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.

Alumnus Arrested Amongst Increasing Alcohol Incidents

The sheriff’s office has visited campus multiple times this semester. The police were called on at least three separate occasions.

The first call resulted in the arrest of college alum Ian Isaac. Isaac was arrested at 3:10 a.m. on September 4 and charged with trespassing and two counts of second-degree assault.

The arrest came after Isaac was issued a notice not to trespass on College property by public safety at 12:20 a.m. the same day. Isaac went to the Green Door and then returned to campus, where he began a fight. Public safety notified the sheriff’s office, and Isaac was arrested upon their arrival.

The police were also called for a hit and run and once for a disagreement between students.

“We’re in a close working relationship with the deputies,” said public safety officer Sergeant Tony Brooks. Police officers also visited campus to present public safety with brochures aimed at preventing the use of fake IDs and because, “they got some intelligence in regards to Kegs for Kids… [and] the slip and slide,” said Santiago.

The police were concerned that the hosts of Kegs for Kids, students who live in an off campus house, would be providing alcohol to students under 21.

The police presence on campus has been heavier than normal, said Brooks, and public safety has had to deal with more than the usual number of problems as well. “I think a lot of [students] feel that Public Safety can’t do much or that they aren’t going to do much. [Public safety] Officers called and told me they think it’s going to be a rough year.”

The number of hospital visits has also been out of the ordinary. According to the new chief of public safety, Christopher Santiago, public safety had to call five ambulances for students because of alcohol related incidents. Six additional students went to the hospital for various other medical reasons.

However, Santiago said that the number of alcohol referrals dropped from 2007 to 2008. In 2007 there were 179 referrals, while in 2008 there were 122. “If you look at the previous two calendar years…we had no alcohol arrests, both on campus and on public property.”

Santiago is under no illusions about the alcohol consumption on college campuses. “The reality is that you’re here in college to learn, and is drinking part of the learning process? Absolutely. You’re going to pay the price if necessary – and you will go forward in your life with a better understanding of what it is, what it’s about, and what can happen.”

Towing Rates Up, to Relax Somewhat

As of Friday, September 18, 62 cars had been towed from the College campus because of parking violations. Though the number is higher than previous years, public safety says that the rules haven’t changed.

“I sent out an email last week and I do it every year, and I try to give [students] a week or two,” said public safety officer Sergeant Tony Brooks. However, “The last few years we weren’t on it so hard,” he said.

Thursday, August 26 was “relaxed parking,” and cars were only towed if parked illegally in fire lanes or handicapped parking spaces. Brooks emailed the campus about parking enforcement on Monday, August 30, and on Tuesday, September 7 ticketing and towing began.

“It’s being enforced fully by the administration,” said Christopher Santiago, the new chief of public safety.

When the towing began, public safety removed any cars without the appropriate decals for the lot. “There are still students that do not have decals but have applied for them,” said Santiago. “I dealt a lot last week with both students and parents over the parking issue…Our office [does] not have access to the records kept by the business office to tell us who has and has not applied for a permit.”

The business office handles the application for and distribution of permits. Public safety and the business office are now communicating to make sure that students who have applied and been approved for decals will not be towed.

Public safety uses the T & R towing company located in Lexington Park. “It’s a yearly thing,” said Shaunte Edwards, the owner. “Everything goes smoothly.”

However, according to Santiago, “We did have a student who …had his vehicle towed …he took his vehicle back from the towing company without making arrangements.”

Both public safety and T & R are working to accommodate students who need to pick up their cars. Students can apply for parking decals online through the Portal and pick up their decals at the front desk of Glendenning Hall. Information on campus parking can be found on public safety’s website at http://www.smcm.edu/publicsafety/parking.html.

St. Mary's Forbes Rating Improves

When yearly college rankings were revealed, St. Mary’s was picked again as one of the nation’s top public schools. The College is ranked as one of the top five public liberal arts colleges in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report and moved up four spaces to 88 out of the country’s 100 top liberal arts colleges.

The Princeton Review recognized the College for its “happy students”, “high race/class interaction”, and “a strong commitment to the environment.” St. Mary’s “has all the intellectual stimulation of a private liberal arts school with none of the academic rivalry. Students throw around the word “community” like rice at a wedding.”
The College was also ranked as 89th in the country by Forbes magazine in 2009 and 2010. The Fiske Guide to Colleges gave St. Mary’s 4 out of 5 stars in academics, 3 out of 5 in social life, and 4 out of 5 in quality of living and listed the College as one of the best in the country for music study.

