The Miscellany News Since 1866 | miscellanynews.com
May 19, 2012
Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
Volume CXLV | Special Issue
Senior gift Fire show 2012 studio art majors exhibit sets record p r o m p t s projects in off-campus show concerns for IGF Danielle Bukowski
ifteen minutes after midnight last Tuesday, during a Barefoot Monkeys performance on the residential quad after the traditional Primal Scream to celebrate the end of classes, Emily Riordan ’15 was burned in a freak accident when the fire whip she was spinning tangled around her face and hair. Within five seconds, four trained safety responders from the troupe had smothered out the fires on Riordan and on the whip with fire-resistant towels. Later, members of Vassar’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Security teams arrived, and an ambulance was called. Riordan, who was fully conscious the entire time, was able to walk to the vehicle unassisted and was transported to St. Francis Hospital. After going home briefly to recover from her injuries, Riordan has been back on campus since last Friday. “Right now, I’m feeling pretty good,” said Riordan optimistically. “I should be fully healed fairly soon.” As to the extent of her injuries, it appears she will not See FIRE on page 5
Madeline Zappala/The Miscellany News
s of May 16, the 2012 Student Gift raised $22,993.84 towards expanding the Internship Grant Fund (IGF), with 1900 students donating. After 1900 students donated to the Student Gift, an anonymous alumnae/i matched the donation with $10,000. 1900 is the largest number of students to donate to the Gift, topping last year’s record-breaking 1891. Like the 2011 Student Gift that went towards the Vassar Annual Fund, this year’s donation model was a collaboration between all class years, freshman through senior years, instead of separate senior and sophomore class gifts. The IGF provides students with monetary funding to take on lowpaying or unpaid internship positions during the summer. Last year 186 students applied for funding but only 35 students benefitted from the IGF, with the maximum grant value at $2,100. “The increased funding to the IGF has the potential to double or triple the impact on campus, in terms of how many students would be afforded grants and the amount each grant would be,” elaborated Boyd Gardner, 2012 Student Gift Co-Chair. See GIFT on page 4
Senior Leksi Kolanko’s culminating art project, above, features hand-crafted, ornate Victorian garments worn by student models. Students raised money to repair the exhibit space, located at 37-39 Academy Street in Poughkeepsie. Matthew Hauptman Assistant Arts Editor
he studio art majors graduating on May 20 have spent the last four years developing and refining a wide range of techniques through a variety of media. From garments to sculpture, painting to photography, their projects demonstrate the
diverse interests of Vassar’s studio art majors and of the studio art program itself. On May 12, an exhibition of the fourteen graduating studio art majors’ senior projects was held in downtown Poughkeepsie, at 37-39 Academy Street (at the corner of Church and Academy Streets). The exhibition will be
held at the same place on Saturday, May 19, from 12-5 p.m. Leksi Kolanko ’12 is one of the studio art majors involved with the show. For her project, Kolanko crafted large, ornate Victorian garments that were worn by student models. During the exhibition, See EXHIBIT on page 5
Athletics department honors Three seniors, five exceptional seniors at banquet alums win fellowship
his year’s Athletics Banquet, hosted by the Department of Athletics and Physical Education, took place off-campus at the Villa Borghese in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. on Wednesday, May 2. Six exceptional students were presented with awards for their personal
achievements as Vassar College athletes. Matthew Vassar Outstanding Career Award—Nicholas Johnson ’12, men’s fencing: Johnson began fencing at age 13, and participated in the Junior Olympics only two years later. For each of the past three seasons, Johnson was named a First Team Northeast Confer-
Inside this issue
A look into the Powerhouse Theater program.
A humorous take on the rest of your life, by Mr. Bouchard.
Katie De Heras/The Miscellany News
Shane Donahue/The Miscellany News
Nicholas Johnson ’12, above, was recognized for his outstanding fencing career at Vassar. After graduation, he plans to train for the 2016 Olympics.
ence All-Star in men’s epee, while in 2009-2010, he took home the NEIFC Individual Championship in the same weapon. In his senior year, he placed second in the Big One, the season opener, to a member of the Junior National Team. Also in 2011-2012, Johnson placed sixth at the New England Championship tournament, which qualified him for the NCAA Championships, where he placed 13th. He finished his career with an overall record of 185-73 in epee and 25-10 in foil. (Johnson competed exclusively in foil during his freshman year.) Outside of Vassar, he has competed in national tournaments, placing 11th in the United States Fencing National Championships and 13th on the Olympic Team Selection List. Following graduation, Johnson plans on continuing fencing and training for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Alumnae Fitness and Athletics of Vassar College (AFAVC) Award—Heather Kesselman ’12, women’s lacrosse: A history major with a correlate sequence in Hispanic Studies, Kesselman has been a member of the women’s lacrosse team for four years and captain during her senior year. She appeared in 39 games overall as the team’s goalkeeper, with an overall See BANQUET on page 4
Seniors Dan Wong, Veronica Weser and Julia Nethero received the Fullbright Fellowship, an award granted by the US government for grads to pursue research abroad. Jessica Tarantine Features Editor
hile for many seniors, graduation marks a daunting world of endless possibilities, three seniors have more concrete plans that will take them to locations across the world. Funded by Fulbright Fellowships, Veronica Weser ’12 and Julia Nethero ’12, will pursue research in China and Japan respectively, while Dan Wong ’12 will travel to Germany to complete a English Teaching
Assistantship (ETA). The Fulbright program is a government-sponsored scholarship fund aimed at promoting cultural exchange and international communication through education. Each year, Vassar supports applicants for Fulbright Fellowships. To apply, students must propose a carefully constructed, well-researched study abroad project or to participate in teaching English in another country. See FELLOWSHIP on page 4
Seniors reflect on their VC careers.
The Miscellany News
May 19 , 2012
Through the photographer’s lens: 2011-2012
Editors in Chief Dave Rosenkranz Aashim Usgaonkar Senior Editors
Danielle Falzon/The Miscellany News
Above, the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre (VRDT) performs a piece from last semester’s “Final Showings.” VRDT celebrated its 30th Bardovon Gala last February. VRDT currently has three graduating seniors—Emily Dunuwila, Elise Presser, and Mickey Mahar—among its members.
Courtesy of Cornel West
Danielle Falcon/The Miscellany News
Philosopher and civil rights activist Cornel West, above, visited Vassar last November, in one of the biggest lecture events of the year.
Thousands of demonstrators, among them 14 Vassar students, marched across the Brooklyn Bridge as part of the Occupy Wall Street protests.
Katharine Austin Hannah Blume Ruth Bolster Mary Huber Erik Lorenzsonn
Contributing Editors Katie Cornish Carrie Hojnicki Matthew Ortilé Jillian Scharr Molly Turpin
News Danielle Bukowski Joey Rearick Dave Rosenkranz Leighton Suen Features Ruth Bolster Danielle Bukowski Jessica Tarantine Opinions Hannah Blume Lane Kisonak Humor & Satire Alanna Okun Jean-Luc Bouchard Arts Adam Buchsbaum Sports Tina Caso Corey Cohn Andy Marmer Photography Katie De Heras Juliana Halpert Madeline Zappala Online Nathan Tauger Social Media Matthew Ortilé Copy Maxélle Neufville Assistant News Assistant Features Assistant Opinions Assistant Arts Assistant Photo Assistant Copy Crossword Editor Columnists
Photographers Juliana Halpert/The Miscellany News
This past April, Vassar Student Association Council passed a resolution proposed by Vassar Greens’ Tap That campaign to remove bottled water from Dining Services. The measure will formally take effect in the fall. Vassar is among the few college campuses nationwide to enact such a policy.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Leighton Suen Jessica Tarantine Gabe Dunsmith Jack Owen Matthew Hauptman Carlos Hernandez Jiajing Sun Melissa Johnson Jonathan Garfinkel Sarah Begley Jean-Luc Bouchard Brittany Hunt Michael Mestitz Tom Renjilian Carson Robinson Sam Scarritt-Selman Andy Sussman Emma Daniels Chris Gonszalez Bethan Johnson Bobbie Lucas Marie Solis Nicole Wong Casey Zuckermann Katie De Heras Rachel Garbade Emily Lavieri-Scull Alex Schlesinger
The Editorial Board holds weekly meetings every Sunday at 9 p.m. in the Rose Parlor. All members of the Vassar community interested in joining the newspaper’s staff or in a critique of the current issue are welcome. The Miscellany News is not responsible for the views presented in the Opinions pages. The weekly staff editorial is the only article which reflects the opinion of the Editorial Board. The Miscellany News is published weekly by the students of Vassar College. The Miscellany News office is located in College Center Room 303, Vassar College.
May 19 , 2012
Powerhouse Theater program offers diverse opportunities Adam Buchsbaum Arts Editor
Courtesy of Buck Lewis Photography
heater doesn’t die out at Vassar over the summer—instead, it takes on a new form through the Powerhouse Theater program. The eight-week intensive program unites audiences, artists and students in a season of plays, readings, musicals. A collaboration between New York Stage and Film and Vassar College, Powerhouse Theater is held every summer and is currently entering its 28th season. Artists with wide ranges of experience are given a space to present, explore and refine their new work before live audiences. The program will feature Roberto AguirreSacasa’s “Abigail/1702.” The play explores the life of Abigail Williams, played by Chloe Sevigny, from Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” ten years after its events. Additionally, the rock musical “Murder Ballad” will unite the music of Juliana Nash, lead singer of ’90s band Talking to Animals, with a storyline devised by critically-acclaimed playwright Julia Jordan. The musical follows the tale of an Upper West Side mother, Sara, who is haunted by her past and a love triangle goes awry. The season features both finished products and works-in-progress, with staged readings such as “Murder Ballad” among them. The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center will also spice up its usual Late Night at the Loeb with a “Soundpainted” dance theater performance created by Mark Lindberg. The piece is inspired by Soundpainting, the multidisciplinary sign language used for live composition, created by composer Walter Thompson. “We are inviting the audience into a really vulnerable part of the artist’s process,” explained Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer. Pfaezler emphasized the important role audience feedback plays for the artists in the professional program. “What we learn from the audiences at all stages is huge,” she said. As professionals develop their craft, student apprentices are also given the opportu-
Participants in the Powerhouse Theater Program perform original works on sage. The program, which features both an apprentice and a professional track will enter its 28th season this summer. nity to do so. The Powerhouse Theater program also conducts an apprentice program that trains, teaches and gives concrete theater experience to aspiring actors, writers and directors. The students in the Theater Training Program have the opportunity to interact with participants in the professional productions, allowing students the chance to explore theater through a vocational lens. The apprentice program, which lasts from June 15 until July 29, is split into three parts— directing, acting, and writing. Actors, writers and directors alike take daily classes, Monday through Friday. Each branch of the program unites to put on three, free productions of classic plays—two Shakespeare plays (“Julius Caesar” and “The Comedy of Errors”) and Euripides’ “Medea.” Otherwise, program time is tailored to the specific branch. Directors and writers work to create and put on
site-specific projects that culminate their class-made work. They also observe rehearsals conducted by the professional production companies. Producing Director Ed Cheetham is in charge of overseeing Powerhouse Theater’s professional and apprentice programs. He is still friends with the fellow theater people he met when he was participated in the apprentice program in 1991 and went on to work with them afterwards. “That experience of finding someone with whom you share a similar artistic sense and a way of looking at the world was really valuable. I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a director, only that I knew what I didn’t want to do,” Cheetham said. “[The program] helped give me focus on what I wanted to do.” Financial aid is also available to apprentices, though limited. “I provide what I can. And it’s hugely important to me to make that part not
an obstacle,” Cheetham said, “because I know how that helped me.” Francesca Calo ’13 will participate in the apprentice program for the first time this upcoming summer, as an actor. Calo has acted in student theater and film productions before at Vassar. She was drawn to the program because of its intensity. The six-week program works at a breakneck pace and Cheetham described the schedule as nearly 24/7. Calo discovered the program last year, was waitlisted, re-applied this year, and was accepted for this summer. “In a lot of student programs you act, but you also take on, say, tech roles. Like helping out with building sets... but this one focuses on just acting,” Calo said. “I would love to act for a living and I think this program is good because it is so focused on that craft.” Calo is excited, though admittedly nervous, to take the program soon. “I think it’ll be a lot of hard work, but it’ll feel good,” she added. The apprentice program’s participation isn’t limited to Vassar students. Julia Anrather ’13 is an alumna of the program who took it as a rising senior in high school. “I wanted acting training because I was doing a lot of plays but not learning how to do them,” Anrather said. “I was surprised at how incredible all the teachers were.” Anrather described it as her favorite program amid all other theater programs she has completed. Her experience on campus, as well as chatting with Cheetham about the College, later contributed to her decision to attend Vassar. “It gave me more confidence as an actor, but mostly because it gave me tools to overcome roadblocks. It brought problems or complications to a conscious level,” she said. “It’s also really fun!” Subscriptions for the upcoming season’s professional programming are currently available online, with single-ticket sales available beginning June 1. The season runs from June 22-29, and the full program is available online for perusal on its official website, powerhouse.vassar.edu.
Klimoff ends Vassar career, Chromey soon to follow Jessica Tarantine and Chris Gonzales Features Editor and Reporter
Courtesy of Alexis Klimoff
While pomp and circumstance may be lavished upon the graduates more publicly this Sunday, commencement also marks an occasion to celebrate the contributions of professors whose time as faculty members is coming to an end. This year, Professor of Russian Studies on the Louise Boyd Lichtenstein Dale Chair Alexis Klimoff will enter full retirement, and Professor of Astronomy and Matthew Vassar Jr. Chair Fred Chromey will enter phased retirement, finishing in 2015-2016 academic year. Klimoff joined Vassar’s teaching community two years after the College went co-ed in 1971. Of that period, Klimoff wrote in an emailed statement, “I distinctly recall the suspicion among many faculty members in those early years that the academic bar had been deliberately lowered for men candidates for the sake of attaining the desired gender ratio in the student body.” In addition to witnessing Vassar find its feet as a coeducational facility, Klimoff observed many other changes over the past 31 years. “[There has been] an ever-greater introduction of ‘corporate culture’ into the operation of residential colleges like Vassar,” Klimoff noted. With this, he is describing the outsourcing of dining operations and the elimination of “White Angels,” or women who would sit at the front desk of every dorm and monitor the coming and going of students, as two examples. Professor of Russian Studies and Chair of Russian Studies Dan Ungurianu acknowledges that Klimoff has done extraordinary work in the department during his time as a faculty member. “[Professor Klimoff] brought the Russian Department to the international spotlight as he was closely associated with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, perhaps the last great writer of the 20th century, the author of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and The Gulag Archipelago,” Ungurianu wrote in an emailed statement. Another accomplishment for Klimoff in-
volved translating Solzhenitsyn’s Nobel Speech and Harvard speech, given at Harvard’s Class Day Afternoon Exercises. The Harvard speech pointed out the follies of Capitalist and Communist societies. Additionally, Klimoff returned the remnant and archives of émigré philosopher Ivab Ilyin to Russia. This resulted in an invitation to meet Vladamir Putin. As his time at Vassar is reaching its end, Klimoff reflected on his 31 years spent at the school. He said, “There is great satisfaction in teaching language… classroom dynamics are to a significant degree unpredictable because so much depends on the mix of student personalities. A great deal is gained by the presence of ‘live wires’ in a class, but there can also be the phenomenon of a passive group that is hard to rouse. It takes all kinds, as they say, but the teaching process itself is deeply satisfying in all cases.” On the opposite side of the classroom, students also responded well to Klimoff’s time and methods in the classroom. “I appreciated the enthusiasm that Professor Klimoff brought to [Dostoevsky and Psychology] and the study of Russian culture in general,” said Russian major Rachel Thompson ’14. “I had never closely red anything by Dostoevsky and I definitely came away with an interest in the subject.” Ten years after Klimoff began teaching Russian at Vassar, Chromey arrived to join Vassar’s faculty in 1981, after leaving his post at Brooklyn College (CUNY) as an assistant professor. An avid lover of astronomy, Chromey explained that one of his favorite things about teaching at Vassar was the ability to do what he loved in an atmosphere which he found exciting and engaging. “There is [an] invigorating rhythm of two frantic semesters bracketing a differently frantic summer, the legitimate excuse for staying up late and getting up late, and the constant need to explain to myself and to others why anyone should care about what goes on outside our own planet, solar system or galaxy,” wrote Chromey in an emailed statement.
