The College of the Atl antic Mag a zine Volume 8 . Number 2 . Fall 2012
Toward an Egalitarian Institution
COA The College of the Atlantic Magazine
Democracy: Toward an Egalitarian Institution Letter from the President
COA Time Line
Delirious & Suite Limpet • The latest from Nancy Andrews and Dru Colbert
[Earth] to Rio • The Future We Really Want
Democracy 10 The Classroom Republic
Human Ecologists Practice Democracy Across the Globe
The Work of Ariel Springfield Durrant '06
Short Fiction • A Man Is Not A Star [Silverado] by Josie Sigler '94
Poetry • Crow by Abigail Dunn '13
Alumni & Community Notes
Democracy & Community • Common Root Community Center
Piper's Little COA Creature
In the complex formed by COA's environmentally sustainable Kathryn W. Davis Student Residence Village, students from thirty-three nations find time to talk, dance, sing, cook, and study.
COA The College of the Atlantic Magazine Volume 8 · Number 2 · Fall 2012
Editor Editorial Guidance Editorial Consultant Alumni Consultants
Art Director Designer
Donna Gold Heather Albert-Knopp '99 John Anderson Sarah Baker Rich Borden Ken Cline Darron Collins '92 Julia DeSantis '12 Sarah Haughn '08 Jennifer Hughes Kate Macko Mary Katherine O'Brien '15 Bill Carpenter Michael Griffith '09 Jill Barlow-Kelley Dianne Clendaniel
Rebecca Hope Woods Danielle Meier '08
President Darron Collins '92 Dean of Admission Sarah Baker Dean of Development Lynn Boulger Associate Dean for Faculty Ken Cline Administrative Dean Andrew Griffiths Academic Dean Kenneth Hill Dean of Student Life Sarah Luke Associate Dean Sean Todd for Advanced Studies
COA Board of Trustees Ronald E. Beard Leslie C. Brewer Nikhit D'Sa '06 William G. Foulke, Jr. Amy Yeager Geier George B.E. Hambleton Elizabeth D. Hodder Philip B. Kunhardt III '77 Anthony Mazlish Suzanne Folds McCullagh Sarah A. McDaniel '93 Linda McGillicuddy Jay McNally '84
Stephen G. Milliken Philip S.J. Moriarty Phyllis Anina Moriarty Hamilton Robinson, Jr. Walter Robinson Nadia Rosenthal Marthann Lauver Samek Henry L.P. Schmelzer William N. Thorndike, Jr. Joan Van der Grift Paul Van der Grift Cody van Heerden
Life Trustees James M. Gower Samuel M. Hamill, Jr. John N. Kelly Susan Storey Lyman William V.P. Newlin John Reeves Henry D. Sharpe, Jr. Clyde E. Shorey, Jr.
Trustee Emeriti David Hackett Fischer Sherry F. Huber Daniel Pierce Helen Porter Cathy L. Ramsdell '78 John Wilmerding
The faculty, students, trustees, staff, and alumni of College of the Atlantic envision a world where people value creativity, intellectual achievement, and diversity of nature and human cultures. With respect and compassion, individuals construct meaningful lives for themselves, gain appreciation of the relationships among all forms of life, and safeguard the heritage of future generations.
What does a college striving toward democracy, toward responsibility, toward egalitarianism look like? How does it function? I have a memory from when I first started at COA; we were working toward our ten-year accreditation from NEASC, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. When the accreditation team met with the staff, Anna Murphy, former assistant to the president, stood up and said, "I work here because I have a say in the college, in its governance. I have a stake here." Two, three, maybe more staff members echoed her. The NEASC team was impressed that "all constituencies could articulate the core ideas and did so with conviction." Well, of course. That's a given at COA. Democracy is time-consuming. It's inefficient. The thing about democracy — and certainly about COA — is that everyone, or most everyone, has an image of it. The place where we teach or work or study is ours. Each one of us wants to shape it in our vision. And so there are many images to debate; many forms to shape. As John March '76 notes in the lead article by Michael Griffith '09, "sometimes we just want to be a student." Or a worker, or a teacher. Though governance is part of learning and working at COA, we do find ourselves relying on administrators — some decisions just have to be made, after all. And when we do, the school's balance tips toward more of a hierarchy — until, that is, people realize that they've given up something precious, something that makes COA more than just a school, more than just a job, but a real calling. And so the balance tips back, and once again, as Bill Carpenter says and Darron Collins '92 echoes, all of us become responsible for administrating COA. Because, thankfully, democracy is also fluid. This issue offers ruminations on balance. On striving toward a democratic institution; on recognizing that we are all responsible for this place we love so much. And on bringing a belief in this shared accountability into the wider world. How effectively COA manages to impart democracy in a myriad of ways — perhaps because our students are so involved in governance — is evident in the section featuring alumni, all of whom have graduated in the last eight years.
COA is published biannually for the College of the Atlantic community. Please send ideas, letters, and submissions (short stories, poetry, and revisits to human ecology essays) to: COA Magazine, College of the Atlantic 105 Eden St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 email@example.com
Donna Gold, COA editor
Front cover: Praxinoscopes 1 & 2, by Ariel Springfield Durrant '06. For more, see page 29.
From the President: Darron Collins '92
uring my first twelve months as COA's president I've spent a fair amount of time learning from past presidents. In one such learning moment, Ed Kaelber — COA's founding president — responded to a question on leadership with a sagacious "Darron, most of the time the college's consensus-driven decision-making process produces what you need, but there are times when you have to say 'This is the way it's going to be.'" There's an underlying tension here at COA between a hyper-individualized academic program and a radically democratic, or even more accurately, communal governance system. Negotiating that tension can be difficult intellectually and practically. It would certainly be easier if the tables were turned, with an acrossthe-board unified curriculum and with decisions emanating directly from an administrator. But such a scenario couldn't be further from what makes us unique, relevant, and ultimately effective. In this issue we explore democracy from a human ecological perspective — as a method for arriving at decisions, as a way of life, and as an educational approach. In thinking through the issue layout, we saw just how pervasive the idea is on campus and in the lives of people that move within and through campus. As Bill Carpenter describes, the consensusdriven, decision-making process at the college was a cornerstone for the institution, with both practical and
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pedagogical roots. There's clearly a historical and philosophical reason to shed some light on that cornerstone in this issue of COA. But there are very personal, practical reasons as well. I have a picture on my office wall of the COA community (including its canine members) in 1972. There are forty-nine human beings in that photograph — staff, faculty, students. We are almost exactly an order of magnitude larger today. More ideas, more diversity, and simply more people make the college's radical democracy more difficult. Personally, being larger presents greater challenges for me as president and Ed's advice on when to make an executive decision becomes more critical. Practically, as a larger community, we need not relinquish our principles of democracy and consensus-driven decision-making, but we certainly need to pay more attention to listening, to patience, to empathy, and ultimately to generating the most widespread modicum of trust possible. Read on and come to see how those principles are being applied on the COA campus and in the wider world.
[Earth] durban a film by devin altobello '13
Darron & Co. — 28 peaks in 24 hours
2012 senior exhibits and shows overflow COA spaces, from Chalese Carlson's installation reflecting the land gift of The Protectorate by former trustee Tom Cox, to Kira Weintraub's exploration of alchemy, "Transmutations of Humanity," installed beneath Turrets, to Bo Dennis' dance, In Constant Season. Anthony Mazlish, chair and CEO of Healthy Back Store, LLC, joins board of trustees. Seniors defeat faculty and staff during the annual Tug-of-War.
6ft Leatherback turtle gets hauled to campus
Seven separate enterprises complete the Sustainable Enterprise Hatchery.
99 community members jump in for the annual Bar Island Swim
AUGUST A 50-foot, 50-ton sperm whale found dead off of Schoodic Point is collected by Allied Whale for necropsy and eventual articulation. To honor their daughter, the Stewart family pledges $1.25 million to create the Lisa Stewart Chair in Literature and Women's Studies. COA provides one-quarter of the student offerings at the American Ornithological Meetings in Vancouver, British Columbia. Alex Pine '14 and Lisa Bjerke '13 oversee creation of solar charging station for electric vehicles — the first in the state. 4
Veteran Journalist Robert Krulwich tells COA's 87 graduates to find the WhyNot? People: "When you are trying to create a version of yourself that will one day make you happy, and that is your job now — half the battle is to know your insides — know your pleasures. And the other half is to know your outsides — to find allies, partners, mentors. You don't become yourself all by yourself."
COA's FOOD named 7th BEST in nation by the Princeton review
JULY Trustee William V.P. Newlin is named the George B. Dorr Museum's first "Face of Natural History" after his Coffee and Conversation talk about amateur natural historians. Morning Coffee and Conversations continue throughout the summer. Stephen G. Milliken, senior judge in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, rejoins board of trustees. COA claims a spot on this year's Princeton Review's Green Honor Roll, the only Maine school on the list.
Cardboard installation created by COA students and sculptor Jimmy Grashow opens in Blum Gallery
SEPTEMBER OCTOBER COA opens our 41st year with nearly 120 new students, among them 74 first-years. Karen Waldron is named holder of the Lisa Stewart Chair in Literature and Women's Studies. COA is listed as one of the top 100 colleges in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. Rankings are as follows: #90 among liberal arts colleges, #12 on best value colleges, and #4 on highest on percentage of international students. The Presidential Scholar Fall Fly-in brings 28 stellar prospective students from across the country to visit campus.
Check out more stories and photos at newsworthy.coa.edu
COA commemorates the 25th anniversary of graduating state-certified teachers in its Educational Studies Program during a weekend of discussions with alumni educators. More than 180 family members, alumni, and friends come to campus for our 2012 Family & Alumni Weekend. As an independent study, Stevie DuFresne '15 raised 100 chickens for use at COA. Blake Davis '11 wins first place for investigative reporting for his senior project piece, "$1 billion in exempt property is tax on town," which ran in the Mount Desert Islander. The Dorr Museum creates a creepy-crawly bugeating session and nature tour for Halloween, thanks to Carrie Graham, museum supervisor. College of the Atlantic Magazine
Immersed IN the waters of coa William N. Thorndike, Jr., COA's New Board Chair — By Donna Gold
Just before this year's convocation, Will Thorndike drove up to Maine from Boston to fulfill a vow. He was going to join the annual Bar Island Swim that opens each college year. He wouldn't be the first trustee to have done so — but he would be the first board chair. And then the sea kicked up. The swim was called off. With a gleeful, conspiratorial look, Will whispered to COA President Darron Collins '92, "Wanna do it anyway?" And so they did, battling the ocean chop, stroke after stroke for a third of a mile. But Will had no need to forge his connections to COA in the waters of Frenchman Bay. Like the roots of the copper beech trees outside of The Turrets, his connections to the college are historic, grounded, and vibrant. Those trees stand just down the hill from the Thorndike Library, named for his beloved great aunt and uncle, Betty and Amory Thorndike, the couple who introduced Will to Maine, Mount Desert Island, and COA — which they supported before it even existed. Will, who would come to MDI to visit his aunt and uncle for at least two weeks every summer, is just old enough to remember the founding of COA, the fundraising concerts held at the Thorndike home, and the difference that COA soon would make in the community. Years passed. Will received an AB in English from Harvard in 1986, went into publishing, then took a business degree at Stanford University. In 1994 he became a founding partner of the private equity investment firm Housatonic Partners. Still he returned to MDI each summer, eventually buying back the Thorndike home he used to visit as a child. COA's lectures and events added meaning to those visits, and its Summer Field Studies program gave his children, now fourteen and seventeen, a sense of the adventures nature offers. At Housatonic, Will appraises companies for investment, then mentors their CEOs. It's work that connects to what Will has done at COA since joining the board in 2007: chairing the finance committee, serving on the executive investment committee, the presidential search committee that brought in Darron, and the strategic design committee. "I've enjoyed it immensely — there's a wonderful contagious curiosity and enthusiasm," he says. "I've been energized by my involvement." This is a time of momentum for the college, Will adds. "So many of the things that have been woven into COA's DNA from early on are front and center nationally and internationally: interdisciplinary work, field-based commitment to learning, global perspective, concern with the environment, balancing the arts and the sciences, even giving students a strong voice in running the
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college. So many other colleges are trying desperately to do the things we've been doing and doing well for a long time," he continues. "It's exciting to see the college grow to this point — in the process of concluding a successful capital campaign, with a first alumnus president, gaining recognition, nationally, internationally — all the while offering such a rich, ever-changing, dynamic array of courses." Will expects to continue immersing himself in the adventure that is COA, just as he hopes to join Darron next summer on his second annual 28 peaks in 24 hours hike. "COA is a little bit addictive. Once you get involved, it takes hold." And there it is again, that boyish, conspiratorial grin.
Delirious Nancy Andrews connects art to medical science and advocacy â€” By Donna Gold The very methods necessary for saving lives can also lead to prolonged psychological trauma, doctors and patients are discovering. Hallucinations experienced in hospital intensive care units often return to haunt patients, much as battle traumas disturb soldiers. Nancy Andrews, faculty member in film and video, combines art, science, experience, and advocacy to explore the theme of delirium via drawings, music, video, and a speaking series. She also created the graphic novella, Loupette and the Moon, a meditation on difference with an essay by COA trustee Walter Robinson, MD.
SUITE LIMPEt The final episode in Dru Colbert's trilogy of site-specific performances â€” By Donna Gold
"Six years ago, the ICU situation was barely spoken about," says Nancy. Now doctors estimate that onethird of ICU patients experience delirium conditions. Many also find psychological and cognitive aftereffects lasting for months, even years. The serious medical conditions that bring people into the ICU, combined with the drugs, breathing tubes, continual light, noise, and entire loss of control, connect to the cause of the delirium. Things are starting to change, however; many hospitals are instituting new protocols for their ICU patients.
