Review in Brief: Student Recital

On Friday, Dec. 2, the students who studied privately in the St. Mary’s music department this semester performed in a diverse student recital to show their talents. The performances ranged from vocal to instrumental pieces and featured a wide variety of styles and instruments.

According to the Music Department’s website, the student recitals happen on the occasional Friday afternoon throughout the year. The participating students perform one or more short works or a few movements from a longer piece. All students taking private lessons are required to participate in the recitals, once a year for first-years and sophomores and once a semester for juniors and seniors.

The recital began with a trombone duet and featured several piano, vocal, and violin pieces. There was also a snare drum etude and a bassoon sonata.Some of the highlights from the performances were Prelude Op. 3 No.2 by Rachmaninoff, performed by sophomore Libby Glasgow, Stars from Les Miserables by senior Jonathan Wagner, and Concerto For Two Violins in D Minor by sophomores Glenna Wong and Sam Dodd.

“I am constantly amazed by how talented St. Mary’s students are,” said Wong. “These are people you see walking down the Path and in your classes, and it really is a pleasure to attend these recitals and watch them express themselves through music. I am impressed with the musical talent that comes from a school as small as ours.”

The recital was well-received by all in attendance, a small crowd of students and parents. “All of the performers did a wonderful job,” said freshman Hannah Felperin. “I can tell that they’ve all worked really hard and it’s paid off. I’ll definitely be going to the next one.”

Seahawks Box Out Opposition at Pride of MD Tournament

The St. Mary’s Men’s Basketball team performed strongly at the three day Pride of Maryland Tournament Nov. 15 and 18-19, besting Washington College and Frostburg State Universities and losing to Johns Hopkins University by only a single point.

Played in Chestertown and Baltimore, MD, before Thanksgiving break, the Pride of Maryland Championship Tournament put the Seahawks to the test following a 77-70 loss to St. John’s College on Nov. 1, the first game of the 2011- 2012 season. Having two weeks to prepare, the players stepped up their game by Nov. 15 to begin the tournament.

The Shoremen engaged in a tough competition with the Seahawks, maintaining a 42-41 lead by halftime. While losing by seven points at one point in the first half, Washington caught up to the Seahawks to a tie, followed by a free-throw sink that placed the Shoremen just above St. Mary’s.

A similar pattern continued in the second half. As senior guard Deon Queen continued a strong performance that gave the Seahawks an eight-point lead, high-scoring Shoreman Sal Schittino pushed Washington to 65 against the College’s 66. Nevertheless, it was St. Mary’s that held the lead by the end of the second half, ending 78-74 despite a close 75-74 standing less than a minute before the end.

In seemingly good spirits, the Seahawks continued to Baltimore on Nov. 18, to take on Johns Hopkins University. Just as the Seahawks battled against Washington, the Blue Jays opposed the Seahawks at every lead, always maintaining a close margin by a 32-28 halftime, Hopkins in the lead. Following an eight-point trail in the second half, St. Mary’s stepped up with a 9-0 run that put them in the lead for the first time since the first half.

Despite a back-and-forth exchange of the lead and several ties throughout the game, the Blue Jays took a five point lead by the final minute, maintained until junior captain David Spencer landed a long-range shot to reduce the Blue Jays’ lead to 67-66. As the Seahawks stole the ball in the last few seconds of the game, junior forward Jeff Haus took a final hail-Mary to win it against the buzzer. The shot failed to connect, maintaining the Hopkins lead for a close 67-66 finish in part two of the tournament.

St. Mary’s returned to competition in Baltimore the following day , taking on the Frostburg State Bobcats in the final round of the tournament. Despite a struggle in the first half, as St. Mary’s fought to gain a 27-25 lead over Frostburg by halftime, the Seahawks soared over the Bobcats in the second half with 43-33 lead. The lead grew throughout the second half, but dangerously closed to a three-point margin following a strong run by the Bobcats. The game closed with a strong performance by the Seahawks, who took a 62-57 win over Frostburg. The Seahawks currently hold a 5-2 lead overall and a 1-0 conference lead. Their next game is conference level on Wednesday at York College.