Professor of Russian Studies on the Louise Boyd Lichtenstein Dale Chair Alexis Klimoff, above, will retire at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year. He has been teaching at Vassar since 1971. Chromey, also, oversaw the construction of the Class of ’51 Observatory Building. Construction began on the building in 1998, eight years after Chromey had become the Director of the College Observatory. “In astronomy at Vassar, the groups [of students] have always been bright, often enough been small, and once in a while, friends,” wrote Chromey. “Having the institution support an observatory on campus makes that kind of learning even more of a treat.” But, Chromey isn’t leaving Vassar just yet and his time teaching will continue. “I clearly am not ready to retire—I enjoy what I do far too much, and hope to remain very engaged at Vassar for four more years,” wrote Chromey in an emailed statement. “On the other hand, teaching full time for me has become all–consuming. I’m old
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
enough to really feel the press of mortality, and young and foolish enough to think that a little more free time would really be fun.” Despite this, Chromey will be sorely missed by both his colleagues and the rest of the Vassar community at the end of his phased retirement. Debra Elmegreen, Professor of Astronomy on the Maria Mitchell Chair, wrote in an emailed statement, “It is hard for me to imagine Vassar without Prof. Chromey, since he was here when I arrived and we both were hired into tenuretrack positions in the department the same year.” She continued, “Through it all, he has been a valued colleague and dear friend, filled with thoughtful advice and good humor. I’m only glad he is entering phased retirement and not full retirement just yet.”
May 19 , 2012
Fullbright recipients use award to fund research, travel FELLOWSHIP continued from page 1 With a total of eight awardees this year, Vassar continues its strong tradition with successful Fulbright applications. While three seniors were selected for Fulbright grants, another five Alumnae/i were awarded Fulbright grants. Karolyn Upham ’07 will travel to Bangladesh to study environmental economics. Erica Licht ’10 will travel to Nigeria to explore youth’s experience with environmental education. Emma Coates-Finke ’11 was awarded an ETA in Guatemala and Jeremy Arthur ’10 is doing an ETA to Turkey, and Grace Cannon ’10 will also travel Germany to explore perceptions of the American West in Berlin. As of 2011, Vassar was ranked sixth among liberal arts college in winning Fulbright grants and sending its students to meaningful postgraduate travels. For the three seniors who won awards, Fulbright grants will provide a chance to reconnect with a country and culture with which they have a well-established familiarity and interest. For some, the Fulbright is a catalyst for a return visit rather than an entirely new experience. “[When I was looking at my postgraduation plans] I really wanted to go back to China and work on my language skills. So, I knew that I wanted to be abroad, and I wanted to be in China,” said Nethero, who had studied abroad during her junior year in China through a program entitled “China in the Twenty-First Century” through the group The Institute for
the International Education of Student (IES) Abroad. Nethero’s project will focus on Chinese NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs) and their work to empower women in Shaanxi communities of central mainland China. Graduating from Vassar as an International Studies and Chinese double major, Nethero explained that NGOs were only just beginning to take hold in China and so the opportunity to study such organizations in their infancy was a strong draw for the project. “A lot of my interest [in NGOs] comes from an internship I did with a group called Madre... based in New York. They do a lot of work in women’s political empowerment and a lot of work building women’s power in the community in general,” Nethero said. She went on to elaborate that while there were a lot of opportunities for post-graduation employment in China, most of the openings were in business, which did not match her own interests in politics. Her grant also includes a Critical Language Enhancement Award, which is given to students who wish to pursue additional language instruction in languages deemed to be critical to American foreign diplomacy and cultural exchange. Aiding exchange on a more interpersonal level, Weser will explore the relationship between readers and Japanese texts. Next year, she will conduct research regarding learning disabilities in Japan by spending time translat-
ing critical research on dyslexia and dysgraphia into English. “By majoring in cognitive science [as well as Japanese], I’ve learned the research skills for the type of things I’m interested in and I have the language skills necessary to make [the project] happen,” said Weser. She found the program appealing because of the unique interplay between learning disabilities and the Japanese language. “Japanese is really interesting in that it has two different alphabets. One is a phono-semantic alphabet, like English, and the other is an idiographic alphabet in which concepts are represented in a single character,” Weser explained, referring to kanji and hiragana. “Learning disabilities manifest in one of the two alphabets, normally, independently. It is really interesting to compare students who have a disability [in one but not the other].” Her interest also stemmed from the fact that while she, personally, has dysgraphia—a learning disability similar to dyslexia that manifests itself in difficulty writing coherently—she did not experience any difficulty writing in Japanese, in contrast to English. “I wanted to work on doing some translations on research papers from Japan that aren’t available in English,” said Weser. “I think the kind of research they are doing on learning disabilities and learning in general will be very useful to... researchers studying the mind.” Although Weser was unable to study abroad in Japan due to the requirements of her double
major, this will be her fifth time visiting Japan. She began studying Japanese at age eight when she thought a knowledge of the Japanese language would increase her ability to play Pokemon. Her Fulbright Fellowship will allow her to explore and gain additional fluency in a language which has been a part of her life for ten years. While speaking the language in the country of destination is not a requirement for all Fulbright grants, all three senior awardees will pursue opportunities and programs in countries which demand a strong command of the language. Germany, for example, requires all ETA awardees to posses a strong proficiency in German. “I really wanted to go back to Germany and this was a great opportunity to do that,” said Wong, who had traveled to Berlin for his junior year abroad. Rather than completing a research project, Wong will be teaching English as a teaching assistant in Germany. During his time at Vassar, Wong worked as a drill instructor in the German department where he gained significant language experience in the classroom and during drill sessions. “I enjoyed being a drill instructor and thought this would be a good way to gain some practical skill in the area,” Wong said. By continuing to help formulate career plans for both graduating seniors and alumnae/i of the College, the Fulbright Fellowship will stand as a guiding beacon for Vassar students to come.
High participation leads to Banquet awardees reflect anonymous alum donation on college athletic careers GIFT continued from page 1 The 2012 Student Gift worked in collaboration with the Office of Alumnae/i Affairs and Development, with Lindsay Roth, Assistant Director of the Annual Fund, acting as liaison. “Compared to years past, this effort is greater in terms of what the gift benefits and the support it has received from the student body,” Roth said. Roth speaks to the prominence of the yearly Student Gift in the philanthropic atmosphere of the community. “The program has flourished over the past few years,” reported Roth. “I think access is a priority in the minds of everyone in the Vassar community, not just students but administrators, faculty, and alumnae/i.” The Senior Co-Chairs saw the benefits of the IGF as one of the main reasons the 2012 Student Gift was so successful. “Support for the IGF shows Vassar students’ commitment to furthering the philosophy of need-blind education,” said 2012 Student Gift Co-Chair Zan Schmidt, pointing out that more money to the IGF means making students’ summer opportunities need-blind as well. The fundraising efforts of the 2012 Gift have been wide-ranging. Campaigning began in earnest in February with the Student-Faculty Basketball Game, which raised over $2328 from ticket sales. A pizza party was awarded to Noyes for raising the most money in the Dorm Challenge. Additionally, the Committee has tabled in the College Center, sent out electronic and paper appeals, and gone door-to-door for student donations. Going door-to-door has consistently been the most effective way to raise money from students. “With the opportunity to interact one-on-one the information can be presented more clearly, plus when you speak to students in their rooms they are less likely to say they don’t have money on them,” 2012 Student CoChair Mitchell Gilburne said. Additionally, Schmidt brought up the fact that last year’s All-School Gift, which sought to raise money for Vassar’s Annual Fund, was not one supported by the entirety of the student body, a problem she has not encountered from the student body this year. “It was pretty easy to collect this year,” said Schmidt. “It’s a gift the student body has already told us they support ideologically, and were more than willing to support financially.” Most students were happy with and invested in the Gift’s initiative this year. Added
Gardner, “It was an easy sell from a conceptual standpoint, as most students had heard of the IGF and had positive reactions about the Student Gift to expand it.” Gilburne noted, “There has been a different reception this year. Once people understand that they are giving immediately to their peers they are more eager to give.” He continued, “I think last year people misunderstood where the money for the Annual Fund was going towards, but now they will be seeing results immediately.” “It really is students helping students,” Roth commented, who applauded the work the Committee has done as well as the efforts of the Career Development Office which is in charge of the IGF and accepts applications in two rounds during the months of March and April. “This model emphasizes giving what you can, which ends up adding up to a whole lot,” said Roth. As amounts in donations vary, it is the spirit of giving that rallies the momentum of the year’s Student Gift. “We have gifts from students from $500 to $0.05, and it all makes a difference. This will make a huge impact on the number of students who receive funding from the IGF while maximizing the potential allotment for each student.” “Our Student Gift is a model a lot of our peer institutions are envious of,” Roth commented. “It is the best way to educate students about philanthropy and how giving back benefits yourself as well as your peers.” She also noted that the anonymous match from a Vassar alumna is indicative of how the entire Vassar community sees the importance of summer internships in today’s economy. “It was really meaningful to see people respond so well,” said Schmidt, “and it’s encouraging to think about how students are willing to help out their friends as well as peers they don’t know in expanding the IGF.” While this year’s Student Gift will not see its contributions to the IGF made until the 2012/2013 academic year, the Co-Chairs of the 2012 Student Gift are enthusiastic about the final results of this year’s shift to positive encouragement in giving back to the College and its students. Gilburne expounded, “It’s been a pleasure to see the positive campus attitude about giving, that it isn’t done begrudgingly or seen as the College milking its students, but something that students get excited about participating in.”
BANQUET continued from page 1 record of 7-3. A two-time member of the National Academic Squad, Kesselman lists lacrosse as one of her most rewarding experiences at Vassar. In an emailed statement, she wrote, “I was totally shocked to receive the [AFAVC] award but very honored to know that my lacrosse experience has meant as much to the program, coaches and teammates as it has to me.” Kesselman spent the fall semester of her junior year studying abroad in Spain and received a fellowship this past year for her senior thesis research, which was conducted in London. Kesselman is now working to receive her certificate to teach secondary education. Frances D. Fergusson Coaches Award—John MacGregor ’12, baseball: MacGregor, a political science major at Vassar, has been playing baseball since age eight and pitching since age 10. During his sophomore and junior year, he was a member of the Liberty League All-Academic Team. His accomplishments on the mound in 2011-2012 include a team-leading 4-1 record and a batting average against of .267 (secondbest on the team). Over his four-year career, MacGregor compiled a 5.77 earned run average (sixth-best in program history) and a .310 batting average against (fifth-best in program history). His eight wins are tied for fifth-most all time in Vassar history, and his eight complete games are tied for fourth-most all time. He was also named the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Division III Upstate Pitcher of the Week earlier this month, and was named Liberty League Pitcher of the Week twice in his career. He lists pitching coaches Silvio Censale and Ralph Pacifico, and Vassar College Head Coach Jon Martin as inspirations to his pitching, and his parents as a great source of support. As for his plans after Vassar, MacGregor plans to continue playing baseball for the Erbach Grasshopper Professional Baseball Club in Germany. Matthew Vassar Outstanding Career Award—Brittany Parks ‘12, women’s basketball: A consistent starter for all four years of her Vassar career, Parks has been an invaluable member of the women’s basketball team. Her long list of individual recognitions began her freshman year, when Parks was named the Liberty League Rookie of the Year. Among her other awards, Parks was named to the Liberty League First Team in 2010 and 2011, to the D3Hoops.com Fourth Team All-America in 2011 and to the D3Hoops.com First Team All-
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East Region in 2011. During her junior year, she broke numerous school records, scoring the highest number of points in a single season (568) and in a single game (33) on way to being named the Liberty League Offensive Player of the Year. Parks also maintained the secondhighest scoring average in program history, with 20.4 points per game. At the end of her senior year campaign, she finished as the program’s all-time leading scorer with a career total of 1,582 points. A three-time captain, Parks helped lead the Brewers to their first two Liberty League championships, which they won back-to-back in 2011 and 2012. Parks is also a member of the Vassar College Chapter of the Psi Chi International Honor Society in psychology, which inducts members who have a psychology GPA above a 3.70, and who are in the top 35 percent of their class. She was also a member of Vassar College’s All-Academic team in her sophomore, junior and senior years. Betty Richey Performer of the Year Award— Andrew Guzick ’13, men’s tennis: Guzick teamed up with brother Ben Guzick ’12 to place sixth at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Small College Championships. The duo ranks sixth nationally, the first doubles team to do so in program history. This year, Guzick ranked as high as third in the Northeast region and qualified for ITA AllAmerican honors in doubles. Throughout his career, he has also been named Liberty League Player of the Year (2010-2011, 2011-2012) and Liberty League Rookie of the Year (2009-2010). Through his junior year, Guzick maintains a 69-21 record in singles and a 66-25 record in doubles. Betty Richey Performer of the Year Award— Kelly Holmes ’13, women’s cross country and track: Holmes is an NCAA qualifier for women’s cross country and track, and is also captain of the track team. She is a Psychology major and member of the Psi Chi Honor Society. She is also the women’s cross country Student Athlete Advisory Committee representative and has been a member of the Liberty League All-Academic team for both cross country and track. Holmes holds school records in the 800-meter (2:10) and 1500-meter (4:39) and has been named Liberty League Performer of the week four times for track and field. In cross country, she has been named to the First Team All-Liberty League, twice been named AllSeven Sisters and named to the All-Atlantic Region.
