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TLS 2013 Trustee Leader Scholar Program

Community Engagement and Social Action

Bard College

All the women in our program gather to eat honey-dipped pastries for the breaking of the Ramadan fast. It’s night and we sit in a circle on the roof looking at the settlements surrounding the village, and the faraway lights of Tel Aviv. We are American, Palestinian, Dutch, Korean, Egyptian, Jordanian, and British. We are distinct from one another in our jilbabs and hijabs, or sweatpants and T-shirts. We play Truth or Dare. It’s reserved at first: “What’s your favorite food?” “What’s your best subject in school?” We start to open up. We get silly; “I dare you to tie your hair in as many pony tails as possible”. Truth or Dare leaves us with laughing cramps and morphs into open dialogue. We speak about marriage, the future, what we want to do, who we want to be. We sit closer together; we laugh louder. There are snorts, squeaks, hugs, and even tears. Nationalities and religions fade away. We develop inside jokes. We become family. The idea of ever being strangers or the Other seems impossible. —Nadine Tadros ’14, Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative


Theme for the Year: Say Yes Unless There Is a Compelling Reason to Say No We say yes to every student who walks through our door. Yes, tell us about yourself. Yes, tell us about your project. Yes, we understand you don’t quite know what you want to do. Yes, sit in the big blue chair all afternoon and think about it. Yes, try things you’ve never done before. Say yes to beginning. Say yes to the hard work of meeting people different than yourself. Say yes when you’re exhausted but a breakthrough is coming. Say yes to others, especially under pressure. Say yes because the excitement of walking the earth with yes coursing in your veins empowers you to solve the hard problems, and the little ones too. Yes fuels the people around you, and creates permission in the face of skepticism. It clears the eyes, steadies the breath, and lifts the paraphernalia of socialized coolness from your hands, freeing them to unravel social and personal knots. Yes is both active (thrusting into the world) and receptive (accepting). Sometimes it’s leaping on the horse. Other times it’s opening the gate and letting others ride out. In either case, yes gets things done. There are compelling reasons to say no. For example, we’ve said no to AIDS education in Somalia (illegal and extraordinarily dangerous), to the Hole Digging Club (lacking purpose and gravity), and to full-color publications of Bard student art (too expensive in relation to the organizational effort required and the number of people affected). Coming to grips with what makes an act compelling is why we study and do research in history, sociology, human rights, psychology, anthropology, political studies, and international relations. It doesn’t take a grand investigation to understand the consequences of leaping from the Golden Gate Bridge. But why a young American woman traveling to the West Bank might refuse to wear a headscarf is tougher to pinpoint. It depends on her mission. Is she there to teach? Play? Invite? Criticize? Model? Join? Assimilate? Rebuff? We counsel our students to say yes when the choice supports the mission, and to say no when the choice derails the mission. Can she articulate the many options available? Does she have the tools for considering the consequences of her choices?


Paul Marienthal at work in the TLS office

That’s what TLS is for. We guide our students in the investigation of personal and cross-cultural values. In a process we call Meaning Making, students evaluate their projects through filters that particularly fascinate them (e.g. power, family relations, laws, education, solid-waste practices, play) and then turn those filters on their own lives and personal histories. Through this process, we discover how and why our work matters to us. We ask students to refine their project missions and to articulate the nuance of right cause. We work with them to investigate the physiology and language of feeling. We teach them to have the hard emotional conversations that must be had when risky work is being done. We experiment with yes and no, fear and expansion. Our policy in TLS is to help every student take his or her worthy idea as far as they can make it go. Taking a risk, being a beginner, looking a little foolish in the early going: these are not things to fear. These are things to celebrate and learn from. Determining worth (I’m sure you caught it in the last paragraph) is the tricky part, which is why saying yes unless there’s a compelling reason to say no isn’t simplistic or routine. What counts as worthy? What challenging arena of human experience warrants our full attention? What cautions need to


be heeded? What rules need to be bent? And what about rules? We do not ascribe to the adage, “rules are made to be broken.” Rules create boundaries, and boundaries can be deeply energizing. Rules are made to be investigated. Discerning what makes a project worthy inevitably raises questions about money, class, race, age, opportunity, aspiration, self-interest versus collective interest. The entire liberal arts experience is called into play when determining the worthiness of an action. No is the younger brother of fear, and fear, like all feelings, is fascinating. But fear is also cousin to embarrassment and shame, the nervous energies of paralysis. We do not want to be stopped by feeling. We recognize that there are things in the world to fear and say no to: angry people with weapons, rabid foxes, religious fanatics, phone marketers, abusive lovers, exploitive schemes of all sorts. But trying something new, striving greatly for a seemingly impossible goal, tweaking arbitrary authority, aspiring to bring life into painful situations, looking foolish in the pursuit of decency, these are the things that deactivate the power of fear. When we dance lightly and act kindly with real understanding, then we leave fear to sit quietly alone in the corner. We know it’s there, we honor it, but we do not invite it to go out with us. We say yes unless there is a compelling reason to say no. Paul Marienthal Director, Trustee Leader Scholar Program