A creature clings to the stair railing inside Otter Creek Hall. Another attempts to scale a wall. These brown, human-sized figures have human faces, and carry a large, soft shell on their backs and curling antennae on their heads. When one perches on a table six inches from me, I shudder. As cute as some of these massive Dru Colbert-created limpets are, I don't want one climbing on me. I scoot back in my ancient wooden
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She is now working with her former surgeon and other professionals, along with the organization Artists in Context, to find ways to help other ICU survivors. Nancy has spoken at conferences and toured with doctors to expand explorations
Nancy herself spent weeks in the ICU in 2005. "In addition to my paranoid delusions of people trying to kill me," she writes on her website, "were hallucinations of ants on peoples' faces, weird things in my IV fluid bags, nightmare-like hallucinations where I was variously stuck in the bottom of a boat floating down an underground waterway (think Phantom of the Opera), or stuck in a well (think Silence of the Lambs)."
into the connections between ICU delirium, recovery, subsequent health — and art. Can artists collaborate to synthesize art with health and science into a coherent whole? she wonders. "In both my film On a Phantom Limb and the comic Loupette and the Moon, I invite others to enter the in-between, fluid, unstable, fluctuating space that I inhabited while in the intensive care unit,
hanging between life and death, and in the aftermath of surviving a critical illness," she says. "A state of delirium challenges the perception and understanding of reality, which in our present dominant culture is defined by rationalism and empiricism. Reality, I think, is less stable than we
like to believe. ... After believing my hallucinatory experiences to be true, I realize there is almost no way to prove the reality of any moment … how do we know that we are not dreaming or in a hallucination right now?" For more on Nancy Andrews' work, visit http://artandscienceofdelirium. wordpress.com.
Drawings by Nancy Andrews.
folding chair as Jarly Bobadilla ambles in. He announces that he's our guide to the world of Suite Limpet, the multimedia performance created by Dru, arts faculty member, with Lisa Leaverton, who has taught performance at the college. Led by Jarly (a.k.a. COA's IT systems manager), we enter a mind-altering tour of coastal Maine, or more specifically Otter Creek, reeling through
biology, history, geography, and parapsychology as various voices — some quite familiar — offer seemingly factual information on limpets, fish shacks, consciousness ... sea monsters. Sea monsters? We try to keep up, but I, at least, can't cope; I hear snippets of facts: a limpet finds its way by following its own slime trail … and feel plunged into an oceanic surf of information. To ground myself, I focus on a projected shadow image of a slide. Is there something there — or is the shadow caused by the light playing on the surface of the film? A bus arrives. We climb aboard, heading to the coast. Creatures dance by the road and limpets peek at us as we peer through the dusk at surf a cliffside below. We disembark to the music of a brook near one of Acadia's carriage road
bridges. We walk, silenced, wondering; the limpets have become upright, performing a courtly dance from the seventeenth century. What is real? What is information but light playing on sensation? From all that we hear, see, read, taste, smell, and feel, what do we actually perceive? How does comprehension emerge? Did Dru build the stone tunnel for this performance? Are the lights hidden behind trees as our bus returns to Otter Creek Hall those of twenty-first century homes? Might they be rusticators' tents? Limpets camping in the woods? Maybe they are the bioluminescence of sea monsters crawling up from the deep? In the funny, surprising, unforgettable visual and auditory collages of Suite Limpet, Dru has deconstructed the familiar. And because nothing is at it seems, mystery illuminates comprehension.
Photos by Nancy Andrews. College of the Atlantic Magazine
Nathan Thanki '14 welcomes youth to the [Earth] workshop, The Future We Really Want, before the start of the Rio+20 conference in Brazil.
[ EARTH] to Rio: the future It began with frustration. Or, if you look far back enough, with optimism. In June, COA's international diplomacy group, Earth in Brackets, or [Earth], sent a delegation to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) because we were optimistic. We were wellprepared, thanks to months of classes, meetings, and late-night policy analyses. We felt we could make a difference. But during UN meetings, optimism disappears to the corners of the mind, replaced by a sense of purpose that is often driven by frustration.
What We Do The sit-in plenary and walk-out that took place on June 21 at Rio+20 began with our frustration at the
lack of action. Youth organizations at UN meetings are known for urgent and somewhat disruptive actions; these actions are a way for us to get a message to the media, the rest of civil society (non-governmental stakeholders), and the delegates negotiating our futures. At Rio+20 there had been few such actions, though the need for them was clear, so [Earth] invited youth to an open planning meeting. The text being negotiated at Rio+20 was titled "The Future We Want." It was charming, but astoundingly misleading; what was being negotiated was NOT the future we really wanted. Negotiations were watering down the text to little more than a decorative statement. Government representatives had forgotten to represent their citizens; instead they
served corporations. Big Oil was winning over sustainable development â€” over poverty eradication, the protection of biodiversity and everything else we cared about. We weren't the only ones upset and angry about this. At Rio+20, members of civil society were largely unified with our sense of indignation, so [Earth] also reached out to friends and allies who weren't officially youth. Our message evolved: The future being bought was not the future we really wanted, and the future we wanted involved solutions that civil society could help provide. The action emerged as a media-friendly (and securityapproved) skit with a symbolic tearing up of "The Future We Bought," and an (unapproved) people's plenary where we would hold an open discussion on next steps. The skit brought us chaotic media frenzy and gave a clear message,
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we really want but the plenary was our great success. The group discussed hopes and fears and ideas. Emails were exchanged, civil society interacted, and discontent and frustration were joined by the smallest beginnings of hope. Plans were made.
Why We Do It Every student/activist/environmental organization eventually asks the question: What's the point? Others ask us what kind of impact we could possibly have. But the reality is that future generations need representation and no one else can do it. Most negotiators will not be around to see the consequences of their decisions but today's youth will, and when a hundred members of civil society hand in badges and march out of the conference center, we do have some sort of impact. By being at
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negotiations, youth can denounce the false work of the delegates. Sending young people to negotiations can change what those delegates will come home to; youth empowered and emboldened at negotiations bring their work back to their communities. Preparing for the meetings informs us about the real issues, environmental and political; being there provides real-life interactions with allies and adversaries that tighten our strategies and facilitate innovations in the way we tackle problems. This term, Earth in Brackets is diving into a seventh year of participation in international processes, having grown in internal organization and external interactions. We are learning to work more closely with a wider network of people, and looking for the linkages and partnerships that can be made
By Mariana Calderon '13 between youth working in sustainable development and those in the biodiversity and climate regimes. In November we will arrive at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doha, Qatar having already planned unified strategies and examined possible outcomes with other organizations â€” much as official delegates do. This is the value of sending youth to international meetings. We can learn to fight just as well as the officials to push our positions. We learn to fight for what the world really needs. Mariana Calderon has focused on international environmental policy, emphasizing biodiversity conservation. Her senior project will be a guide to UN environmental processes with a focus on the connectivity between biodiversity, conservation, sustainable development, and climate change.Â
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emocracy Toward An Egalitarian Institution By Bill Carpenter, founding faculty member in literature and creative writing
n the beginning we wanted to model the new college on principles of ecology. That meant, to us, that the smallest and least noticeable organisms played a role equal to the largest and most visibly powerful. It was important that every voice in our eco-community be equally heard and considered: students, faculty, and staff. This was a radical idea in higher education, which had a long history of hierarchic structure and top-down organization at which the untutored sat at the feet of learned professors who held both the questions and answers to be revealed. The beauty of our new subject, human ecology, was that no generation of established scholars existed yet; it was an island to which we were all immigrants. In that atmosphere a democracy of learning existed; as long as we refrained from stabilizing and codifying human ecology, it would keep its democratic flavor. But it's not easy. We now have the elements of hierarchy: an experienced faculty who have focused on human ecology for years, and incoming community members who arrive without preconception. Our ongoing challenge is to maintain our intellectual and structural egalitarian values in the face of internal and external pressure toward the division of labor and hierarchic structures that still dominate other colleges. We can do this by never allowing our subject to be fixed, avoiding textbooks and canons, anointing no individuals with absolute knowledge. As faculty we can actively decenter both our subject and ourselves and re-interrogate it from a new and open perspective on an annual basis, coinciding with the arrival of new students who will co-address a renewed human ecology with us on equal terms. We are all administrators, and we try to avoid locking in structures and procedures â€” even at the cost of efficiency â€” so each generation can re-envision them in their own light. Democracy is infectious. It will spread by contact if we maintain an atmosphere of trust and openness. And after living and working in a democratic setting at COA, our graduates carry these values into the world. It is the challenge we gave ourselves in the beginning and after forty years it remains as both our reality and our ideal.
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The Classroom Republic By Michael Griffith '09
magine for a moment that it is 1971, you are up to date on the body counts coming out of Viet Nam, are contemplating a new idea called "ecology," and you have heard about a strange, incipient college in Maine. You write to a post office box in Bar Harbor to express your interest; in a few weeks a carefully typed prospectus arrives in your mailbox. It reads like the inside of your heart. Like you, the founders of College of the Atlantic feel the world must change. People must learn differently, act differently, to avoid destroying the environment and themselves. On page seven of the document: "Students and faculty members are equally important members of the community." Administrators are a "necessary evil," present to facilitate the work of faculty and students, to live as teachers and learners, not defend "traditional systems" in the face of progress. You rescan the page, but it doesn't change. Instead, something inside you changes, and soon you escape — your school, your job, whatever it is that is keeping you from learning what you want. Perhaps you were one of the first students. If so, you know all about mythology — how something great
is lived, turned into a story, and institutionalized. In Such a Frail Bark, a COA oral history created by Bethany Aronow '83 for her senior project, the late Dan Kane, founding faculty member in law, says, "There was no sense of hierarchy. There was a total equality among everyone there: students, trustees, faculty." According to Frail Bark, the thrill of institutionbuilding was overwhelming in those first years; the "energy and closeness" of people unprecedented, as early administrator Sam Eliot puts it. Students who came for ecology found community democracy; practically everyone attended the weekly Town Meeting, a proto-All College Meeting. There, incoming students reviewed, critiqued, and altered plans made by the faculty. Everyone's voice mattered. In Frail Bark, beloved staff member Ann Peach characterizes the times: "Everybody wanted to be involved with everything that went on. And if they didn't like something, boy you knew about it!" Meetings … or Classes Then reality intruded. According to Ed Kaelber, COA's founding president, "There was a feeling at the beginning of the college that it should be a sort of pure rather than a representative
democracy. But that changed, simply because people got tired." Everybody could not be involved with everything that went on. Committees formed. Initially, it seems, everybody tried to participate in every committee, but that too proved overwhelming — classes had to be held, after all. Recounts John March '76 in Frail Bark, "Sometimes … setting up the mechanisms by which we would govern and evolve became so timeconsuming that we … reached the point where we said, 'Today I've gone from the Personnel Committee to the Admissions Committee to the Steering Committee to the … You know, I just want to be a student.' It would be so time-consuming to build the conceptual foundations of the college … we loved it … But you wanted not to lose sight of why you were there … which was to get an education." If you were actually there, you might remember the moment when you chose to go to class or read a book instead of attending another meeting. The Arcadian myth the college inherits is one of perfect, direct democracy in 1972, but Arcadia is not only paradise lost, it is paradise-never-was. The entire community struggles with College of the Atlantic Magazine
Bonnie Tai with her Experiential Education class.
decisions born of a structure in which responsibilities for hiring faculty and staff, for contract reviews, for deciding what to do with farms, and whom to admit are all shared by students, staff, and faculty. As faculty member in economics Davis Taylor says, "Responsibility is neither concentrated nor hoarded … it is distributed across the community in a powerful and meaningful way." And yet, the timeintensive nature of COA's experiment in democratic structure has always been a balancing act, for as much as students, faculty, and staff want to have a say, they also have other work to do. An Experiment in Higher Education But governance is not the only democratic realm. While COA has steadily evolved through community — and inevitably, executive — decision-making, a more radical revolution has occurred in the classroom. There, every single term since that first year, a few dozen republics have formed and faded: human scale experiments in democracy and egalitarianism. In hundreds of COA courses authority is challenged, established norms are resisted, critique is alive, and as in the sixties and seventies, "when the elders learned from the youngers," College of the Atlantic Magazine
according to Bill Carpenter, founding faculty member in literature and creative writing, young people find their voices. If you have been here, you know this. It's a reality more encompassing than myth. It began like this. During the first summer of faculty planning, according to Steve Katona, founding faculty member in biology and former president, "One of the main decisions was trying to resolve how we would approach learning. Was it going to be didactic or Socratic lectures, or was it going to be learning by doing?" Clearly, the latter won out — in every subject area. Scientists would teach in the field, which meant relating to students as fellow researchers; philosophers would do philosophy with their students, not teach a hardened history. The learning-bydoing model reflected ideas of the time which remain current: that we learn through concrete experiences in our environments. Through trial and error. Through creative, integrative thinking. Through peer collaboration. But the ideas of John Dewey and Maria Montessori had not been thoroughly applied in the context of an American liberal arts college. When COA
opened for business, Paulo Freire's revolutionary text, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which taught us that the classroom was always political, and the teacher a potential oppressor, had just been translated into English. It was high time for an experiment in higher education.
It's this meeting up on uncommon ground that unites everyone at COA; we share in a fundamental instability. Learning as Conversation While most courses operated as seminars, lectures happened, but these might be in the field, or with a particular emphasis on practical application. Some seminars were explicitly political, focusing on social justice and modeling non-violent communication in the classroom; others were blissfully apolitical in their explorations of art, psyche, self. This continues today. A student might move from a seminar table, where she is responsible for keeping afloat discussion on Absalom, Absalom!, to a lecture — but one taking place on COA's new boat, Osprey. In both spaces she has an active role to play in 13
constructing learning as conversation — and yes, debate. Dialogue is the value that unites democrats and radicals, seminars and lectures, elders and youngers. Karen Waldron, Lisa Stewart Chair in Literature and Women's Studies, is known for facilitating fascinating, open-ended discussions. "At COA we teach all the things that you teach at another college or university, but we don't teach them as derivative or imitative, we teach them essentially to the purpose of — 'What does a student need to learn?'"
people can actually deal with them, because that's when we can learn." Do students love an assigned reading? Hate it? In Karen's seminars, opinions are guideposts to deeply held commitments that would not be revealed — and questioned — in more conventional settings. "I honestly respect student opinions, so if someone says a book is boring, I really try to figure out why it's boring to her or him as opposed to saying, 'Well, it couldn't possibly be boring because of the scintillating language.'" She wants students to be excited by scintillating language, of course, but on their own terms, in their own time.