May 19 , 2012
Art students Mr. Bouchard’s Guide to Graduating contemplate A human bond Jean-Luc Bouchard
Humor & Satire Editor
EXHIBIT continued from page 1 the garments were nailed to the floors and walls, so that the models were essentially attached to their clothes. Her project also includes a video installation, in which she confronted issues of self-image and her own personal relationships with others. “I wanted to deal with issues of confinement, but it’s also about relationships and detachment,” said Kolanko. “I also think of these garments as performance pieces.” Samantha Shin ’12, another studio art major whose work was featured in the exhibition, was impressed with Kolanko’s work. “I’m intrigued by the intimacy of her performances—the simple, repetitive actions that really accumulate into something bigger.” Julie Halpert ’12, also a studio art major, was struck by Kolanko’s flair for performance. [Full disclosure: Halpert is a Photography Editor for The Miscellany News.] “Leksi has such a knack for spectacle and presentation. She really knows how to bring performance and fashion together,” Halpert explained. Halpert’s own project took up two rooms in the exhibition, and included several series of photographs that depicted one event or situation. One set of photos showed five of Halpert’s close friends. In crafting this assemblage of photos, she sought to address particular aesthetic concerns. “What my professors have allowed me to understand is my range of color. I wanted to create a unified composition, and I wanted to think about color as a viable aspect of photography,” she said. “My emphasis is on formal elements rather than conceptual ones,” she added. The aesthetic unity of Halpert’s work has not gone unnoticed. Kolanko stated, “The contrasts and color really stand out in Julie’s work.” “I love the scale of Julie’s photographs. I think her panoramas really capture an entire event,” said Shin. Shin began her senior project with a mission statement: “Making babies, building homes, and hoarding.” She lived by her words throughout the project, and hoarded everyday materials— paper, plastic, cloth—in an effort to create a truly dynamic piece. “I tend to horde a lot of objects. To combat that, I wanted to use them as materials [for my project],” Shin explained. The theme of childbirth also became fully realized, through her construction of “embryos” made of toy cars and fashion magazines. In the exhibition, the embryos—presented in sets— dangled from pieces of string. Some were scented, while others were distinctly more individualized than others. As Halpert said of Shin’s work, “It’s really about psychic and physical immersion. We’re enveloped in this world, this new physical realm of psychological dissonance.” The dissonance that Halpert noticed in the project was in perfect keeping with Shin’s own intentions. “It’s difficult for people to be completely transparent, and so every object I make is to point something out but also to obscure it,” Shin said. While all three seniors agreed that their projects were all wildly different from each other in form, content, and media, there is overlap, in the sense that they all broadly explored the nuances of human relationships. But as Halpert made sure to point out, “I really didn’t start off thinking about relationships. My most meaningful work usually comes from a subconscious place, not a preconceived, intellectual concept.” She added, “We often strain to intellectualize things for the sake of it, but I would really want [my viewers] to think honestly about their own preferences and to be open to our respective projects. You don’t need training to look at art. You can trust your own reactions.” Kolanko agreed, and suggested that the questions on an artist’s mind will lead viewers to ask other questions no less urgent. “I just want people to experience the art and ask their own questions,” she said. She also made clear that her project addresses touchy subjects; she knows that this might create feelings of discomfort in some viewers, but she fully welcomes that response. Shin felt similarly: “I want people to feel challenged and confronted. But if not, I just want them to have a good time.”
s a rising junior and non-empathic sociopath, it’s difficult for me to place myself in a senior’s soon-to-be-graduating shoes. But according to the roughly eight thousand Facebook and SayAnything posts I’ve read, graduation is apparently a very emotional time. The impending separation from your close friends, the knowledge that you’ll soon be thrown into the real world like an egg into an oncoming jumbo jet, the bitterness of having never been LikeALittled, the realization that wherever you go in the world may not have its own Tasty Tuesday, and the regret of never having pet Deece Cat are just some of the many internal conflicts that could be at play in your fragile psyche. As you sit in your probably uncomfortable folding chair and listen to a speech by some faculty member you always thought worked in the Retreat, don’t let thoughts involving impending poverty and manic depression ruin what is supposed to be one of the most important moments of your already-peaked life. That’s what tomorrow morning is for. Until then, be merry, chums! And if that Dickens-esque interjection isn’t enough to save you from the graduation blues, follow my guide (the last one you’ll ever read, you lucky ducks) and find yourself in a world of momentary contentment! 1. Focus on the positive.
Think of it this way: unless you’re that one 86-year-old member of the senior class with scurvy, you still have your youth and health! And if you don’t have your health, at least you’re still young enough to read typeface this small. Any problem you may confront in life can be given a positive spin, my friends. No job? No reason to wake up early. Rejected from every graduate school you applied to? No more papers. Didn’t get honors?
You’re not a gigantic nerd. Got honors? Nerds make more money and have hotter spouses to compensate for beings nerds. No idea where you’re living in a month? Neither did air nomad Avatar Aang, and he eventually defeated the Fire Lord and restored balance to the Four Nations. Afraid of leaving the Vassar Bubble? Everywhere you go can have its own bubble if you just never leave it. Scared to rely on yourself for the first time ever? Unless your parents hired someone to do all your school work for you, you’ve gotten yourself this far, bucko—I think you’ve done pretty well so far. And if your parents did hire someone to do all your work, never complain to me… ever. 2. Treat every new challenge like a Vassar problem.
You heard me. Life is filled with challenges and horrors you have yet to even imagine; you have to use what you’ve learned these past four years to claim victory over the world’s trials and tribulations. Attack each new problem like it was a Vassar problem. Heteronomative, racist, prejudiced, socially-constructed, elitist, hipster-esque, bro-esque, Lathrop-originating, chauvinistic, administrative, suburban, biased, discriminatory, man-hating, bigoted, narrow-minded, unwelcoming, patriarchal— these are your go-to words. We’ve had years of training—from SayAnything arguments and canceled luaus to emails from administrative officials desperate to keep their jobs and philosophical library bathroom graffiti. If nothing else, this school has taught us how to confront issues as liberal artsy as possible. Why not use that to your advantage? Next time the world throws you a curveball, tell that curveball to stop using gender-specific pronouns. When life gives you lemons, tell life to come back next time with a fruit that’s fair trade. And when your boss says he/she/ze wants you to stop playing Spider Solitaire and get back to work, tell him/her/zhim/zher that you don’t
do any work on the dates between Gandhi’s birthday and the date of Isaac Asimov’s bar mitzvah for religious reasons. There’s a reason Vassar has produced so many successful lawyers in the past century—it’s an alumni lawsuit safety net. 3. Take it one day at a time.
Nothing good ever came of planning farther than three days in advance. Stop with the “Five-Year Plans” and “Career Goals” and “Dissertation Topics” and “Two-month rent contracts.” Do you know what you’re doing in an hour? Do you have your cell phone? Are you not having a heart attack? Do your legs work? Good enough. People who plan their lives four, five, even six days in advance are just begging to be thrown for a loop; when has anything ever—EVER—gone as you’ve planned? Transversely, when have things gone exactly as you haven’t planned? Exactly: the ill-prepared are the best prepared. Just as when Socrates douchily said, “All I know is I know nothing,” all we know is something horrible is coming for us tomorrow. The less we stress about it, the more time we have to play Super Smash Brothers and eat Peanut Butter M&Ms. 4. Believe in yourself.
Or, if you’re an illiterate failure, invest in the internet start-up created by your freshmen year roommate. You’re a Vassar grad, baby!—wherever you go in life, no matter how poor and shunned you may be, you can always count on successful Vassar alumni for delicious, delicious mooching. 5. Come back and visit us.
This isn’t really advice as much as it is an order. Come back and visit us! And have a great graduation/life!
Monkeys applauded for quick response FIRE continued from page 1 suffer lasting damage. “I have a second degree burn on the left side of my face,” she said while indicating the scars with her hands. “On my right side, it’s all my first degrees burns, but there are a lot of them. [And] I have a small burn on my shoulder.” The leaders of the Barefoot Monkeys expressed shock at the tragic accident, but said that they could not have done anything further to prevent it. “It’s a risk that we’re constantly preparing for,” said Grand Monkey (President) Christina Koller ’14, who was one of the safeties who converged upon Riordan. “Every one of us knows that this is something that can happen and that is a possibility every time one of us spins.” Second Banana (Vice-President) Hannah Root ’14 echoed Koller’s sentiments, and expressed satisfaction at the troupe’s response. “Because we prepare so well, that’s why we were able to not have [Riordan] be any worse off than she is, and [that’s why] we were able to respond so quickly… we did everything right. She had spun fire safely before and our safeties all responded very well.” According to Koller and Root, this is the first serious accident that the Barefoot Monkeys have faced in their thirteen years of existence as a Vassar student organization. “We’ve all singed our arm hair, but we’ve never had anything that resulted in hospitalization or an ambulance call,” said Root. “What we do is safer than any sport. This is our first hospitalization in thirteen years. No sport [team] can say that.” Despite a long history of being accident and injury-free, the Monkeys are worried that the campus may inaccurately perceive them as less safe following the accident and the way in which the campus was subsequently notified. “We’ve had our safety procedures reviewed by professional fire spinners, Vassar Security, and every dean who asks about it,” said Root. “We have safer procedures than many professional fire spinners.” She explained that the Monkeys do not do a lot tricks with high risk, such as fire eating, and they are strict with
the clothing worn and moves performed during fire spinning. “We’re mostly frustrated by how the emails made us appear to members of the Vassar community.” In an all-campus email sent by Dean of the College Christopher Roellke the morning after the incident, he referred to the accident as occurring during an “unauthorized Barefoot Monkeys performance.” This was a cause of disagreement among the involved parties. According to Root, the Barefoot Monkeys spin fire after Primal Scream every year, and their practice had been approved by Security and Campus Activities offices. “Before we have each practice, we go and talk to Security and they write it down in the logbook,” she claimed. “We did go talk to them [this time], but they made a mistake and did not write it down.” Another factor that complicated the matter was the fact that the Monkeys and the administration had different understandings of what the event was. “I stand by the use of the use of the word ‘unauthorized’ in my original message,” wrote Roellke in an emailed statement. “In Monkeys performances, it is the mutually agreed upon expectation that fire watch be engaged and that the Campus Activities office approve of such performances so that we can be sure to promote safety and collaborate with this student organization as much as possible. Despite what some have suggested, I and my colleagues were not aware that the Monkeys were performing that evening.” In response, Koller countered that the Monkeys had regarded the activities that evening as a practice session, rather than as a performance, which was why it was not registered as such. “For us, it feels hardly different from our normal Friday fire spin practices. There are just a few more people watching than normal. To us, a performance has always evoked thoughts of choreography or rehearsal. It has never occurred to us to think of this event as a performance as well.” Although the administration and the Monkeys disagree on this point, they will be in talks in the future in order to clarify exactly what
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
each event is to the Vassar community. “Our goal moving forward is to make sure we are simply on the same page in terms of practices, performances and the like,” wrote Roellke. Regardless of the terminology used to classify the event, Koller is convinced that having the session registered as a performance, and consequently having a fire watch, would not have altered the events that occurred that night. “It was our safety procedures that kept her safe and from getting hurt [further]… In this situation, it would not have made a difference.” Following the accident, Riordan has decided that she will never touch a fire whip again. Consequently, it is unlikely that the apparatus will be seen again at Vassar anytime soon. “The fire whip is no more in the Barefoot Monkeys,” she declared. “I was the only one who was certified to use it coming into next year. I’m not going to use it anymore, and I will not certify anyone else to use it.” Despite her reluctance to reengage in the activity that resulted her injuries, the freshman Monkey will not be quitting the troupe. When asked what her plans are for sophomore year, Riordan replied, “I do stuff aside from fire whip, and I do fire fans… those are less dangerous.” Fellow freshman Monkey Lauren Huang ’15 also regarded the incident as a learning experience. “Before this incident I trusted in the system the Monkeys had set up and now I trust it more than ever,” she wrote in an emailed statement. “If anything this incident has brought us closer together as a troupe, a club and as a family. I’m not worried because I know, now more than ever, that I am surrounded by people who will protect me [and] take care of me.” Koller and Root urge anyone with questions or concerns about the Barefoot Monkeys’ safety procedures to speak with them. “We know what we’re doing in regards to safety,” concluded Koller confidently. “We have very carefully created safety procedures that we agreed upon with the College. There are risks beyond them, like the incident, but it’s a risk that each of us and the College accepts.”
May 19 , 2012
A year in review: highlights from VC’s athletic fields Andy Marmer and Corey Cohn Sports Editors
nother year, another brand-new set of memories forever entrenched in the history of Vassar College athletics. Our men’s and women’s sports teams reached new heights during 2011-2012, as numerous collective and individual accomplishments capped off a successful campaign. Here are the highlights from the past two semesters, with some help from a few motivational sports-related quotations.
suoka ’14 led a balanced Brewers offense with 20 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds. Five Vassar players recorded double-digit scoring outputs. The women’s basketball team won its second consecutive Liberty League title after capturing their first-ever championship last year with a 77-67 victory in the final over William Smith College. “Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.”
–William Arthur Ward “If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?”
–Joe Namath Two Brewers teams exemplified this sentiment shared by Super Bowl III champion Namath, as the men’s soccer team and women’s basketball team each captured Liberty League titles. Men’s soccer began its journey to the top by taking down No. 1 seed (and nationally topranked) St. Lawrence University in a thrilling overtime win in the conference semifinals. After battling the Saints to a 0-0 tie in regulation, the Brewers sealed the victory with a 3-1 advantage in penalty kicks. In the Liberty League final against Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Vassar demonstrated supreme perseverance, trading goals with RIT up until the 5:56 mark in the second half, when Captain Zander Mrlik ’13 deposited the game-deciding score just inside the goal post. The men’s soccer team won its first-ever Liberty League title and qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships for the first time since 1999. In a striking parallel, the women’s basketball team also had to go through No. 1 St. Lawrence on its way to championship glory. After edging out a tough 56-51 victory against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), the Brewers faced the Saints in a scoreboard-lighting title matchup. The teams combined for 154 points, with Vassar coming out on top 79-75. Championship Most Valuable Player and Captain Cydni Mat-
The women’s basketball team’s championship defense added to what was already a memorable year for Captain Brittany Parks ’12. The four-year guard broke the program’s all-time career scoring record of 1,540 points (set by Kristen Vogt ’96) with a 15-point effort against William Smith College on February 18. Fittingly sealing the mark on Vassar’s Senior Day, Parks was hugged by her teammates after the record-breaking shot, a free throw with 6:28 left in the game, tumbled through the net. Parks finishes her collegiate basketball career with 1,582 points. Senior O’Mara Taylor also put her name into the record books, setting a new single-season mark in tries and points for the women’s rugby team. On the year, the wing recorded 33 tries, 36 conversions and two penalties for a total of 237 points. Her 33 tries surpassed Danika OriolMorway’s ’07 2005-2006 school-record of 32, while Taylor’s points total topped Val Griffeth’s ’04 2002-2003 record-setting mark of 203. “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.”
–Vince Lombardi Several Vassar athletes demonstrated tremendous will in putting forth exemplary individual performances in-season. Men’s epeeist
Nick Johnson ’12 qualified for the NCAA Fencing Championships after a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Northeast Regionals. After a solid first day at the NCAAs, which finished with him sitting in 16th place out of 24, Johnson thrived in his final three rounds of competition on Day 2, where he went a combined 6-3 in his nine matches. Johnson ended up finishing 13th overall, just one place shy of earning All-American recognition. Junior Kelly Holmes advanced to the NCAA Championship race in cross country, finishing 227th out of 277 runners. Holmes became the third Vassar runner in four years to qualify for the national competition. Her qualification came on the back of a strong performance at the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships, where she placed 19th out of 256 runners in a time of 22:45. Last spring, Holmes would have competed in the NCAA 800-meter Championships in track; however, she was unable to race due to time being spent in Copenhagen, Denmark as part of her junior year abroad. Holmes has already set numerous track records this season as she and her teammates look ahead to a possible opportunity to compete at the NCAA Championships, which take place on May 24-26. “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”
–Bobby Unser Outside of the men’s soccer and women’s basketball squads, a number of other Vassar teams qualified for the national championship tournament in their respective sports. The women’s rugby team qualified for the national tournament as a No. 7 seed after a 30-22 victory over No. 2 Rhode Island University, and a 20-19 defeat of No. 3 seed Rutgers University. In the Northeast Rugby Union quarterfinals, Taylor scored all 30 of the Brewers’ points as they held on to a tight victory over Rhode Is-
land. Slated to host the semifinals and finals, Vassar eked out a narrow victory over Rutgers with Taylor notching a game-winning penalty kick with time running out. In the conference championship, the Brewers fell 46-0 to Norwich University. In the round of 16 of the National Championship tournament, the Brewers steamrolled American International College 52-12, but they were unable to take out Norwich in the quarterfinals, falling 38-5. The No. 24 women’s tennis team advanced to the third round of the NCAA Championship tournament for just the second time in school history before falling to No. 10 Johns Hopkins University. The Brewers earned a bye in the first round, and in the second round overcame No. 26 University of Mary Washington 5-0. Prior to qualifying for the national tournament, the Brewers captured the 10th Seven Sisters Championship in program history after taking down No. 19 Wellesley College in a thrilling final round of competition. The men’s tennis team likewise advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament, marking the first time the program achieved the feat. The men’s team advanced to the third round after a first round bye and a 5-1 victory over The College of New Jersey in the second round. Vassar, though, was blanked by topranked Amherst College 5-0 in the third round. The season was additionally memorable for the men’s squad with the success of the doubles team of Ben Guzick ’12 and his younger brother Andrew ’13. The doubles team became the second to qualify for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Small College Championships, and the first to win a round in program history. The brothers defeated a team from Gustavus Adolphus College in the consolation round. To qualify, the Guzicks captured the ITA Northeast Regional Championships. The doubles team is currently an alternate for the NCAA tournament, while Andrew is also an alternate for the singles draw.
