Art and Human Rights in Latin America

On Nov. 11, students interested in the visual arts, sociology, and political science were treated to a lecture by Dr. Andrea Giunta, a Professor of Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. Latin American art is Giunta’s specialty, which is why her presentation was focused on different artists’ representation of such concepts as identity and absence in the aftermath of Argentina’s Dirty War.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Argentina experienced a period of political unrest under a military dictatorship on which up to 30,000 people “disappeared,” a euphemism for being kidnapped and killed by government-hired cronies.

Left-wing activists, revolutionaries, students, and journalists were usually the targets of such violence. In Giunta’s lecture, the emotional scale of these events during the Dirty War was on display.

To open the lecture, Giunta showed the audience a newspaper clipping in Spanish with a picture of a young Argentinean couple on their wedding day. From an American perspective, it looked like a marriage or anniversary announcement commonly seen in large newspapers.

Another newspaper clipping, this one with a picture of a dignified-looking man, was shown to be printed directly next to the picture of the couple. It could have been an obituary or a birthday announcement. In reality, both newspaper ads were memorials for those who had disappeared.

Memorial ads featuring missing persons on the dates of their disappearances are as common in Argentinean newspapers as obituaries or marriage announcements are in American ones. As Giunta explained, these memorials are sentimental in the sense that the family photo album is on display as “a publicity for death.”

Giunta also analyzed an art exhibit entitled “Identity,” in which headshots of several disappeared persons are blown up to life-size and placed at eye-level on the wall in order to increase a sense of realism and create, in Giunta’s words, “an endless intersection of faces and gazes.”

This exhibit featured disappeared couples who were expecting a child at the time of their disappearance, meaning that their child may have been born in captivity. “Identity” was created in the hope that someone with ambiguous parentage would see the exhibit and discover that he or she was really the descendant of a missing person.

Post-dictatorship Latin American art, according to Giunta, places emphasis on the black and white images of missing persons by placing them against a colorful pattern, such as the Wall of Memory, which Giunta displayed next. This particular memorial places photographs of missing persons on ceramic tiles in a public space, alluding to their urban experiences.

Giunta explained a consistent concept of absence in post-Dirty War artwork. First, she displayed a painting of an empty bed with the sheet folded over, symbolizing the void left behind in the lives of those who knew someone who disappeared.

In a photo collection titled “Absencia,” old photos of a missing person with friends or family were recreated with the same people in later years, only this time one person was absent.

One photograph showed four stubborn-looking young boys standing next to each other. Its corresponding photograph contained three men in their early thirties, standing and posing next to each other in the same position they did all those years before, but in this photo there was a gaping space between two of the men where a fourth man, one of the disappeared persons, should have been.

According to Giunta, the process of reliving the memories contained within the photographs was a way of keeping the missing persons alive in spite of their absences.

Other artworks that Giunta displayed included a replica of a phonebook page with the names of missing persons taken out, and the Parque de la Memorial, which is similar to the Vietnam War Memorial because the names of missing persons are etched on a large granite wall.

Giunta concluded her lecture by saying that the purpose of such artworks was to make those who had disappeared “appear alive as trial and punishment for those responsible.”

Audience All Jazzed Up by Musical Performance

On Friday November 12, 2010 ladies, gentlemen, and children from young to old filled Montgomery Hall as they watched the Jazz Combo performance.

Don Stapleton, the music director, led his league eight music warriors as they played each victorious song.

The musicians of the band combo were a pianist, drummer, two saxophone players, a trumpet player, a trombone player, two bass players, and a guitarist.

Together these forces came to deliver a beautiful music that resonated in the room.

After each performance the audience gave a loud applaud and then waited at the edge of their seats for the next song.

Each musician had an opportunity to demonstrate his/her mastery of his/her instrument by performing solo pieces with the other members harmonizing in the background.

One did not have to be a music enthusiast to become entranced by the beautiful sounds of conversation between the musicians and their instruments.

Near the end of the concert, Stapleton called from the audience a special guest singer, Sandy M.

The concert ended with each musician performing a solo piece until everyone went.

After Stapleton said his closing remarks the audience gave a standing ovation followed by the Jazz Combo giving their thanks by waving and bowing.

Arboretum Association Works to Protect SMCM’s Fragile Beauty

Many of the students, faculty, and staff of St. Mary’s know of its often striking natural beauty. That’s why Lesley Urgo and others on campus are organizing to make an even more beautiful and ecologically-friendly campus.