Continues Karen, "I have ideas about what students need to learn, but their ideas of what they need to learn are very relevant to me, so we engage in a negotiation of 'What do you want out of this class?' versus what I can give you and what I think you actually need to be an adult in the world — but you may not know that you need. How can I be an elder or mentor or authority without being authoritative? Mostly I do that by just making a space for every voice and trying to draw people out."
For some students, this is a big change. Says Bill, "The teachers and the curriculum [at COA] have to actively fight because people come out of high schools where there are strict hierarchies and you essentially have to dismantle the incoming, internalized structure." To accomplish this, instructors must sometimes sacrifice their rights as "elders." When asked a question in a seminar, Karen might answer, "I don't know. What do you think?"
Of course, a multiplicity of voices can clash; but that's part of learning. Says Karen, "My job as a teacher is to provide enough comfort in uncomfortable situations that
Intellectual Democracy Bill goes even further. "You've got to allow yourself to be wrong as a teacher," he says, even if it comes at great embarrassment. "It leaves an
Says Bill, "Small groups are best for that. One-on-one is not the ideal, because in some ways it contributes to hierarchy: someone has to give. I think the most fun is when you
Photo by Becca Haydu '16.
Students dissect fruit in the Edible Botany course taught by biology faculty member Nishanta Rajakaruna '94.
opening for students to find their confidence and authority. That's intellectual democracy as I see it." Human ecology can be a useful foil in the process of disassembling hierarchy. "If you reach out of your field a little bit, and stick your neck out and then make clear that that's what is happening and you can sacrifice your own ascendency, then students will see it happening" — and join the fray. If a teacher of literature can talk about painting, or the politics of oil, why shouldn't a student of painting or politics speak up about Hamlet? It's this meeting up on uncommon ground that unites everyone at COA; we share in a fundamental instability. Highlighting that, reveling in it, instructors can make an adventure of intellectual life — bringing students along for the bumpy, interdisciplinary, egalitarian ride.
"My job as a teacher is to provide enough comfort in uncomfortable situations that people can actually deal with them — because that's when we can learn." Karen Waldron, faculty member in literature College of the Atlantic Magazine
get a small group, when matters of aesthetics can be decided by a majority vote rather than a teacher's authority. If the teacher doesn't get it, if somebody else gets it, then that's really important. I would like to see COA organize the whole second half of the student's education on a tutorial basis." No matter the shape of the classroom, or the mood of an educational encounter, according to Bill, "We create an environment of open and mutual inquiry, in which students are expected to participate as equals." Different But Equal? But what about differences? How can first-years from Valley High School, transfers from Vassar College, and internationals from UWC Adriatic be effectively taught in the same Core Course? How does an instructor facilitate first- and fourth-years in the same discussion? "How do you empower those students who are more familiar with a topic to be constructive leaders without creating a new set of power relationships?" asks Jamie McKown, James Russell Wiggins Chair in Government and Polity. "Egalitarianism is a nice thing to be striving towards, but asymmetries develop over time." These must be faced down, attended to, understood. The legacy of Freire and the era of identity politics is that equality cannot be easily assumed. Adds Bonnie Tai, faculty member in educational and human studies, "There are always issues of cultural differences and linguistic barriers in terms of who's willing to participate and have an influence on the classroom discourse, and I think that impacts one's potential influence." At their best, COA courses address the issues that influence egalitarianism. Around tables and on boats and in fields, teachers and students refine what it means to teach, learn, and act in the world, negotiating spaces where mutual cooperation, egalitarianism, College of the Atlantic Magazine
Bill Carpenter teaches his tutorial in novel writing.
and democracy are addressed in practice, on a human scale. Says Karen, "You can do in your classroom, what you want to model for the world: to teach not just the material, but the skills to engage with the material and with other people in such a way that it is hopefully going to spread out." ҉҉҉҉҉ Could We Be More Egalitarian? Life changing. World changing. College changing? Education is not the only democratic realm. It's time to consider the gulf between the classroom republic and the college that created it. While our educational model continues to offer flexibility for growth and change, it is being outpaced by artist collectives, community organizations, and Occupy — groups that have helped mobilize a new generation's desire for change. In the upcoming year we should ask ourselves: Are cultural differences and linguistic barriers routinely addressed, negotiated, and surmounted in our system of governance? Are the decision-making processes transparent? The ACM (All College Meeting) operating model is lengthy, its language confusing. Critique is too often marked as negative and set aside — and yet in education critique is part of the process of learning, the
engine of democracy. This gives the classroom a democratic advantage. Shouldn't we push for the same advantage in ACM, where there is so much untapped potential for community learning? In an ideal world COA would learn from the classrooms it creates. From these tiny republics would spread the memory of a radical moment in the nineteen-seventies: one in which we knew the world must change. Back then there were no precursors, just potential — a feeling you still get in any new COA course, where the syllabus is just a rough sketch waiting to be filled in by everyone around the table. Let's aim for that same feeling in everything we do. After all, if we believe that democracy is integral to the message of human ecology we hope to deliver to the world, shouldn't we get it right here, first? Now that would be world changing. After teaching for two years at United World College Mahindra College, Michael Griffith '09 spent a "gap year" back at COA, where he was inspired by the ideas and energy of students eager to implement the lessons of Occupy at COA. He is now studying English literature at King's College London.
Student Perspectives Students Reflect on Democracy at COA Based on conversations with Michael Griffith '09
Katie Perry '12
Former All College Meeting moderator Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina Senior Project: Neuropsychology
While many decisions are made in such a way that any member of the community could have a say, others are relegated to the board only, or to faculty meetings, etc. And many decisions are made not through votes — although the operating model does use a voting system for officially passing policies — but through discussion and consensus. I don't see the aim of COA's structure as being democracy. Rather, I think the goal is striking a balance between having a structure that is functional and one that is educational. I think a lot more can be learned from coming to a decision via consensus than from counting votes; from challenging oneself to hear equally the opinions of all community members and from having to really understand the complexity of an issue, than from just passing off the decision to someone who "knows more about it." But those benefits have to be balanced out by actually accomplishing things that need to get done. I do think that the ideal of egalitarianism is more important than how many people show up to ACM on any given Wednesday. As someone who has been every different level of engaged and disengaged with governance here, I see that people find a voice in the community in many 16
ways. Attending ACM or participating in committees are just a few of the ways that a community member can have an impact and effect change. If being involved in governance speaks to people, then they will show up to ACM. I would say that classes at COA are the most egalitarian — overall — of any academic setting that I have experienced. Again, I think there is a balance to be struck between recognizing the expertise and insight that professors have to share, and giving students a legitimized voice in class such that faculty can continue learning, listening, and being challenged. After all, the egalitarian element of our educational approach also demands the same level of learning from our faculty that we ask of our students. COA has amazing ideals and I perceive the cobbled-together governance structure as a sincere effort to reflect those ideals. But it is also crucial to recognize that the inequalities and hierarchies of the larger culture are present here as well, not because we intentionally embrace them, but because we are so fundamentally shaped by them. When our community — classes, committees, and all — is at its best, it is an institution of learning where we have the opportunity to examine, challenge, and be challenged by those larger systemic inequalities rather than ignoring, denying, or establishing them as the status quo.
Photos by Becca Haydu '16.
COA is not a political institution; it is an educational one. That it is some community members' jobs to be educated on certain issues and make certain decisions, complicates things.
College of the Atlantic Magazine
Hiyasmin Saturay '15
Hometown: Oriental Mindoo, Philippines and Utrecht, The Netherlands Focus: Education, Art, Humanities I think the seminar-style classroom of COA allows me to get the most out of the classes I take. It allows for a focused discussion that is not based on one professor or lecturer's point of view, but allows the students to process information in their own ways, based on their own experiences and ideas. More importantly, it allows students and professors to share their thoughts, thus advancing discussions further and giving more breadth and depth to them through the contention of different ideas. It works most of the time. I once had a classmate who asked if she could read other people's papers because she wanted to know College of the Atlantic Magazine
what other people's ideas were. I think everyone should encourage each other to share their work! Having democracy in the classroom, having people speak out as well as listen to others, contributes to democracy as a whole. If people are used to practicing democracy in the classroom and if they see and understand that it works, I think they will also apply these values outside, and hopefully speak out in cases of attacks on democracy. I think of the classroom's relationship to the "ideal community" as more of an ongoing process of democracy than
a microcosm (which I feel is kind of fixed), where the classroom is part of the larger COA community and COA is part of another bigger community. The same goes for values — the values instilled in the classroom contribute to values in the bigger community. ... It also goes the other way — the values of the community — say the USA — also influence the values of COA, and those of the classroom. So I think if we want democracy to work, we should work on it in all aspects of our lives. Speaking out and listening to others should not only be applied in the classroom, but also in the larger communities we have around us. 17
Angeline Annesteus '13
Hometown: Port au Prince, Haiti Focus: International Affairs and Environmental Issues
Being part of a community where I can freely express my ideas and opinions is huge. In Haitian culture, it's more likely that your parents or your teachers decide on your behalf what is best for you. As a student your voice can barely be heard; teachers maintain complete authority in classroom and school affairs. So to me democratic values are what make COA a unique school both academically and administratively. I feel that the more students get involved in their studies and COA decision making, the better they get to know faculty and the more they are engaged in changing their life and making the world a better place. Of course, there is still plenty of room for improvement in terms of becoming truer to our mission and working in the larger world. I think the democratic spirit of the institution
translates to an egalitarian spirit among students and faculty; however COA still needs to experiment with collaborative models that can boost engagement. It's great that COA provides everyone — and particularly students — with a fair environment where they can help establish their own rules and find someone to understand their needs and identify their strengths, but so much openness can be difficult for some. How do we define and encourage personal responsibility? Only by asking this question can COA hope to become more democratic, or achieve a decision-making process fairly shared by all.
Benjamin Hitchcock '15 Hometown: Reading, Massachusetts Concentration: Education, Life Sciences
When I first got here, I was incredibly excited about the ACM model. I went to a public school that was totally disempowering — was virtually impossible to speak to anyone with any authority. So the idea of everyone meeting together weekly to discuss issues and make collective decisions was thrilling. My engagement in COA governance peaked in my first year when Margaret Fetzer '15 looked into where the college had invested its endowment. A group of students were really shocked by what she found: a lot of the investments were in really doubtful mega-corporations, from "big pharma" and energy to Walmart, Nestlé, and Coca-Cola. It seemed hypocritical and disconcerting to us, so we formed the Prudent Investment Group to gently lobby the board of trustees to consider something like socially responsible investing, or more local investment, while pushing for greater transparency and student involvement. I'd like to see COA learn from Occupy and traditions of horizontal
organizing. In smaller student meetings and in certain classes you see some very intentional facilitating, and we can carry that back into the ACM model, making sure that there is consideration for everyone regardless of age, confidence levels as a speaker, gender. If we could try having circle discussions — just being able to see people's facial expressions, and being able to sense where people are at, at all times, would make a huge difference. And obviously, in a circle there's no single point of focalized energy. COA makes a genuine effort to hear student voices, way more so than most other educational institutions. We're really fortunate. At some larger schools, students have had zero traction in getting their voices heard. Here, we're able to see progress and meet and even collaborate with those in power. The degree to which COA is open is extraordinary; I've now joined Steering Committee with the hope of influencing ACM's direction. College of the Atlantic Magazine
ALL COLLEGE MEETING
coa students & institutional governance Offering the entire community the opportunity to be part of COA’s operation is the prime directive of ACM. Each Wednesday, students, faculty, and staff weigh in on issues that range from prospective faculty appointments, to the impact of enrollment increases, to COA’s carbon offset policy, to various campus rules. Since there’s a constant influx of students, certain topics tend to resurface as new students question prior decisions. Regardless of the topic, a powerful byproduct of COA’s governance structure is that students learn to speak their minds, to listen to others, and to find healthy compromises. The graphic below follows one recurring topic from 1977 to 1998, as reported in the Off The Wall (OTW ), the student-produced newspaper. Prior to email, all ACM proposals first had to be published in OTW for community review.
MEAT AT COA Is it Economic?
Does it offer good Nutrition?
Are we preventing freedom of choice?
Is it environmentally sustainable?
chronology of a topic 1972 — VEGETARIAN MEALS FOR ALL "What's up with that?" "MMMM, Meat."
1991 — TAKE-A-BREAK (TAB) SERVES BACON: FIRST MEAT ON CAMPUS
"Having meat conforms COA to outside consumer society." "But, I like meat."
1992 — Vegetarian policy
"TAB is losing money. We have the responsibility to eat in TAB."
OTW front cover: hacksaw slices chunk of meaT
1996 — LARGEST ACM TO DATE: DISCUSSes MEAT POLICy
Proposal on greening the kitchen
"Should we force people into vegetarianism?" "Vegetables can be unsustainable too." "well, should the college buy meat?"
"Can we 'meat' in the middle?"
"The meat industry is un—ecological."
1998 — Proposal for consciously purchased meat
(2012 — COA's Farms raise livestock for TAB)
Other recurring ACM topics HAVE included:
PETS on campus
Information compiled by Leelah Holmes '15 and Danielle Meier '08. Illustrations by Danielle Meier '08.