Shane Donahue/ Vassar Athletics
The men’s soccer team celebrates after winning their first Liberty League Championship game against Rochester Instiute of Technology on Saturday Nov. 5. The score was a nail-biting 3-2.
Jacob Gorski/ The Miscellany News
Courtesy of Hobart William at Smith Athletics
Nyah Berg ’15, a guard on the women’s basketball team, defends the ball from a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute opponent. Winning the match helped the team secure the Liberty League title.
Members of the women’s tennis team pose with their championship trophy defeating opponents from other Seven Sisters schools. The Brewers’ April 15 victory marks the program’s 10th Seven Sisters title.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
May 19 , 2012
spent a lot of time getting to know and getting to see the guts of this incredible institution. And if that sounds like an odd note to start my retrospective on, I apologize, it probably is. But there’s something to be said for that. I arrived here pretty naïve. I had looked almost exclusively at major urban research universities. Vassar was the anomaly. I knew nothing of what it meant to pursue a liberal arts degree on a residential campus, the history of liberal arts institutions, nor the struggles they’re facing in today’s increasingly vocationally-oriented higher education market. I knew Vassar was pretty, and I knew it was well regarded. But the distinction of a liberal arts degree was nearly lost on me. And I’d say it stayed lost to me through most of my career here. Knowing nothing else, I assumed that most students had the opportunity to learn for learning’s sake, to study what they wanted when they wanted, and be told regularly that learning how to think, read, and write were the most critical skills they could walk away from a college with. It wasn’t until this year, when I had the opportunity to serve as Vassar Student Association Vice President for Student Life, that the meaning of a residential liberal arts college really became clear. Being the VSA VP for Student Life in some ways means trying to protect some of the many things that make this institution special. It is about protecting what are becoming increasingly deemed the “dispensable” or “luxury” amenities of a college that are actually about a school’s commitment to developing and supporting the whole person, inside and outside the classroom. Our academic experiences are some of our most important on this campus. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to have some incredible ones, and I’m grateful to know that future generations of Vassar students will as well. But I am also grateful that this institution shapes people, not just students. That it builds conscious, global, free thinking, well spoken, educated citizens who bring that out into the world. This retrospective offers a rare opportunity to reflect on an incredible four years, and I would be remiss if I didn’t honor and recognize some incredible life-changing experiences that could happen nowhere else. The major ones stand out: events like Founder’s Day and senior weeks and convocations past that are precious
memories I’m confident aren’t going anywhere. Classes stand out as well: opportunities to study some incredible things like global historical conflicts and the social tensions of class, culture and power are no doubt formative and will follow me in incredible ways wherever I go. People, of course, also stand out. My entire career at Vassar, and particularly my senior year, has been shaped by incredible friends, inspiring professors and mentors, and this year by an ever-supportive VSA Council. But, I trust my peers, my photographs, my memories and my notes will catalog these influential aspects of my time here. What I hope the above has accomplished is to stress my departing plea: don’t give up what is Vassar. I’ve had the opportunity to see this institution work through a devastating financial downturn in an inspiring way. The strong tradition of shared governance has meant that the downturn has been addressed as a campus community problem with a campus community impact that everyone needs to be heard on. Even in these difficult times, please do not give up on thinking about the entire person. There’s probably nothing innovative about using my final retrospective as a chance to plead for the preservation of the residential liberal arts experience. But Vassar does it better than most, and struggles to provide it to more people than most (although there’s always work to be done in that area). Vassar does it with more sincerity and passion than I’ve seen on any other campus. I go back to what I opened with: I’ve spent a lot of my time here, particularly my senior year, getting to know the guts of this institution, specifically who and what makes it work. And I can say proudly that those guts are as inspiring as what is taught in the classroom and learned between people in the residence halls. This place works in an incredible way, with many voices around a table, a lot of discussion, and a lot of passion for making this institution a little better with everything it does. It offers some comfort as I try to leave here to know that that tradition is alive and strong. I hope it continues to function to keep Vassar everything that makes it so incredible. — Charlie Dobb is the former Vassar Student Association Vice President for Student Life. He held the position from Fall 2011 through Spring 2012.
oo often I have found myself appreciating Vassar on the wrong side of 5 a.m. The paper that was pushed too close to the deadline, The Miscellany News article that still needed to be written, The Miscellany News issue with unfinished sections, the thesis that was a bigger challenge than I anticipated—the work and my procrastination all conspired to make me familiar with hours better left unseen. But in the quiet moments walking home from a long night in the library or newspaper office, feeling the best kind of tired, I have always been comforted and amazed that somehow it all always gets done. True to form, I have also left this retrospective to the very very end, trying the patience of a new Miscellany Editor, one for whom I used to set the deadlines. Things come full circle. In terms of finding people who know how to live in the last minute, I couldn’t have picked a better club than The Miscellany News. It’s hard to say how important it was freshman year to have a bunch of upperclassmen who encouraged me to write and to write often, or how little I would know about Vassar now if I had not had the newspaper as an excuse to explore it, or how much I learned as an editor working with other editors and writers, or what else I would have done with all of that time. The Misc was my home for four years, and suffice to say, it meant a lot. When it came time to write a thesis this semester, I wanted the Misc back. I wished desperately for a group of twenty or more of the most talented people I know to help me put the whole thing together. I wished for the design editor to whom I could hand a doodle and a prayer and receive back a work of art. I wanted copy editors—desperately— who could look more closely at the paper than anyone else. I needed an entire editorial board to bounce around ideas. The Miscellany News taught me more than any one class, built my confidence and helped me love and think critically about Vassar, among other things. Through the Misc, I fell hard for old-school Vassariana, wasting hours going through photographs—Vassar girls in a classroom, Vassar girls in a canoe, Vassar girls learning to paint, Vassar girls on a novelty, oversized can of Schlitz (Founder’s
Day!), Vassar people (we went co-ed!) riding a pickup truck—and imagining myself in the continuum. In all those pictures, there are also the moments of contention and of protest, which the Miscellany covered then and covered in our time here. Historically, there was nothing too new about the way administrators and students disagreed over how to handle economic fallout from 2008. I watched and wished that the former could be more open and just look less nervous and that the latter could be more civil and better informed. For those of us on the paper, it was a crash course in how to explain things we were just barely getting ourselves. We treated the newspaper as the important source of information that it is and found that it could provide the vocabulary to have a real conversation about difficult topics. I don’t think I have ever been so impressed with anyone as I was by our Editor that, who led the paper through a very contentious year and made it stronger than ever. I say that the Miscellany taught me more than any one class, and too often, my class work did take a backseat to the newspaper. For that my professors are owed thanks for their understanding and an apology for the occasional rough paper, the skimmed reading, and the tired look in class. I wish now that I could have dived even further into history classes or that I could have spent more time with the unique group of people who make up the Victorian Studies program, a group that treats the field with the perfect mix of gravity and whimsy. I sat at the last Victorian Studies dinner listening to every professor talk about their research and wondering how I stumbled into such a curious— in all its meanings—corner of campus, and I am so grateful that I did. And now, of course, there is the problem of knowing that things always, in the end, get done. Despite pushing deadlines as far as I could, I have unsuccessfully avoided the reality that it’s time go. I need to turn in this retrospective and pack up my room in a house full of my favorite people and go home, feeling the best kind of tired. —Molly Turpin is the former Miscellany News Editor in Chief. She held the position from Fall 2010 to Spring 2012.
Jake Levitt T
he Official Vassar Drinking Game*: A retrospective.
• Every time at least 90% of your fellow group is at the Deece with you, spike your Cherry Pepsi with Crystal Palace. • If you find yourself in an all-freshmen “trail of beers” to the TH’s, chug a PBR. • At your first cast party, make sure you can only remember it via Facebook photos of you belting Little Shop in the hallways of Main. • If you declare your major early (yikes), drink half of that Natty Lite without getting sick. o Drink the other half as well if you declared a Drama major with no correlates. • The first time you call out a fellow group member for cheating on her off-campus boyfriend, you’re already really drunk, don’t worry about it. • The first time a fellow group member winds up naked and puking in your room, get him/her some water and wash your sheets. No drinking tonight, security’s coming. God I wish your roommate was back from break. • For your first Founder’s Day, finish those mimosas your student fellow made you and move on to that bottle of Andre you stashed in your friend’s room. • Every time you get invited to a party in the TAs, take two tequila shots—you earned it. o Every time you get invited to the SoCos, don’t worry about it—you’re not going. • Every time you end up at the Acrop, see if they’ll serve you a martini (they won’t).
• Every time you think you’re smart enough to give freshmen advice, take a sip of that beer an upperclassman bought you. • When you declare your major at a regular (read: lazy) time, take a shot. o If you were lucky enough to declare your major once they started giving out “Hooray I’m Declared!” buttons, take a double. • When you’re written up for the first time, finish that beer you “weren’t drinking” before security gets to it. • After your first main stage Drama Department production, take 525,600 drinks. • Take a shot for each time you trip walking backwards on the admissions tour you’re giving, but not until you get back to your room; your boss would not be pleased. • Every time UpC is out of almost everything, spike your blended strawberries and skim milk with everything in your two-room double. • Every time you end up at Bacio’s, make sure you’ve brought your mixed drink from that party you were at in, like, Cushing. o And make sure you get a side of ranch— that’s not part of the drinking game, it’s just good advice. Junior year:
• Every time all of your friends are in London, chug a Boddington’s. • The first time you go to the Dutch Dollar Beer Night (sorry, it will never be Billy Bob’s), bring a $20 and spend it all. o If Katina is still working there, tell her hello from me, and ask for a Katina Margarita.
We’re best friends. • Every time a friend talks about JYA being “life-changing,” drink a Bud Light. This is America. • Take a shot for all three plays you are in each semester this year. • Every time you force a beer pong table to fit into your suite, you’re doing it right. o If your best friends in the suite next door don’t have one, bonus points for you. • Every time you successfully Ice someone, treat yourself to one as well. I don’t care; they’re delicious. • Every time you try to write a retrospective but don’t really remember Junior year, blame the Four Loko. • Every time you end up at the McDonald’s drive-thru, you’re probably the one driving because you’re the only one of your friends with a car so please remain sober until you get home.
mo. #dramabros • Every time you lose your beer somewhere in your house, crack another one. #sustainability • Every time you get invited to a party in the TAs, take two tequila shots; it’s cold out. o Every time you get invited to the SoCos, don’t worry about it—you’re not going. • For each class you NRO your last semester (hopefully it’s all three), drink an Irish Coffee…in class. If you go. • Every time the words “after college” are spoken at you, drink the tears streaming down your face. • All five times someone responds to one of the 84 job applications you sent out, drink a celebratory scotch like a grown-up. • Every time you end up eating that leftover Rossi’s in your fridge, pair it with a nice Pinot Grigio—it’s lovely. As an alum:
• Take a shot every time someone talks about how hard his or her thesis is. o Take two shots if they contrast it with you “working on your play.” You spent a lot of time on that, goddamnit. • Force an underclassman to chug a beer every time they are amazed that the TH drawer handles function as bottle openers. • Take a sip of beer every time you run into someone you don’t really know on the TH path and have to walk awkwardly to campus together. • Every time one of your housemates needs to borrow your Ben Nye stage makeup kit, chug a Rolling Rock and make yourself a cos-
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• Every time you move to Brooklyn, take a shot because of course you did. • Every time you get a Facebook invite to a play you’re never going to go to, have a glass of wine. • Every time you’re cripplingly lonely because you’re not living amongst the greatest people you’ve ever known, buy a PBR and remember it well. *Sorry, Renée Pabst (Blue Ribbon). —Jake Levitt is the outgoing President of the Future Waitstaff of America theater organization, and recently played The Baker in “Into the Woods.”
ou should just try out, Emily” coaxed my roommate Julia, “the worst that can happen is you don’t get in.” I anxiously nodded and got up from my dorm room floor where I had been stretching. I had danced all my life, but just for fun. I knew my limited resume didn’t compare to the bios of the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre dancers that I had read over and over again on the website. Trained at the Boston Ballet school, studied dance at LaGuardia High School, performed in the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center, the list of accomplishments went on and on. While twelve-year old Emily was busy twirling, strutting, and bopping across the stage at the “Stars of Tomorrow” dance competition, outfitted in a tacky sequined crop top and mini skirt, some of these VRDT dancers were dancing alongside seasoned veterans in professional ballet performances. I didn’t think I stood a chance, but with a little convincing from my roommate and fellow group, I dragged myself to Kenyon Hall for my first ever Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre audition. The dance studio was packed with girls. I walked to the piano where I signed my name, grabbed a cloth number and pinned it to my leotard. I sat down to fill out the application card: number of years studying jazz? I wrote 5. Number of years studying modern? Yikes, zero. Number of years studying ballet? Oh boy, I couldn’t rightfully say that I had ever “studied” ballet. While the girls around me stretched, hugged and chatted enthusiastically, I sat frozen in the corner of the studio, wondering how I would get through the next two hours. Fast-forward one week and there I was sitting in my dorm room, staring in awe at my computer screen at the list of new company dancers. By some miracle, I had made it into VRDT, I was a VRDT dancer. After the shock and excitement waned, I realized that the challenge had not even begun. As a member of VRDT, I would need to hold my own alongside girls who had could have easily entered prestigious dance conservatories. This would be an interesting year. While the year was certainly a challenge, it was not at all a disappointment. I at first felt like a dunce learning the basics of modern dance technique, and couldn’t help but wonder what people thought of me. Little by little, my confidence grew as I found my place in the VRDT community. Contrary to my initial thoughts of VRDT members, my fellow dancers came from a range of backgrounds. Sure there was a handful of exquisitely trained ballerinas, but there were also people who had been Irish dancers, former athletes, and some
who had even started dance in college. Realizing the diversity in the group, I grew more comfortable at rehearsals and found myself performing better. I was ecstatic when a visiting choreographer chose me to perform a small duet in his new piece. It was such a small part, but it meant the world to me to finally be recognized after five months of selfdoubt. As my freshman year came to a close, I could not believe how much my dance trajectory had changed. I’d gone from performing half-time shows at my high school’s basketball games to performing at the historic Bardavon theatre in front of a crowd of students, professors, and community members. From duets and solos at the Bardavon to dancing with outside companies, my experience in VRDT has given me a chance to explore my potential. It’s also given me the confidence to push the boundaries in other areas at Vassar. While I loved being in VRDT, I knew that I wanted to travel to Sri Lanka during my junior year. The Intercollegiate Sri Lanka Education (ISLE) program offered the ideal opportunity, but Vassar was not a part of the college consortium and it had been twenty years since a Vassar student had gone on the trip. Nevertheless, I was determined to convince the Study Abroad office to permit my exploration. Not only would the ISLE program enable me to discover my father’s home country, but it would also allow me to claim ownership over my Sri Lankan identity. A few applications, essays, and interviews later, I was set to travel abroad to Sri Lanka. My experience was transformative, so much so that I’ll be returning as the Program Assistant this coming Fall. From writing a thesis to hosting Vassar’s first Story Slam, I’ve constantly found ways to push beyond my self-imposed limits. I say self-imposed because I believe Vassar gives its students the resources and freedom to venture into new territories and undertake bold projects. I do not want to take sole credit for anything I have done at Vassar. My professors, friends and family have helped me thrive. Kathy Anderson and Randy Cornelius (who I met as a House Fellow Intern in Davison) Erin McCloskey (my thesis advisor), Steve Rooks (my dance professor) and many others have supported my explorations. While at another school my identity as a dancer may have preceded all other work, Vassar has enabled me to sculpt a multi-faceted identity that I’ll continue to craft in years to come. –Emily Dunuwila is a former member of the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre.