Urgo has plans to designate the area in and around campus an arboretum, and though it has just begun the arboretum project has already integrated itself into efforts at preservation already occurring within and without of the campus community.

Urgo said that beyond its ties to the campus’s physical plant and the larger goal of environmental stewardship, the project was also partnering with Historic St. Mary’s City. This partnership would ultimately amount to around 1000 acres of land being encompassed under the arboretum distinction.

The arboretum association is also closely tied to the Keep St. Mary’s Beautiful project, which through clean-up efforts is also working to beautify the campus.

Urgo said that she was inspired to start her work upon her first visit to the campus, which she described as “simply stunning”. She also acknowledged that she was far from the first individual to begin beautifying the campus, and added, “the people here have done a lot of things in the past 25 years to make an environmental impact” and that “we’re really just putting a name to what we’ve already been doing.”

An arboretum, according to Urgo, is a “place where trees, plants, and shrubs are named for educational and aesthetic purposes…basically a place where the environment is valued.”

There is no single definition for what constitutes an arboretum, but Urgo said that most college arboretums tend to either be historical, displaying the native flora and fauna of the region, or exploratory as to the myriad of plants which can grow in a specific region.

She said, “we here at St. Mary’s have the opportunity to blend those different trusts…what really distinguishes us at St. Mary’s is a very fragile ecosystem. We have an opportunity to do social service to take care of this fragile ecosystem and make it quite special.”

Work by the association began with workshops which took place last month, meant to help educate attendees on the practical and environmental advantages of rain gardens. Urgo said that these workshops, meant to educate the local community as well as students on ways of dealing with the challenges of waterfront ecology on their own land, would be a major component of the association’s efforts.

Urgo also said that beautification projects were also a major focus of the arboretum association, a fact which became apparent this past Friday when students and college staff ad faculty came out to help plant native trees and plants outside the backs of Dorchester and Prince George’s Halls.

Superintendent of Grounds Kevin Mercer, who supervised much of the planting which occurred behind Dorchester, said, “It’s a bigger turnout than I thought [it’d be]. This place needed a lot of attention.” Student Trustee and volunteer senior Danny Ruthenberg-Marshall echoed the sentiment, and said, “I was just here to lend a helping hand, but they seem to have plenty.”

Turnout was so high, in fact, that students were able to complete the planting about an hour ahead of schedule despite a shortage of tools.

The arboretum association is also in the process of setting up the trappings of a more “traditional” arboretum, with tagging of flora taking place around campus. Urgo said that she hoped that this tagging could eventually allow for self-guided walking tours, but added, “it will probably take us 20 years to do it all.”

According to Urgo, all of these projects are just the beginning of the arboretum association’s work, and more beautification projects and workshops were being planned for the spring. Associate Vice President of Planning and Facilities Chip Jackson, who works along with the arboretum, added, “this is not a one-time shot. This is an ongoing effort.”

Student-Run Campus Beautification Project Cleans Up After Your Parties

It’s no surprise that after a weekend of revelry, St. Mary’s campus could use a little bit of a clean-up. That’s the intention of Keep St. Mary’s Beautiful, a once-weekly beautification program which picks up trash around campus. All are welcome to attend the clean-ups, and the group meets up Sundays at 1 pm at the Campus Center patio.

According to senior Danny Ruthenberg-Marshall, who runs Keep St. Mary’s Beautiful with Coordinator of Orientation and Service Programs Olusola Ogundele, ‘10, the program usually has about five to ten students come out to help clean up, and they end up filling up about eight to fifteen large trash bags.

Usually, the volunteers clean up around North Campus, where most of the partying occurs, but they also work on the Point and the Campus Center; unsurprisingly, most of the trash is comprised of alcoholic beverage cans around North Campus. However, a large portion of what they clean is to-go boxes, especially if the previous weekend’s weather has been nice, according to Ruthenberg-Marshall.

Keep St. Mary’s Beautiful originally started last fall headed by the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), but tapered off in the spring because of a lack of volunteers, said Ruthenberg-Marshall. However, according to Ogundele, the day after Orientation she was approached by President Joseph Urgo and Dean of Students Laura Bayless about beginning a student-run campus beautification program.