Human Ecologists Practice Democracy Across the Globe Stories by Sarah Haughn '08
What Counterterrorism Really Looks Like: Jessica Glynn '06, Esq.
dvocacy was never a choice for feminist, activist lawyer Jessica Glynn. From pro bono asylum work in Texas to her former position at the grassroots Servicios Para El Avance de la Mujer, or SEPA Mujer, in New York, Jessica fights for de facto congruity between people and their rights to personhood, between lives and the laws that should protect them. "I have always been an advocate," she says. "The law felt like a very intuitive, structured medium for my activism after COA." In her current role as supervising attorney for the anti-trafficking program at New York City's Safe Horizon — the country's largest victims' services agency — Jessica represents survivors of human trafficking who have been subjected to extreme labor exploitation. These may be men or women who were forced to work as domestic servants by diplomats, kept in slave-like conditions in the hospitality industry or agricultural sector, or forced into prostitution. She also offers training and legal assistance for a variety of agencies, from community-based organizations to high-level law enforcement groups, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
"I am fortunate to live in a democracy," says Jessica. "If I lived in many other parts of the world I'd probably be in jail or dead. It's really satisfying when things do go right in our system. You see at least one person given some relief and an opportunity to rebuild their lives in a way not possible in a lot of parts of the world." But Jessica also worries about the legislative implications of the "farright's stunningly cohesive antiimmigrant, anti-woman, anti-gay movement." She is concerned that two federal laws protecting these vulnerable populations — the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) — are in danger of not being reauthorized. "It will be a tragedy for our democracy if a victim cannot seek help because they are an immigrant and reporting the crime committed against them will result in deportation," she says. Essential to Jessica's legal advocacy work is self-reflexivity. "Your perception of how an issue should be addressed may be different from that of the actual community member
you're advocating for. I try to be mindful of my own agenda. I try to be conscious that in a lot of ways I don't speak directly for the community I represent. I come from a position of privilege. I am a white woman from Wisconsin with a law degree. Regardless of how much I express my displeasure with our government, I will not be imprisoned or tortured. My struggle is not my client's struggle. "I work with an amazing team of social workers; we talk about race, privilege, and class. Sometimes they say things I don't want to hear about how I relate to my clients, my work. Acknowledging this is humbling." Rooted in Latin notions of voice, the word advocate — meaning to witness, to guide toward justice — follows Jessica across six hundred years of history and horizon. In a twenty-first century still fraught with fifteenth century oppressions of voice and body, Jessica's feminist work is arguably as important as ever before. For more on the reauthorization of VAWA and the TVPA, visit 4VAWA.org. Above, Jessica Glynn '08 becomes a member of the bar in her home state of Wisconsin.
҉҉҉҉҉ Having returned to the United States from literary journeys through Italy, Turkey, and Uganda, Sarah Haughn '08 now freelances from California as a poet, a journalist, and the mother of a delightfully spirited two-year-old. 20
College of the Atlantic Magazine
Let's Stop Just Talking About Human Rights: Dominic Muntanga '04
say Zimbabwe, you say Mugabe. But should we? For Dominic Muntanga, who has worked as a World Bank consultant and advisor to Zimbabwe's Minister of Education, the cry "Dictator!" has regrettably displaced a far more important conversation. Our focus, he asserts, should not tune to one leadership. We need to examine the mechanisms of democracy: how do we create a system that nurtures what is good and ensures that everyone can participate? "If you're an African and you're out of the continent, it's very easy to find solutions to a lot of complex problems. Chances are most of the time you're actually wrong, because whatever problem there is, it largely has to do with the dynamics, the relationships — with people," says Dominic. "Every African who comes to the United States who is interested in making a difference on the continent should take time to go home and work in an institution and get frustrated. Get to where you're going to jump off the bridge. That's very good for your health because it helps you understand the levers of power, the mechanics of how things function, and how to make things work or not work."
Currently conducting fund-raising and a feasibility study, Dominic is exploring a connection to other schools with an approach to education that integrates liberal arts learning with values, life skills, and fitness. For this Davis United World College scholar whose own education radically changed his life, his guiding vision is profoundly straightforward. "Let us create the right environment for global citizens to come not just from New York, but to come from a village in Zimbabwe."
People in power, Dominic believes, often have good intentions and share similar aspirations with the rest of the country. "So, how is it that collectively we end up with a dysfunctional system, poor healthcare, poor education, and economies, when each one of us wants what is good?" he asks. At the end of the day, Dominic has learned it is not the people who are necessarily always bad, but the systems — the bureaucracies — that often stunt governments' progress. Dominic's experience in educational reform within the World Bank and the government of national unity led by Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai convinced him to revisit the efficacy of community-based endeavors. "When we talk about democracy in theoretical terms, people talk about voting. But when you talk about it in practical terms, you need an infrastructure that allows for a democracy to function. And one of those building blocks for that infrastructure is education. Democracy thrives when everybody participates meaningfully, when people are actually able to make a contribution to the country. Education facilitates that." So Dominic is starting a school. Embracing research from neuroscience and education, Dominic envisions an institution in his hometown of Victoria Falls that teaches for a multiplicity of intelligences — harnessing the educational power of the arts and athletics as well as traditional academics. He plans to develop a global, interdisciplinary model for education — with primary and secondary school curricula as well as adult and community learning opportunities. He will also draw on the expertise of many well-educated, successful professionals who tour the natural beauty of Victoria Falls. People come to enjoy the environment, he explains, but the communities they visit seldom benefit.
College of the Atlantic Magazine
The Changing Climate of Governance in the Maldives: Hajja Naseem '10
n the Maldives — one of the world's most climate-vulnerable countries — there is the climate and there is also The Climate. The twelve hundred islands that form the Maldives are located just south of Sri Lanka, and embraced by both the Arab Sea and the Indian Ocean. Following the February 2012 ousting of thenPresident Mohamed Nasheed, threats of weather-born catastrophes have melded with political and economic upheaval. As project coordinator for Transparency International's climate finance investigation in the Maldives, Hajja Naseem's work situates her in the midst of this storm. At Transparency International — a global civil society organization known for its fight against corruption — Hajja works with a team to map climate financial aid received by the Maldives. Interviewing government agencies and sensitizing local stakeholders, her group determines how donor resources are used, which mechanisms render the aid usable, and to what extent the aid benefits the country's most vulnerable communities. "The project has been particularly eye-opening for me as it was a first-hand glimpse at the dangers of how white-shirted policy wonks in government may sometimes be completely removed from local sentiments," she says.
of dollars implementing the project, they found that it was too far from the islanders' homes for regular use. The project was shut down, a failure ascribed to a lack of consultation with the local community prior to design and implementation.
Hajja recalls a time when a multilateral agency funded a town dump on one of the Maldives' outer islands. After spending three years and millions
"My own personal belief is that effective climate adaptation is impossible without democratic structures of governance," she says.
"Time and again, we've seen the fallaciousness of decision-making processes that discount citizen voices." Growing up in the Maldives, Hajja claims a deeply personal stake in her country's governance. She comes from a long line of family members vocal against the thirty-year rule of autocratic Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The democratic elections that brought College of the Atlantic Magazine
in President Nasheed in 2008 led to increased aid and investment, a money trail she is responsible for following, even after the 2011 coup by Gayoom's vice president, Mohammed Waheed Hassan. The current instability renders it difficult for Hajja to investigate the efficacy of climate aid. Still, Hajja believes people working in civil society must keep asking questions and College of the Atlantic Magazine
demanding accountability. Her fear is that many independent institutions in the Maldives are too politicized to assert much resistance with the populace. "Governments are legitimate insofar as they reflect the popular will, and legitimacy is accorded to those that work in the public interest," asserts Hajja. "Governments provide certain public goods and regulate 'public
wrongs.' This is the basic social contract â€” the essence of democracy is that this contract be honored. People like me ensure, in their small way, that governments are doing what they are supposed to be doing." "Democracy is dynamic, because the world is dynamic. It's an ecological system, with the push and pull of dynamic diverse interests."
Education After Hours: Career & Community Building in Public Schools with Amy Hoffmaster '06
f education professes to create engaged citizens, why not engage citizen professionals in education? Amy Hoffmaster, program design manager in the National Program Department at Citizen Schools, does just this. Citizen Schools is a non-profit organization that offers lowincome middle school students the opportunity to learn from professionals across public, private, and civic sectors in on-campus, afterschool programs across the nation. With an MEd from Harvard and extensive experience in educational development, Amy joined the Boston-based Citizen Schools in 2011. She came in as an Education Pioneers Fellow, writing curricula to prepare professionals working in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math to engage in hands-on projects with students. Amy resonates with Citizen Schools' apprenticeship model that builds
relationships between economically disadvantaged students and economically empowered adults. The model forms strong partnerships between communities and their schools, and eases student transitions into high school, encouraging higher graduation rates. "Inviting citizens to participate in school communities not only deepens the conversation about students' futures, the need for education reform, and the challenges facing teachers and school communities," Amy says, "it also provides incredible access to ideas and networks of professional adults, and fosters a belief in possible career and civic futures for students." Her work to document, research, and refine the organization's core model takes the daily experience of students in their classroom seriously. She seeks to examine educational legislation at both state and community levels in relation to actual classroom success.
"Educational policy frames the work â€” and the pendulum that dictates what is 'effective' â€” dramatically," Amy notes. "In many ways, the country's recent focus on STEM education and workforce development supports our apprenticeship model and has inspired professionals to involve themselves more deeply in the school community and the lives of students." She'd like to see this system become part of the fabric of all urban schools. "We, as an organization, are increasingly guided by recent work that shows what used to be seen as a racial gap in education attainment is much more closely related to class and money," she says. As part of a pioneering non-profit organization focused on education reform, Amy recognizes that professionals in positions of power need to understand students' lives just as much as students need to know how to access that power. Her work advances both. College of the Atlantic Magazine
The Way of the Countryside with Ashlesha Khadse '08
t the grassroots core of democratic struggles stands the fight for food sovereignty: the ability to determine and nourish our own bodily survival as well as that of our communities, our posterity; a struggle to make our food system socially just, culturally diverse, and environmentally sustainable; to let all humanity take control of what we eat and how we produce our food. Ashlesha Khadse works for La Via Campesina, an international movement bringing small-scale food producers together to defend sustainable agriculture. In her position as a technical assistant for the movement across South Asia, Ashlesha facilitates the implementation of collective political decisions made by regional farmer movements. Though much of her work is administrative — attending meetings, fundraising, managing communications, and preparing for press conferences — she also visits the countryside. There, she joins dramatic protests and connects to global farmer movements — including those in Maine. This work has built an internal bridge between the idealism she gained during her college years and the complex, often dissonant realities of social change. "As a newcomer I expected most members to be automatically oriented toward organic farming, to be gender sensitive and politically sensitive," she says. "But in reality most farmers were using chemicals. They were conservative. Often, there were no women in leadership positions." This work has changed both Ashlesha's mind and her methodology — convincing her of the often inefficient, but consistently beneficial practices of inclusiveness, consensus, and participation.
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"I have learned that it is important to understand where people are. Change can only begin from where people are — not from where I think people should be." Currently, Ashlesha is involved with La Via Campesina's agroecological conversion of chemical farms to organic systems — drawing upon the wisdom of local seeds and knowledge. She and her team are documenting a successful "zero-budget natural farming" movement in south India consisting of as many as four million farmers. This method of farming strives to end dependence on expensive external inputs and debt, producing high-quality food while also improving the environment and health of farmers.
black and white — there are all kinds of contradictions in the real world," she says. "There are conflicts within movements, and conflicts between movements seemingly fighting for the same thing. There are divisions between different classes in the agrarian society, and some sections are more marginalized than others. It's important to aim for democracy, but also to realize that it's a long-term process, one which can't be handed to people like a vote."
In India, where farmers are taking their own lives at an average rate of every half hour due to indebtedness, this approach empowers people to employ reserves of local or indigenous knowledge, wisdom that is often sidelined by the government. It also allows farmers to function successfully outside the control of the chemical and seed corporations that have increasingly sought to render them dependent on their products. Ashlesha finds her work both challenging and inspiring. Growing up in a middle-class family, earning an elite education, and traveling extensively have allowed her clarity and courage, as well as moments of deep learning. Citing the idealism of her years at the Mahindra UWC and COA, and her experience in the heart of an international farmers' movement, Ashlesha explains how necessary it is to embrace democratic change as both revolution and evolution. "It takes time, effort, and practice to build democracy. Things are not so
Above: Ashlesha Khadse '08 participates in a climate caravan with farmers and members of La Via Campesina.
At a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee in 2011, Greenpeace delivered a letter to the committee chair, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), urging him to stop supporting the petro-chemical industry's hijacking of chemical security legislation. As part of the protest, John Deans '07 held up a sign labeling Congressman King a "Chemical Security Hijacker."
n the still-dark Orwellian dawn of December 3, 1984, a plume of poisonous gas from a United States-owned Union Carbide pesticide plant asphyxiated Bhopal, India. Thousands perished. Suffering persists. For John Deans, lead toxics campaigner at Greenpeace in Washington, DC, the tragedy points to a dangerously flawed political system where corporate money eclipses public safety. His policy work draws attention to the flaw and how it might be fixed. "Somebody who wants to smoke can choose to put that into their lungs. A person can choose to imbibe alcohol. But a power plant or chemical facility can spew pollutants and you don't get to choose. You are subject to it. In a democracy you should not have those bad decisions made for you," he says. According to John, one in three people in the US live under the interminable 26
shadow of Bhopal — residing dangerously close to one of almost five hundred chemical facilities, each putting more than 100,000 residents at risk of a chemical disaster. That these plants still use highly hazardous substances is outrageous, says John, especially when much safer chemicals and modes of operation are available and affordable. While the US amended the Clean Air Act in 1990 to include what is known as the "Bhopal amendment" — preventing release of dangerous toxins — the legislation has never been fully implemented. John works with a coalition of more than one hundred organizations calling on the Obama administration to enforce the program. Emily Postman deals with similar issues in her work with Maine's Environmental Health Strategy Center, famous for its campaign against the use of the toxic synthetic estrogen bisephonal A, or BPA. Emily's work
looks into the more diffuse, daily impact of chemicals ubiquitous in our lives and homes — in our couch cushions and lipsticks, as she says. "Many chemicals that are linked to birth defects, cancer, obesity, learning disabilities are already in most people's bloodstream — as well as women's breast milk," she says. At the Environmental Health Strategy Center, Emily works to replace the most dangerous chemicals, such as BPA, with safer alternatives through ground-breaking state policy. She also advocates for comprehensive policy reform on a federal level. "Environmental health issues, from the Bhopal disaster to the toxic chemicals found in our bloodstreams, expose the trade-off we're making as a society when we give corporations more power than citizens," Emily says. "Their profits increase, and our poorest and most vulnerable populations get sicker, even though a clear bipartisan majority of the American public wants reform." College of the Atlantic Magazine
(t)Oxic Democracy: Chemicals, Corruption, and What's in Our Blood The work of John Deans '07 and Emily Postman '11 Emily is encouraged that in July, after years of citizen organizing and advocacy, the Safe Chemicals Act passed out of committee and onto the Senate floor. According to the Chicago Tribune — whose investigation of toxic flame retardants captured Congressional attention — the act overhauls a toothless 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, giving the federal government more power to forcibly regulate more than 84,000 chemicals commercially used countrywide. Working with the Environmental Health Strategy Center, Emily recently joined a busload of mothers, nurses, and activists to discuss chemical reform with Maine Senators Olympia Snow and Susan Collins in DC. John also sees a glimmer of hope for chemical reform. After some twenty years of dormancy, the Environmental Protection Agency recently indicated renewed interest in the Bhopal
amendment as a fix to the country's risky chemical conundrum. Following John's numerous meetings with the EPA, Department of Homeland Security, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, he finds encouragement in this development. John is convinced that democracy works best when people with common interests come together to fight for something that matters. While his involvement with resistance and lobbying efforts toward toxic chemical regulation shows promise, he also acknowledges the long, slow road that is policy work. Two decades after the Bhopal amendment was written, it has yet to be realized. How much the EPA will accomplish during the political precariousness of an election year remains uncertain, but John will continue to pressure the Obama administration, regardless of the political winds.