t some point in the near future, I will be filling out an online survey in a doomed attempt to live from gift card to gift card; before it asks me what medications I would be open to trying in the name of science, I will be asked for my occupation, and I will have a new answer: “Unemployed.” For the past four years, I said “I’m a student,” or “I go to Vassar,” and the time window in which those statements are true is coming to a close. For what it’s worth, I never did understand how being a “Student” could be considered an occupation—it falls somewhere short of working a grueling 9 to 5 and just ahead of sitting catatonic in front of your computer all day—and so I’d much more readily call it glorified joblessness or a masochistic hobby, depending on your course load for that semester. You could call me disillusioned. The most salient point that you might take away from my words so far is that I’m regretting the imminent loss of a very useful piece of small talk. I understand that I’m coming across as emphatically jaded right now. As someone who was asked in a very courteous fashion to contribute to this final issue, I realize that I am probably making something of a huge misstep with this opening. But, (1) my mind’s a mess, (2) I’m burnt out, and (3) depending on where they print me, you should be able to look up/down/left/right and find someone who has a more positive outlook on their time here if you were hoping for that sort of thing. To those of you still with me: allow me to take you on a trip down the moderately enjoyable memory cul-de-sac that was my time at Vassar College. Good times, bad neighbors, and all. I’ve met many people that I plan to keep close for the rest of my life. I like to think of my identity as something that was refined through continued collaboration with these people. If a conversation was enlightening, I would bookmark that topic. If an opinion sparked an argument, I’d polish my thoughts. If a joke made them laugh, I would surely remember that one for later. I wouldn’t be the absolutely, amazingly, and fully committed terrible person that I am today if it weren’t for these people. I enjoy being me a lot more than I used to, and even though I’ll just say that my best friends “know who they are,” I hope they also know that if there’s one thing that they can count on coming before my ego, it’s my gratitude towards them. While I’ve always considered my friends as belonging to “real life” I suppose it would be impossible to separate my classes, my professors, and my activities from the “Vassarian”
May 19 , 2012
idea. I learned a lot here. I’m sure that most everyone can agree with that simple thought, even if we can’t readily recall every single detail of our education. I am a drama major and I learned how to act better. I am interested in fiction and I learned how to write better. Some professors taught a great deal from a distance, but I’ve been lucky enough to know a few who taught a small handful of things very thoroughly and personally. I certainly leaned on some of them when they didn’t need the extra pressure, but they always helped. They’ll always be here if I’m thinking of them. I’ve tried to make the previous two paragraphs less saccharine because these people deserve better, but they probably know me well enough to imagine me saying this glowing praise with a slight sneer and an insistent elbow to the ribs. My thoughts are succinct, but these were good things. However, you can’t have good without some bad. For everything I enjoyed about Vassar, there seemed to be a niggling problem that would develop in lockstep. There were many people who knew me, but there were also many people who never bothered to know me and some that thought they knew me. After the first couple of years, there arises this sort of dead socialization that never introduces new ideas or people and continues past graduation. People talk shop and discuss emotion at a distance. There are quite a few people I know from whom I’ve never heard honest laughter. Vassar places stress upon stress on you, both academic and social, until you either give up or give in. I pity those who didn’t find their place here and I kind of hate myself for fitting in with some of these people so well. Because I had to. Because there’s no one new. Because no one sane would want to run the gauntlet of these harsh, social learning curves in order to gain a few new buddies who all talk the same. Even my negativity reads more potently than the opposite because that’s another thing that this place has done to me. We have lived the past four years in a bubble and condescension has no smell. My time here was well spent making honest connections and learning from people who knew a lot of stuff that they were supposed to know. I certainly hope that this school and its members have found me, on average, more entertaining than not. It was interesting. I’d just like to say: no offense, but I wash myself of the whole thing. –Yen Nguyen is a former movie critic for The Miscellany News and a regular participant in student theater and Drama department theater.
Brittany Parks W
hen most students who apply to Vassar receive their long-awaited letter of acceptance, they respond with joy and elation. But oh, not I. When my notification of admittance slipped its way into my home mailbox, it was my parents who exploded with bursts of jubilation. I felt like I was watching a cheesy Grammy Award acceptance speech, filled with tears and heart-felt “shout outs,” that is, to me of course. In fact, in this moment, by mother so kindly introduced to the world the infamous “Vassar dance,” a combination of bodily movements reminiscent of both Ricky Martin and my two-year old cousin. On the other hand, I glared at the letter with disdain. In my humble opinion, it actually represented my wasted time on another college application that my parents forced me to complete, 1 out of 8 actually (Ya, we’ve all been there). The words on that page also took the form of a journey that I had no interest in taking, being as I was quite comfortable with my sunny southern California lifestyle. Too bad that by the time August came around, I was on a six-hour, one-way plane ride to Poughkeepsie, New York armed with a newly purchased winter wardrobe. I mean, at that time, I couldn’t even own the fact that Jersey Shore’s reality television star, Snooki, was from this small, desolate town. Boo. My first semester at Vassar was not one of fun-filled afternoons on the quad playing frisbee and making new BFF’s that I would keep for my remainder of my collegiate career; it was one of survival. My goal was not to excel in my classes, it was to get through this thing called “college”
and wait until I could get back home (which equaled a grand total of two times the entire year thanks to my participation on the women’s basketball team). When walking around campus, I felt like I was virtually transported into the animalistic mall scene in the film, Mean Girls (I know you’ve all seen it). Everything, and everyone, was unfamiliar and a posed a threat. Except, the only caveat to that metaphor is that all the “animals” were unusually kind, like I was trapped in a kennel with crazed robot puppies and kittens. When walking to class, people that I had never even seen before would give me the “Hello” and smile thing that we are all so familiar with. I would pay anything to go back in time during those interactions so that I could see the scrunched up expression that I would give those genuinely nice people. I’m not sure when that all changed. Today, I sit here in my TH and think about the reality that I am a graduating senior. I also ponder that fact that I am in love with this place, with the people who go here, and everything that I have become by attending this prestigious institution. I think of where I began this adventure and where I have finally ended, and it is nothing short of a miracle. When trying to reason why I am thoroughly going to miss everything about Vassar, my mind became filled with fond memories, the evidence to my conundrum: Perhaps it was when my team took me under their wings and taught me how to be a real college student by showing me important life lessons, like Natty Light and Crystal Palace could
actually be consumed on a regular basis. Perhaps it was when I was thrown into Kiese Laymon’s class, Writing the Diaspora, as a freshman and was forced to perform raps in front of my peers which questioned our society and our place within it. Perhaps it was when I decided that being the nerdy kid who answered all the questions in class was actually really cool, and quite necessary in order to attend law school after college, especially UCLA. Perhaps it was when my basketball team won the Liberty League Championship for the first time in school history, with only eight girls on our roster for that matter, my junior year. Or, perhaps it was the water balloon fight that I had in the TH lawns with my dearest friends. That’s when I realized that my growth here had everything to do with what I made out of my experience, and when I actually decided to get everything out of college that I possibly could. It was the moment that I became excited about who I was becoming and what I could become, and that this place would allow me to do that. My bond with Vassar grew out of my friendships and the memories that we made together. As I write this retrospective on my not-so organized desk, I glance upon a plaque I received for being the 2010-2011 Liberty League’s Player of the Year in basketball and my tassel for the Psychology Department’s Psi Chi National Honors Society. But I know that these physical things will never measure up to the memories I have with my best friends here and the personal knowledge I have
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
gained through receiving a liberal arts education. In the end, self-growth is what our college years are about anyways. Like, seriously, if I can recite every formula I learned in Stats class by the time I’m 50, I would have some serious problems on my hands. Therefore, my little nugget of advice to anyone who reads this is that life is not about where you start, but where you want to end up. So, yes, when I go home to San Diego, my peers don’t know that Vassar College even existed (Meryl Streep went there, DUH). Of course, the elderly folk try to convince me that it is still an all-female institution (what do I know, right?). Most definitely, my friends believe that I have become a hipster (Dear Lord, of all the things on this earth to become). And finally, my parents continually complain about spending $50,000 a year only to sharpen my liberal art-sy debate skills (which are especially handy when my mother asks me to complete domestic chores around the house). Nevertheless, I am proud to say that I am a Vassar graduate because I know that I have only become the person that I am today because of it. My journey is far from over, but the road that I have traveled thus far will guide me through equally fulfilling experiences in the future (but hopefully with less cheap booze and cleaner housing options, Lathrop *cough, cough*). Thanks for everything, Matty Vassar. — Brittany Parks was the captain of the women’s basketball team and a Female Career Achievement Award winner.
May 19 , 2012
SENIOR RETROSPECTIVES ADVERTISEMENT
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
SENIOR RETROSPECTIVES ADVERTISEMENTS
May 19 , 2012
Andy Marmer M
y decision to attend Vassar was a surprise to nearly everyone who knew me. They knew I was looking for a small liberal arts college where I could immerse myself in the sports culture; their question was whether I would find that here. After four years I can unequivocally answer that question in the affirmative. Like any freshman, I arrived on campus looking for clubs to join and places to make friends. Yet through sheer happenstance my search did not last long. Through my VANS activity I ended up writing sports, and through my first article I wound up with a job in the Sports Information Department. Having worked in that office for four years and in my position as Sports Editor of the Miscellany for the past two and a half years I’ve become intimately familiar with a part of this campus as beautiful as the rest, yet one that few care to see. I have long felt that athletics are ignored on this campus, and it’s easy to see why. Go to the Athletics and Fitness Center or Prentiss Field and you’re unlikely to see few students at the game, regardless of team. Generally those in the stands are other athletes. Yet those playing are exceptionally talented individuals who proudly represent Vassar just as their more noticed brothers and sisters of the arts. Getting to know Vassar’s athletes through the Miscellany, the Sports Information Department and day-to-day interaction has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my college experience; it was an honor to cover them for the past four years. While the time I spent with athletes has been exceptionally rewarding, in reflecting on my College experience I would be remiss if I did not mention all of my wonderful colleagues at the Miscellany. One of the truly remarkable things about Vassar is that anybody, regardless of major, background or aspirations, can get involved in any activity. I consider myself fortunate that, as an economics major with limited journalistic experience and no aspirations in that field, I was able to serve as Sports Editor for the length of
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time that I have. Many of my fondest Vassar memories and my greatest learning experiences have been a result of my time with this newspaper. To my fellow editors over the past two years, rarely have I been challenged to think as much as you all have made me in our staff editorial discussions.
“Getting to know Vassar’s athletes through the Miscellany News... has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my college experience.” I am richer because of my interactions with all of you, and I sincerely thank you for helping me to grow both as a thinker and a person. Of course this makes everything sound so somber but I can think of few experiences I’ve enjoyed more than weekly production nights—which after two and a half years will, like everything here, be sorely missed. To be as clichéd as possible about this (but I swear I truly mean it), eventually it comes time to move on in life. I cannot imagine myself as close to the person I am today without the lessons Vassar taught me, and my interactions with everyone here. From the bottom of my heart I say thank you to the people I have met here, be they student, faculty or staff, that have made these last four years so memorable and have helped make me who I am. Thank you, Vassar. —Andy Marmer is the outgoing Sports Editor for The Miscellany News. He has held the position since Spring, 2010.
May 19 , 2012
Amy Bavosa M
y career at Vassar volleyball got off to a rocky start, to say the least. I was thrown into an atmosphere where I found I was fully expected to participate in team decisions and conversations; my opinion mattered just as much as our senior captain’s—and that was scary for me, especially since I hadn’t yet found an effective way to merely make conversation with my teammates. An early season switch to 7 a.m. morning practices, followed by our starting outside quitting, shook me up a little bit. My walks from Joss to Kenyon in the morning dew before the sun had started rising consisted of phone conversations with my dad before he left for work, discussing whether or not the team was really worth it to be pulling myself out of bed this early. Well it was worth it. The team and I, with lots of tears, persevered through the season, and ended it with two setters hitting outside for us to earn an 0-4 record at Liberty’s. But that day, we couldn’t have been happier. We finally came together and knew how it felt to play as a team. My freshman season was important for yet another reason—my lanky limbs and intermittent less-than-athletic plays earned me the nickname Bambi, little did I know how much it would stick. Along with this though, I really saw what it took to be a part of VCVB; if you weren’t willing to commit your whole self to the team and lay it all out there, the team won’t commit themselves to you. My sophomore season is when things really started to click. I had best friends playing right beside me, an awesome co-captain that I completely admired, and a pretty sweet incoming freshman class. Though I was hesitant when picked to captain the team, numerous meetings with Coach throughout the season about my insecurities reassured me that I was actually okay at this. I learned how to lead, how to compete, but most importantly how to communicate with and understand those with a different perspective than my own. But all of this is insignificant compared
ADVERTISEMENTS to the friendships, and even sisterhoods, I have formed with my teammates, and even my Coach (not so much a sisterhood there). I’ve grown to love and admire those that have graduated before me, and those who will continue the legacy of Vassar volleyball once I leave. As the only graduating member of the team, I reached out to other classes, and they have reached out to me in the most incredible of ways; in ways that only teammates can because there’s that extra bit of understanding and compassion, one that will never fizzle. Not to mention ample opportunities were created for numerous trips to the Salvation Army for theme party attire, relaxing days of playing volleyball on the quad, and other silly shenanigans I could have never dreamed up. VCVB has most definitely shaped my life at Vassar, and I couldn’t have asked for a better program to have done so. I can’t believe the time has come to leave its comforting embrace.