There’s so much I don’t know. I don’t know why the sky is blue, or why I am missing a tooth, or why I like answers so much. I don’t know why people die or where people go. I don’t know why people steal or kill, oppress or fight. I don’t have answers, but I’ve sure got a lot of questions. My experience as a TLS student has left me with more questions than answers. TLS allows me to see, feel, smell, taste, and hear new things—whether it be at the Astor Home for Children in Rhinebeck, New York; in New Orleans, Louisiana; or Mas’ha, West Bank. —Hallie Greenberg ’14, Astor Home for Children Theater Group

Theme for the Year | 5

Trustee Leader Scholar Program The Trustee Leader Scholar Program (TLS) of Bard College supports undergraduate and leadership development in the context of hands-on, student-initiated community engagement projects. What is TLS? The Trustee Leader Scholar Program is the formal civic engagement and leadership development program for undergraduate students at Bard College. TLS supports the liberal arts mission of enlightened citizenship: personal development in the context of community building. Who is in TLS? Every Bard student is eligible to apply to TLS, and TLS students come from every academic discipline on campus. Approximately 40 undergraduates participate in the program at any given time, and most TLS students remain actively involved in the program throughout their college careers.   What do TLS students do? TLS students design and implement social action projects based on their own compelling interests. For example, they run poetry writing programs in local prisons; build biodiesel processors on campus; run summer camps for Palestinian children in the West Bank; provide music lessons for economically challenged teenagers in local middle schools; build houses in hurricaneravaged Nicaragua; act as teachers’ aides in rebuilding New Orleans. TLS students write extensive proposals, budgets, and personal accounts of their activities. They meet one-on-one with program administrators and attend workshops to explore issues in social action, public speaking, and facilitation. TLS students also raise their own funds, and many become proficient letterwriting campaign organizers.   What makes TLS special? Many colleges provide volunteer and community service opportunities. Bard is one of the few that puts substantial resources and trust behind student-led initiatives. Students must initiate the work. The fundamental criterion for accepting a project is that it must contribute positively to the world and challenge the student—organizationally, ethically, politically, and emotionally.


What are some key values in TLS? TLS addresses the issues of paternalism and privilege that are stirred up by the notion of “helping others.” Students are encouraged to read widely about oppression, identify their own motivations and needs, and experiment with ways of organizing that treat other people as partners, not passive recipients. We try hard to strike a balance between inward reflection, societal awareness, and compassionate action. TLS considers this life training. We also say yes a lot. What is the ultimate goal of TLS? TLS strives to put into the world capable, sensitive adults who have the ability to generate, plan, fund, and implement large-scale projects that matter and that influence environments humanely. Many TLS students leave Bard capable of creating their own nonprofit organizations. A number of important College initiatives began as student projects in the TLS program, including the Bard Prison Initiative, Bard Early College in New Orleans, and the award-winning Spanish-language magazine La Voz. How does TLS differ from similar programs? TLS is a leadership development program, not a community service office. TLS students do not earn academic credit for their efforts; for their participation, TLS program members receive stipends and transcript recognition. Separating TLS work from academics allows participating students to design and implement ambitious civic engagement projects spanning multiple years. TLS recognizes that organizing a major project while completing Bard’s rigorous academic requirements is a demanding load, and is not for everyone. It is worth noting, however, that many TLS students have said, “My project was the most important thing I did in college.”   How do you apply to the TLS Program? TLS applications are considered on a rolling, year-round basis. The best way to start the process is to talk with TLS staff members, who are always open to hearing the words, “I have a TLS project.” Students are encouraged to consider TLS from the moment they arrive on campus.   How can you help if you are not a Bard student? Making contacts and building networks are crucial to every project’s success. TLS flourishes because of the enthusiasm of Bard students, faculty, and administrators, as well as community members outside of the academic environment who generously give their time, creative energy, and financial support.