“Danny already had intentions of gathering a group of students to do campus clean-ups throughout the semester and we just joined forces from there,” said Ogundele. Their first clean up was Sunday, Sept. 18 and since then the group has met every Sunday except the Sunday before Reading Days and one weekend due to inclement weather.

First-year David Wood began attending the clean-ups in September and helps about every other week. “I’ve always been very concerned about the health of our environment, and we have a beautiful campus that I’d hate to see become run down,” he said.

“I definitely feel like we’re making a difference. After only about an hour of work, you notice a huge improvement in the cleanliness of the campus, which is so important considering our proximity to the river.”

Keep St. Mary’s Beautiful is looking to expand, primarily to cleaning up the areas around Parking Lot T and the roads, and to begin removing invasive species on campus and planting new, more environmentally-friendly plants.

According to Ogundele, Keep St. Mary’s Beautiful recently became the volunteer branch of the St. Mary’s Arboretum Committee. Lesley Urgo, who heads the Arboretum, said that Keep St. Mary’s Beautiful contacted her to take a tour of campus, where she indicated places where planting or other work might be beneficial.

“We really look forward to collaborating with them,” Urgo said. She also mentioned that when the Arboretum website is fully functioning, she plans on giving Keep St. Mary’s Beautiful a spotlight on the page.
Wood, who became involved through SEAC, commented on the significance of the program. “It is very important,” he said, “and [it] gives you a great sense of satisfaction knowing that you’re making a difference.”

Feminism, Poetry and Sex Fuse at Lecture

Barbara Baumgartner, in her presentation on Victorian-era popular medical texts, combined her background as both a nurse in neurology and as Associate Director in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis into a unique, “historical-medical” approach to seeing the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

Baumgartner’s gave her lecture, formally titled (Un)Sexing the Body in Nineteeth-Century Anatomy Texts, to a crowded classroom of students and professors on Nov. 11 in Montgomery Hall 101. Baumgartner was introduced first by Professor of English Karen Anderson, who talked about her personal experience with Baumgartner as a “role model fo how knowledge can do good in the world.”

Professor of English Beth Charlebois then came up to further introduce Baumgartner and her myriad of talents as not only a professor and teacher but a marathon runner, chef, and gardener, and said, “[she is], much more than I, a true renaissance women.”

Baumgartner started her lecture by talking about how she arrived at the study of nineteenth-century popular anatomy texts through her study of the use of the body in Emily Dickinson’s poetry, and said, “after all, everything comes back to Dickinson.”

According to Baumgartner, Dickenson studied anatomy in what Baumgartner classified as “popular” anatomy textbooks at Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary.

What she looked at the texts that Dickinson studied, she found an “incredibly detailed” body of texts which were based off of a “vigorous health reform movement to counter what they called ‘heroic medicine’.”

According to Baumgartner, the first ‘popular’ anatomy books, aimed at primary and secondary schoolchildren and “home use”, came out in 1834; by the end of the nineteenth century, over 60 popular anatomies were published. They consisted of sections on anatomy, physiology, and hygiene.

These popular anatomies, according to Baumgartner, “represent a largely unsexed and ungendered body”, something that set them apart from their counterparts written for practicing doctors. Baumgartner said, “[the] language choices represent a desire to apply to both male and female readers.”

For example, many authors take pains to not gender characters in their anatomies, and gender-specific instructions for hygiene are almost unheard of.

In contrast, in medical texts of the time “male and female bodies were presented in fundamentally different ways.” Baumgartner said that medical texts, instead of remaining gender-neutral, saw the genders as more different than alike and interpreted anatomical differences as being the reason for most, if not all, gender differences.

She added, “always the female was compared to the male, whom is the standard from which the female deviates.”

Baumgartner attributed this radical difference to the authors of the text themselves, whom she said were far more progressive-thinking in their views on women. Many of the authors, for example, openly expressed the notion that women and men were physical and intellectual equals.

She pointed out that a major focus of the anatomical textbooks was on encouraging women to exercise, which was against the stereotype of women being “dainty” and “frail”. These texts also took aim at fashions of the time. Baumgartner said, “[the authors were] really concerned about corsets that would get womens’ waists down to about 12 inches, something really scary to think about.”

Baumgartner said, “I’d like to argue that [these texts] cannot but have helped women’s perceptions of themselves as similar to men, and provided some ammunition for the growing womens’ rights movement that really took off in the nineteenth century.” She added, “Changes in our understanding and perceptions of the body really influence our ideas and conceptions about ourselves.”

