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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.

 

 

 

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

Single City: The Price of Living Alone

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Stimson Dorm in 2009.
Photo Credit: WordPress blog of Billie Weiss, ‘11

Starting in the Fall 2018 term, Residential Life has predicted that there will be around 90 new singles on campus. This would effectively convert every double room in Stimson into a single. While Stimson isn’t known as a glamorous place to live on campus, the prospect of getting to live alone in a double room might outweigh the lack of air conditioning and abundance of mice. With 90 more people potentially being able to live alone on campus next year, anyone looking to get a single should know the cost.
Goucher’s single room rate per semester is $4,081 compared to the double room rate of $3,750 per semester. This is a difference of $642 per year and while that may seem like quite a lot of money to spend on top of the Goucher tuition, compared to other small private liberal arts schools, it’s not horrible. In comparison with three other similarly sized private colleges, Barnard, Allegheny, and St. Olaf, Goucher students pay the second lowest amount to live alone. Out of the four schools, it is the cheapest to live alone if you go to Allegheny College, where students only need to pay an extra $345 per year for a single. On the other end of the spectrum, Barnard College charges students an extra $1,528 per year to live in a single room. St. Olaf College sits with another horrendous rate of charging students $1,000 more to live alone. While no one wants to pay any more than they already are for their education, the extra $642 per year might be worth double the space, depending on who you are.

“Will the addition of more students in singles create a more isolated student body?”
Photo Credit: Goucher Virtual Tour

How will an all singles dorm, or single city, affect the overall student body? Will the addition of more students in singles create a more isolated student body as singles have the tendency to isolate those who live in them? Single city raises other questions about who should be prioritized to get these new singles. Should more senior students be prioritized over students who need singles for health reasons? And even with this addition will there be enough single rooms for all the people who need them? Right now Stimson is not very accessible to those with physical disabilities as only a small portion of it is wheelchair friendly. Will the student body see any effort to make Stimson more accessible or will it remain as is to prioritize the creation of new buildings? There are many things to consider while watching the progress of student housing in the next few years. While this is subject to change, Stimson’s single city looks to be a relatively cheap solution for students who need or want to live alone.

Smoke-Free Campus Committee Student Member Gives Insight into Process

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Map of Designated Smoking Areas Photo Credit: Goucher College

Last year, Goucher’s administration announced that smoking on campus would be banned entirely by the Fall 2018 semester. Now designated smoking areas have been set up to phase in the Smoke-Free Campus Initiative.

The decision to  become a smoke-free campus was made  last November as a reaction to three students with severe asthma being sent to the hospital, as well as complaints from parents of prospective students.

The initiative’s rollout was confusing to some students, who were unsure of the new rules or how the ban was initiated, due to the survey released last semester that gave students the impression that the initiative was simply a possibility, and that they would have a say in this decision.

Below is the transcript of an interview with a student member of the Smoke-Free Initiative Committee, who requested anonymity. This interview will hopefully give Goucher students a window into the decision process and what is to come. The transcript is lightly edited for clarity.

Q: Let’s start with some background on how you got involved with the Smoking Initiative Committee or Group.

Anonymous Student (A): “I was taken to the hospital for a severe asthma attack from secondhand smoke freshman year. Then I was told by Brian Coker that Andrew Wu had put together an initiative to go 100% tobacco free, but he needed student input to do it. So Andrew Wu put together this group. It was already decided by Jose Bowen that ‘yes this is going to happen’.

Q: So Andrew Wu is the one that spearheaded it?

A: Yes. I definitely give him the credit. He put together a group and it was very clear that this was happening.

Q:  So there wasn’t a lot of debate involving students, professors, or staff about whether the initiative was going to happen or not?

A: No. There was no debate about it happening. But the debate is the most humane way to have it happen, and the best way to make it so no student feels left behind.

Q: And what was the concern with the “most humane” way to do it?