	

SMCM Club Spotlight: Women’s Club Soccer

Have you ever played soccer or wanted to play soccer? Then come out and join Women’s club soccer!  Most afternoons in the spring and fall, a group of soccer-loving girls head over to Guam field to play.  Every skill level is welcome! The main goal of club soccer is to have fun!

Seniors and team captains Allie Buxton and Lily Penney started the club in the Fall of 2010. Allie says that she started the club because “she missed soccer and missed being part of a team.”  In the beginning a team could barely field itself, but this past Fall, almost 25 girls came out to play.   At practice, the team works on fundamental skills like ball- handling and shooting, and for fun, the team comes together to scrimmage or play soccer-related games.  The team also has friendly scrimmages with the boy’s club soccer team on Fridays.

We compete against other school’s club teams, including Georgetown University, George Washington University, Frostburg University, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Salisbury University.  This past Fall, the women’s club team had their first win against UMBC.  Future captain Lauren Jackson says that “club soccer is so much fun! Girls of every skill level play, so if you like soccer you should come play.”

Aside from having fun playing soccer, women’s club soccer has fun off the field.  Pre-game pasta parties allow for team bonding (the goal is for the team to be just a bunch of friends), and movie nights let you enjoy your favorite soccer related film. She’s The Man anyone?  The team also has field days, which are fun-filled days of games (two words: water balloons) and prizes.  The team is really chill and everyone comes out just to make friends, get exercise, have fun, and play soccer! One player says that “club soccer is a great way to get some fresh air and decompress after class… all the girls are really welcoming and practices are filled with laughs.”

There is always a spot for you on the Women’s club soccer team.  Practices are Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays on Guam Field from around 4:00 to 5:30 and we start back up mid- February.  Although attending practices is recommended in order to improve your game and to get to know the team better, it’s totally fine just to stop by and say hi! So whether you have always dreamed of playing soccer or you just need something to do that is fun, outdoors, and with a crazy fun group of people, contact lejackson@smcm.edu or just come out and play.

Letter to the Editor: Displaced Students Lack Compensation

I am writing as a student who has not been directly affected by the mold issues, but who has a number of friends who have had to deal with these problems. I would like to take the time to respond to the recent e-mail regarding the mold remediation housing credits. I feel that the solutions offered by this e-mail do not merely fail to adequately compensate these students for the difficulties they have experienced; the solutions that the Office of Residence Life has proposed are laughable and border on being downright dishonest.

The e-mail notes that the students who were displaced by the mold were promised – and the word “promised” is a direct quote – 15 housing credits in compensation for the inconvenience caused. However, the e-mail then goes on to explain how the original solution proposed is untenable given the large number of students who have been affected. To remediate this, Residence Life has decided to offer the 15 housing credits to ONLY those students in CD 1L and PG 1R who experienced extra inconvenience. The remaining students, in order to be justly compensated, will be entered into drawings for a pair of Senior Gala tickets (seniors only), two townhouses (rising juniors and rising seniors only), and four WC suites (everyone else). If I am interpreting the e-mail correctly, those students who aren’t lucky enough to win something in the drawing will receive NO further compensation.

I think that this solution is wrong. These students have had to deal with an extremely high level of inconvenience and stress associated with the mold. I can attest to this just from my interactions with friends who lived in the affected dorms. They were also promised compensation by the school. For the school to then take away any compensation for the majority of students represents gross dishonesty and ineptitude in dealing with this. Perhaps it is to be expected given the school’s history in dealing with mold-related issues.

In the e-mail, the reasons for this decision are outlined, and I wish to address them individually. First of all, it is noted that “with so many people getting the credits, it would eliminate the benefit being offered.” This is true, but I don’t see why this bars the possibility of alternate compensation. Secondly, “the remaining 425+ students in CH, DD, and QA would be unfairly disadvantaged because they were not assigned to a building with mold.” This should not be an issue here. If the school would like to speak of students being “unfairly disadvantaged,” perhaps they should consult with those students in PG and CD who had to deal with moving out of their housing into hotels, only to move again within a week, all while trying to cope with the stress of a full course load and, for many, of adjusting to being away at school for the first time. Thirdly, “the logistics of trying to coordinate 350 students getting additional credits would be unusually difficult to administer.” Perhaps the school should have thought of this before making promises that it couldn’t keep; this reason is nothing more than a lame cop-out.