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Current Projects Astor Home for Children Bard Volunteers The Astor Home for Children in Rhinebeck, New York, is a residential school for children who have often experienced emotional and/or physical trauma. Bard students become mentors and positive role models for the children at the Astor Home, volunteering for a semester at a time and leading a range of activities for one to two hours each week. Activities are usually taught one-on-one, and range from knitting, arts and crafts, and cooking to guitar lessons and science projects; the activities depend on the shared interest of the Bard volunteer and Astor student. The goal is to help a child develop a skill or hobby, and ultimately learn that he or she is worth others’ time and energy. Student Leader: Brooke Kipling Astor Home for Children Theater Group The project offers the opportunity for children at the Astor Home to experience the joys of theater. The Astor Home functions as a school and a space of rehabilitation, providing mental health services to children in New York. Once a week, Bard students teach a theater class to a group of children at the home. The classes vary, from improvisation to writing personal monologues. The project serves as an opportunity for children to be part of a safe, fun environment in which they can enjoy being themselves and also learn. This program helps children who are overcoming obstacles in their lives to feel appreciated, listened to, and acknowledged. Student Leader: Serena Accomazzi Bard Biodiesel Cooperative The Bard Biodiesel Cooperative makes environmentally friendly fuel from community waste. The co-op works with Chartwells (our dining hall operator) and local restaurants to acquire waste vegetable oil. The oil is made into biodiesel in our on-campus processor and can be used in place of petrodiesel in vehicles, home furnaces, and farm equipment. Biodiesel is virtually carbon neutral and emits fewer particulate emissions than petrodiesel. Members of the cooperative not only receive a share of the fuel, but also a hands-on education in biodiesel processing. The fuel is also sold at chemical cost to members of the Bard community. The co-op makes alternative energy a reality. Student Leader: Yangstsho Gyaltshen

Theater class at the Astor Home for Children in Rhinebeck, New York

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Bard College Community Garden Since 1997, the Community Garden has been a haven for agricultural enthusiasts from Bard and beyond. During the growing season, people from the College and surrounding communities meet in the garden for potluck suppers and work parties, helping to maintain the garden’s abundant fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The garden is a favorite year-round gathering spot for students: a place for conversation, campfires, and drumming. Over the last few years we rebuilt the benches and constructed a hay shed. Next we’re going to attempt an outdoor brick oven. There is always work to do and everyone is encouraged to participate in every aspect of the garden. Contact: Paul Marienthal

We raised $25,000 in three weeks for an urban-model, organic farm. If you told me a year ago that I would help spearhead the campaign that resulted in the magnificent acre of fertile agriculture we have on campus today, I might have laughed. The story of the Bard College Farm is a tale of collective student action and devotion to a sustainable future, and I hope it will inspire Bardians for years to come to pursue their dreams and overcome the challenges that face them. —Carter Vanderbilt ’15, Bard Food Initiative

Bard Food Initiative Our goal of developing local food culture through outreach programs and schoolwide food service reform is not only our priority as consumers but also is our duty as responsible citizens. The Bard Food Initiative will lay the foundation for an institutionalized local and organic food service infrastructure that will work with the Hudson Valley’s vast farming community to raise the bar for what it means to eat in a new, sustainable society. We, the students of Bard College, choose to embrace a piece of the worldwide community-based agriculture movement and commit to building our awareness of the impact our methods of food production have on our health, our society, and our future. Student Leader: Carter Vanderbilt


Bard Leprosy Relief Project The Bard Leprosy Relief Project is dedicated to the global efforts of eradicating the ancient yet curable disease of leprosy. We participate by supporting an ecovillage in Kathmandu, Nepal, where people suffering from leprosy seek refuge and medical attention. This ecovillage, the Kevin Rohan Memorial Eco-Foundation (KRMEF), serves not only as a place for lepers to recover but also supports a vibrant community of conscientious thinkers and activists. Buildings have low environmental impact. Solar cookers are used to prepare meals, organic gardens take the place of empty government lots, Waldorf-trained teachers fill the run-down schools, jewelry from soap nuts and other handicrafts are carefully made by people with leprosy, and a clinic provides free biomedical and alternative treatments for the whole community. Members of our group have been to Nepal to work at the KRMEF. We have helped to build an orphanage with eco-architecture methods (using glass bottles and a mix of mud and clay); we have also established a village library. A main focus was collecting books from institutions in Kathmandu, finishing the ecobuilding, and making the furniture for the library by working with a local carpenter. The Bard Leprosy Relief Project primarily operates from afar. Students sell handicrafts made by lepers from the ecovillage on campus to raise funds as well as educate fellow students about leprosy and its implications in Nepal. Education events held by the Bard Leprosy Relief Project awaken Bard members to the reality that leprosy still exists in the world, and that creative ways to eradicate it also exist. Student Leader: Vitor Carvalho Bard Math Circle The Bard Math Circle is a mathematics enrichment program for upper elementary and middle school students, families, and teachers. We invite students and teachers to the Bard campus and travel to local libraries and schools in order to facilitate a partnership between the college and the surrounding community. Activities such as games, puzzles, and problem sets are presented to participants in an enthusiastic and encouraging manner, allowing students, educators, and volunteers to explore mathematics outside of the typical school curriculum. Both creative, hands-on approaches and teamwork are highly encouraged, introducing a stimulating community aspect to a subject often thought to be dull and isolating. The Bard Math Circle bridges the gap between academic and recreational mathematics; critical thinking skills learned with us are applicable both at school and in general. Learn more at: Student Leader: Jeffrey Pereira