AS: The concern is that if we take away all tobacco automatically people are addicted to it. If you’re addicted to something like that you’re going to have severe withdrawal symptoms. So we came up with the idea of what if we limit it to certain spaces on campus. But since the 25 ft rule is very unenforceable, we figured out 7 different spots on campus that are accessible, but not in the way of students who don’t want to be around it. So we sat down with a map of campus and those spots were not only decided based on lower traffic, but to also deter people. Because one of the things we noticed in the group, which I think is a pretty big deal, is that according to the survey, a lot of students start when they come here. And if we want to have a healthy campus we shouldn’t have our socializing focus around sitting in a circle smoking cigarettes.

Q: So the goal was to decrease visibility of smokers?

A: Yes. And to help people figure out a different way to become friends. Sitting in a circle smoking is not the best way to build a friend group. And we want to make it less appealing socially.

Q: I’m aware of the health center’s offering of free smoking cessation materials; are you guys expanding on this at all?

A: Yes, we are compiling a list of free, immediate treatment websites to help professors and students quit.

Q:  One of the issues around this is the issue of banning smoking on a campus where professors and staff smoke; can you elaborate on this?

A: From what I’ve heard a lot of professors have wanted this for a long time.

Q: Ok, were there any roadblocks you guys experienced?

A: One of the hardest things was figuring out where to put  [the smoking areas], and Goucher knows there will be pushback from students. We aren’t trying to get rid of smokers; we’re trying to get rid of the habit. We just want to make sure the students with this addiction are helped.

Q: In your opinion, has this been successful in not making smokers feel excluded or unwanted on campus?

A: I don’t think we received any direct pushback, although it’s pretty clear that students were against it. They aren’t thinking about the health side of it, only the social side, which is hard. Because when you think about the health side of it, yes this is the obvious answer. So yes, there was pushback, but it didn’t stop us from continuing. We tried to make it very clear that this was predetermined. And that’s what students had a hard time understanding. They thought this was up for debate. It wasn’t. It was predetermined, not a choice.

Q: Do you think that the survey distributed last year contributed to students thinking that this was debateable?

A: I do think the survey was a little confusing and made students think “oh this matters,” when the decision was already made. So yes, I do think the survey was not very well-worded. It should have included more “what can we do for you, how can we get you to quit,” however I was not part of making the survey. I think it was an attempt to work with students and get input. But I think the way it was done was counterproductive.

Q: Would students having a firm idea that this was predetermined without their input make them more receptive or accepting of it?

A: I can’t speak for them, but I think my hypothesis would be that they would still be just as upset because they feel like their voice isn’t heard. Our argument is that their voice is being heard, but at the end of the day the administration has to do what is right for the campus. It’s safety first, fun second.

Q: Going back to your point about students who pushback or disagree with it, what do you think the Smoking Initiative Group and Goucher can do to improve the initiative’s appeal to students?

A: I think everyone knows it’s a health issue, but when you’re addicted to something, and you’ve made a social life out of it, you won’t think about how it hurts people. So I think it’s an addiction and they can’t fathom the idea of quitting. But I also think that when you come to Goucher, if you see a group of people sitting smoking and laughing you’re going to want to join in and the way to do that is to start smoking. It’s just a really unhealthy path.

Q: Do you feel that the initiative has been successful so far and having the effect that you wanted?

A: I think for the most part it’s doing well. To me it seems like it works better during the day, but at night it seems that students start to ignore it and I think that they try to be sneakier about it, but we’re working on resolving that with more patrolling public safety officers.

Q: How do you catch smokers?

A: So now we have more officers patrolling, and if you’re a student and see someone smoking, call public safety.

Q: Ok, so next year this will extend to campus becoming fully tobacco free…

A: Yes, tobacco, vaping, e-cigarettes, everything.

Q: Why vaping and e-cigarettes?

A: Well it’s a health hazard, and we can’t give them a loophole. If you give students a loophole they’ll take it. These also have second hand effects.