"There's no panacea. No silver bullet," John says, acknowledging at once the necessity and frustration of policy work. "Democracy is dynamic, because the world is dynamic. It's an ecological system, with the push and pull of dynamic diverse interests." Emily agrees. "There's a lot of work to be done," she says, "but it makes me hopeful to see that even in this political climate, with income inequity still rising, the mobilization of moms, doctors, nurses, teachers, and ordinary people across the country has a power that the highest-paid lobbyist will never command." Visit www.thenation.com and search for John Deans to read more about his work. For more on Maine's Environmental Health Strategy Center, visit preventharm.org.
Emily Postman '11 (with sunglasses on her head) listens while a constituent tells Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), on the far right of the photo, about the need for chemical reform. College of the Atlantic Magazine
Tax Dodger photos by Erik McGregor. Maypole photo courtesy of Becky Wartell '09.
Tax Dodgers, Occupy, and the Baseball Hall of Fame The Tax Dodgers, our street performance group, uses baseball to explain how corporations exploit loopholes to control taxes. I'm a cheerleader with the Corporate Loopholes squad. At the Occupy national gathering in Philadelphia the Tax Dodgers played a game against The 99 Percent and paid off the umpire to win. And when Mitt Romney came to Fenway Park we performed outside the stadium. Our uniform is in the Baseball Hall of Fame! Occupy has been an incredible learning experience and networking opportunity. I've been there since the beginning, September 17, 2011, and I've made connections with some of the most talented, passionate organizers of my generation, people I'm going to be organizing with for the rest of my life. The metaphor for Occupy that I have been using recently is that it's like a dandelion puff: we've grown together from the same roots and now the seeds are spreading. I see other movements — the student debt movement, the anti-fracking movement, the fight against Citizens United — taking some of what we've learned at Occupy to make them even stronger. Occupy is everywhere because Wall Street is everywhere. It's completely human ecology — everything is interconnected. — Becky Wartell '09 (pictured at far right at top; far left at bottom) 28
College of the Atlantic Magazine
Praxinoscope 5 â€” Bicycle wheel, cookie tins, flange, flashing, mirrors, and paint, 2Â˝x1 ft.
The Personal, Political, Mysterious Work of Ariel Springfield '06 College of the Atlantic Magazine
My art explores many questions, including those of language, identity, and the systems of understanding them. I am especially concerned with opening up definitions in language to encompass those who do not conform, and with addressing power dynamics — not by relocating the power, but by dispersing it — by valuing the roles of contradiction, myth, and synchronicity in society. This is what I contemplate when I am working with wood, fibers, and sequins; understanding them as elements of a body, symbols of a system. I am constantly collecting found objects. They interest me because of the history they hold and the stories they tell. In this way they remind me of bodies. I relate to the fibers of wood, wool, and steel as representations of the body. The ability of an object to be itself and simultaneously represent something else is very powerful to me. It plays an inherent role in my understanding of queer identity. It is not that I believe the contradiction of simultaneous states creates a conflict, but rather that it opens up language and definition. The sculptures on these pages explore the idea of home as myth. I am interested in narratives and myths because they are interpretations of an experience. They attempt to explain realities that are complex and conflicted. The Praxinoscope (literally "action-maker") is an early form of animation. It operates through the use of mirrors that reﬂect a series of images in a rotating canister, creating the illusion of motion. By segmenting movement into stills and reanimating it, a visual myth is created. — Ariel Springfield Durrant '06
Above: Five Hairy Objects — Shaving brush, miniature yarn ball, human hair, paint brush head, fur wad, all smaller that 2x2 in. From Five Objects and a Story: Group Show, curated by Emmett Ramstad. Photo by Torreya Cummings. Opposite top: Praxinoscope 2 — Wood, sequins, mirrors, lazy Susan, hand drill, and scrap metal, 1½x2 ft, Bottom: Praxinoscopes 1 & 2 — Spring-form pan, metal dish, lazy Susan, drawer handles, mirrors, and fur. Both from Best Revenge: Group Show, curated by Caitlin Sweet and Lex Non Scripta. All photos of this series by Ariel Springfield Durrant '06. 30
College of the Atlantic Magazine
A MAN IS NOT A STAR [Silverado] by Josie Sigler '94 A man does not set himself on fire. A man works. Strapped to the ceiling, dangling over a half-made truck, he welds, he solders, twelve hours, fourteen hours, weekends, overtime. Thus, he is tired at day's end. He does not lie awake, waiting out the dark hours open-eyed and jittery, shocked by the few quick splashes that haunt the bridge of his wife's nose, headlights from the rare car out in this weather — folks coming home from the VFW hall a mile up the road. A man enjoys a beer. His first beer, he enjoys the most. Twelve years old. Pabst on tap. Bunch of old drunks leaning over card tables, slapping him on the back. The women biting their Virginia Slims Menthols, hugging his boyish face to their breasts. His father's hand ghosting itself on the chilled mug and the beer was so smooth — Or was it bitter? Yes, that's right. Before he was a man, he had looked around that hall and silently vowed never to go to war. He couldn't bear the thought of losing a leg, the terror that rose in him whenever he saw the strange pattern of burns that moved down his father's back like red-bellied snakes in a fallow cornfield — No. A man is courageous. He is willing to fight. Sometimes he is just born in a good month, has the right letter beginning his last name, misses the draft, lands himself a fine job. But this is not how a man's memory works, the truth slipping back and forth like that painting thick with blue and yellow paint. Painted by a madman, his wife had said. 32
Of course, a man pays no attention to art, and his soul certainly does not slip a bit in his chest over a damned painting. But maybe he could make an exception for this guy, crazy or not, who had captured so exactly the landscape of his youth, the blurred lights of distant smokestacks rising up beyond the hills, blazing in the night. Those are stars, his smallest daughter said. A man knows when he's bested. He could have simply replied: Sure are. Instead, he shrugged, turned his tooclean hands up and stuffed them useless into his pockets, wandered off. When no one was looking, he tore the painting out of the magazine and filed it deep in his wallet. A man does not tremble in the dark as he extracts himself from a woman's arms. He pulls on his old white tube socks, union suit, greasestained Wranglers, flannel, UAW hat — Local 594, Pontiac Assembly Center, used to be Truck and Bus in the good old days. A man loves these clothes even if a woman hates them, even if she's wished for him in a suit and tie or even in one of those faggy black turtlenecks the guys in her art magazines wear with pleated beige pants.
Though she might tell you otherwise, a woman born and bred in Michigan loves a Big Three Man, the black-crusted half-moon fingernails, the life-line on his palms a telling river of oil. A man like that can always reassure a woman. He never has to tiptoe away like a criminal. A loser. An idiot who could have just gone ahead and enlisted like everybody else, gotten his balls all full College of the Atlantic Magazine
SHORT FICTION From The Galaxie and Other Rides short stories by Josie Sigler '94, published in June 2012 by Livingston Press of The University of West Alabama.
of Agent Orange. If he'd survived, he'd at least have benefits to offer his family. Something besides the life insurance policy sold to him by that shiny-faced guy who went door-todoor. A man does not dream up accidents, no matter how much nothing he finds turning out his pockets. Before a man leaves the house College of the Atlantic Magazine
in the night, he checks on his girls. His youngest has crawled in with the middle girl on the bottom bunk. Their faces are pressed together as if they have been telling secrets. The middle girl loves to dance — at least, she used to love it, wandered around in a tutu most of her secondgrade year. He took her to the VFW hall with him once — a secret he knew she'd keep from her mother. There, he twirled her, taught her to do the Achy Breaky Heart. Now she's dyed her hair green and wears nothing but the tattered black T-shirts she's scavenged from her brother's closet. She looks like a mourning leprechaun and he tells her so. Goddamnit, now. A man stands beside the women in his life, does
not leave them to fend for themselves. A man pays for their weddings, sends them to college. He's worth more alive than dead. He looks at the face of his oldest daughter, the one who dreamed of going away to school but settled for some classes up at the community college. Because a man never thinks about what he takes from a woman, he's erased the memory of that desperate year when everyone was out a job — Flint was closing — and this girl sat awake with him like a woman at the table in that small trailer at four in the morning while her mother scrubbed the floor of an office building in the city, trying to make up the difference. He was drunk. He cried. A real man walks his girl back to bed, tucks her in with a glass of milk — real milk from a jug with a red cap, Vitamin D fortified, not that powdered crap issued by the state. He tells her to have sweet dreams even if worry 33
and loneliness drown his heart. He hardly knows this daughter now. She is for another man to know. A man might pause briefly at his son's empty room. He does not lift a white undershirt to his nose and inhale, trying to get at the musky smell that remains in the cotton. He picks up his boy's football and tosses it up in the air to watch it spin and come neatly back to his palm, but he does not hold it in the crook of his arm and think of his boy as a baby: sweetfaced, too kind to murder anyone, even for his country. He presses the button on the fire detector to make sure the green light still flashes, but he does not send its small bleep echoing through the hallway until his youngest girl moans for him to stop. A man takes pleasure in passing through the door to his garage. It's just your standard door, but it leads to his own world. And at least once a week he's entitled to fiddle at his workbench or sit in a green plastic yard chair amidst the junk cars, wound up orange extension cords, and old power tools. A man smokes and sips whiskey, warms his feet by the small kerosene heater, listens to the old country songs his girls hate. Hick music, they call it. A man knows he's not a hick. He's not an alcoholic. He's worked hard in his lifetime. Thus, a man has to have his space. He can't have his foreman screaming in one ear and his wife in the other twenty-four seven. A man does not hunt the shelves frantically and nearly weep to find that he gave the last of the kerosene to the neighbors. Everybody's hurting. It's a man's job to make sure the people he knows get what they need. It's a man's job to solve difficult problems. He'll have to take some canisters up to Larry's. It's the Super America now, open twenty-four hours, but before that it was just Larry's, open 'til ten. He emerges from the side door of the garage carrying in his flanneled arms two old gas canisters from his boat, one of them slightly dented, a crease in the red paint that bothers his thumbnail. He stares into the 34
snowy sky, suddenly remembering those barn kittens his brothers did that autumn long ago â€” No, he was never so green, a virgin in his thirteenth spring, and helpless. He was never thin enough to fall in with the young saplings at the pasture's edge where he watched his brothers hold those late summer kittens by their tails and dip them into a bucket of gasoline. The kittens mewed and arched their terrified backs. Don't do it. Please. He'd never beg like that. Surely he admired his brothers' rippling arms as they hefted the burlap sack. They said the kittens would be like balls of fire rolling down the road. Hot damn. A man does not hate his brothers for their cruelty, even if his girls do hate them, even if the middle girl, upon hearing this story, says she'll never talk to Uncle Buddy again. But a man can't hold a grudge against a guy whose wife hasn't given it up for years. A man does not think: If I were his wife, I'd sleep in another bed, too. Kitten-Killer. This is the equation between father and daughter: He protects and cares for her. He asks nothing in exchange. He swears he'll murder anyone who hurts her. And maybe he does it, too. A man does not leave a house full of women for two years and his son barely sixteen, even if General Motors says: it's that or lose his job. This middle daughter, the one who looks most like him, was eleven when they forced him to take the transfer to Baltimore. There, a lost bird, wounded, flew onto the balcony of his shitty apartment where he lived by himself. He set its wing, nursed it back to health. A man does not believe the bird was his daughter's spirit calling him home to save her. When he's returned to his family and takes his girl on his knee only to have her cringe away, a man gets angry about what happened to her, not scared. Tonight his breath is a cloud in the air and his truck â€” beautiful
Silverado 1500 extended cab, halfton, American-made â€” leaves tracks that will soon be covered by more loose white powder. He takes the back roads where he taught his boy to drive. A man loves the moment his boy understands the release of the clutch and the pickup chugs violently forward. It was spring, then. Everything was green. A man does not imagine the moment his boy's shaved blonde skull is destroyed by shrapnel, grenade, bullet. It's probably the middle of the day in Iraq and his son might be driving over some gravelly dusty road, maybe thinking of him, too. It's hot and sunny in the desert and a man who believes in his country and its power has to believe his boy is safe because his boy has always been brave. Courage, a man thinks, leads to surviving any risk. A man is proud of his boy, weapons of mass destruction or no. His boy was the only person who understood how close they had come so many times to losing everything. These are the things with which a man trusts a son: layoffs, bankruptcies, strikes, the houses that seemed to slip through his hands like so much sand. A man can admit this much of the past: the harder he held to any life, the faster it ran out, and at the last moment, when it seemed he had grasped something solid, it was skin on skin. But he tries not to think about the jobs he worked during the lean years. He's proud of how he and the boy managed things, but won't tell you about stints sweeping parking lots, selling vacuum cleaners, mopping floors right alongside his wife. Jobs you can't even find anymore. The boy took up a Sunday paper route to bring in grocery money. That's a good boy. But a man does not consider the days he came home, exhausted and dirty, to find his son, just thirteen, patching a hole in the roof or his daughter wearing an apron while her mother slept, all of them forging the signatures on the report cards and stifling their thick winter coughs in College of the Atlantic Magazine
a chorus of grateful suffocation. He does not ask: what must that have been like? That childhood? Some creep pulled his middle daughter into a car as she walked home from her dance class and opened her body. Her father was not there to gather her as the others in their sheer pink tights were gathered by their fathers. A man does not
compact his mother opened to take the shine from her nose in church. But the snow does not suddenly smell to him of incense — a kind of clean, washed holiness. The stars do not become her eyes, staring at him, admonishing him. A man does not remember how that swift drift of frankincense clung to her even as she walked out into a bright Sunday
Though she might tell you otherwise, a woman born and bred in Michigan loves a Big Three Man, the black-crusted half-moon fingernails, the life-line on his palms a telling river of oil.