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Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative The Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative (BPYI) is founded upon the belief that constructive civil engagement, cultural exchange, and education are fundamental means to changing the situation on the ground in the Palestinian territories. Every year, 20 Bard College students travel to Mas’ha, a small village in the West Bank where, in partnership with the local community, we run children’s summer camps and community engagement projects, teach English classes, and join in cultural discourse. The BPYI is additionally working to establish a relationship between Red Hook, the town where Bard is located, and Mas’ha that is grounded in a dialogue of artistic expression between the youth of both towns. Student Leaders: Lauren Blaxter, Ameer Shalabi, and Nadine Tadros Bard Prison Initiative Volunteers The Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) creates the opportunity for incarcerated men and women to earn a Bard College degree while serving their sentences. Current Bard undergraduates support BPI by assisting professors, tutoring inmates on GED test preparation, and leading precollege programs. Undergraduate volunteers also offer a creative writing workshop at Beacon Women’s Correctional Facility. The creative writing workshop explores the art of poetry, memoir, and fiction writing by critically examining selected texts and working on personal writing projects. An anthology of the participants’ final written work is published at the end of each year. BPI and undergraduate volunteers collaborate to sponsor speakers, workshops, and conferences in order to spread campus awareness of the issues of mass incarceration in the United States. Student Leader: Marissa Unger Bard Science Outreach Bard Science Outreach (BSO) is a student-run project that aims to promote science education among middle school and high school students in the Hudson Valley region. Every year we invite students from Linden Avenue Middle School in Red Hook, New York, to our campus to perform scientific experiments; we also mentor them with independent science projects. BSO continues to be involved in developing community projects, which will be part of the Citizen Science program. We cooperate with other TLS projects, such as the Bard Math Circle, and are always looking for ways to collaborate with other groups and events in the community. We welcome involvement from both science majors and people who are simply interested in science. Student Leader: Leila Duman


Building Up Hudson Students in Building Up Hudson tutor and mentor high school students in Hudson, New York. We lead workshops catering to career development, college preparation, and college admissions; personal skill building; and positive personal expression. We also raise funds for Building Up Hudson Scholarships for eligible high school seniors who could not otherwise afford college. The Building Up Hudson staff, consisting of the College mentor team, publicity squad, and fund-raising committee, is a team dedicated to the personal and academic growth of the young scholars we work with. We hope to instill values that will foster confidence for impacting the world. Student Leaders: Brandon LaBord, Karimah Shabazz, Durante Barringer, and Jonathon White

Bard Science Outreach hosts local high school students at the Bard labs

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Colón Music Festival The Colón Music Festival, in the small city of San Juan de Colón in the Venezuelan mountains, brings music to people who do not easily access live classical performance. Seventeen students from The Bard College Conservatory of Music and Longy School of Music of Bard College traveled to Venezuela for two weeks in August 2012, to teach music lessons and master classes and give concerts for the community. Bard students participated in the creation of the Colón Music Festival Orchestra, with 100 young student musicians from states across Venezuela. The first Colón Music Festival reached 300 young people and large enthusiastic audiences; performances with the Venezuelan students were broadcast in Táchira state. The governor of Táchira publicly honored the Bard students as distinguished visitors for their extraordinary service in Venezuela. Student Leader: Leonardo Pineda Community Expressive Arts Project The Community Expressive Arts Project (CEAP) focuses on community art making and the process of finding a personal, creative, and empowering voice of expression through visual arts, movement, theater, music, poetry, and play. CEAP members may find themselves building forts or painting murals with children; they may also find themselves sitting with adult community members who struggle with personal challenges, or creating songs with teenagers as they explore the emotional content of their lives. The project involves Expressive Arts training led by professional practitioners to equip Bard students with the knowledge to design and implement their own workshops with community members. CEAP works locally at the Astor Home for Children in Rhinebeck, New York, a residential school for emotionally at-risk children; the Center for Spectrum Services in Kingston, New York, a school for children with autism; Red Hook Residential Center, in Upper Red Hook, New York, a minimum-security juvenile detention center for boys ages 12–18; and Ferncliff Nursing Home for the elderly in Rhinebeck. CEAP members have also traveled to work with children in Colombia, Ghana, India, Myanmar (Burma), New Orleans, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Student Leaders: Sarah Lettiere and Adrienne Vitullo Conversations on Class The project explores class and the social roles created by class by generating dialogue among Bard students. We discuss the way class operates on campus and within the community. We combine talk with acts of civic engagement that include working at a local soup kitchen and arranging “Midnight Runs”