If the school feels that the 15 housing credits is no longer a viable solution, I see no reason why alternate compensation cannot be developed. Merely entering students into a raffle is in no way sufficient compensation for the difficulties these students have had to put up with, and I for one feel as though the school should not be let off the hook for making false promises and then failing to adequately compensate students.

In the Resident Handbook there is a section entitled “Resident Rights and Responsibilities.”Listed among these rights are: the right to sleep and relax in your room; read and study in your room, free of interference; have free access to your room or townhouse; have a clean, safe environment in which to live. It seems to me that the school the school has failed to provide all of the above state rights.

In the terms of the Housing Contract, the college agrees to provide “a revocable license to live in the College’s housing subject to the terms and conditions of this contract.” The students living in PG and CD have not in any way violated the terms of their contract, although it would seem that the school has failed to uphold its end. I believe that these students should receive financial compensation totaling all or part of their housing payment for the semester. The school has failed on many fronts in its handling of the mold issue, but I hope that it will not be allowed to fail at fairly compensating all of the students who have been affected by the mold problem.

-Matthew Anthony

Pets on Campus: Why Not Here? Why Not Now?

Have you ever wished that you could just go back to your room to forget all your worries and relax for a little while?  Now imagine this, you get back from class – tired maybe stressed – you go back to your room and there is someone waiting for you.  Someone who is always happy to see you, who can’t wait to just be with you.  They rely on you, you take care of them, and they love you unconditionally for it.  If you think that I’m not talking about a person, then you would be absolutely correct.  I’m talking about man’s best friend, dog.

Pet friendly housing should most certainly be an option at a school such as St. Mary’s College of Maryland.  Given our geographic location, with open space in every direction, a dog park could be a simple addition to campus.  One or two of the residence halls could easily be set aside as pet friendly, no additional buildings would be necessary.  Having a pet in college provides many benefits while having few to no negative consequences.  Most of the aspects of pet ownership that would normally be considered negative would, in the case of college students, be lessons in responsibility.

It is often said that College is a place where young adults undergo a period of maturation.  How better to mature than to care for another living being.  A pet is completely dependant on its owner, teaching responsibility, time management, and sacrifice.  Being a pet owner in college would force a student to take complete responsibility for the pet’s wellbeing, meaning feeding, grooming, and health care, among other things.

The student would have to make time to go back to their room to feed their pet, take it out, and play with it.  This is where time management would come into play, with the student needing to manage their schedule to allow them the time to properly take care of their pet.  For the sake of the pet, the student may need to sacrifice time otherwise spent socializing.  Some students would find this to be too taxing for their limited amount of time already spent studying or socializing, and those students would be the ones to forgo the option of living with a pet.

There are quite a few colleges and universities that have pet friendly housing options, and each seems to be very successful.  Eckerd College offers four pet-friendly, air-conditioned dorm “clusters.” Students are allowed to have cats and dogs, as long as they are under 40 pounds, as well as snakes and fish. Students must comply with requirements and can’t leave pets on campus during breaks.

Asides from being a private institution, Eckerd College is very similar to our own college.  It has a little less than two thousand students, and is located on the waterfront with plenty of open areas.  Sound like a school you’ve heard of?  I thought so.  Another similar college to ours with a pet friendly housing policy is Washington and Jefferson College, in Washington, Pennsylvania.  This liberal arts school in the suburbs of Pittsburgh allows students to bring their pets along to school and live in the “Pet House” dorm. There are some breed restrictions, but Washington & Jefferson College permits cats, dogs less than 40 pounds, small birds, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, turtles and fish. Other animals may be permitted on a case-by-case basis. Pets must be spayed or neutered, and have been owned by the students’ family for at least a year and registered.