pretend this did not happen. He doesn't lock himself in his garage and drink whiskey. He doesn't rest until he finds out who he ought to kill. He remembers a particular pair of eyes in the VFW hall one of those twirling nights, a specific skinny punk playing basketball in the park. But a man does not look at other men and discover every single one is the one who hurt his girl. He guns the engine. The white cloud that lifts into the air behind his tires might give him a flash of the College of the Atlantic Magazine
afternoon. A man does not bury his face for just a moment in the grey curls that peek out from the green silk kerchief. He does not suddenly hold his mother with an urge strong as sex to press her birdlike ribs against his cotton T-shirt. If she dies the next morning, if her body lies on the floor in the hallway for three days before he stops in and finds her, a man is allowed a field or two of open grief. But no more. Paused briefly at the junction where he'll turn onto the highway,
even a man will admire — just briefly — how the snow's weighed down the long broad arms of the pine trees so they are like his mother was too, carrying so much but still standing, still moving toward him. A man doesn't ask: What would she think if she could see him now? Were her sacrifices worth nothing to him? And his father! Second Infantry, Indianhead Division. His father was pushed face down in a pile of muck along the Yalu River in Korea, taken prisoner. His old man didn't lay eyes on him until he was three years old. A man does not admit that he was scared of the strange soldier who limped up the driveway from the mailbox. That he is still scared of the man who thrashed him for forgetting to latch the gate to the hog pen, for spying on his sisters, for crying when Sister Margaret rapped his knuckles because he insisted on writing with his left hand. A man admits he had it coming. He had it coming every time it came. His old man did the best he could. Having endured the cherry-hot pincers that left the scars on his back, his pops should not have had to endure, too, raising a son fond of watercolors, a quiet boy who loved to sit in the corner of the kindergarten class and stare at A Child's Introduction to Art. A father should not have to tolerate a boy who cried like a baby when his brothers played some stupid prank with a bunch of useless barn cats. And if a father does get stuck with such a son, why would that son subject him to this final insult? This final sissy act? And what about his own son coming back from Iraq to find — No. A man wouldn't even think about this. He would not, in fact, think of any of this — except perhaps that his father was a hero for having endured Death Valley and it means he is a hero's son even if he did not sign up to go to Vietnam. A man swings his legs from his truck, feels the slight crunch as his feet sink into the unplowed parking lot. He is full of pride, not shame, 35
as he walks into the station, shakes his sodden boots off on the mat and greets an old buddy with a slap on the back. Ain't the same, he thinks, now that the Super America come in and razed everything, got rid of the porch and the salvage out back. The old men in UAW hats who read the paper there, too, seem to have disappeared. A man rolls with the changes. He doesn't use grief or fear, insomnia or depression. He says his balls are still on midnights after all those years of taking what he could get. He doesn't say unfair. Those fuckers who buy foreign, he says. Fucking gas prices and President Fucking Bush. Larry says he thinks that's the real name his momma give him. A man says, Bailouts or no, I'm getting raped. Larry asks how the boy is over there. A man nods, tightens his lips. The boy's holding up. He's carrying fifty-six pounds of gear on his lanky frame through the Iraqi desert. A man can face the footage — thank God on CNN and not their local news — in which his boy — he knew it was his boy right away — kicks the body of a dead Iraqi. For sport, the reporter had said. Sport. A man doesn't whine, even to himself: What else could my son do? What choice did my boy have? He says: That's what war can do to a man. It changes a man on the level of the blood. A father simply accepts a fiercer son, one whose face revealed his pleasure, not his rage, as he slammed his heavy foot into that body. Larry cracks a beer even though it's past two in the morning. A man pounds his friend on the back some more — nothing in the world as good
as putting beer on your whiskey — and drains the Stroh's to the can's bottom. He could ask Larry for more whiskey and Larry'd surely pony it up, but only if a guy'll say something about why he's here in the middle of the night. Fight with his wife. Trouble with the neighbors. No time for
A man, after carousing, returns himself to a woman who stood by him while other families were broken by layoffs and shutdowns and fear. He forgets all of those things that could have sent a jagged crack into their union, wakes in the morning, drinks a hot cup of coffee. Maybe he buys
A man's boat has his own wife's name on the side and its tiny engine is not rigged to the gunnel with a coat hanger. His boat ranks up there with his truck, his tackle, his favorite wrench.
fishing. But a man cannot tell an old buddy the truth. He can't turn to Larry as they come back in through the milk crates and toilet paper and hold him and say that he just can't take it anymore. He says his garage heater's out — he's trying to watch the replays of the game — asks about the kerosene. Them red cans are for gasoline. Can't letcha fill 'em with the kerosene, buddy, Larry says. You shitting me? he asks. No way no how. Super America rules. Crock of shit, a man says. But he takes this in stride like a man would, chooses gasoline. Careful with that, Larry says. Can't use it in the kerosene lamp. But a man can do most anything the packaging of an appliance warns you not to do. And he does not think: Bingo. The insurance company will eat that up like candy. Go home to your wife, now, asshole, Larry says.
some nightcrawlers and tries his luck in the lake. But after that, what does he do? What does he do if there is no place to make cars? The first time he peered under the hood of an old Model-T, that tangle of rubber and metal was more familiar to him in a glance than his own innards and veins, more familiar than the women he loved in that car paid for with his own barnyard sweat every Sunday. And once he bought it, he was a man. A car was what made you a man. A man, everyone's got to understand, cannot just sit around with his union suit hanging out of his jeans and watch The Geography Channel all damned day. A man does not, as he hauls those stinking canisters into the garage, merely shrug when his woman appears at the door in her tattered grey robe to ask: It's midwinter. It's the middle of the night. What's the need for gasoline, now? She's thinking it's the house he's going to do.
College of the Atlantic Magazine
A man takes her in his arms, says, I would never risk that. We're going to make it, a man says. He tells her they were out of kerosene. His feet were cold. A man does not get nervous when she rests her hand on the small green aluminum boat as if she's going to stay awhile. A man is never forced to sell his real boat, the one that carried him far enough out into the blue to feel he had escaped, to claim a dented patchling like this one. A man's boat has his own wife's name on the side and its tiny engine is not rigged to the gunnel with a coat hanger. His boat ranks up there with his truck, his tackle, his favorite wrench. If a woman persists in her Why now? stance, a man tells her that it's just an Irish errand, as his mother always said when she did something he could not understand. A man kisses his worried wife's forehead, and sends her back to bed. He does not stare for long hours out the window from his seat in the garage. He's made to last. He's like a rock. A man makes a truck and drives the truck he's made. He smells of the factory — oil, grease, sweat — where he has worked for thirty-one years. He believes the great American automobile will rise again. He might tease his sweet and ruined daughter as she walks through
the garage just after dawn, all gelled up and ready for school. She might say, Anything wrong, Dad? Not a thing, he says. He smiles and rubs his hand over her spiked hair, asks why, when God give her such nice hair, she's done the shit she's done to it. Even though they both know why, a man and his daughter laugh. A man simply does not do this thing in front of her, his bird who doubles back, worried. He does not give his youngest this constellation as she cries and pounds on the glass of the garage door leading to the kitchen and screams: No. Nor does he do this in front of his oldest — a man does not offer her this dream, unforgettable, burned onto her eyelids for the rest of her life so that she never sleeps again without seeing it: this flailing, spinning, screaming angel of fire whose wings rise suddenly into the rafters. A man does not do this to a woman who loved him when he was down to nothing and fed him and his children and in all the years he's known her has never once hurt him or them nor complained. A woman who smiled every time she felt him watching her in the dark. A man does not do this —
But he's not a man, anymore. Freed from all the rules he's ever known, he bolts his side of the garage door. He wails as he would have his entire life if a man were allowed to wail. He opens the cap on one of the canisters and holds it over his head. He pours and shakes his hair, the way his murderer son used to do with water between plays on the football field. He even opens his mouth, letting the gasoline coat his tongue, sting his nostrils. It soaks him, trickles down into his shoes. Because he wants to be sure of this thing, he empties the second canister. He makes sure the kerosene heater gets a good dose and stands before it. He takes up a match. They are behind the glass of the door. Their eyes and mouths beg. His wife brings up her fist wrapped in the sleeve of her tattered terry-cloth robe to break the door's glass, but not soon enough. He wants to stop, let her save him again. But they'll be better off without him. He strikes it. A man would find another way. If he were a man, he'd be sorry. But if he had a whole town, he'd be the thick yellow moon in the sky. He'd never waver. If he painted himself, he'd be the bright star rising above the trees and he'd sail right over everything that's left here.
"A Man Is Not A Star" first appeared in the journal Hunger Mountain in 2011. The collection won the Tartt First Fiction Award for previously unpublished books of fiction. Josie Sigler was born in downriver Detroit and grew up in the Midwest. She is the author of two poetry books, The Chapbook Calamity , published by Proem Press and living must bury , winner of the 2010 Motherwell Prize, published by Fence Books. Among other acknowledgements at the close of this volume, she offers this: "Thanks to Karen Waldron and Bill Carpenter for putting me on my path as a younger writer. Every writer should have teachers as generous as you were to me at seventeen years old."
College of the Atlantic Magazine
By Abigail Dunn '13
The crows and I feel how close is too close. When I pass them in the woods, they always crouch the same way â€” wings out and low with legs bent, prepared to fly and we can feel the thickness between us; then they take off with quick flaps. But this morning, when I was walking down Ash Street, the crow I often see, who has one foot which dangles loosely below her belly when she flies, was pecking in the dewy grass and the few seconds longer it took her to decide if she must strain to raise herself from the ground as I passed, wrung me until my kneecaps cracked.
And then she took off, leaving me limp and crippled on the cement, she flew across the road with her right leg hanging in the air, her grey talon brushing against the wind.
Collegeofof the Atlantic Magazine Illustration by Carrie Graham, George B. Dorr Museum Natural History supervisor.
Alumni N o t e s 1981
This May, Bev Agler graduated with a PhD in fisheries from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In response to the hooding ceremony, she writes, "It was sort of cool when they officially introduced me as Dr. Agler." Jean Hoekwater '80 (pictured far right) attended. Bev's thesis was on chum salmon and climatic factors. "It only took 10 years, but I have a full-time job! Now I'm not quite sure what to do with all my free time, but I went off to Madagascar for a birding and lemur trip in October." Janet Biondi has been living in northern California since 1997, after seven years on the island of Kauai where her daughter Tessa, 19, was born. In 2009 she went to Tuscany for certification in Active Release Techniques, a type of myofascial release/sports therapy, and now has the practice Biondi Sports Therapy in her home office in Mount Shasta. She writes, "I am continuing to paint, play my fiddle a bit, fly fish â€” and I have a great circle of friends. I'm feeling grateful for this wonderful life!"
1982 Andy Bennett and wife Dorothy are nearing their 30th anniversary. Isabel, their oldest child, attends Bard College while twin daughters Iris and Lilly are in eighth grade. Having practiced architecture in Boston for 15 years, Andy recently joined the renowned design firm Perkins+Will. College of the Atlantic Magazine
He writes, "I am quite excited as P+W fully embodies sustainable design, encourages material health in the built environment, and created many recent LEED platinum-certified projects. My work services many leading companies contributing to the rich and dynamic growth of biotechnology in the Boston area and beyond. I am feeling a lot of the same headiness and participatory potential that I enjoyed 30 years ago when I stood with 30 (or so) others to receive our COA degrees, ready to tackle the great challenges." Liz Cunningham and husband Charlie celebrated their 10th anniversary and are enjoying life in the Berkeley, California hills, taking comfort that
1985 After 18 years, Jim Senter and partner Glaeshia O'Rourke completed their house, the latest addition to Potluck Farm, an intentional community 25 miles north of Durham, North Carolina. Adding photovoltaic panels and modern materials to a traditional vernacular farmhouse, their new home is something old and something new.
1988 Dorie Stolley has opened a new business, Three Birds Consulting, specializing in communication needs for conservation and environmental organizations, including social media, science writing, and behavior change campaigns.
when the deer and gophers graze in their garden, at least the wildlife are eating local. Liz is completing a book on ocean conservation. Entitled Ocean Country, it looks at conservation issues in four key regions of the world. Liz awaits travels to Indonesia to write about marine biodiversity in Raja Ampat and the Bajo Sea nomads in Sulawesi. Read more at lizcunningham.net.
1983 Cara Guerrieri writes, "Three kids and nearly 30 years after graduating, I've earned an MFA in creative writing from Western State Colorado University." Cara will be an adjunct faculty member at WSCU this fall.
In April, Dina Petrillo installed an exhibit of her prints at Castle Galeazza run by Clark Lawrence '92. Jim Cole and Noreen Hogan '91 joined her for this trip to Italy. Their visit overlapped with the travel of faculty member Ken Cline and staff member Jen Hughes. Due to May's earthquake damage to the castle, Clark has relocated Reading Retreats in Rural Italy to Corte Eremo, Mantova.
1992 Lelania (Prior) Avila writes "A series of workshops I offered last winter on The Toolshed of My Heart were well received, and I've recently accepted the title 'Self-Care Queen.'Â I'm discovering what continual effort it is to practice mindful consumption, and have become a NIABY (Not In Anyone's Back Yard). I'm steadily trying to ensure my brainwashing is done with biodegradable soap, preferring Dr. Bronner's All-One to the green-washing substitutes. I'm finding comfort in my recent alignment with 39
the 13-moon natural time calendar for peace (13moon.com) and have more creativity, energy, and balance in my daily life. My family's transition to Northeast Harbor, Maine has been rewarding. I can be reached at oasis@ heartcraftcalligraphy.com."
with us just seven days later. 2012 has been a wild and wonderful ride!"
2000 Meg (West) Westfox earned her BS in nursing and RN in an accelerated program at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She is living with her husband, Matthew, in Springfield, Massachusetts.