where we help organize churches, schools, and other groups to gather supplies (food, toiletries, and the like) and transport the items to New York City, where they are distributed to those in need. Midnight Run’s mission statement says it doesn’t propose a solution to homelessness, but aims to “forge a bond between the housed and the homeless.” And finally—because mass incarceration has become a nexus for the manifestation of class conflict in the United States—we hope to assist prisoners with recording CDs and DVDs of bedtime stories for their children. The goal is for students to think thoughtfully and critically about class in an open and engaged way by approaching the matter from various modes of involvement. Student Leader: Corinna Cape Germantown Tutoring Program College students work closely with teachers in third-, fifth-, and sixth-grade classrooms at the Germantown Central School District. Tutoring in a variety of subjects with diverse teachers allows Bard students to engage in classrooms of all shapes and sizes. The Bard Germantown project is ideal for students interested in teaching because it allows students to observe and engage in elementary school classrooms on a weekly basis. For the Germantown students, our project presents an opportunity to build relationships with college students who can inspire them to be interested in higher education and learning. Germantown, New York, is an area with an incredible amount of need. The high drop-out rate at the school motivates Bard students to lend a hand to the local community. The impassioned and hardworking teachers also continually motivate us to give our time to the amazing Germantown kids. Student Leader: Caitlin Simon Global Cultural Outreach Global Cultural Outreach is a project designed to bring members of the local community of Red Hook, New York, together with Bard College students, especially international students. We hope to improve mutual understanding about global cultures by hosting a yearly Bard–Red Hook International Cultural Festival. The first event took place in the spring of 2011 and approximately 150 community members took part. In addition to the yearly festival, project members facilitate monthly cultural exchange activities in the Red Hook School District. Through continued contact with the Red Hook School District, Library, Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor’s Office, the project’s mission of raising cultural awareness and building lasting relationships powered by effective communication is being realized. Student Leader: Wenjie (Rena) Chen

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Hudson Basketball Clinic The Hudson Basketball Clinic brings together members of the Bard College men’s and women’s basketball teams and children at the Hudson Middle School Afterschool Program in Hudson, New York. The volunteers help with homework, provide tutoring, and run a weekly basketball clinic. The clinic is both fun and instructional, with basic concepts that are meant to carry over into the classroom. Many of the attributes a successful athlete needs—discipline and hard work—are also necessary for success in most areas of life. The hope is that by stressing these qualities in both athletic and educational settings, the Hudson students begin to control their everyday lives and consider higher education. By showing the kids options and bringing them to Bard as often as possible, the program broadens the horizon for young people who are often left out of educational opportunity. Student Leader: Patrick Lichtenstein La Voz La Voz is a Spanish-language magazine, distributed monthly throughout New York’s Dutchess, Ulster, Orange, and Columbia counties, which elevates the discourse and news coverage available to the Spanish-speaking population of the Hudson Valley. This project involves continual dialogue with the communities served by the magazine. La Voz is a critical source of information on immigration law, available health services, legal rights and resources, educational opportunities, and local events relevant to the more than 106,000 Hispanic/Latino area residents (almost 80,000 of whom prefer to speak Spanish at home). Bard students work directly with editor Mariel Fiori ’05 on all aspects of the magazine’s production, from illustration and reporting to community outreach and distribution (5,000 copies to almost 400 stops in about 20 towns every month). Fiori began the magazine with Emily Schmall ’05 as a TLS project while an undergraduate at Bard. After graduation, Fiori was hired by the College to publish La Voz on a permanent basis. In 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 the magazine received the Ippie Award for best overall design from the New York Community Media Alliance (formerly the Independent Press Association of New York). In 2008, La Voz was recognized by A.H.O.R.A. (Association for Hispanics to Obtain Resources & Assistance), a Poughkeepsie-based organization focused on aiding Hispanic residents. In 2010, La Voz was awarded a Special Citation from the Dutchess County Executive’s Arts Awards. Student Leaders: Katherine del Salto Calderon and Lara Merling Administrative Contact: Mariel Fiori