Baumgartner concluded her lecture by coming, once again, back to Dickinson. In order to show the specific impact that studying anatomy had on Dickinson, she identified what she noted as around 20 “brain poems”, or poems that she believed could be interpreted through nineteenth century ideas about the human brain.

To drive her point home, she interpreted the poem I Felt a Funeral in My Brain in this manner, describing the conflict present in the poem being analogous to the “difficult, almost paralyzing state the precedes writing”.

She further said that the ideas of falling and descent present in the poem actually may have been meant to mirror the brain’s structure as known during the time period, in which the top layers controlled logical thought and reason and the lower layers represent more primitive parts of human consciousness. She added, “the speaker’s plunge may be seen as an escape of the deadening and deafening rhythm of reason.”

Students found the lecture a unique take on Dickinson and literary analysis in general. Junior Casey Dong said, “I would never think to look at poems from a medical perspective.” First-year Arianna Pray said, “I thought it was real informative and it was great to get an idea of the mindset of the period.

Senior Lauren Grey said, “I had discussed [the Dickinson poem] in class, but it was fascinating to see the poem in a different way than I had ever done before”.

Presidential Forum Covers Lots of Ground

On November 9, President Urgo held another of his regular presidential forums.

While only a few students appeared at the forum, the topics discussed could potentially change how they interact with campus.

The forum was broken up into five sections: “Summer on Campus”, “North Campus Food”, “The Arboretum”, “Should St. Mary’s Have a Written Honor Code?”, and “The St. Mary’s Budget”.

In the “Summer on Campus” section, the forum discussed how to facilitate more community involvement over the summer. It was reported that there would be another River Series this coming summer. Major details about what might happen in the next summer were unclear, but faculty involved in the planning of summer activities are currently creating focus groups to see what students and faculty want.

In the “North Campus Food” section, faculty and students at the forum discussed the notion of having a campus pub. One of the main goals is figuring out the best way to give students more access to food at North Campus. For example, people have been looking into potential hours and staffing as well as trying to figure out where the space could be in LQ or DPC.

One of the major problems the forum felt needed to be addressed was public opinion; they explained that people in the community feared another Green Door. However it was stressed that this project was mostly to provide a food option in north campus and that alcohol hours would be limited while food hours would be extended.

Lesley Urgo led the discussion on the St. Mary’s Arboretum. She clarified to the forum that the goal was to build off of what St. Mary’s was already doing. She explained her excitement in having an arboretum that is distinct to southern Maryland, and explained how it could help students get more involved with their campus and environment.

“We look forward to a couple of workshops hopefully every semester, we have lecturers as well as hands on training sessions. We also want to invite people who are already doing good work to campus.”

Next were discussions on whether or not there should be a formal Honor Code. The discussion focused on what an Honor code would mean and why the school should or should not have one. Student Trustee senior Danny Ruthenburg-Marshall opined that a written Honor Code was redundant.

“We have an honor code, it’s not written down, but it exists,” said Marshall. “Students follow it, the community follows it, and I think adding an actual written Honor Code won’t change the dynamic at all.”

The forum finished with an explanation of the Budget. Some people stayed behind to chat while others left. If students want to speak to President Urgo, they should go to his Open Hour every Tuesday from 1:00-2:00p.m. or go to the next forum.

On Oxford and the Changing Face of Education: A Conversation With Maggie

I recently spoke with Jane Margaret “Maggie” O’Brien, the former president of St. Mary’s, about what she’s been involved with lately. She stepped down from the college in July of 2009 and began working for Oxford University’s international program, the College for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS).

The Point News: Fill me in on what you’re doing for CMRS.

Former president Jane Margaret O’Brien: Over the last three years, I’ve been working with John Fennely, who is the Principle and founder of CMRS. I met John in 1997. [When I left St. Mary’s] I had fulfilled 18 years as a president.

I’ve seen a remarkable broadening of the curriculum which we did in 2002 [as well as formal agreements to send a number of students to CMRS]. Fennely’s goals are to develop a Western Traditions curriculum and a research center specifically for CMRS students.

TPN: Why are you in the country? I thought you’d be in Britain most of the time.

JMO: My job is the executive Director in the U.S. I love my job and the people I’m working with. When I stepped down I spent a great deal of time coordinating a funding effort… [I’m] currently working with Keble college [of Oxford University, regarding the partnership between CMRS and Keble].