In August, Jeff Miller rode a fiveday, 400-mile bike tour around the northern half of Vermont with 15-year-old Will Greene (son of Craig Greene, late faculty member in botany). Not only did Will beat Jeff in climbing each of the hundreds of hills they rode, Will did his first "century," slept his first night in a treehouse, and did some sweet single-track mountain biking in the legendary Northeast Kingdom Trails out of East Burke.
Scott Bishop's firm Stoss Landscape Urbanism, a critical, collaborative design and planning studio based in Boston, Massachusetts, won the 2012 National Design Award in the category of Landscape Architecture from Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. The prestigious award recognizes remarkable and exemplary work in park and garden design or urban planning. Scott participated in the Teen Design Fair (above photo), held prior to the award luncheon at the White House.
1993 CedarBough Saeji has completed her PhD in culture and performance at UCLA.
1996 "What a year we've had!"Â writes Nikki Grimes. "Audrey and I decided last October that we wanted to add a child to our family and set about putting things in place. The first step was to move to a larger home, so we spent all of December reviving our 860-squarefoot home â€” painting, cleaning, and making a few small repairs. The house hit the market mid-January and sold after just four showings. We then set out on a whirlwind of house tours and failed offers. We searched far and wide, ultimately finding the perfect home about 100 yards from the one we sold! In July, we applied to be foster parents and a newborn was placed 40
On April 24, Alison Knabe Golden, husband John, and Jack, age 2.5, welcomed Milo Vincent.
1999 Mindi (Meltz) Friedwald created mythicaldreams.com to introduce her mythical novel series, Lonely in the Heart of the World, which she hopes will be published soon. The beginning of the first volume is available at the website, which includes a blog to spark conversation about dreams including reflection, interpretation, and inspiration. Mindi welcomes feedback.
In her new position as a program manager at the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network of the Museum of Science, Boston, Nicole D'Avis planned the Teen Summit 2012: "Design Your Future, Change the World." This event brought nearly 300 teens from around the globe together to express their ideas with highend technologies, including graphic design, animation, music, radio and film documentary, and 3-D modeling. Nicole hopes to fund COA interns to work on this project.
2003 Hope Rowan, MPhil, has ramped up her GIS consulting work to create Western Mountain Mapping, westernmountainmapping.com, based out of her recently purchased home in Southwest Harbor, Maine. In addition to providing mapping services and training in geospatial technologies to local organizations and towns, she creates personalized "commemorative maps" highlighting aspects of visitors' time in Acadia, including places visited, trails hiked, and geographically referenced photos.
2005 Jacquelyn Gill defended her PhD in geography at the University of Wisconsin in July. She writes, "In the spirit of my growing respect for the power of social media and open science, I live-streamed my defense seminar worldwide. For my dissertation I examined the ecological impacts of the extinction of ice-age herbivores in the Great Lakes region. My work suggests that the loss of megafaunal browsers and grazers, combined with climate change, College of the Atlantic Magazine
resulted in the formation of novel ecosystems that flourished during the transition from the last ice age to our current warm interglacial. I blog about this and other long-term perspectives at The Contemplative Mammoth (contemplativemammoth. wordpress.com). In August, I started as a Voss Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University where I'll be working with biogeographer Dov Sax and paleoeclimatologist Jim Russell. As in my dissertation, I'll be working on a project that brings a paleoperspective to a modern global change question." Follow her on Twitter: @JacquelynGill After more than five years teaching at the Chewonki Semester School, Marjolaine Whittlesey is now living in Portland, Maine, launching North Yarmouth Academy's French Mastery Program, and finishing up a master's thesis on French theater in Maine. When she has time, she hops on the planks of local community theaters.
2007 With the sponsorship of a graduate fellowship, Maria Lis Baiocchi has begun a PhD in anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh. Her studies will focus on sociocultural anthropology. Charlie Fischer is assistant manager of the EMS store in Hadley, Massachusetts, and preparing for a summer climb of Mont Blanc, the birthplace of modern mountaineering and, at 4,810.45 meters, the highest point in western Europe.
University. She interned in the Corporate Communications office at the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network this summer and continues to work for the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society in Springfield, Massachusetts, which she calls "a meaningful part of my life." She lives with her cat, Nokomis, whom she adopted after her COA internship at the Camden-Rockport Animal Rescue League. Kate's fife and drum corps, Connecticut Valley Field Music, traveled to Basel, Switzerland, for the 2012 Basel Muster in June, one of six US corps to perform in Basel and Liestal, Switzerland. Find them at facebook.com/ctvalleyfieldmusic.
2008 At the base of Jordan Pond, after a long hike, David Francis proposed to COA staff member Danielle Meier this spring. Their two cats were delighted with the merger, as they received celebratory wet food when the couple came home. (More on Dani under Dru Colbert in Community Notes.)
2009 Josh Helser-Howard and Madeline Helser-Howard ('11) were recently married. They have two rescue dogs, Odis and Elmer, two rescue cats, Kenmore and Reginald, and live in Richmond, Indiana. Josh co-manages 12 acres of land, most of which
Kate Sheely is studying for an MS in interactive media at Quinnipiac
is covered with organic gardens, berry bushes, and fruit trees, at Patchwork Gardens in nearby New Lebanon, Ohio. The farm has a CSA and year-round fresh produce: College of the Atlantic Magazine
patchworkgardens.net. As a children's librarian in town, Madeline organized a summer reading program around urban gardening and farming.
2010 Noah Hodgetts, who started a twoyear master's in urban and regional policy program at Northeastern University, received the first annual Tikkun Alum Award from the Rashi School. This past summer he interned for the Director of Policy Development and Implementation at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, doing a combination of policy, planning, and mapping work.
2011 In the inaugural class of service members, Grace Cherubino completed a year with FoodCorps during which she built and maintained three educational school and community gardens, and taught elementary school students about healthy eating, farming, and sustainability.Â She now has embarked on a completely different track â€” making Tiki mugs (ScallywagCeramics. com). She writes, "This is really exciting for me because since leaving COA I haven't been able to do ceramics, an art form that is very close to my heart!"
2012 After graduation, Matthew Doyle Olson, MPhil, moved to his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin and started a fellowship at Edgewood College in their sustainability leadership program, providing opportunities for graduate students and local leaders to talk about, plan for, and launch projects that will affect the city's future. Matthew is working for the Integrated Pest Management Institute to help design a fresh produce sustainability standard and rating system, identifying pesticide risk, fertilizer applications, water use, and energy use. Excited to be part of the process for this cutting-edge tool, he 41
will work on the program's design, communications, training, launch, management, and evaluation.
Family & Alumni Weekend October 5â€“8, 2012
Marina Garland and Hank Ainley were married in the hayfield behind Hank's farmhouse with guests and sheep looking on. Marina writes, "Hank and I wrote our own vows and Corrine Boet-Whitaker '14, Rowanna Herndon '13, and I sang a wedding song, then we had a potluck followed by a contra dance. A big COA crew helped families and other friends with everything from picking mint for sun tea, to cutting wildflowers, to setting up the potluck food, to singing while washing mountains of dishes (no disposables of course), to teaching folks how to contra dance!" In the photo are (front row): Erika Georgaklis '14, Hank, Marina, Lindsey Erickson, Rowanna, Hale
Morrell, Lucy Atkins, Caitlin Thurrell '11, Corinne, Robin Kuehn '10, Kira Weintraub, faculty member in biology Helen Hess; (back row): Abigail Dunn '13, Caitlyn Ebbenga, Solomon Spigel, faculty members Chris Petersen, Ken Cline, and Todd LittleSiebold, staff member Jen Hughes, Luka Negoita '11, Franklin Jacoby, Philip Walter '11, Zach Whalen '11, and Ryan Woofenden '13.
Clockwise from top: Andrea Abrell '96 and Michelle, wife of Damon Lear '95, with their families aboard the Starfish Enterprise, captained by Eddie Monat '88; Bonnie Tai leads a session on visioning Educational Studies over the next 25 years; Joshua Noddin '16 with his family at the welcome reception at The Turrets.
A lu m n i r e s o u r c e s Wanted: Notes for COA
Send your notes to Dianne Clendaniel, alumni relations and development coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update your contact information: Phone: 207-801-5624 Email: email@example.com Website: www.coa.edu/alumni
Looking for career and resumĂŠ guidance? Graduate school and networking opportunities? Information about the new internships and jobs Google group? Access to employment databases? Contact Jill Barlow-Kelley, director of internships and career services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-801-5633.
Black Fly Society
The Black Fly Society is the eco-friendly way to give to COA. To join this monthly giving society, go to www.coa.edu/support and click "Give A Gift Online" on the left-hand side. Under the "Gift Frequency" drop-down menu, choose "Monthly." Submit your gift, and you're done! Questions? 207-801-5622.
College of the Atlantic Magazine
In Memoriam Marion Meschter Kane January 2, 1945–August 20, 2012
Photograph courtesy of The Maine Community Foundation.
Marion Kane first came to College of the Atlantic in 1972 with her husband Dan, a founding faculty member, and her two sons. She began working for the college as director of public relations in the early 1980s. After the July 1983 fire that destroyed Kaelber Hall, Marion wrote about the resilience of the faculty and staff, of their commitment to rebuild, to start anew. Marion's articles, some of which were published nationally, and her quiet conversations with the college's many supporters, played a pivotal role in ensuring that the college would reopen and eventually triumph. In late 1983 she joined Ed Kaelber, COA founding president, in starting the Maine Community Foundation; in 1989 she became its director. Marion moved to Boston to head the Barr Foundation in 2000 and retired from there in 2008.
I have many memories of Marion — she was a friend, a colleague, a successful CEO, but mostly I remember Marion for her compassion, courage, independent spirit, and graciousness. She never faltered in her support of Dan as his Lou Gehrig's disease progressed and eventually took his life; and she fought and triumphed over her own cancer in much the same way. In her reflections on life's journey, Marion wrote about "how profoundly moved" she was by the thoughtful way Dan "conducted his final journey. Walking with him on that path had many gifts for me. It taught me that you can't measure a life in terms of time and that there is an art to being 'finished' when you die." Marion's can-do, unflappable attitude was recently exemplified by her two-year-old granddaughter, Tessa. I had stopped by the Kane home in Somesville; it was drizzling and Tessa, in her red boots, was ready to go out to play. The drizzle quickly turned to a downpour, but Tessa, like her grandmother, was not to be deterred: she opened her umbrella and jauntily went outside. Anne Kozak, faculty member in writing
Peter H. Liotta September 16, 1956–August 31, 2012 Poet, author, scholar, pilot, and international relations expert, Pete Liotta was a friend of the college whose extensive knowledge illuminated the interdisciplinary Twentieth Century and Turn of the Century classes I co-taught with John Anderson and JoAnne Carpenter. He touched many students with his knowledge, compassion, and humility. The author of seventeen books, a former US Air Force pilot and military attaché, Peter also served as Fulbright lecturer and poet-inresidence in the former Yugoslavia. He directed the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy for six years, and was a professor of political science and humanities at Salve Regina University at the time of his death. Bill Carpenter, faculty member in literature and creative writing
John Guard Darrah ('89) April 26, 1966–September 7, 2012 John Darrah was an activist who started college at COA in 1985, but left a year later to join the Great Peace March, walking across the nation to promote nuclear disarmament. He eventually graduated from UC Berkeley, where he helped to lead campus protests; he then began developing low-income housing in San Francisco, and later received an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. He was developing mixed-use, often environmentally sustainable projects around the nation when he died, tragically: John was swimming in Flathead Lake near Polson, Montana when he was struck by a boat, leaving behind a wife and two young daughters — and memories of happier times. Donna Gold
College of the Atlantic Magazine
community N o t e s Deep Things Out of Darkness: A History of Natural History by John Anderson, COA's William H. Drury, Jr. Chair in Evolution, Ecology, and Natural History will be published in February by the University of California Press. In August, when John and three students presented at the North American Ornithological Conference in Vancouver, BC, COA provided one-quarter of the undergraduate offerings: John on colony collapse in herring and great black-backed gulls,
ecology section activities and serving in ESA's mentor program. Along with Rob Dyball, director of the human ecology program at Australia National University, Rich took on an ESA history project leading up to the society's 2015 centennial conference. Rich is also on the planning committee for the XIXth International Conference of the Society for Human Ecology in Canberra, Australia this February.
Faculty member in chemistry Don Cass began developing a nutrient budget for some of Beech Hill Farm's acreage to be sure the fields are getting enough of the nutrients they need — and not too much. With faculty member in biology Chris Petersen and Friends of Casco Bay, Don also developed preliminary measurements of acidification at Hadley Point on MDI.
Faculty member in mathematics and chemistry Ryan Bouldin has just become a father. On July 19, he and his wife Elizabeth welcomed their baby girl Flory Michael Bouldin. Ryan has been invited to join the scientific advisory council of the Environmental Health Strategy Center in Portland, Maine. Read about its work in the profile of Emily Postman '11, pg. 26.
Matt Dickinson '12 on sparrow nestsite selection on Maine's Great Duck Island, Kathryn Shlepr '13 on the impact of bald eagle predation on herring gulls in Maine, and Lindsey Nielsen '13 (above photo) on the implications of offshore wind power for birds.
Dean of Development Lynn Boulger hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc in September with her husband Tim Garrity, executive director of the
During his sabbatical last spring, Ken Cline, the David Rockefeller Family Chair in Ecosystem Management and Protection, took five COA students from his HydroPolitics course to the Sixth World Water Forum in Marseilles, France. He then joined the COA France Program at CAVILAM in Vichy before researching protected area management and customary management of "sacred waters" — areas venerated by pre-Christian and/or Christian societies. He visited the Cinque Terre National Park in Italy, Piatra Craiului National Park in Romania, and Plitvice National Park in Croatia, looking at the ways informal or customary rules protected environmental features from pollution or destruction. He connected with many alumni, including Katarina Jurikova '08 (photo below) in Bratislava, Slovakia. In June he joined Gray Cox, faculty member in political philosophy, 15 COA students and three Transatlantic Partnership students at Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development. (See pg. 8 or visit earthinbrackets.org.)