Q: What do you think will happen once it’s banned? Because obviously you personally want a 100% smoke free campus, but realistically there will always be those who just choose to leave to smoke, or violate the rule. So do you feel that it’ll just become a bigger pain for smokers instead of actually getting them to quit?

A: That was our goal with smoking destinations, as you see they’re not meant to be comfortable, they’re meant to be a hassle. We purposefully made them uncomfortable to make it clear that this was not permanent. These are a way to help you realize that you have to start leaving campus, or you can take the other option and quit.

Q: Do you think that in effect you’re just forcing adults to quit smoking?

A: If it’s an addiction I would argue someone would go to those lengths to do it. I don’t think that people would be logical; if you’re addicted and it feels good in the moment you’ll do it anyways. We aren’t forcing them, but we’re highly encouraging them to quit.

Q: How is this not strong arming students into quitting, if only because of how isolated Goucher’s campus is?

A: That’s fair, but the other colleges that have done this have been successful.

Q: What would your counter be to the argument that this is a further attempt by Goucher to insulate students? Smokers exist in the outside world after all and you can’t isolate yourself entirely from smokers.

A: I think that when it comes to health of the general campus, Goucher needs to take health into account very seriously. Now in the real world I can choose to avoid that. Here it’s really hard, there’s no roundabout I can take. In my neighborhood it’s looked down upon. So I know that when I go home I don’t have to worry about it. I can walk a few blocks and not worry about it.

Q: I’m assuming you’re from a city?

A: I’m from Washington D.C. and a better well off area, so it is looked down upon because everyone there is very well educated.

Q: Do you feel that you achieved your goal?

A: I feel like my goal hasn’t fully be achieved. Because while I would like people to understand the other side of it, like I understand if you’re addicted to it, I think my goal would be to work with the students who feel left behind, because I want them to have a more positive outlook on this. We want to help make you a healthier you, one that can focus on academics and get further in life than having to worry about your health.

Q: Is the amount of criticism stemming from students feeling their freedoms are being taken away?

A: Honestly I don’t understand why people start [smoking] here. I understand if you come here from a place that has put you into that but I don’t understand if you’re here and you’re highly educated why you would do it.

Q: What was the smoking initiative group comprised of in terms of demographics?

A: There were four or five students (all of whom were quitting or had quit) and four smokers who don’t want to quit, but I don’t like using that phrase because I don’t think they necessarily don’t want to quit, they just aren’t ready yet. They’re future non-smokers.

Chick-fil-A Delivers Curbside

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As a fast food chain it’s not surprising that Chick-fil-A is constantly looking for ways to reach new customers by improving speed and convenience. Unfortunately, in Maryland, Chick-fil-A is not on every other block as they are in other regions. The nearest drive-thru locations are in Hunt Valley and Parkville, making getting to Chick-fil-A time consuming or impossible without a car. Luckily for Goucher students who love Chick-fil-A, there is a location in Towson Town Center’s food court that has just announced it is offering curbside delivery and shortening the wait time for your chicken nuggets.

Curbside delivery offers the convenience of a drive-thru a minute’s drive from Goucher’s campus. This means no more fighting for parking at the mall or driving fifteen to twenty minutes for a chicken sandwich.  The delivery system works a bit differently than a drive-thru. Customers are able to place their orders by downloading the Chick-fil-A One app, selecting what they want from the menu, and selecting the curbside delivery option.
“We have always wanted to find a way to reach out to more guests and meet the demand for a drive thru service in Towson. Many times, we hear people choose to not dine with us because of the wait or the hassle of parking at the mall. This new service offers a way to skip the line and wait comfortably in your car while we prepare and deliver your food,” says owner and Maryland native Natalie Martz of the new delivery service.

Luckily for Goucher students who love Chick-fil-A, there is a location in Towson Town Center’s food court that has just announced it is offering curbside delivery and shortening the wait time for your chicken nuggets.