TPN: I’ve heard from different students of CMRS that it can be a little cloistered.

JMO: That’s a very significant reason that CMRS has partnered with Keble. Keble has very robust programs in Athletics and Theatre, to name a few. There was a report last Spring out of a 3-person committee that was not constructive in its presentation… the Dougherty Committee report was less constructive for John moving forward. However, [another report] the Middlebury Report was very positive.
It’s up to St. Mary’s whether they wish to keep sending students with ease to Oxford. The alternate would be University of Bristol or Nottingham. Oxford is like the center of the universe, it’s very international, [and] the value of being part of the Consortium would be the ease with which to send people there.

TPN: What would you say are the differences between what you’re doing now with CMRS and what you did at St. Mary’s?

JMO: I understand how faculty construct international education in the curriculum better than before. I enjoy that type of work. That means reconnecting with people […] who are part of the CMRS family. Every college, every University, has its own style… [Keble and CMRS] function differently than most colleges in the US because of the tutorial system. And you see the value in it. The tutorial system is pretty cool because the student is on the spot every week, presenting their work. What struck me most about education was the incredible importance of in the class and out of the class education.

TPN: Any other thoughts?

JMO: When you step away from college education you can see it more clearly. Higher education isn’t in the forefront of using media as effectively as we can. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with the Vice President of the SGA after Virginia Tech. I asked Meg, grade us, how did we do. And the startling thing was that she got most of her information about what had happened from facebook.
Another thing I’ve become more aware of is that the pattern of learning is in rapid flux. There is no surprise that [as we progress] the 4-year gap becomes very noticeable.

NIH Programs Officer Spreads Word about Influenza Vaccines

To conclude the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Colloquium (NS&M) series for the Fall 2010 semester, Frederick Cassels, ‘80, Programs Officer of the Respiratory Diseases Branch (RDB) of the National Institute of Health (NIH), presented on the development of vaccines for influenza virus and the 2009 outbreak in his presentation Influenza Vaccines and the 2009 H1N1 Experience on Wednesday.

Beginning the final lecture of the series in the Schaefer Hall lecture room at 4:30 p.m., Cassels began his presentation with a background of his time at St. Mary’s, including his transition from studying Maryland Blue Crabs to studying viruses and vaccines.

After graduating from the College in 1980, Cassels took on a biotechnology job for over two years before returning to academics, earning his Ph. D by studying Maryland Blue Crab biochemistry before re-entering the biotechnology field.

“I come back to the College every few years for alumni reunions,” said Cassels. “The last time I presented in front of a St. Mary’s professor, I was a senior, and [Professor of Biology] Bob Paul took us to upstate New York…and I presented there. Most professors would ask a softball question, to get your confidence up…not Bob Paul…and I’m grateful for it now, but not at the time.”

After earning his graduate degree, Cassels took a stronger interest in biochemistry and immunology, moving into molecular-focused virology labs at NIH before settling in his current position as Program Officer of RDB. RDB is a part of the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, MD, and that division is, in turn, part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of NIH.

After an introduction of his work at NIH and funding allocations of the NIAID, Cassels discussed the stages of vaccine testing and licensure, a process that can cost up to $100 million and take anywhere from 10 to 20 years to finalize.

He reviewed the four major stages: discovery, indicating the first lab tests and procedures done to indicate a potential vaccine; target ID validation, further identification and processing to determine possible application to animal models; preclinical development involving possibilities of long-term purification but focusing on further testing; and clinical development, during which human tests are performed to verify the vaccine’s effects on the body and, most notably, its triggered immune response.

Cassels next discussed the mass production of the yearly FluBlok® vaccine, produced by the Protein Sciences Corporation. Insect cells are grown in a 500-L bioreactor, and infected with the virus of interest.

Two to three days after infection, when the cells should be expressing the proteins encoded by the viral genome, the cells are purified to obtain ingredients for the vaccine. The process usually results in 90% of pure product, and two-story, 6,000-L bioreactors produce millions of vaccines in a small number of runs.

“Influenza is an upper, and sometimes lower, respiratory infection in humans,” said Cassels, beginning his discussion of the flu virus. “[It causes] quite a few deaths globally, almost 500,000 per year…with an ever-present threat of pandemic in the U.S.”