The Maple Lane Community Center Project The Maple Lane Community Center Project provides free after-school resources to students living in the Maple Lane Mobile Home Park in Germantown, eight miles north of Bard. Maple Lane is isolated, in the farthest corner of Germantown and Red Hook’s rural school districts. These students are under-resourced, and have little to no structured time after school. Research done through the Red Hook public schools indicated that these students consistently perform at lower levels, and are more likely to drop out than their peers. The Community Center will bring a combination of homework help, mentoring, and creative education to these students. Beyond providing them with free tutoring and structured time, we hope to help these children find a passion for learning. Student Leader: Jesse Weiss New Old Gym Project The Old Gym is Bard’s only multipurpose, student-run arts space. While Bard fully supports the arts, it can be hard for students of the performing and visual arts (majors and others) to find space for experimenting and taking risks. The Old Gym, which has the technical capabilities of a black-box theater, is open to any student who wants to explore performance or alternative installation projects. The space is run by a committee of students from every artistic discipline—theater, dance, studio arts, photography, and music. Student Leaders: Kira Kartzmer, Emma Horwitz, and Meg Gilbert New Orleans Project Since 2005, the New Orleans Project has strived to empower New Orleanians working to rebuild their city as a more just, equitable, and sustainable place. An entirely student-run program, the Bard New Orleans Project’s members have traveled to New Orleans each year since Hurricane Katrina. More than 500 Bard students have worked to meet the needs of local communities through close partnerships with organizations such as the Broadmoor Improvement Association, McDonogh 35 High School, Andrew H. Wilson Charter School, and Bard Early College in New Orleans. Students have gutted buildings and provided summer remediation programs for high school students striving to make up for class time lost to the storm; have biannually surveyed existing property damage in the Broadmoor neighborhood and created geographic information system (GIS) maps of spatial concentrations of specific needs; have provided tutoring and facilitated arts workshops for children in elementary and middle schools; have worked at Andrew H. Wilson school as teachers’ aides and have begun a year-long Bard student–to–Wilson

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Young people using the new library funded and built by students in the Nicaragua Education Initiative


student dialogue that promotes literacy and cultural exchange. In addition, upwards of 30 Bard graduates have moved to New Orleans after their senior year to continue the work they encountered through this project. Student Leaders: Max Gavrich and Ginny Hanusik Nicaragua Education Initiative The Nicaragua Education Initiative focuses on specific educational projects that empower youth and community members in the town of Chacraseca, a rural community in western Nicaragua. For the past 10 years, Bard students have been going to Chacraseca for three weeks in January and living with members of the community. Throughout our relationship with Chacraseca, this project has gone from hurricane relief to focusing on ways to create a form of sustainable education. We tutor community members ranging from 5 to 21 years old in English and organize art projects as a means of creative expression. We strive to maintain a presence within the community even when we are back at Bard, through continuous fund-raising for scholarships and supporting an English teacher in Chacraseca on the weekends. Our project endeavors to provide community members with the opportunity to achieve an education and gives Bard students a unique perspective on both the similarities and differences of a new culture. Student Leaders: Tara Canney and Kay Schaffer Red Hook English as a Second Language (ESL) Center The Red Hook ESL Center brings English-speaking and immigrant community members together in Red Hook, New York, through free drop-in English classes. Organized and staffed by Bard students and community volunteers, the center serves a diverse and emerging population in the Hudson Valley. The project seeks to create a comfortable learning environment for community members who might feel isolated by limited English proficiency. By providing them with language skills, we support their efforts to participate in both the local community and the larger American society with greater confidence and knowledge. At the same time, the center creates a space in which students and tutors build relationships with members of their community whom they otherwise might not meet. The project also serves children of these community members as volunteers assist with the development of English and other skills that the children must learn in school. The volunteers are another resource, along with teachers and parents, trying to help these children achieve as much as they can.  Student Leaders: Jordan Cooper and Abigail Lutsky

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Red Hook High School Model United Nations This project partners Bard College students with Red Hook High School students to create a competitive high school Model United Nations (MUN) program. High school students meet on a weekly basis to learn how to write foreign policy position papers, research and discuss international current affairs, and become successful public speakers. The students attend MUN conferences and compete against hundreds of schools drafting resolutions to solve the world’s most pressing international crises. The Red Hook Board of Education, principal, and students support this project as it will increase knowledge of the international community and develop academic and social skills, which can be applied to future endeavors. Student Leader: Connor Gadek Red Hook Residential Tutoring Program A group of Bard students holds weekly, one-on-one tutoring sessions with first-time youth offenders incarcerated at the Red Hook Residential Center in Upper Red Hook, New York. The subject areas include reading, writing, math, and GED prep. We tailor specific material to fit students’ individual needs and to align with the class curricula. Through this project, we hope to offer the students at Red Hook Residential the opportunity to meet or exceed their grade level, to enhance their understanding of fundamental academic material, and to foster in them an appreciation for continued education. Student Leader: Katrina Ross Sister Cities Project The Sister Cities Project works to strengthen the bonds between Red Hook, New York, and her sister towns: Kfar Tavor, Israel, and Mas’ha, West Bank. By working with local schools in these towns, the program will connect Israeli and Palestinian youth to the youth of Red Hook. The Bard College students will work with the Red Hook Town Sister Cities Committee to cultivate these relationships. This past September, Mayor Nedal Amer of Mas’ha visited Bard and Red Hook and participated in several events. Student Leader: Dan Gettinger Surrealist Training Circus The Surrealist Training Circus is a workforce for creative disruption of the public spaces in a private institution. Members believe that academic and rational training falls short in preparing students for the absurdities of today’s world; in response they pursue public theater and circus arts, and favor postapocalyptic lifestyles as modes of training for our futures. Through the presentation of the chaotic, emotional, sometimes frightening, sarcastic,