Need catering for a club or other Goucher event? The delivery parking spots can also be used to pick up catering orders if they are placed ahead of time, making last minute event planning a bit easier.
After ordering via the app, just park in one of the two designated parking spots for Chick-fil-A curbside delivery. The curbside delivery includes Chick-fil-A’s full menu, including new features such as mac-and-cheese and brownies.

High Number of Goucher Grads Teach for America

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Rae Walker ‘17 is is currently teaching at Dr. Carter G. Woodson Elementary/Middle School (PK-8th). Photo Credit: TFA Baltimore

This past year, Goucher was among the top colleges and universities to contribute new members to the Teach For America 2017 corps. With six alumni joining, Goucher contributed significantly to a nationwide network. This past year was also the first year that students were able to apply early to the program–during their junior year of college. Two Goucher students did so and were accepted.
Teach for America (TFA) is a national organization that certifies recent graduates and others without teaching certification to work as teachers in low-income communities. Applicants fill out an online application and complete a group interview online or in-person. Once accepted, applicants fill out a form with their location preferences from a list of 53 different regions across the nation. TFA teachers commit to teaching for at least two years as full-time salaried employees of the school in which they are placed.
As an organization, TFA focuses on understanding and combating educational inequity, an angle that tends to appeal to Goucher graduates. For Rae Walker (‘17) this was one of the reasons he decided to apply. “[As a public school student], the quality of your education literally depends on your zipcode,” Walker said in an interview. “In Parkville they have iPads while in Cherry Hill, we’re struggling for paper. And that’s needed for the curriculum, because they [the school] don’t buy textbooks.”
Walker graduated from Goucher as an English major with a concentration in creative writing. He knew he wanted to be a teacher, but he dropped his major in education because he believed that focusing on his content area (English) was more important than learning theory.
Walker is currently teaching special education at Dr. Carter G. Woodson Elementary Middle School (PK-8th) in Cherry Hill, Baltimore. He is also working on his Masters in Education at Johns Hopkins and is on track to receive a doctorate in five years.
Walker was drawn to the field of special education because of its relationship to inequity, and the situation that results from the over-diagnosing of students, particularly poor black students. “For gen-ed teachers, [labelling students with an IEP or Individualized Educational Program] is like code for ‘I don’t want to teach you, so I’m going to put you in another class,’ and this can happen as early as 1st grade,” said Walker. Once students are labeled as in need of special education, the effects of that label are difficult to reverse. For Walker, one of the important aspects of teaching special education is advocating for his students.
Teaching in low-income communities requires teachers to be very committed and invested in their students. Lila Stenson (‘17) appreciates the connections she’s been able to make with her students, “learning about their lives and telling them about mine.” Stenson graduated with a degree in Sociology and Spanish and is currently teaching 7th and 8th grade Spanish in Memphis, Tennessee. “It’s really fun to see [my students] grow and get excited when they can say new things in Spanish,” said Stenson.
Walker has also certainly become invested in his students. The Saturday after this interview, he was planning on taking one of his students to the movies because it was their birthday. “I’m a black male figure [in this student’s life], so we’re going to the movies,” Walker said. “On Friday, we’re going to celebrate with a cake.”
Because his special education classes are self-contained, Walker spends all day with the same nine students, who range from 5th grade to 8th grade. According to Walker, it is actually illegal to have over three grade levels together in the same class, but it often happens in Baltimore public schools because of understaffing. TFA works to combat understaffing in schools, but it is not enough. As Stenson states, TFA “really isn’t a long term solution to ending the problems in education.”