“I’ve grown to love and admire those that have graduated before me, and those who will continue the legacy of Vassar volleyball once I leave.” Although I’m not sure what I’ll be doing or where I’ll end up in the years to come, what I do know is that I never really have to leave VCVB behind—I’ll always have a part of it with me, and it will always have a part of me, Bambi. And that’s an incredible feeling. — Amy Bavosa was the captain of the women’s volleyball team.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
May 19 , 2012
Elana Schulman M
y first memory of Vassar took place in cyberspace. It was late August 2008, and I was an incoming college freshman. All I wanted to know was the answer to one very important question: what dorm would I be living in come September? Suddenly, I received an e-mail from Residential Life that said something along the lines of “The Sorting Hat awaits, make an avatar in second life, locate the virtual Vassar campus, and you can find out where you will be living.”* Yes, that is right—I made an avatar in “Second Life” to find my assigned dormitory. After about three hours, I finally figured out how to make an avatar and flew (the mode of transportation in “Second Life”) to Vassar. The virtual campus was beautiful; some computer science major was probably awarded fieldwork credit for creating it. I found a castle-like structure, traveled through many winding hallways, and arrived in a large room with a very worn witch’s hat spewing names like “Josselyn” and “Lathrop.” Also, I think it is important to point out that I had NOT read Harry Potter—not even one book—so this was all very strange to me. It was finally my turn. I gave the “hat” my information and, through a puff of magical smoke, my future home was revealed: Strong House. I will be honest when I say that I wasn’t thrilled about
this news. I felt like I was missing out on some quintessential “college” experience by living in a single sex dorm. For example, I would never get to brush my teeth next to a boy in the bathroom or wipe tiny beard clippings from the sink, and I was sad about this. After the “hat” disclosed the information, I was visibly distressed and replied, “Really?” Sensing my dismay, a bald, androgynous figure approached my avatar and said, “You don’t seem thrilled about living in Strong! It is a hidden gem on this campus, and I’m sure you will enjoy it.” The avatar, dressed in a type of spandex suit, turned out to be Rich Horowitz, the associate director of Residential Life at Vassar. This story always makes me laugh because of its absolute absurdity. I don’t think students at other colleges talk to res-life administrators, dressed like circus performers, in an alternate cyber reality, but they do at Vassar. In retrospect, I had a really great time living in Strong my freshman year. I lived in the smallest dorm room in Vassar history, which my incredible roommate, Caroline, and I referred to as “the cave.” It had one very small window, which made it a perfect napping environment, an essential component to any room worth living in. During freshman year, I remember coming back to my room in Strong, after a call back for
the sketch comedy group called “Happily Ever Laughter,” which I will refer to as “HEL” because that name sounds slightly more badass. I had never formally been a part of anything comedy related, but I decided that college would be the time to explore that particular artistic outlet. After presenting the first comedic sketch that I had ever written in my entire life (it was about a robot hitting on girls at a party) to the really cool and intimidating members of “HEL,” I walked across the unfamiliar quad and recounted the tales of my night to my roommate. I put on a pair of sweatpants, my “lounge uniform,” and sprawled across my extra long twin and wondered when I would hear back about my audition. Suddenly, I heard banging on my door. Was it security? Were they coming to warn us that the life-size cut out of Obama that sat in front of our door was a fire hazard? “Not again,” I thought. As I opened the door I was shocked. All of the members of “HEL” were standing in front of me, welcoming me into the group. We all jumped up and down until my neighbor, who blasted country music at all hours of the night, complained that we were being a little too loud. All I remember is running: down the stairs, through the quad, and to a handful of other dorms, excitedly welcoming new members to “HEL.” I often
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think about what my Vassar experience would have been like without this group of ridiculously fun, talented, smart, and crazy people. It’s almost impossible to imagine, considering that most of my favorite memories have taken place at a “HEL” rehearsal, film shoot, show, or gathering. I remember getting pummeled with paint balloons, wearing the worlds largest backpack, being a part of a very serious bike gang, playing C.O.D. with real fish instead of controllers, watching a clown eat a Chalupa, playing a magical trumpet, performing the dream roll of “Little Edie” in The Mug, seeing a birthday candle explosion, and stealing ketchup from the food court at the mall to look like fake blood in our “knife tag” video short. These may not make any sense to you, I’m not sure they even do to me (and I was there), but it’s these small instances that bring back so many memories for me and always make my stomach hurt from laughing. Thanks for letting me be weird, Vassar. *This is how I remember it (Don’t be too impressed that I know how to make a footnote after 4 years of college) –Elana Schulman is the former President of Happily Ever Laughter.
May 19 , 2012
Alanna Okun P
ardon my French, but there was no way in balls I was going to join an a cappella group in college. Especially not an all-girl a cappella group. Especially not an all-girl a cappella group where the outfits were color-coordinated. I’d been in a group like that in high school, and I couldn’t decide whether I liked the passive-aggression*, the turquoise sequins, or the fact that we went by the moniker “the Treble Rebels” best. I didn’t really plan on doing any activities my first semester, thinking I’d take the time to get my life together academically and socially first, but especially not a-ca-fucking-pella. And yet I somehow ended up as the pitch of the Vassar College Night Owls, the oldest continuously-running all-female collegiate a cappella group in these United States**. I went to the a cappella preview concert the first week of school because that was just the thing to do when you were an unsure freshmen clinging to her fellow group. After I ducked away to engage in an uncomfortable phone conversation with my not-quite-an-ex-boyfriend, this group of women—not girls—dressed all in black caught my attention. They strode onstage with pride and grace and more than a little chutzpah, and they killed their three songs and swaggered right back out. I wanted so badly to be a part of
that, to be their peer and their student and their friend, that I couldn’t eat solid food between that evening and my audition the next morning. The Owls were all arranged leisurely on couches in the audition room, like Picasso’s Desmoiselles d’ Avignon except real and wearing more clothes. They chatted with me and made me laugh, and I tried not to stare. I sang “Son of a Preacher Man.” I nearly missed my callback the next morning because I was with my notyet-a-new-boyfriend. I thought I screwed it up so badly that I went to the library that night and figured I’d try again the next year. When I got a call from my roommate telling me I had to return to our dorm because one of our friends was unconscious on the floor, I believed her. I sprinted back to the room, debating whether I should call EMS, to find everyone on our hall milling around uselessly outside my door. “What are you guys doing?” I panted. “Is Ethan okay?” They just looked at me. I entered my room and there were the Night Owls, taking up every bit of space, smiling and bursting into a song whose words I could barely hear because I was feeling too hard. They left me in a whirlwind of hugs and glitter (which didn’t come out of my carpet until a future roommate threw up all over
it and we had to get it professionally cleaned) and I was in. And when you are in the Night Owls, it turns out, you are IN. You are in a warm, wonderful womb of constant discussion and support and growth. (That actually sounds pretty gross, but I promise, it’s awesome.) You figure out what songs work for you that you never thought you could sing, and how to make a background chorus of “doo doo doo bahs” sound moderately engaging. You lie on the carpet with your heads in a circle and improvise strange music, and talk about the boys you are excited about and the ones who make you ache. You paint your toenails during sectionals, and you are told when you are wrong, and you cry good tears and bad tears until you have to wash off your runny mascara in the Rose Parlor bathroom. You drink gallons of Carlo Rossi. You learn how to listen. It’s easy to forget that you can be more than just you. I spend so much time worrying about who will pay me and what type of cheese I should eat next and how my Facebook and Twitter and OKCupid appear to the rest of the world. But Night Owls, along with all the incredible friends and communities I’ve surrounded myself with at Vassar, has anchored me and expanded me. The time I didn’t spend singing alongside girls in
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
black dresses***, I spent writing about myself; I served as the Humor & Satire editor at this godforsaken rag for two years, and I wrote my thesis as a series of personal essays, mostly about boys and bar mitzvahs and knitting. And beyond even that ability to articulate, being here at Vassar has shown me how to tap into the voices, opinions and lives of the strongest, most singular people I’ve ever had the glowing luck to know. I’m sad to be leaving—of course I am—but I am so happy knowing that Vassar, Owls, Joss, Misc, WoCo, Senior Comp, Vagina Monologues, all of these spaces and then some, get to exist in the world. Team, I can’t wait to see what you all do. * “I mean, you can totally have that solo if you THINK you’re good enough…” **Also probably the whole world, because can you seriously think of anything more American than a bunch of nerds tentatively swinging their hips and eschewing instruments. *** I was also in Women’s Chorus, aka WoCo, aka Jesus-christ-Alanna-could-you-evenbe-more-of-a-walking-cliché. —Alanna Okun is the outgoing Humor and Satire Editor for The Miscellany News. She has held the position since Fall, 2010.
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applied early decision to Vassar for the simple reason that the student body seemed “artsy.” Throughout high school, I had spent more time in the arts studios than the library and I worked harder on my sculpture assignments than on my history homework. I had been thinking about applying to art schools, but after my college tours I decided that Vassar filled a niche for a liberal arts school with strong visual arts. Truthfully, I knew so little about Vassar, but on my tour, I saw that as another “artsy” kid, I belonged here. The small classes and the close relationships with professors were just more perks in what I had decided was the school for me. However, once I actually got here, what little information I had about Vassar suddenly shifted. I realized that yes, the students are artsy, but more specifically the students are into theater and music, and not necessarily the visual arts. After hearing about some problems with the studio art classes, and the fact that one art teacher particularly liked to make his students cry, I decided not to take Intro Drawing, the requirement for any future art classes. So, I spent freshman year exploring the other options. Instead of arts classes I tried environmental science, media studies, and sociology. Sophomore year I declared a media studies major with a focus in television and film studies. Media studies seemed to satisfy my need for creativity while allowing me a look into different fields of research. Sophomore year alone I got to count women’s studies, film, and art history towards my media studies major. Sophomore year I also bit the bullet and took the Intro Drawing class. My fears about the class couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Most importantly, neither of my teachers tried to make me cry. That year I also got my very first job, working on Mapping Gothic France with Professor Andrew Tallon. I hadn’t taken any of his Medieval classes, and I only knew
the very basics of Photoshop, but he hired me nonetheless. I would stare at computer screens color correcting these insanely beautiful images of Gothic churches and turning series of photographs into 360 degree panoramas. I also got the chance to work in the Visual Resource Library, the now defunct space that I would probably classify as one of my best kept secrets at Vassar. By the end of sophomore year that artsiness I had expected to find on my first day finally began to surface. So, in the summer before junior year I decided that I would declare a second major in studio art. I had applied to go abroad at the London College of Communications, but I withdrew my application so that I could complete the arts requirements. That fall I took two media studies seminars and two studio classes; I learned to read and think creatively in media studies classes while also having the chance to create artworks in the studio. Now I wasn’t just artsy, I was artistic. Another turning point that year was the Ira Glass lecture. I specifically remember him asking the audience how many of us wanted to be creative in our futures. Nearly the whole audience raised their hands. In response Ira Glass said, “then be creative.” I hadn’t realized it yet, but that was the supposed arstiness that Vassar maintains. Everyone here wants to be creative in some way. From the science to the arts, all Vassar students are creative thinkers. This past year, I forced my own creativity to its limits. I wrote a senior thesis for media studies, a few friends and I put on our first gallery show, I completed a studio art senior project, and I began to plan my life after Vassar. Apart from travelling, I’m not quite sure what’s next. But, if nothing else, Vassar taught me not how to be an artist or a theorist, but how to follow my own creative pursuits. –Samantha Ives is an accomplished studio art and media studies major.
assar is an easy sell. Anybody who asks, I’ll tell them that I love this school and wouldn’t go back, wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve sung Vassar’s praises to anybody who will listen, to prospective students and nervous parents, to friends at home, and even to friends at Vassar. I’ve reassured alums that the Mug is still the place to go on a Friday night, and I’ve told trustees that Vassar is every bit as good as those college guidebooks told me it would be. I once spent an entire afternoon trying to convince a high school senior to come to Vassar instead of Williams, where she’d also been accepted. It didn’t work—go figure—but I didn’t mind spending hours trying. I’ve got the script down by now—open curriculum, rich sense of history, passionate student body, beautiful campus, just an hour and a half on the train to New York City. We all know it’s closer to two hours, but I’ve always said an hour and a half. I was always like that—trying to give Vassar the advantage, to make it better than it was, better than it could be. That’s what I tried to do on The Miscellany News my sophomore year, and on the VSA my junior year. But Vassar is more complicated than a quick sell. What I wouldn’t tell a prospective student or a parent is that Vassar can kick you so hard you can’t even feel where it hurts—you just know that it does, and badly. Maybe that’s just college—or maybe it’s Vassar, or maybe it was just me. I think about those nights when I’d be running on caffeine and nothing else, racing against a rising sun to finish the layout of the last ten pages of the newspaper and also make it to class on time. I think about waking up to emails from students, angry at an article in The Miscellany News, or a policy in the works at the VSA. I think about my consistent frustration that— despite Vassar’s history as a politically engaged and activist student body, as the first college for women—that during my four years here student
activism meant getting angry about Cappy Hill’s salary, but rarely about anything that went on beyond Main gate. Vassar is not perfect, and my time here hasn’t been either. But I will always tell a student or parent or friend to come here. William Faulkner once wrote that “You don’t love because: you love despite; not for the virtues, but despite the faults.” For four years, Vassar has been my home, and the friends I’ve made here have been my family. What I didn’t like about Vassar pales to what I’ve loved. I love that view of Skinner as you emerge from the shadows of Olmstead; I love that feeling of total engagement in the classroom with your favorite professor; I love knowing that all of us will forever be part of Vassar—of its tradition and its history—no matter how much time and space passes between us and Commencement Hill this Sunday. I love that Vassar gave me leadership experience and professional confidence—I love that I had a seat at the table before I even understood that what I had to say could affect real change. Vassar showed me that if I am passionate enough, I can achieve anything. But most of all, Vassar owes its greatness to its people. And I’m thinking specifically, of course, of my people—of dancing till 3 a.m., of climbing buildings and causing trouble, of knowing just what to say, or how late to stay up, or what Food Network show to watch. To my friends: thank you for making my rough moments bearable and my good moments great. I cannot possibly sum up so much laughter and happiness, or put into words any shade of what you mean to me. But please know that next time I’m talking up Vassar, it’s you I’ll be thinking of. — Ruby Cramer is the former Miscellany News Editor in Chief for the 2009/2010 academic year and former Vassar Student Association Vice President for Operations for the 2010/2011 academic year.
Matt Wheeler I
pulled an all-nighter last night. Thirty pages in about thirty hours, pausing only to greet the Bacio’s guy at the door for my half-onion, half-pineapple pizza and to crack open Diet Coke after Diet Coke. But that marathon of writing seems easy compared to my charge here: “to collect some of your fondest Vassar memories and type them up into a 600-900 word memoir.” How I can explain in a few paragraphs what my four years have meant to me, how they’ve changed me? I wrote a thesis for chirissakes, why can’t I write a damn retrospective? Oh crap, I’m already at 100 words! I think the word that defines my time at Vassar most is “people.” The connections I’ve made here have sustained me through the hardest times and made the best times even better. I came to Vassar a scared high schooler from upstate New York, the part of upstate New York that hates it when you call Poughkeepsie upstate New York and where you have to drive thirty minutes just to get to a Wal-Mart. Everyone else was smarter than I was, cooler than I was, and definitely deserved to be here more than I did. Still, I was determined to give it a shot. I made it my goal to be friends with everybody. Not just on Facebook, though I was certainly not shy with friend requests. I approached every new relationship with the belief that it had the potential to be meaningful and life-changing. I can say now that it’s almost always paid off. I’ve gotten endless amounts back in return. My friends have taught me so much about myself, including how to be a friend. I’ve had the opportunity to put this love of people to work on House Team and on VSA. After all the meetings, programs, and projects I’ve been a part of over the past three years, I can honestly say that meeting more people and forging those meaningful connections was the best part of any of it. Meeting my fellowees for the first time as a Student Fellow, laughing and crying with Joss House Team as a House Student Advisor, and spending an hour debriefing a half-hour meeting with fellow VSA Council members as SoCo President have filled me with as deep, if not a deeper, sense of meaning than the accomplishments I can put on a résumé.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
I couldn’t have stayed afloat through any of it, though, without my incredible friends. They fill my life with meaning each and every day. I’ve always know that, but I was painfully reminded of it this Thanksgiving when my mother’s partner of ten years suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Life was in a whirlwind, and I ended up taking a week’s leave. That week, I found myself needing to be strong, for myself and for my family. And even though I was miles away from Poughkeepsie, the outpouring of support and love I got from my Vassar friends sustained me. The flowers, the emails, the phone calls served as a reminder of what I already knew: that I had an amazing life with an amazing group of people waiting for me when I returned to campus. It was enough just to see them again, so when seven of my best friends took two cars and drove four hours to pick me up in Massachusetts where the funeral was, I found myself unable to do anything but smile in spite of the sadness that had accompanied that last week. For all of you whose love keeps me going: thank you. I love you too. I just realized that every paragraph I’ve written (including this one) starts with some version of the word “I.” I’m not gonna edit it, though, because this moment’s about me—and, by extension all the people and experiences that make me who I am. I think that’s what makes it so hard to imagine leaving this place. It was incredible, transformative, but it was also temporary. Still, I’ve put roots down here. I’ve made it my home. Those roots start deep in my heart and extend every which way: to Joss, to the SoCos, to New England building, but also into the hearts of all of my friends. As we scatter around the world to start the next part of our lives, I’m taking those roots with me. What’s next isn’t totally clear yet, but I know that I’ll be able to meet it head-on because I’ll never stop drawing off the love and support of my friends at Vassar. I owe you all so much of my past, my present, and my future. — Matthew Wheeler is the former Vassar Student Association South Commons President and Board of Elections Co-Chair. He held these positions for the 2011/2012 academic year.