As you can see, the infrastructure already exists at other colleges, and there are many others that have pet friendly housing options as well.  There is no need for our college to reinvent the wheel, when a simple change in college policy is almost all it would take.  Yes some students might be allergic to pets of one kind or another, but they wouldn’t have to be housed in the pet friendly dorms.  This kind of housing would be a volunteer opportunity, for those who want to be able to continue to live with a pet, much like SAFE (Substance and Alcohol-Free Environment), Eco (for environmental studies students) and Women in Science houses.

Some students get to college and have trouble making friends and meeting new people.  Pets help to combat loneliness and have been shown to increase their owners’ chances of meeting other people. A study in Hyde Park in London, showed that when accompanied by their dogs, pet owners spoke to more people and had longer conversations than when they walked alone.

The opportunity for such a mutually beneficial relationship, one that could easily be provided by the college, just needs a push from us, the students.  If you feel similarly, write a letter to the Office of Residence Life, or even try talking them in person.  Join me in my fight for pet friendly housing here on campus!

Info for Those Interested in Being Student Trustee

Ciao Tutti!

St Mary’s has begun its yearly search for a new Student Trustee.  I was chosen last year to replace Maurielle Stewart at the end of her term this May.  In preparation for this change, we are now looking for a qualified and dependable student to replace me as Student Trustee for the 2013-14 school year.  It is time for someone new to step up and assume this unique but important role.

What does a Student Trustee do? They represent the students! Our college, unlike other public colleges and universities in Maryland, is governed by an independent Board of Trustees.  As Student Trustee, you will be given the opportunity to speak on behalf of your classmates while adding a new perspective to the Board. This representation, unique in higher education, allows students to have access to the highest levels of school governance.

As Trustee, you are required to attend the quarterly Board Meetings so that you can continue to inform the Board Members about the happenings on campus. If problems and crises cause disruptions within the student body, your job is to gather information and report back to college administrators and other trustees so that the interests of the students are not overlooked.

Student Trustees can also influence college policy through their work on the Enrollment and Student Life Committee.  Here, you can voice problems and concerns that students may have about the conditions on campus.  Since you serve with other board members, you have direct access to people who can bring about positive change for our community.

Before becoming Student Trustee, you must first go through a yearlong training process as Student Trustee-in-Training.  You are required to attend both Buildings and Grounds Committee meetings and the quarterly Board Meetings.  Here, you will learn more about the inner workings of the College and how committees are run and organized.  You will also be introduced to your future colleagues, the board members.

Though this is a two year commitment, you are still allowed to Study Abroad during this training period.  Currently, I am studying in Alba, Italy (hence the Italian at the beginning.)  If you wish to still experience life abroad, you will not be discounted during the application process.  In my opinion, a Student Trustee who has studied abroad is in a better position to represent all students, even those who have chosen to leave campus to study elsewhere.  However, if selected, you may only study abroad during the fall semester of your training period.

Starting on Monday, December 5th, applications for the position of Student Trustee-in-Training will be available at the Information Desk inside the Campus Center.  Applications must be completed and submitted by Friday, February 10th.  All applicants are required to attend an open forum where they can introduce themselves and their ideas to the campus community. Two or three finalists are then selected to be interviewed by the Enrollment and Student Life Committee. If selected, you will be presented to the entire Board.

The position of Student Trustee is a great opportunity for someone who wants to give back to the campus community. It allows you a chance to help solve problems that face our school.  Your accomplishments will affect generations of students to come, so no pressure. If selected, you will be the 27th student to hold both this honor and responsibility.

If you are a first-year or sophomore student with a 2.5 GPA or higher you are eligible for selection. If you would like more information please contact either myself, Alexander Walls, at atwalls@smcm.edu or Maurielle Stewart, at mhstewart@smcm.edu.

We will also host several question times next semester on January 18th, 25th, and 27th for any students who are interested in learning more about this position and its responsibilities.

Good luck with your final papers and tests and I look forward to seeing you all again next semester.