Goucher was among the top colleges and universities to contribute new members to the Teach For America 2017 corps. Photo Credit: Teach for America

Stenson became interested in education in part because of her experience working at a summer camp called Breakthrough Collaborative that works with students from under-resourced urban schools. Stenson’s experiences working in local schools through the Office of Community-Based Learning (CBL) added to this interest.
Walker also mentioned one of CBL’s programs, Middle School Mentoring, when talking about what influenced his decision to stay in Baltimore and teach. Both Stenson and Walker highlighted the way in which Goucher encourages students to engage with equity and social justice.
One thing that TFA corps members seem to have in common is their passion for what they do. “I think it is really cool to have a lot of new energy in the teaching field, as a lot of teachers who have been teaching for a while are burnt out,” Stenson wrote in an email interview.
However, because many of the applicants for TFA are young and inexperienced, they also face extra challenges. Stenson has twenty-seven students, which she said is actually a pretty small number compared to some of her coworkers’ classes. She is fortunate to teach a subject (Spanish) that is not tested at the state level, because it comes with more freedom. On the flip side, however, there is also no pre-prepared curriculum for her to use. “I did not major in education and while TFA does pack a lot into their summer training institute, you are still pretty unprepared for teaching everyday on your own. Classroom management and behavior issues are something that I struggle a lot with,” Stenson wrote.
Eliezer (EC) Cartagena (‘18), who did study education and was one of the juniors who applied early to TFA last year, critiqued this aspect of TFA. “TFA tries to train teachers in the summer, which is literally impossible. A lot of people will be woefully unprepared,” said Cartagena.
Cartagena also critiqued the fact that many people use TFA as “a stepping stone,” and move on to other careers. Cartagena emphasizes that students need consistency. “Two years seems like an injustice,” he said.
While many TFA alums move on to other careers, there are also TFA alums who stay in the world of education. As Walker points out, some of the biggest changemakers in Baltimore public schools, the principals of “turnaround schools,” are TFA alums. Cartagena hopes to stay in the school system for at least four years, while Walker sees himself continuing to teach ten years from now.
One of the incentives for applying to TFA are the benefits that come with the program. In addition to offering the opportunity to become certified to teach, TFA offers a summer training institute, an extensive alumni network, affinity group networks with other TFA members, mentor partnerships, and online location guides. TFA also has partnerships with graduate schools. Regional programs either require or encourage TFA corps members to work towards a Masters in Education. Fellowships and awards are also available to help teachers get a financial boost. For Stenson, who was moving to an entirely new city, she appreciated having the support network that came with TFA. “Memphis is a new home, so it is nice to have other people who are new and trying to explore the city as well,” she said.
TFA tries to draw a diverse group of members, and they advertised that their 2017 corps was more diverse than ever. Cartagena highlighted that TFA considers diversity factors besides race, like gender identity and sexual orientation. Walker also mentioned the diversity of educational backgrounds of corps members: “you’ll meet people from across the gamut, from Harvard, Stanford, from your local community college.”
However, despite their diversity of backgrounds, many teachers will face the same challenges. “Teachers are overworked and undervalued, and you need to be really dedicated, because financially you won’t get much from it,” said Cartagena. “Only apply if you’re really passionate about making change happen in school systems.”
Stenson emphasized the importance of flexibility and adaptability. “Things will not run smoothly, materials will not be available, school schedules and student behavior are always unpredictable,” she said. “A lot of this experience is just trying to roll with things.” Walker seconded this. “If administration emails me tonight and says, ‘we’re teaching in the dark tomorrow,’ then I’ll say, ‘okay, I’ll bring a flashlight,’” he said. Walker suggested that teachers should have a “growth mindset”–not just believing that their students can grow, but that, as teachers, they can, too. “You can’t enter the classroom thinking about what happened yesterday,” he said.
Overall, Goucher’s recent graduates who are members of the TFA corps seem proud of the work they’re doing. “It’s a noble profession,” said Walker.
For the 2018-2019 school year, there are a number of TFA application deadlines approaching, through March 2018. If you are interested in applying, Cartagena, who asked several people to look over his application, advises other students not to be afraid to ask for help. “People think that they have to do things on their own, but that’s not true,” he said.
For assistance with the application, students can also take advantage of on-campus resources like the Career Development Office.

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