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Erik Lorenzsonn T
he memories I have of The Miscellany News feel like the glue holding together my college years (I guess now that I’m an alum, I feel comfortable saying “my college years”). Of course, there were the articles. I hit for the cycle and wrote for every section: I followed students going door-to-door during spring elections for news, I investigated student disenfranchisement during local elections for features, I shared my story of protesting anti-union legislation in Wisconsin for opinions, I interviewed the saxophonist for the Saturday Night Live orchestra for Arts, and dissected the on-court dynamism of basketball phenom/Dean of the College Chris Roellke for sports. Memories of writing for the Misc are upstaged only by memories of the people and the times we shared. I could write poetry about Tuesday nights in the Misc office, about how the chatter and frivolity slowly subside into a grumpy 4 a.m. stupor, as my beloved fellow editors and I do everything in our power to ensure that a paper will, in fact, appear on news racks come Thursday morning. But as much as a senior retrospective should be a space for poetry and memories and emoting, I think I’m going to write something different. The following is a reminder to the Vassar community about why the Misc matters. Vassar’s newspaper of record has its appreciators, but I get the feeling—and maybe others would disagree—that there are many more detractors. And when you think about it, they have some right to complain. Oh, the grievances aired to me about our mistakes! Typos in headlines, typos in articles, typos in photo captions, misquotes, incorrect bylines, misleading headlines, imbalanced reporting, undue coverage of an event, egregious non-coverage of a different event, displeasing layouts—and sometimes, it pains me to say, we have been just plain WRONG. There are some errors that are exceptionally wounding to think about. I wrote an article dur-
ing my freshman year about a group of former inmates who were coming to Vassar to perform a play they wrote at the York Correctional Institute. The cringe-worthy headline, which I later found out had been accidental: “Inmates come to entertain the bourgeoisie.” Then there was an Opinions column published my junior year, that railed against the feminist movement. It was inflammatory, which would not been acceptable if the author had been in any way connected with the Vassar community. It turns out he was not; this was in serious violation of our submission policy. Feathers were ruffled, and rightfully so. And thanks to all of these missteps, the Misc has cultivated a pool of haters—all you need for affirmation of this is to check out scathing reviews on SayAnything every so often. And to them I’d like to say: I get it. We have done wrong before, and we can and should improve in many ways.
“I could write poetry about Tuesday nights in the Misc office, about how the chatter and frivolity slowly subside into a grumpy 4 a.m. stupor.” But I’d also like to nudge them in the direction of the things that the Misc does well, that I think goes unappreciated. I hope that doesn’t seem petulant, because I don’t think it is. It sort of comes with the territory with journalism, that readers will get ruffled with the bad and react with much
less fervor to the good (perhaps getting pumped for the EXCEPTIONALLY good). Let me start by saying that for every article with a healthy heaping of error, there are two others that are golden. This academic year was no exception. Pray, just go to our website and enter “Mary Huber” into the search bar. From her wonderful investigation into the balancing of gender ratios in Vassar’s admissions process to the incisive piece she wrote over the debate on the move of the bookstore, Mary’s is some of the finest journalism we’ve printed. Ruth Bolster’s retrospective on Sept. 11, 2001 was the most perfect thing the Misc could have printed for such a somber anniversary; it blended sensitivity with storytelling, a recollection of the impact the attack had on a campus less than a hundred miles from ground zero. Corey Cohn in Sports wrote a thorough and informative piece on student satisfaction with Vassar’s athletics facilities. Rachel Borne consistently hit home on her local beat, shining a light on groups like the Children’s Media Project. And the reporting in News, the straightreporting, bread and butter section of the paper, has been outstanding; in my three years on newspaper’s editorial board, there have been three straight teams of co-editors who have overseen a robust and balanced section. Beyond the strength of many of our articles, there is also the salient role our staff editorials play. Perhaps the most tangibly effective editorial we wrote was during my sophomore year, when President Catharine Bond Hill directly responded to our staff editorial recommending that she take a symbolic pay cut. She announced that she was indeed slashing her salary by 10%, and while our editorial was not the sole impetus for that paycut, I’m proud to think that we held some sway. But even when the editorials do not receive
such a visible response, I love to see how they feed the discursive beast on campus. Sometimes they start discussions, while at other times they provide a vocabulary and compass for ongoing ones. Our barrage of editorials during the Vassar Student Association restructuring debate last year served that very role. But I think the most important thing about the Misc that I wish more people were cognizant of is that as much as it is a newspaper, it is also an educational institution It is certainly our job to be a journalistic publication. We try to report fairly and accurately, to discern fact from lie, to be a watchdog, to investigate, et cetera. Let’s be real: The kids writing for the Misc aren’t already journalists, they’re only learning to be. When I first started on the Misc, I sucked. But thanks to the guidance of my peers on the paper I’ve come into my own, not just in terms of my writing but in terms of my ability to communicate and lead. The Misc teaches something valuable to those who join, even if it comes at the cost of some typos now and again. I do not want to belittle the frustration that so many students feel when they read the mistakes the Misc makes. A visit to our inchoate online newspaper archive shows that what we write in the Misc has far-reaching impacts; it truly is, as the adage goes, a “first draft of history.” From typos to the more egregious stuff like misquotes and incorrect information, our errors matter in a huge way. But I hope that this retrospective may serve as a reminder that The Miscellany News is fabulously flawed, and for all its mistakes it offers the Vassar community a wealth of wonderful writing. May it thrive for years to come! —Erik Lorenzsonn is the outgoing Senior Editor of The Miscellany News. He held the during the 2011/2012 academic year and has been on the Editorial Board since Fall, 2009.
Carrie Hojnicki T
here were plenty of times I thought about leaving Vassar, but most of them transpired somewhere between midnight and one in the morning on my walk home from the library. It was usually, although not always, the whistle of a Metro-North train that jogged the thought. Light but not quiet, distant but not far, the low airy sound had the unflinching power to bewitch me time and again. It cast a sort of spell, reminding me instantly where I was and where I was not, where I could and where I could not be. There was a train leaving for New York, but I was here, alone, on the library path. Over four years, the meaning of the whistle changed. At first it was the ache of homesickness, a simple yearning for what was familiar—person, time or place—what was, at that moment, completely inaccessible. Then it was more complicated. It was about life beyond this place, the big-picture kind of life where the paper I had just tortuously completed, the fight I had just had with my friend, the drunken mistakes I had made the weekend prior, meant absolutely nothing. I was, on the dark, quiet, empty, library path, powerless to the whistle. But something kept me here. Something protected me from the whistle over and over and over again. At first I thought it was laziness, an unwillingness to put in the effort required to go somewhere else, to transfer to a different school. Then I thought it was habit; I was in a rhythm that I could surely keep until the spring of 2012, a rhythm neither painful nor painless. But no, I had something, or should I say someone else, to thank: my friends. They didn’t know that they were doing it, and frankly they still don’t know they’re doing it, but they gave me something so much better, so much stronger than the whistle, something that made the whistle disappear as soon as I entered the friendly hallways of Main building. They gave me moments so silly, so happy, so stupid that I couldn’t
bear the thought of leaving. It was these people that made the place worth staying at for four years and these people who are going to make it so hard to leave.
“But something kept me here. Something proteted me from the whistle over and over and over again...I had something, or should I say someone else, to thank: my friends.” And how can you leave someone who will sacrifice sleep to drive you to the train station at seven in the morning, someone who will wash your hair in the sink when your cast keeps you from doing it yourself, someone who pastes together pieces of your art project, someone who hugs you even when you say you want to be left alone, someone who will take care of you on your 21st birthday, someone who fixes the hem of your pants before an interview, someone who will abandon their thesis for the night to have dinner with you because you’ve had a bad day, someone who just seems to get you. Vassar may be far from perfect, but it’s full of people who can do a lot of perfect things. I left the library tonight with two of my friends, making the dark walk across the lawn for the last time. I didn’t hear a single whistle. —Carrie Hojnicki is an outgoing Contributing Editor for The Miscellany News. She held the position during the 2011/2012 academic year and has been on the Editorial Board since Fall, 2009.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Corey Cohn W
hen I transferred to Vassar in the fall of 2010, I was uneasy about coming in as a junior, because I was concerned that two years here simply wouldn’t be enough. To be frank, I did not take much away from my freshman and sophomore years of college—for a variety of reasons, least of which was my dissatisfaction with my previous school—so I considered Vassar a fresh start in every sense of the phrase. At times, aware of how preciously short four semesters could be, I literally sought to maximize my time here. I spent the occasional break on campus even with home being barely over an hour away. And, particularly during my senior year, I fell into the habit of taking frequent strolls around campus during the middle of the night—a practice that proved to be both a good combatant for insomnia and healthy procrastination fodder during all-nighters. I found that the times I spent alone with the campus helped generate my greatest appreciation for it, from purely an aesthetic standpoint. Still, I think most would agree when I say that Vassar’s true value derives from the people that make up its community. When I first arrived on campus, I was taken aback by how welcoming everyone was. Part of me assumed that extra efforts were being made for the sake of the incoming students, but two years of subsequent social interactions of various sorts have invalidated that theory. Everybody—students, faculty, staff, strangers who happen to be roaming around Noyes Circle—goes out of his or her way to help you here. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, maybe I’ve avoided the right people, or maybe I’m just easily impressed. But I doubt it. So now I wish to pose a new, safer claim: There’s something about this campus that brings out the best in people. In no Vassar context are my levels of respect and admiration higher than The Miscellany News. I didn’t extend myself particularly far in terms of extracurricular activities during my time at Vassar, but I’m more than satisfied with the lone organization I joined. Any member of the Miscellany staff can tell you that I was not the biggest talker during Editorial Board meetings or Sunday night Paper Critiques—but I
May 19 , 2012
Katharine Austin hope they know that I was always listening. Week in and week out, I found new reasons to be grateful for the time I got to spend with such a unique group of people. With all due respect to section editors (and with apologies to the late John Hughes for this half-assed rip-off), within each member of the Miscellany exists the critical eye of News, the resourceful will of Features, the powerful insight of Opinions, the side-splitting wit of Humor and Satire, the creative appreciation of Arts, the hearty vigor of Sports, and the attuned versatility of Online. Combine that with the unfaltering leadership from the Executive Board and a constant influx of rightfully eager writers and photographers, and it is easy to see why this organization not only produces a brilliant issue each week but also maintains such high levels of compatibility within the walls of its cozy office. So now, with my abbreviated stay at Vassar coming to a close, I return to my original question: Was two years enough? Honestly, no. Vassar provided the fresh start I needed, but it came with much too abrupt an ending. I feel in some ways like I went from my freshman year to my senior year all at once. I don’t feel like my education has finished—more like it just stopped. But if Vassar has taught me anything, it is that the most important projects, discussions, and relationships never truly end. They only evolve. Like many, I find it ridiculously scary to think about the future—plus, the existence of Facebook makes saying goodbye at least 36 percent easier by my calculations. So for now I’ll focus on the past and offer a sincere thank you to everyone I have had the privilege of meeting on this campus over the past two years. I hope to remember everything you have taught me. And to the unforgettable staff of The Miscellany News, thank you for the memories, the laughs, the thoughtful conversations, and the justification for sleeping in on Wednesday mornings. —Corey Cohn is the outgoing Sports Editor for The Miscellany News. He has held the position since Spring, 2011.
often feel as if the message of your typical senior retrospective winds up sounding like advice from Tom Petty. Work never ends, but college does, so live life to the fullest because in the end you are never going to remember that one history class you took, but you will remember late nights with friends and drinking until dawn. This sentiment is not without its merits. College life offers opportunities and freedoms that you’ll be hard pressed to find again, so by all means take advantage of them while you can. My memories of Vassar, however, will not revolve around drunken nights when I should have been writing a paper. My time at Vassar has meant so much more to me than something so trivial. And so in this context, as in so many other respects, Vassar defies conventions. It offers far more than just the standard college experience. When I recall memories of Vassar, I’ll remember the immense beauty of this college. How I anxiously I anticipated the explosion of color every spring. I will miss reading by Sunset Lake, studying in the gorgeous Thompson Memorial Library and making friends with my local woodland creatures. Being surrounded by so much loveliness made the usual stresses that define college life that much more bearable. I’ll remember the relationships I built with my favorite professors. How the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film came to feel like a second home. I hope that 20 years from now I am still in contact with many members of the faculty, as I am sure the knowledge they have to share with me will not cease when I walk across the stage at Commencement. I’ll remember the sesquicentennial year. How my impromptu decision to register for Pathways to Vassar redefined my appreciation for this college and deepened the connection I feel to those who founded Vassar and the students who filled its halls over the past 150 years. The impressive figures that make up Vassar’s history taught me that I too can do extraordinary things. Perhaps more importantly, they also assured me that I will more than likely not find my purpose in life right away; it is okay if I spend the next 10 years just following my passions.
I’ll remember Tuesday production nights at The Miscellany News. How a group of people could make a long night of working into the early morning hours one of the most enjoyable events of my week. In some respects, my time at the Miscellany cemented my Vassar experience. It introduced me to some of the some of the most friendly, hilarious and truly amazing people on this campus who proved to me that the quickest way to any person’s heart is through the stomach. I’ll remember my thesis. How it seamlessly combined my personal interests with my academic pursuits. I feel as if my entire Vassar career led up to my writing a thesis; it perfectly encapsulated everything I have studied in four years of classes. And yet it was also one of the greatest learning experiences of my life. I cannot express how much I improved as a writer or how much I learned about myself. And lastly, I’ll remember how all of these experiences made me the individual I am today. Vassar fostered old interests and introduced me to new ones. It awakened my imagination and opened up my mind to a new way of thinking. What makes my college experience truly special, however, is that Vassar did not oblige me to come away with any of these memories or life lessons. Instead, it offered me a limitless range of experiences and allowed me to find my own way. And it is that lesson I leave Vassar with that I find the most important. There’s this perception that the Vassar mentality resides in a vacuum, or that it does not exist in the real world. But in teaching me how to forge my own path, follow my passions and open myself up to new experiences, the benefits of my Vassar education will continue long after I leave college grounds. Above all, Vassar taught me that the world is full of possibilities, and if I make the effort to seek out those opportunities, I can make my life whatever I want it to be. —Katharine Austin is the outgoing Senior Editor of The Miscellany News. She held the position during the 2011/2012 academic year and has been on the Editorial Board since Spring, 2011.