Students in the Young Naturalist Initiative explore Mohonk Preserve.

and bizarre, the Circus suggests that the irrational is a goal to strive for. The Surrealist Training Circus welcomes the participation of all students, and sees spectators as ensemble members. The group’s semester culminates in a grand spectacle that has become a school tradition not to be missed. Student Leader: Kye Ehrlich The Upbeats: Bard Music Mentoring Program The Upbeats is dedicated to bringing the joy of music making to children from local communities. Bard music mentors have a passion for music and, more important, for sharing the gift of playing music with others. Lessons are provided to children for whom private instruction would otherwise cause their families financial strain. Children are given individual lessons and the opportunity to participate in music theory workshops. The semester culminates in a small recital put on by the children. Student Leader: Samantha Burke Young Naturalist Initiative The Young Naturalist Initiative is an environmental education program designed to teach the science of ecology through outdoor exploration. At the heart of the program is the desire to explore natural history with children

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from surrounding urban communities in a way that fosters respect and stewardship for their environment. The young naturalists will learn new ways of seeing and thinking about their environment through unique partnerships with environmental educators and centers. Skilled and passionate nature instructors from the Bard student community guide children in a wide variety of practical skills. Our areas of expertise include flora and fauna identification, herpetology, ornithology, entomology, wilderness survival skills such as using a map and compass, building a fire, Leave No Trace, Native American lore, edible and medicinal plant lore, ecologically oriented games and activities, and arts and crafts. Student Leader: Jackson Rollings Young Rhinebeck Youth Programs: Life, Learning, and Language Young Rhinebeck’s Life, Learning, and Language program provides a local support network for immigrant children and their families. Rhinebeck, New York, is home to a large population of ESL (English as a Second Language) speakers, whose academic and social needs are not always met by the school district alone. Young Rhinebeck strives to meet this need. Tutors from Bard work individually with elementary-school students to act as homework support, mentors, and models of higher academic goals. The program provides local family advocates and translation services to help maintain steady contact between the families and the school district. As advocates, mentors, and tutors, we are in constant contact with the Hispanic community in the Hudson Valley, and seek to raise social awareness of immigration and education issues. Student Leader: Rory Hamovit

Join a TLS project Every project needs volunteers. A TLS student initiated and facilitates each of these projects, but the success of the work always depends on widespread participation. Please get involved. Contact the student leader listed in this booklet. Have your own idea for a project? Meet with us to discuss how to make your project come to life— even if your idea is still in formation. We are always available. Paul Marienthal, Director Susanna Armbruster, Assistant Director Room 213, Campus Center 845-758-7056


Selected Project Archive Activists Worldwide AIDS/HIV and Reproductive Education (AWARE): Russia Bard Health Initiative (BHI) Bard Permaculture Initiative Bard Space Program Bard–Sri Lanka Project Bhopal Memory Project Chiapas Solidarity Project Children’s Gardening Program Children’s Rights Are Human Rights, Amnesty International Conference Coalition for Peru Relief Conversations on Education Ghana Project Great River Sweep Habitat for Humanity at Bard International Tuberculosis Relief Project Kosher/Halal Kitchen and Multipurpose Prayer Space Linden Avenue Middle School Drama Project Media Analysis Project (MAP) Mexico Solidarity Network Delegation Migrant Labor Project “One Year Later” (academic conference on the anti–Iraq War outpouring in 2003) Rhinebeck Connections Homework Help Program Senior Citizen Writing Project SSTOP (Students Stopping Trafficking of Persons) Student Labor Dialogue Thailand Project Trans-Action Initiative Understanding Arabs and Muslims Visible and Invisible Disabilities Awareness Project

For the entire project archive, visit the TLS website:

Archived Projects | 23

We Need Your Support! Volunteer Volunteers are the backbone of TLS projects: whether you are a Bard student or a community member, we need your help. Join the Astor Home project in Rhinebeck, build homes in Nicaragua, teach outdoor education to middle schoolers from Red Hook, offer arts workshops in New Orleans . . . Contribute Funds Leadership includes fund-raising. Many TLS projects require thousands of dollars. The TLS office can only provide seed money, so many projects rely on the generous financial support of people who want to make a difference in the world. With your support, TLS students have built schools in Africa and houses in Nicaragua; run summer camps in the West Bank; taught violin to economically challenged children in Kingston, New York; and recorded the indigenous music of the Sudan. These are projects that link people of all ages and needs with valuable assistance. Your willingness to support our work is crucial. Making a charitable contribution to Bard College, the Trustee Leader Scholar Program, or a specific TLS project is easy. Many of our projects also benefit from donations of goods and professional services, such as books and bikes for raffles, printing services, and well-maintained cars. Making a Gift by Check Checks can be made payable to Bard College. Please note TLS and a project name on your check if you would like your donation to go toward a particular project. Checks and other correspondence should be sent to: Trustee Leader Scholar Program Bard College PO Box 5000 Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000 Making a Gift by Credit Card Bard College accepts American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa. To make a contribution over the telephone, please contact the Office of Development and Alumni/ae Affairs at 845-758-7315 or 1-800-BARDCOL.


Nedal Amer (center), mayor of Mas’ha in the Palestinian territories, rides in the lead car of Red Hook’s Hardscrabble Day parade, organized by the Sister Cities project.

Join a TLS project Every project needs volunteers. A TLS student initiated and facilitates each of these projects, but the success of the work always depends on widespread participation. Please get involved. Contact the student leader listed in this booklet. Have your own idea for a project? Meet with us to discuss how to make your project come to life—even if your idea is still in formation. We are always available. Paul Marienthal, Director Susanna Armbruster, Assistant Director Room 213, Campus Center 845-758-7056 © 2013 Bard College. All rights reserved. All photographs by TLS students.

Trustee Leader Scholar Program | 25

About Bard Founded in 1860, Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, is an independent, nonsectarian, residential, coeducational college offering a four-year B.A. program in the liberal arts and sciences and a five-year B.A./ B.S. degree in economics and finance. The Bard College Conservatory of Music offers a five-year program in which students pursue a dual degree—a B.Music and a B.A. in a field other than music—and offers an M.Music in vocal arts and in conducting. Bard also bestows an M.Music degree at Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bard and its affiliated institutions also grant the following degrees: A.A. at Bard High School Early College, a public school with campuses in New York City (Manhattan and Queens) and Newark, New Jersey; A.A. and B.A. at Bard College at Simon’s Rock: The Early College, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and through the Bard Prison Initiative at five correctional institutions in New York State; M.A. in curatorial studies, M.S. in economic theory and policy, and M.S. in environmental policy and in climate science and policy at the Annandale campus; M.F.A. and M.A.T. at multiple campuses; M.B.A. in sustainability in New York City; and M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture at the Bard Graduate Center in Manhattan. Internationally, Bard confers dual B.A. degrees at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. Petersburg State University, Russia (Smolny College); American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan; and ECLA of Bard: A Liberal Arts University in Berlin; and dual B.A. and M.A.T. degrees at Al-Quds University in the West Bank. Bard offers nearly 50 academic programs in four divisions. Total enrollment for Bard College and its affiliates is approximately 5,000 students. The undergraduate college has an enrollment of more than 1,900 and a studentto-faculty ratio of 10:1. For more information about Bard College, visit


Youth Orchestra in Venezuela organized by Bard student leaders of the Colón Music Festival

Music is the most amazing way to get to the heart of our most basic needs; it’s where our souls connect. Since my hometown in Venezuela is near Colombia, we decide that it’s more convenient to have everyone fly to Cúcuta. Once everyone is there, people from my town and I cross the border to go pick them up. We are driving four cars but one of them is really old. Right when we are trying to cross back into Venezuela the old car breaks, so we get out and push it across the border. I am so impressed to see how my friends from Bard do not stop until we make it to my hometown. We wait in the dusty street ‘till the car is repaired, and it takes us all day driving in the Venezuelan mountains. That is just one little problem on the trip out of many others. Looking at the happy faces of hundreds of Venezuelan kids after each performance, I realize music unites us all. The kids are so motivated, they do not need anyone to make them practice, they are in love with their instruments; that, to me, means everything. I can say we are helping them to give a direction to their life by making them dream. —Leonardo Pineda ’14, Colón Music Festival 27

A moment of connection in the New Orleans Project Front cover: Young girl enjoying the new playground funded and built in Mas’ha by the Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative

Bard College Bard College, PO Box 5000, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000 845-758-7056,,

TLS Brochure 2013  
TLS Brochure 2013  

TLS Brochure 2013