The virus itself, composed of eight genes, produces proteins related to its basic survival needs: entry into the cell by binding to cell surface receptors (essentially, how one needs a house key to enter a house), replication (copying itself), and viral assembly (building the protein case, or capsid, surrounding the eight viral genes), and cellular release.

The target of the vaccine is hemagglutinin (denoted HA), a type of surface protein on the virus that allows the viral particle to bind to receptors on the cell surface for entry. The vaccine induces the body’s immune response to produce antibodies, small protein units that bind to these receptors and prevent the virus from entering a cell.

While the concept seems simplistic, it is complicated by the mutation rate of the virus, which has led evolutionarily to fifteen forms of HA and mutations of each form from year-to-year, mutations that make previous antibodies (and, therefore, vaccines) ineffective against novel virus strains.

To make vaccine selection more difficult each year, combinations of viruses can also occur within hosts to create a completely new strain, a process called genetic shift. “If an animal is infected with two viruses, those genes can mix,” said Cassels. “And when they do, they can form new molecules.”

Cassels continued with a discussion of flu pandemics in the world’s history, including the Spanish Flu of 1918, the Asian Flu of 1957, the 1968 Hong Kong Flu, and the 1977 Russian Flu.

To combat yearly infections of the influenza virus, two types of vaccines are currently on the market: the trivalent inactivated vaccine (TIV) and the live attenuated vaccine (LIAV).

TIV vaccination involves an intramuscular injection of heat-killed virus particles that induce an immune response in the host to help to fight later live strains.

LIAV vaccinations use a nasal spray to administer live, but weakened, forms of the flu virus that the immune system can, fight to gain a stronger resistance than is provided by TIV. However, this can be more dangerous.

Three viral strains are usually chosen for the vaccine each year: two influenza type A strains, and one influenza type B. Viruses are selected for the vaccine between January and May, are FDA tested and licensed in June and July, packaged in August, released in September, and offered to patients in October and November of the flu season.

The World Health Organization, Food and Drug Administration, Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and NIH, all playing a role in vaccine development each year, were forced to accelerate this process during the 2009 H1N1 outbreak in March.

Cassels concluded his talk with a discussion of the 2009 Influenza strain, its tests that led to the one-dose, 15-microgram vaccine, and the weakened seed strains of that year’s vaccine, which is what lead to the vaccine’s reduced prevention and associated outbreak.

While this talk marked the last of the NS&M Colloquium lectures this semester, the series will resume in Spring 2011.

“I felt that the presentation contained a lot of good information. It was simple to understand, and covered a wide range of information,” said Elliot Russell, a student who attended the lecture. “Some of the information in regards to the budget seemed slightly unneeded, but on the whole, I found the talk informative and am glad I attended it.”

Tips and Recipes for Local Eating

Local food movements have been gaining power over the last few years. Books such as Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma both touted the benefits of eating local.

In addition to using less energy, local food has a lower carbon footprint and tastes better because food shipped across the country loses many of its vitamins and minerals in transport and many of the sugars in fresh-picked produce turn to starch.

In St. Mary’s County, the So. Maryland, So Good campaign has been working to help consumers find and purchase local products. Their website, http://www.somarylandsogood.com, has resources for both consumers and farmers and includes a farm guide. There are many resources available to students who want to increase the portion of local food in their diet.

Bon Appetit is required to get a certain amount of food from within 150 miles, and students can ask to see which foods are made with those ingredients.

Students at the College have the advantage of living in a rural area with many farms and farmer’s markets. Many students also work at EvenStar, a local organic farm that provides a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program over the summer.

There is also a farmer’s market on Mondays in the Campus Center, and a quick search online will show plenty more within driving distance. Even grocery stores have local food. Most produce has a sticker or label that shows the country or state the food came from, and most grocery stores should be able to provide more information as to where they get their fruits and vegetables.

It is more difficult to find local food during the late fall and winter months when farmer’s markets are closed. However, the campus farm is within walking distance where students can work and harvest local organic food.

Current local and seasonal ingredients include apples, arugula, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, celery root, chard, cranberries, fennel, garlic, kale, leeks, mushrooms, onions, parsley, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkins, rutabagas, shelling beans, winter squash, and turnips. Eggs are in season year round, and you might also be able to find local meat and milk.

The website http://www.localhavest.org is a good resource for finding out which foods are in season and where to find them.

Below are two easy recipes for students interested in cooking seasonal meals.