Nick Johnson W
hen I came to Vassar, I was lucky to join two of the best groups on campus that would shape my time here: the Barefoot Monkeys and VC Fencing. Despite knowing little about what I wanted to do academically, from my first days here I knew that I wanted these groups to form the core of my social circle. The Monkeys were so welcoming during orientation; I remember them yelling across the Quad for me to come learn to juggle. I did, and I’m glad I did. I’ve loved that this tradition has continued as I’ve become one of the older members. I’ve been able to see the club grow amazingly, not only in size but in skill level. The shows get bigger and better every year, and I cannot wait to see where the next generation of Monkeys takes the club in the years to come. I think it’s amazing that Monkeys who graduated long before I was here still come back to hang out and I plan to come back next year to see my friends in the awesome shows I know they’ll put on every semester. The Monkeys are, in all respects, the closest thing I’ve had to family at college. The fencing team has been the other major part of my life here and one I’m glad to have shared with so many close friends. I met my best friend and roommate for two years through the team, and we were near inseparable until he graduated last year. As a team, we shared the long bus rides and even longer tournaments and have supported and cheered each other on through good times and bad. The coaches have been essential to my improvement at Vassar; without them I would not be anywhere near as good as I am today. My first three years on the team I was still coming into my own as a fencer and this year was by far both the best and the toughest. Despite missing some key members due to injury and illness, we fought hard at every competition and cheered loudly for every teammate. At the end of the season, I was honored to represent not only the fencing team but Vassar as a whole this season at NCAA Championships. It had been my goal since freshman
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year, and the arduous journey taught me so much about myself. It was an amazing experience and one that I am eternally grateful to have had the opportunity to have. Fencing has been my passion since high school, and I plan to continue it as far as it will take me. Though I loved my whole time here at Vassar, senior year was by far my favorite year. I made good friends and strengthened old friendships, took some great classes (Sports Psychology and anything with Jamie Kelly), and perhaps most importantly, figured out who and what matters most to me as I go into the real world. *shudder* I will never forget the time I spent here, the people I spent it with, and the things I spent it doing. Vassar has changed me significantly, but in a very good way. I am no longer the shy kid from Massachusetts walking into Raymond on his first day, worried about who he’d be liv-
“We shared the long bus rides...and have supported and cheered each other on through the good tiems and the bad.” ing near and who he’d be spending time with. I have since broken out of that shell and become not just part of the various social groups that I spent my time with, but something larger. I am not just a Monkey, or just a Brewer, I am a part of the Vassar community. I’d like to thank everyone that helped make these last four years so great for me, and I hope that you all have enjoyed your time here as well. — Nicholas Johnson was a member of the fencing team, and a Male Career Achievement Award winner.
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Sam Scarritt-Selman T
he best thing about coming to a place like Vassar is that you get to meet the people you always hoped you’d meet (these people know exactly who they are). Some of these people are placed on your hall freshman year. Some are in another part of your dorm. Others you meet through class because neither of you have started writing that paper yet and, no, you didn’t really understand the reading either. You meet more than a few standing around outside of a senior party to which you were not invited. And there are a couple that you don’t really get to know until far too late in your college career, leaving you scratching your head wondering what took so long. These people are all exceptional. They are bright, caring, funny people, each possessing a sharp wit and that vintage Vassar sense of irony. They challenge you, amaze you, and introduce you to cool music. They say things in class that you wish you had thought of. They get pizza with you at 2AM, and they share a large plate of fries with you at the DC on the weekend. These people have perspective. With these people, you formulate some of the most alienating and nonsensical inside jokes, which strike you as utterly hilarious. These people help you become who want to become, and, together, you all find your way through some of life’s crucial lessons, like
how there’s no shame in not having answers. These people are a little bit nerdy, and they approve of your tacky but definitely clever wordplay. These people make hanging around doing nothing feel constructive because any time spent with these people is always time well spent. These people like your Facebook statuses. I am of the mind that all of these people enter your life for a reason. At least I find its best to think this way. When I am at my most clear-eyed and pragmatic, I can see how easy it would have been to just miss out on getting to know the people who ended up becoming very important in my life. What if I wasn’t placed in Joss as a freshman? What if I spent more time in this section of the library? What if I went abroad? And if you ask yourself “What if?” enough times, you might find how crazy and random it is that you came to have this particular set of foundational friendships, how narrowly you avoided having a radically different college experience. However, I find that to regard everything that happens in your four years here as ultimately arbitrary is to miss the point of this shared venture entirely—it diminishes the weight of the great relationships you forge here and robs the whole experience of some of its natural splendor. You only have a limited amount of time here, and it is all over much too soon. It is very comforting to feel that
you spent a decent chunk of that time with the right people. So, thus, I am of the mind that all of these people enter your life for a reason, that, somehow, these are the people you were supposed to come across, as if by fate. These are your college friends, the people you always hoped you’d meet (these people know exactly who they are). They are constitutive of a very special time in your young adulthood. And it absolutely frightens me that some of these people might fall out of my life if I stop paying attention. . . . A couple of weekends ago, I found myself at a party where everyone was arguing about Philip Roth. It was a beautiful experience, all that yelling. And I feel like it could only happen at Vassar. In a couple of weeks, I’m going to find myself having conversations about the weather or how slow the subway is running, and I’ll look back fondly on episodes like this. I’ll miss the things I got to talk about in college. I’ll also miss being inspired by the energy and effusiveness of my classmates’ intellectual curiosity. I’ll miss the profundity of my professors’ words. I’ll miss the warmth and kindness of everyone I have had the pleasure of working with.
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I’ll miss waiting in line for eggs. I’ll miss seeing certain people’s smiles. I’ll miss waking up every morning and getting to look at this campus. I’ll miss all of those small but meaningful moments shared by the young and foolish. I’ll miss discussing everything that happened last night. I’ll miss not knowing what the next semester will hold. . . . I’ll miss spending my precious time here with some of the most wonderful people, the people I always hoped I’d meet (these people know exactly who they are) The tragedy of coming to a place like Vassar is that, at some point, you have to leave. For what it’s worth, I have tasted every single flavor of chicken wing available at Billy Bob’s BBQ except for two: Buffalo Mild and Billy Bob’s Original. I’m pretty sure this in some way reflects the type of person Vassar has made me. Probably something about taking risks and not playing it safe or, you know, whatever… —Sam Scarritt-Selman is an outgoing Sports Columnist for The Miscellany News. He held the position during the 2011/2012 academic year.
think it’s hard to write about a time of your life that you’re still inside of, that you don’t have enough distance from, but I’m going to try anyway. I didn’t realize how much the swimming and diving team shaped my life until I sat down to write this retrospective. Saying they’re my second family is cliché, so I guess I’ll call them my team, because that’s what they are. I know, no matter what, I will always have people on my team. And that’s definitely a good feeling. From my very first day at the pool, the swimmers called me “Greg-the-diver,” a very clear, rational nickname. I was one of two men on the diving team, and the only one that even dove before college. I heard horror stories and rumors about having to dive at other pools where the boards were mounted on glorified scaffolding or freezing cold training trips where icicles hung from the boards. Little did I know that this was all true. Although I never dove at the famous “scaffolding” pool, we did have to compete on some pretty shady looking equipment. At the pool that shall not be named, the three-meter board wasn’t mounted on a concrete platform, it was on what I like to call “chicken legs”; ten-foot metal supports that shake when you climb up the ladder and walk down the diving board. That was not a fun meet. And, we were in Florida for a training trip during the infamous cold front of 2010, after an even more infamous “staycation” training “trip” in 2009, when we stayed in Poughkeepsie to train and thought it might be fun to go north, instead of south, up to Harvard for a change of scenery. I repeat, colder, instead of warmer, for our winter training trip. But back to 2010. Waking up for morning practice and looking at the weather on my phone was mistake number one. But actually going outside, taking off my clothes, wearing a Speedo, and doing two and a half flips into the water was definitely mistake number two. Please note that the swimmers get to stay in the water and basically sleep while they swim. My sport happens before you get in the water. Although swimming and diving don’t have much in common, swimmers and divers are both masochists who love chlorine. Just to give you some perspective on the actual craziness of the weather, here’s a quote from the ABC local news: “Florida’s cold weather is freezing the state’s iguana population. They are falling from trees and lying on the ground, unable to move.” I wished I were unable to move. How lovely that would be. One morning, instead of diving, our coach decided to give us a break from all the freezing and do a training course around the lake near the aquatic center. As if running around the lake doing exercises wasn’t bad enough, a woman stopped her morning jog to comment on our workout. She said jokingly to my coach, “Shame on you for making these ladies work this hard!” Apparently
I also looked like a lady that day. But the training definitely paid off. When I qualified for Nationals freshman year, Emily Love, the captain of the women’s team, ran over to me and picked me up. She didn’t need to say any words, she just lifted me off the ground. Or, when I broke the last school record and my coach called his old diver who used to hold the record and told him he finally got knocked off. I should probably talk about my coach. Because, in addition to being an unbelievable coach, he’s also a pretty great guy. A pretty crazy, passionate, loud guy who uses expressions that no one else in the world uses. A pretty routine correction when we don’t grab our legs in the right place during a dive would be: “Grab higher! You’re not at the proctologist.” Or if we’re taking too long to dry off before a dive he would say, “Leave some skin on!” Or, because learning new dives is quite a scary endeavor and doesn’t always feel right, he says, “Your feelings lie to you.” But when you need him, he’s there. I didn’t have a ride to the airport for the training trip one year and he drove all the way down to New Jersey to pick me up. I wasn’t home when he got there, and he walked inside to find my one hundred-pound dog staring at him, so he waited in the car. He held my bucket for me when I was vomiting blood in the hospital after I fractured my eye socket on the 2011 training trip, and attempted to explain to the doctor that it happened from hitting the water, not the board. Side note: I think doctors have trouble with diving accidents because my teammate injured herself on the next training trip and the E.R. doctor asked if the “board” we were referring to was a surfboard. Let’s just say training trips aren’t our best. I have so many stories to tell, but I can’t tell them all. When I started, there were two divers, and this year we had eight. Our senior women dominated the record board, and we have new divers training harder and learning new dives every day. Our team is definitely picking up some steam. I guess I’m known for my enthusiasm during meets, or jumping around on a pool deck screaming and whistling. At our team’s award ceremony before the banquet, we have a tradition of bequeathing symbolic items to underclassmen teammates. My sophomore year, a senior on the men’s team, Lars, bequeathed to me a large conch shell, given to the underclassmen with the most spirit and enthusiasm. It must be blown. It is a symbol of our greatness. I just passed it down, and it’s in good hands. A new underclassman will be the “conchblower.” More memories will be made. And more meets will be won. Although I have to leave, I will always remember these people. And I will always be part of this team. But here we go one last time: V-V-V-A-S, S-S-SA-R, V-A-S, S-A-R, GO VASSAR GO! — Gregory Sullivan is the former captain of the diving team.
hen I came to Vassar four years ago, I had no friends. I had just not-so-artfully (because who can do anything artfully in high school?) burned every bridge I had spent my four years of high school building. It’s not important how it happened; we’ve all learned by now that most high school friendships fade out like cheap birthday candles. I’d almost rather that mine exploded, instead of slowly and painfully flickering into the darkness. The point is that, when my parents drove away from the flattened grass behind Joss four years ago and I trudged somberly back into my dorm, I was starting with a blank slate. The stakes were high. I didn’t want everyone to like me, I needed everyone to like me. I was more fragile than anyone realized. I was suddenly, painfully, glaringly alone. And I did not want to be. Luckily, I wasn’t alone for long. That very first night, I walked along the Residential Quad in a small pack of ten, and saw the library lit up against the night for the first time. I passed a cigarette from hand to hand with ten of my new best friends, because camaraderie is easy to come by when you’re that young and that confused. I am still friends with every person whose toes hit the wet grass with mine that first night. Vassar brought me back to life. If I’ve learned one thing in my time here (and just to be clear, I’ve learned much more than one thing, though this may be the most important) it is how to live and how to love (those are together, one thing, because you can’t do one without the other). I have lived and loved more in my senior year than in the other three years combined. I have lived and loved more in my four years here than in the rest of my years of life combined. This place and these people bouncing with me between the brick walls and classrooms and carefully labeled trees have made me feel worthy again. Before I came to Vassar, I had no idea what it felt like to laugh with someone and think, “Me
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too.” I had never really experienced that moment of complete connection when you lower your head onto another person’s shoulder and give in to the tears and neither of you has to explain. I had never spent an afternoon on a hill full of friends, wrapped up in another human being, breathing in the same air and feeling like life was just so full of joy. This retrospective was supposed to be my opportunity to be critical—that’s what I told myself. I would talk about issues of class, or our tenuous relationship with Poughkeepsie, or how petty grown-ups can be, or how unprepared for the future I may feel. But what came out when I began to type was a love letter, because I think those are the only kinds of letters I will ever be able to write about this school. In my mind, “Vassar” and “love” will always mean the very same thing. Vassar didn’t just give me friendship again; it taught me how to be a friend. There’s a kind of love you feel when you grow up with someone, when you’ve seen someone at their best and at their worst. When I walk onto this campus in the middle of the afternoon, in the rain without an umbrella, with the trees on the TH path dripping right into my skin, I feel that love one thousand times over. Every smile or waving hand is proof that I will leave with a whole lot more than I brought with me. Every spot of grass or bench that carries a memory is a place where I have cultivated more love for myself, to keep and to give away and to get back in return. And so, it turns out, Vassar prepared me for the future in the only way that really counts: to be able to reach out, and touch, and feel something beautiful again and again. — Pam Vogel is the former Vassar Student Association Class of 2012 President. She held the position from Fall 2011 through Spring 2012. She was also the Class of 2012 President in her junior year.
John MacGregor I
clearly remember my first night at Vassar as if it were yesterday. After a hectic move-in day, my roommate Sal and I attended all of the ice-breaker events that the Lathrop House Team organized. Once we, somewhat awkwardly, got through the various games, we decided to call it an early night. Lying in bed, in the dark, I could not sleep. I was staring up at the ceiling wondering whether Sal was doing the same thing. Afraid to wake him, but also selfishly hoping he was up, I decided to go ahead and call out to him. “Sal, are you awake?” He responded quickly with “No man, I can’t sleep.” I was relieved to see that my roommate was indeed in the same boat as me. I went back to staring at the ceiling and simultaneously we said, “I cannot believe we are in college.” And so, my time at Vassar began. It is hard to think back and specifically remember the multitude of experiences I’ve had at Vassar, but one thing I truly value is the number of great people I’ve met and the relationships I’ve developed and maintained during my Vassar experience. Throughout my four years, Vassar has been a place filled with genuine, honest, smart, interesting and wonderful people. I want to thank my girlfriend, friends, teammates, professors and coaches for being my copilots throughout my experience at Vassar. Outside of the classroom, my girlfriend, friends and I have shared a special relationship that allowed me to truly enjoy my time here. My teammates and I have similarly developed a bond that enables us to deal with the sometimes cruel fortunes of the game of baseball. My professors and coaches have played a role in my development as a student, athlete and person. Enough of this though. Although I said earlier that I didn’t have any specific experiences in mind, one just came to me. It is a perfect example of why I love the Vassar community so dearly. Toward the end of fall semester, my housemates and I put our overworked minds together and decided to have a dance party at our TH and to draw on the broad and deep musical talent in the
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Vassar community to provide the entertainment. The seven-piece band that was put together (complete with a horn section) was nothing short of an “All-Star Soul Revue Band.” We were determined to bring the entire community together for a night of dancing, singing and camaraderie. The band came over one hour or so before the show and hung out with my teammates and friends bridging the gap between these two groups. The band started playing at around 9:00 p.m. and there were only a handful of people there. This was a little disconcerting seeing that our hope was the exact opposite of the current reality. But within 15 minutes, our house and the field outside of our house was packed full with people. People from all parts of the Vassar community came to enjoy and share a great experience. Students were dancing and singing with people they
“One thing I truly value is the number of great people I’ve met and the relationships I’ve developed.” had never met before and it seemed that all social barriers disappeared entirely. Vassar came together as one that night to enjoy great music and, in the process, each other. It’s often been said that it is the people that make an organization or community great and that certainly holds true here at Vassar; people from all walks of life coming together to learn about the world and each other during this seemingly all too brief a ride. My time here was very special and I’m going to miss it, but I leave with full confidence that Vassar has prepared me well to face this next phase of my life. — John MacGregor was the captain of the baseball team and a Coach’s Award winner.
May 19 , 2012
FOUR YEARS AT VASSAR
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
FOUR YEARS AT VASSAR
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
May 19 , 2012