange smell. She didn’t think much of it until she laid down in her bed, turned her head, and saw piles of mouse feces on her pillow. Immediately, she jumped out of bed and began to clean her room. As she started to clean her room, she found mouse poop in her desk drawers, shoes, dresser, pillows, sheets, and blankets. Mice had chewed through a wicker basket and left trails of excrement all along the walls, in the bathroom and shower, and in the closets.

Rachel’s experience isn’t unusual, as every year many students have encounters with mice, in both dorms and other places around campus, such as the athenaeum. Moe de La Viez, ‘19, had encounters with mice both her first and second year while living in Wagner House. However, she chose not to file an FMS report, as she felt snap traps were inhumane. According to FMS, students can request glue traps. However, if a mouse is caught in a glue trap and FMS is called, they throw both the trap and the mouse in the garbage.
According to Danielle Wooden, the facilities work management coordinator, Facilities Management Services will typically receive about three reports a week about mice. Mice on campus is a recurring problem every year, and it affects most residential buildings at one point or another. However, Stimson Hall tends to have the most persistent mouse problem. This is due to a number of factors, including the age of the building and the smell of food from the dining hall.

Facilities Management Services will typically receive about three reports a week about mice. Photo Credit: Google Images

According to Wooden, there are many factors that contribute to mice coming indoors: “It depends on time of year, what the weather is doing at that point, if it’s winter time, what factors are going on inside the room, a lot of those things play a huge role in pests on our campus.”
Charles Mclean, the Director of Environmental Services, advises that students keep their rooms as clean as possible, as mice are attracted to piles of clothes and the smell of food, even food that is individually packaged such as microwave popcorn or microwaveable noodles.
Storing all food products in plastic, sealable bins and cleaning up all crumbs and other food after eating can go a long way in pest prevention.
McLean and Wooden caution that any dorm room on campus can be affected, as mice can fit through extremely small spaces and travel through pipes. Should a mouse be spotted, if it’s during 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. they recommend calling Facilities Management Services at 410-337-6166. Students can also file a report at workorders.goucher.edu or call public safety at any time for assistance. Regional Pest Management, the company that provides all pest management, is on campus twice a week.

First Baltimore Student Environmental Conference

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Students from Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame of Maryland, Loyola University Maryland, and Goucher met at Loyola University for the first annual Baltimore Student Environmental Conference.

On Saturday, February 25, the first annual Baltimore Student Environmental Conference was held at Loyola University. This conference brought together leaders from environmental clubs from Goucher College, Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame of Maryland, and Loyola University Maryland. It was organized by the Loyola Environmental Action Club in order to encourage the colleges to work together and to share the struggles they have experienced around organizing for greater sustainability at each of their schools. Two Goucher clubs were represented at the conference: Eco Team, represented by Katherine Elicker and Beekeeping Club, represented by Virginia Turpin. There were 17 students in total in attendance, with students representing the Notre Dame environmental club, Johns Hopkins’ Students for Environmental Action (SEA), and the Loyola Environmental Action Club (EAC).
Club representatives from other universities discussed their environmental initiatives, such as making composting feasible, banning plastic bottles and bags on campus, and fundraising for local environmental groups. Several student groups are working on starting gardens, similar to Ag Co-op here at Goucher. A club at Johns Hopkins, Refuel our Future, has been working towards the college divesting from fossil fuels for six years. Johns Hopkins’ SEA is also planning a student fashion show centered around sustainability. These clubs also are working to engage with the intersections that exist between environmentalism and other areas, such as feminism.
Inspired by the conference, Goucher students proposed that all the environmental groups on campus come together in order to coordinate their efforts under an umbrella of club leaders, using a model similar to the model used at Johns Hopkins and Loyola.

SOPHIA HANCOCK

Goucher Poll Results Released

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On February 20th and 21st, the Goucher Poll released the highly anticipated results from its latest round of questioning across Maryland. The poll, which is conducted out of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center by Dr. Mileah Kromer, asked Maryland residents for their opinions on a variety of statewide and national issues, from September 12th-17th. The poll surveyed 800 adults from all areas of the state and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.

The Maryland governor’s race, named one of POLITICO’s 10 to watch, is heating up, and many are looking to the Goucher Poll to see where things in the state currently stand. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Governor Larry Hogan still has a very high approval rating in the state, with 61% of residents approving of the job he is doing. While this is a good sign for Hogan supporters, only 47% of respondents indicated that they were leaning toward or definitely voting to re-elect the Governor. On the Democratic side of the race, Rushern Baker leads a crowded field, with 19% of Democratic likely voters saying he would have their vote if the election were held today. 12% of those same voters say that they will be voting for Kevin Kamenetz, while Ben Jealous is slightly behind at 10%. However, it is important to note that 47% of likely Democratic voters are still undecided on their primary vote.

When asked to identify the most important issue facing the state, Marylanders are mostly concerned with economic issues (22%), education (19%), and crime/criminal justice (12%). While noting these issues as most important to them, respondents have an overall favorable view of things in the state—55% say Maryland is headed in the right direction, and 60% hold a mostly positive view of the economy.

Maryland residents may think things are going well in their state, however they do not feel as optimistic about things on the national stage. Only 27% of respondents approve of the job President Trump is doing—down two percent from this time last year—and 11% approve of the job Congress is doing. Even Maryland’s two Senators, Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin are struggling to stay above water, earning approval ratings of 37 and 44%, respectively.

Respondents were also asked their opinions on a range of statewide issues, including opioids, youth football, and women in state government. About half of respondents suggested that they personally know someone who has been addicted to opioids and 82% believe that opioid addiction is a major problem in the state; an almost identical 81% say that it is something requiring medical treatment to address. A recent bill introduced in the Maryland general assembly proposes to ban tackle football for children under the age of 14 and state residents are split on this issue—45 percent of respondents support the bill and 49 percent oppose it. Additionally, 47 percent of the state believes that Maryland would be governed better if more women served in elected office, 47 percent believe it would make no difference, and only 3 percent think the state would be governed worse.

If you would like to view the full results of the poll, all three press releases can be found on Goucher’s website under the Hughes Center subheading.

 

 

 

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