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients: 1 baking pumpkin, 2 potatoes, 1 beet, 2 cloves garlic, 1 small onion, 1 vegetable bouillon cube, 1 tablespoon of curry powder, olive oil and water.

Cut the top off the pumpkin like you’re carving it and scoop out all of the seeds. Spread olive oil over the inside of the pumpkin and roast on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, stir fry the garlic and onion in olive oil in a skillet.

Dice the potatoes and beets and mix with the garlic and onions. Continue to fry until the onions are lightly browned. Add the mixture to the pumpkin and fill the remainder of the pumpkin with water, the curry powder and the bouillon cubes, leaving about an inch for when the water boils.

Roast in the oven until it is easy to sink a fork into the flesh of the pumpkin, about forty-five minutes to an hour. Remove from the oven and let cool for ten to fifteen minutes, then serve.
Kale Pesto

Ingredients: 2 cups of kale, rinsed and shredded (no stems); 2 cloves garlic, minced; 1/3 cup olive oil; 1/4 cup almonds; Parmesan cheese to taste, about half a cup.

In a food processor or blender, mix all of the ingredients except the cheese together until smooth. Mix in the Parmesan cheese and add additional olive oil to taste. Serve on toasted bread, pasta, or use in sandwiches.

Trustee Profile: Sherrie Bailey

Sherrie Bailey, ‘81, St. Mary’s Alum and Judge for the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, is this week’s featured member of the Board of Trustees. Bailey became a Trustee in 2005 while she was an Assistant State’s Attorney for Baltimore City.

She was a member of the Presidential Search Committee in 2009 and currently sits on the committee for Academic Affairs and serves as the Vice-Chair for the committee on Enrollment and Student Affairs.

Bailey is also currently a Judge for the Circuit Court for Baltimore County. Appointed in May 2009, Bailey was up for election earlier this month due to Maryland law, which dictates that judges must be accepted by a vote in the next election after they have been appointed.

Bailey won enough votes to keep her appointment during the primaries (appointed judges are placed on the ballots for both the Democratic and Republican primaries), so she was only on the ballot for the general election as a formality.

Bailey graduated from St. Mary’s with a major in Human Development and a concentration in Psychology.

While a student here, she was active in the Black Student Union and the Fencing Club. She was also one of the first students from St. Mary’s to spend a semester abroad at the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Oxford.

“It was a great experience,” said Bailey, who lived with an Irish host family in Oxford during the semester and recalled excursions to sites such as Stonehenge with a former St. Mary’s professor. When she was living on campus, Bailey lived in Caroline for most of her years at St. Mary’s.

Having been both a student and member of the Board of Trustees for St. Mary’s, Bailey believes that this gives her and other trustees who are alums a further understanding of the College community.

“I think the trustees who are alumni deeply appreciate the uniqueness and intimacy of the St. Mary’s College experience,” she said, particularly noting the relationship between faculty and students in a rural residential setting.

However, Bailey acknowledged the difficulties students might have understanding the role of the Board of Trustees in the school’s development, “When I was a student, I didn’t know what the Board of Trustees was.”

She admitted that when she as a student she did not think there was a Student Trustee at the time, making it more difficult for the Board’s work to be as known to the student population.

She said she “would encourage students to seek out” current Student Trustee Danny Ruthenberg-Marshall, senior, if they would like to know more about what the Board does for the College.

Even so, Bailey feels it is important for the College community to know that St. Mary’s has a Board of Trustees that is “very caring about the stewardship of the College.”

Trustees are not paid by the institutions they help run and, according to Bailey, they usually “have many activities, many charities, many institutions that they participate in.”

She also pointed out the passion Trustees have for the College, noting that “[they] choose to participate in St. Mary’s because they believe in the mission of the College and in the students” and in its dedication to public accessibility.

Many Boards for universities or other institutions have members who are “members just in name to go on a resume.” She said that Trustees for St. Mary’s, on the other hand, “really do appear and participate” and “engage each other for the betterment of the College.”

In terms of what she would like to see the Board accomplish this year, Bailey points out that the Board’s largest responsibility is “always to keep an eye on the budget,” especially since “these are difficult economic times for students, faculty and staff.” However, she says, “One of my primary goals…is to ensure that Dr. Urgo has a smooth transition into his presidency.”

Those who would like to learn more about how Sherrie Bailey or other Trustees are involved with the College can do so by visiting http://www.smcm.edu/board.