Each semester, the College's chapter of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society of Psychology, inducts new members. The mission of Psi Chi is to encourage, stimulate and maintain excellent scholarship and to advance the science of psychology as a whole. Psychology students here are invited to apply for Psi Chi membership if they have achieved a certain level of academic excellence in psychology and have demonstrated a true commitment to the field.
As a member of our chapter's six-person executive board, I assisted in this fall's Psi Chi induction ceremony. Nine psychology students were accepted. During the ceremony, inductees signed a pledge to symbolize their commitment to both our campus chapter and the national Psi Chi organization. New members then lit a candle and recited the organization's mantra: "Honor is the reward of merit."
Watching the sun filter through the clouds from an elevation of 4,802 feet is not an everyday experience — unless you're part of the Outdoors Club, that is. Last Saturday, we hiked Mount Moosilauke in New Hampshire's White Mountains. It was a tough four miles up to the top — at least my legs certainly thought so — but there were moments when I stopped to think to myself, "This is incredible." The roar of a waterfall kept us company as we climbed, a grassy clearing at the peak made me feel as if I was in an adventure straight out of "The Lord of the Rings," my breath was visible in the brisk air — all of these things made for a refreshing change of pace in my Connecticut College experience.
“Hey, is it alright if we call our professor in here?”
After hearing that odd request in the late hours of the night, I continued working on my homework in one of the Cummings Art Center classrooms, sharing the study space with others. Promptly, three girls began video chatting with their art history professor in preparation for a test. They spent the next hour asking questions and having a conversation with the professor.
I had never met these students, but I found it interesting to overhear their deeply intellectual conversation. It was not surprising that a professor put such effort into helping students better understand the subject.
This summer, as I was interning in New York City at a boutique public relations firm, I ran into a past professor of mine, Sunil Bhatia, in the middle of Manhattan and we ended up grabbing a cup of coffee during my lunch break. He was able to provide helpful advice as I continued my internship. Recently, he wrote a recommendation on my behalf for my study abroad application to Milan.
Professors, it seems, have a way of helping to challange and educate students, regarless of where you might run into them or how you might communicaticate with them.
There are hundreds of resources available to students on this campus, but I want to highlight one often-overlooked gem: the Print Shop. Printing on campus is just as you'd expect on any college campus: Send your document to the cloud and download it on any college printer. There are occasional technical issues, of course, but in general, our system means that most students don't bring printers to campus. Because ink and paper are expensive, the College designates each student an allotment of funds each semester for printing costs.
Imagine, however, that you are working on an event and you need to print 30 13-by-19 heavy card-stock posters. Outside of the College, you might have to head down to the local FedEx office or copy center and get them printed for a hefty price. Here, though, we have the Print Shop, and it's just like having a Kinkos on campus.
You can print almost anything under the sun, right from your College account or your club's fund. As part of the student-run TEDxConnecticutCollege organization, I have huge print jobs to manage nearly each week. Sometimes, I need glossy posters or postcards to stuff mailboxes. Other times, I need large, vinyl banners to hang to advertise our latest event.
Whatever the need, the Print Shop succeeds and the staff is knowledgable and understanding, particularly about the occasional rush jobs students need. As a bonus, the shop is only a few hundred yards from my dorm room.
N20 is nitrous oxide, or laughing gas. Fittingly, it's also the name of a Conn College improv group, one of two we have on campus. Last Friday, the group hosted a "baby shower" performance to welcome their new members ("babies,") John and Julia. The group played a variety of humorous short games and I couldn't stop laughing. It was fun to see my peers and friends perform on stage so effortlessly.
On Oct. 29, Connecticut College students participated in a National Day of Action inspired by the art and activism of Emma Sulkowicz, a student at Columbia University. Sulkowicz has been carrying a 50-pound mattress wherever she goes on campus for her senior art thesis. The New York Times calls Sulkowicz’ project “an artwork of last resort.”
In 2012, Sulkowicz filed a complaint with Columbia after an alleged sexual assault. Her complaint led to a hearing before a panel that found the alleged perpetrator not responsible. This decision was upheld upon appeal. Sulkowicz brought her case to the police but decided not to follow through after the report. She began carrying her mattress around campus to protest the fact that her alledged attacker was allowed to remain enrolled at the university.