Molly Anderson, Partridge Chair in Food and Sustainable Agriculture Systems, has been working on developing stronger partnerships in the northeast for COA, including organizing the Food Connections conference at COA in April. She is connecting to people from other New England universities on a vision of growing at least 60 percent of New England's food within the region by 2060. She also participated in the Kellogg Foundation's Food & Community gathering in Asheville, North Carolina in May. Rich Borden, the Rachel Carson Chair in Human Ecology, attended the 97th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Portland, Oregon, participating in the human 44
Mt. Desert Island Historical Society. The hike is one of Europe's most popular long-distance trails — 105 miles, snaking through Italy, France, and Switzerland, with an elevation change of 32,000 feet over the tenday circuit. To prepare, Lynn and Tim climbed every peak in Acadia as well as Katahdin. Despite the busy COA summer schedule, they walked or hiked every day, filling their packs with canned tomatoes, books, even windshield washer fluid to simulate their load on the trek.
College of the Atlantic Magazine
Last spring, Catherine Clinger, the Allan Stone Chair in the Visual Arts, gave a linocut weekend workshop at Beech Hill Farm, then set up a linoleum cutting and printing station — guerilla style — in Deering Common. Original prints from this endeavor were sold to benefit Share the Harvest, which funds farm purchases for those receiving food assistance. She serves on the editorial board of Object Journal in London and is a reader for several international journals.
Dru Colbert, faculty member in graphic design and museum issues, Danielle Meier '08, assistant director of admission for recruitment design & communication, and Betts Swanton '88 won a merit award from the American Association for State and Local History for their design of the Abbe Museum exhibit "Indians and Rusticators." Dani and Dru also worked on "Malaga Island: Fragmented Lives" at the Maine State Museum in Augusta with the assistance of lecturer Scott Swann '86, MPhil '93 and Jordan Chalfont '12.
Institute of Science and Technology. Returning home, he gave a talk at Maine's Seal Cove Auto Museum on energy and electric cars: "Energy 101: Why Electric Cars Matter." In October, he gave a public lecture on chaos at COA followed by a book signing for his new textbook (see page 46). In June, Jay Friedlander, the SharpeMcNally Chair in Green and Socially Responsible Business, presented at the International Council of Small Business in New Zealand on using sustainability to unlock innovation, and then presented the design concept "Project R" to the EDF Sustainable Energy Design Competition in London. Created by Kate Macko, sustainable business program administrator, Anna Demeo, lecturer in physics, Jay, and seven students, Project R featured Beech Hill Farm's renewable energy demonstration project. Also, COA's sustainable business program was highlighted with the prestigious D School at Stanford University as an example of a cutting-edge program by YoungEntrepreneurs.com. COA's newest addition, Oliver Gray Gies — Oggy — weighing in at 8 lbs. 6 ounces and stretching 21 inches, was born at 5:03 a.m. on September 13 to Kylee Gies, coordinator of international student services, and husband Ryan. In August, David Hales, COA's fifth president, was chosen as president and CEO of Second Nature, the Boston-based advocacy organization committed to promoting sustainability through higher education. The article, "Recent active contractile
While on his Fulbright in Kigali, Rwanda, Dave Feldman, faculty member in mathematics and physics, gave a general-audience talk on chaos: "Predictable Unpredictability: The Mathematics of Chaos" at the Kigali College of the Atlantic Magazine
deformation in the forearc of southern Peru," by Daniel Farber, Laurence
Audin, Robert Finkle, and Sarah Hall, COA's new faculty member in geology and earth sciences, appeared in September's Earth and Planetary Science Letters. In June, Todd Little-Siebold, faculty member in history, Suzanne Morse, the Elizabeth Battles Newlin Chair in Botany, and Chris Petersen held a three-day workshop determining the variety of Maine apple trees from their genetic fingerprint using samples from Beech Hill Farm, Acadia National Park, and other locations. The work was supported by a grant to Suzanne from the Transatlantic Partnership. Students Barbara Beblowski '14, Polly McAdam '14, Ali Pierik '14, and Abbey Verrier '13 participated. Fascinated by sound, music, and oceanic, stellar, and galactic space, Sean Murphy, assistant director of information technology, gave a concert, "Smaller than Clouds," at Schoodic Education and Research Center's Moore Auditorium in Winter Harbor as part of the Acadia Night Sky Festival. This music is described as a combination of deep solitude and the massive noise of cities. Chris Petersen, faculty member in biology, gave a talk in May at the University of California Santa Barbara as part of Bobfest2012, the retirement party for Bob Warner, PhD, Chris' college mentor. He also talked on "College-NGO partnerships in community-based management" at the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences meeting in Santa Clara, California. Chris was a coauthor on four papers that came out in Vol. 50 of the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory Bulletin including one with faculty member in biology Helen Hess and Robin Van Dyke '11: "Patterns of Parasite Prevalence and Local Adaptation in Littorina," and another with Dale Quinby '12: "Variable spawning periodicity in Fundulus heteroclitus within a New England salt marsh." At the annual Northeast Natural History Conference in April, 45
biology faculty member Nishanta Rajakaruna '94 moderated the session on plant ecology and presented "The Influence of Geology and Substrate on Plant Life in Northeastern North America" and a poster on stresses to flora in Acadia National Park, created with Tanner Harris '06, Sarah Nelson, and adjunct faculty member Peter Vaux. Nishi worked on four other presentations: a paper given by Luka Negoita '11, Matthew Dickinson '12, Glen Mittelhauser '89, and Nathaniel Pope '07; a poster by Jason Barton '12 and visiting faculty in botany Fred Olday; another by Margaret Stern '12; and one by Katherine Jumper with adjunct faculty member David
Porter and Stern. In June, Nishi gave the keynote talk at the Critical Zone Processes session of the 22nd annual VM Goldschmidt conference and an invited lecture at McGill University. In July, with Jumper and Porter, he presented a poster at the Mycological Society of America conference at Yale University. Nishi was also published in the American Journal of Botany and with Pope and Olday in the The Lichenologist. For details see Nishi's website, nrajakaruna.wordpress.com. In June, Davis Taylor, faculty member in economics, Ken Cline, and Chris Petersen, along with the Downeast Research and Education Network, hosted the conference Convergence
2012: The Value of Conservation in Downeast Maine, held at COA. Davis spoke on "Reflections of Rural Maine: Economic, Social, and Demographic Trends in the Upper Union River Watershed," and Chris and Davis gave the closing remarks at the conference. In August, with Ken, Don Cass, and COA President Darron Collins '92, Davis attended the 10th EcoLeague Summit at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. He chairs the league's steering committee, composed of faculty from the five member schools, Alaska Pacific University, COA, Green Mountain College, Northland College, and Prescott College. (ecoleague.org)
Dave Feldman's Chaos and Fractals A boiling pot of water, a dripping faucet, shifting weather patterns: these are all examples of chaos, one of the newest fields to arise from physics and mathematics. Also new is the study of fractals, the investigation of objects in which the parts look like the whole — a tree branch, for instance, looks like the tree from which it has grown. Chaos and fractals are not usually taught to undergraduates who have not had calculus. And yet Dave Feldman, faculty member in mathematics and physics, has been teaching his intellectually rigorous, interdisciplinary class, Chaos and Fractals, for over a decade, offering advanced conceptual ideas to those who may have only had algebra. Dave manages to make the class welcoming to a wide range of students, including those who may have struggled with math in the past. And yet there has been no published text for the class — until now. Chaos and Fractals: An Elementary Introduction, published in September by Oxford University Press, is the first textbook to emerge from COA. Some of the almost two hundred alumni who have taken Dave's class might recall problem sets, examples, and stories now published in the text. They may also remember Dave's encouragement of hands-on interdisciplinary thinking and the remarkable range of final projects, including paintings, sculptures, dance pieces, and puppet shows — even a dramatic monologue. As one alum said, recalling the section on fractals, "I loved this class and will never look at broccoli the same way again."
College of the Atlantic Magazine
Life Changing, World Changing COA's Capital Campaign is Nearly Complete!
"I am a student at College of the Atlantic, an institution that nurtures us and empowers us to dive down to the roots of a problem — to question them — through interdisciplinary learning."
Anjali Appadurai '13 TEDxDirigo Talk, October 20, 2012
COA's capital campaign enables us to offer Anjali — and her classmates — the challenge and support she needs to fulfill her potential. As one alum recently commented, "Those touched by a COA education bring a unique vision and creativity to such problems that a traditional education more often than not tends to snuff out."
An additional $2,875,339 must be raised by January, 2013
to finish our $32 million capital campaign, supporting scholarships, faculty chairs, academic enhancements, and a new research vessel.
r college of
at la n tic
For more information, call 207-801-5620 or give online: www.coa.edu/coacapitcalcampaign
To those who have already shown their support of COA's remarkable students and devoted faculty — Thank You!
life changing. world changing.
Take a handful of eager, energetic COA students, a potential church building and the longing for community space. The result? A fledgling community center in Bar Harbor. The Common Root Community Center began as an idea over tea in Margaret Fetzer's living room after students returned from Occupy demonstrations last fall. Nurtured last spring in COA's Sustainable Enterprise Hatchery, with Margaret and Benjamin Hitchcock '15 taking the lead, the center offered a pilot program last summer. The long-term hope is to renovate the parish house at St. Saviour's Church for space — though while the church is willing, the cost remains daunting. Donna Gold: How did your pilot summer go? Margaret Fetzer: The program that really stands out is Spanish. Milena Rodriguez '14 coordinated a Spanish class two times a week with help from Alan Fernald '11 and others. They've all been conversing though most everyone hadn't spoken Spanish before. And I've been really excited about the garden we started in the lawn at St. Saviour's church; we've been harvesting twice a week for the food pantry — not a ton, but what we can. It was a really modest garden, but by the end of June, students had voluntered to tend every available space. When I see the garden I get very hopeful about what the community center could be, with COA students providing the bare bones and everyone filling in what they can. DG: And now? MF: From day one, when we'd say to someone, "We think there should be a community center in Bar Harbor," the answer has been "Yes!" Now we're going to spend time visioning with the entire Bar Harbor community, thinking about how to bring more folks in, and continuing the programs from the summer that did go well. DG: With student turnover, can it be sustainable? MF: We're trying to create a community advisory council — 48
Democracy & Community Margaret Fetzer '15 and Bar Harbor's fledgling Common Root Community Center By Donna Gold different groups, backgrounds, ages. Our hope is that we don't have to staff the program; we'd like it to be run as shoestring as possible. But we're open to whatever the community wants. DG: And how old are you? MF: [Laughing] I'm nineteen ... I was eighteen when I started. I've been involved in community organizing for about two-and-a-half years. Building
relationships, knowing people, talking to people in the community — on a certain level these are innate skills that we all have. Am I qualified? Probably not. But sometimes we have to get over those boundaries and jump in. What's amazing is that when I don't have the skills, I've gotten help from COA, and the community — there are so many great resources out there. College of the Atlantic Magazine
Piper's Little COA Creature By Piper Dumont '02 Excerpted from her convocation speech, September 5, 2012 It is so good to be here. No matter what kind of day you're having, as you drive onto Mount Desert Island, something shifts and the beauty just gets under your skin. I'm living on a very different island — a much more populous and less mountainous island — Manhattan. And there, I'm the director of a program called the Edible Churchyard. Which means I get to grow things on roofs and teach folks a little bit about the connections between food and justice, and the ways they can use food as a starting point for community transformation. I was invited here today to talk about College of the Atlantic, how it changed me, and how it's a part of the work I do. I carry COA with me — and you do (and will) too. You can't help it. This place is profound like that. Normally when something attaches to a host we call it a parasite, but I love my little buddy. I keep my little COA creature with me all the time, which can be a great comfort when you leave the COA ecosystem … especially living in a place like New York City, where human influence often eclipses connectedness with ecological processes or awareness. … While you're here, and especially when you go out and share COA and human ecology with the world, you'll learn that this stuff — human ecology — is pretty radical. At COA we critique a system that marginalizes and excludes those who don't conform. We figure out how to respond in innovative and more just ways. For me, COA cultivated what I call an everyday practice of subversive mindfulness. By this I mean that while questioning the dominant paradigm — you know, the way things College of the Atlantic Magazine
In addition to directing the Union Theological Seminary's Edible Churchyard, Piper (Michelle) Dumont '02 is working toward an interdisciplinary PhD in peace education and food knowledge at Columbia University. In the photo (courtesy of Piper), she joins a gathering of religious leaders to break ground for a garden at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Harlem, launching President Obama's Interfaith Service Challenge. From left: Piper; Imam Talib of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood; the Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, president of the Union Theological Seminary; chancellor Arnold Eisen of the Jewish Theological Seminary; Paul Knitter, the Paul Tillich Professor of Theology, World Religions, and Culture at Union Theological Seminary; and the Rev. Earl Kooperkamp of St. Mary's.
just are — we seek to do things in a more compassionate, hopeful, and conscientious way. COA is not about being cynical and it's definitely not about giving up — it's about believing in something better, even if we've never seen it before. And most revolutionarily, this place is about believing that we can be a part of creating that something better. Simply by virtue of being here, it's a safe bet that you're searching for something a little different. You're hoping to delve into courses, concepts, complicated real-life problems in a process of active inquiry … and critical deconstruction. And, yes, we are really, really good at critique and deconstruction. But COA pushes us to do something more — the harder and, frankly, braver work that is creating alternatives. You know how it's really easy to kick apart someone's sand castle and it only takes a moment? And it's a little satisfying … for an instant. But then when you sit down to make your own, it's actually kinda hard and it doesn't always turn out like you'd
intended and maybe even falls apart halfway through … but when it's done, it's much more satisfying than kicking someone else's sand castle. Well, that's how I think of being the innovative and proactive agents of change that COA is training us to be. At COA, we practice harnessing and developing our skills, our experiences, and our passions to actually create something. We strive to cultivate more good and beauty in the world. So, while there are lots of fine universities and colleges, COA differently prepares us to innovate, imagine, build, and light up the world (in an energyefficient way, of course). I encourage you to do the hard and brave work of building and creating alternatives. Some of these will be epic failures, and others will be shining successes. But that COA creature will accompany you, rallying your fortitude to continue to believe in your individual and collective potential for goodness, beauty, and compassion — offering a constant reminder of that everyday practice of subversive mindfulness. 49
COA The College of the Atlantic Magazine 105 Eden Street Bar Harbor, ME 04609
College of the Atlantic's Deering Common Community Center
Published on Jun 19, 2013