In response to Sulkowicz’ project, the coalition “Carrying the Weight Together” was formed by students and activists who are working to support survivors of sexual and domestic violence. It is made up of members from No Red Tape, Carrying the Weight Together at Columbia University, Hollaback! and Rhize.
When students at Connecticut College heard about the National Day of Action to support Sulkowicz, we sprung into action. Sal Bigay '16, the Student Government Association (SGA) chair of residential affairs, brought the idea to our SGA and began planning with the Public Art Task Force subcommittee. Members of SafetyNet, a peer education group within the Think S.A.F.E. (Sexual Assault Free Environment) office were brainstorming ideas on how to bring the movement to our campus. At the same time, the sophomore seminar class “Art of Protest: Occupy ___” was also inspired to bring the movement to campus. In a phenomenally successful collaboration, all three groups came together to organize our College's participation in the day of action. Representatives from each group met, and off we went. “This is how things need to happen at Connecticut College: authentically and passionately,” said Bigay.
Recently, professors, community activists and service members from our neighbors at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy recently met with Conn students to discuss a wide range of topics related to immigration in the United States. After giving a brief description of their role in the issue, the panelists met with students to hear their perspectives on immigration in a more casual environment, fostering dialogue and sharing of ideas. I spoke with Dr. Evan Haglund of the Coast Guard Academy. Working as a consular officer at the American Embassy in Ghana, Dr. Haglund was able to offer a unique perspective on being on the front lines of the immigration process into the United States. It was a great experience to have roundtable discussions with people holding such varied backgrounds and experiences with immigration.
As I was walking to my digital media evening class in Cummings Art Center recently, I heard rustling in the bushes along the sidewalk. As I got closer, I realized it was a skunk. I had to do some off-roading to avoid being sprayed. However, as I made a sharp left, there were two more skunks scampering across my path.
Over the past month or so, there has been an overpopulation of skunks on campus. It's a curious, fun little challange added to our College experience. Students and professors have conspiracy theories as to whether or not there is a hidden world of skunks underneath the College.
Walking to and from class, one may be pleasantly surprised by these friendly black and white critters. Residents of the Jane Addams residence hall have even named two of the skunks — Snowball and Oreo — that reside in the outside bushes. In a strange way, the surplus of skunks has brought our campus even closer together. Undoubtedly, each student at Conn has a story about the time they almost ran into a skunk!
While we may be a school of spirited Camels, we treasure our neighborhood skunks.
Fall Weekend is always a very exciting experience. There are so many faces, both old and new, filling the campus. Friends and family of current students, alumni and even prospective students are among the crowd. In a weekend filled with events, I chose to attend a riveting discussion hosted by the Connecticut College Alumni of Color.
Connecticut College alumnus Andre Lee '93 discussed his recent film "I'm Not Racist…Am I?" and what he hopes the film will achieve. As a current student here at Conn, I took an interest in the discussion for a number of reasons. In high school, I participated in a discussion about diversity that involved discussing, coincidentally, "The Prep School Negro," Lee's other film. As I sat there, enthralled by his perspective of race in the education system, I remembered my education before Conn. It had never dawned on me that I might one day meet him here.
The discussion made me think about moments when race was a factor in my schooling. Did an interaction turn out a specific way because of bias? The discussion with Lee got me thinking. I was one of a handful of students of color at my private high school, a school with many similarities to Conn. I began to analyze the social differences and reflect on how, from these many experiences, I've grown as a person.
What do October and the color purple have in common? Both are associated with domestic violence awareness, education and advocacy. In honor of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I recently went to a domestic violence awareness walk and rally in nearby Groton, Conn. The event was co-sponsored by Safe Futures, the domestic violence center in New London, and was appropriately titled "The Power of Purple."
All of us donned purple shirts and walked a 2.5-mile route in historic Groton. Some passersby applauded us, and a few cars even honked to show their support. During the rally portion, some survivors of domestic violence shared their stories. Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney also spoke about the culture of violence in and beyond the southeastern Connecticut community. The rally ended with a final call to action on what we can do to change the future.
As Catherine Zeiner, the executive director of Safe Futures, said in the final moments of the event, "I see a safe future for southeastern Connecticut." With dedicated advocates, organizations like Safe Futures, and events like this walk and rally, I do, too.