Despite the excellent rankings, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Wesley Jordan recommended that students choose their college on more than the ranking number alone.
“Our position within the rankings doesn’t change much from year to year,” he said. “It’s not the best way to evaluate colleges, but it’s a practice that families use, so we benefit from being listed.”

“Prospective students should use the information behind the rankings, rather than the mere rank. For instance, the U.S. News rankings include information about the percentage of students who return for their sophomore year.”

U.S. News bases its rankings on graduation rates and the opinions of high school counselors, among other factors. Many rankings are based on such factors as student/faculty ratios, class size and alumni donation rates as well.

“…We’ve been one of the top 100 national liberal arts colleges in U.S. News for many years,” said Jordan. “There are only five public colleges in the top 100… We can all be proud that a public college is so highly rated academically and is a place where students from many different backgrounds and with varied perspectives on life can be happy and successful.”

Gender-Neutral Housing Passes SGA, Seen Favorably by Students

On Tuesday, April 20, the Student Government Association passed legislation stating that, “The SGA supports the adoption of a gender-neutral housing policy on North Campus Housing (Lewis Quad, Waring Commons, North and South Crescents and the Greens) that students may opt into if they so choose.” The legislation, which was sponsored by Secretary Marlena Weiss and LQ Senator Ken Benjes, only condones the creation of such a housing policy.

There was some debate among the SGA before the legislation was passed. Many of the senators wanted clarification about the different parts of the policy, specifically about what gender-neutral housing would look like. When it was confirmed that the legislation only supported the establishment of gender-neutral housing within the current credit based system, it passed easily, with only two Senators voting no. There was some concern that gender-neutral housing would be available outside of a credit based system, like WISH or SAFE house.

“In no way would this when it’s implemented take spots away from students who would have priority because of their credits,” said Weiss. “Just because you want to live with someone of the opposite gender wouldn’t give you priority to live on North Campus.”

“There seemed to be a lot of discussion at SGA about the potential ‘bad break-up’ situations that could arise from couple who choose to live together,” said Sustainability Fellow Shane Hall, who attended the April 20 meeting. “But as was pointed out in SGA, we need to be real about this.” Gay and lesbian couples have lived together in the past, and roommate or housemate conflicts can arise regardless of the inhabitants’ orientations.

“Residence life already does an admirable job ameliorating or otherwise dealing with roommate/housemate conflicts,” said Hall. “This policy would give greater freedom and acceptance to platonic friends who identify as ‘males’ and ‘females’ who want to live together, and those who do not force themselves into heteronormative distinctions, and yes, heterosexual couples. And you know what? Every one of those scenarios involve “‘love’- and love is always risky.”

As before, Assistant Director of Residence Life Kelly Smolinsky said that it is possible a gender-neutral policy could be implemented for the 2011-2012 school year. The SGA’s legislation was the first step in the process: the administration has not yet begun to work on any such policy. For gender-neutral housing to be implemented, the President’s cabinet and Board of Trustees would most likely need to be involved.

Students, in general, have been receptive to the idea for a variety of reasons. Several students remarked on the possibility of friends co-habiting.

“As someone who’s always had girls as best friends, I’m glad that our relationship would no longer be discriminated were we to want to live together,” said first-year Evan Mahone. “This is a step in the right direction, and hopefully we will serve as a models for other schools.”

“I support it,” said sophomore Emily Skeen. “Gender-neutral housing would give friends a chance to bond even further.”

Other students had more to say about the legislation’s potential for changing heteronormative assumptions.

Senior Bethany Wetherill said, “I think it is a necessary step, a step toward accepting students who may not easily identify as simply ‘male’ or ‘female’ and allowing students to live with whomever they feel most comfortable with.”

Gender-Neutral Housing a Campus Possibility

The College is taking the first steps towards implementing a new housing policy which would allow students of different genders to room together throughout North Campus. SGA Secretary and junior Marlena Weiss will introduce the gender-neutral housing legislation to the SGA on April 15, and is using the issue as a part of her platform in her bid for SGA President.

“Our current philosophy supports students moving developmentally through various types of housing which increases decision-making and responsibility throughout their four years,” said Kelly Smolinsky, Assistant Director of Residence Life. “Therefore, it’s probably more in line with our philosophy and student development theory to give upper-class students this choice.”

“I feel like with the dorms it’s more of a complicated issue. And it’s just you and your roommate and you don’t really know the rest of the hall,” said Weiss.

Weiss got the idea from a friend who attends Wheaton College in Illinois, where gender-neutral housing was recently implemented. Weiss went to talk with Residence Life about the possibility of altering College housing policy and, so far, everyone has been receptive to the idea.

“I can’t speak for anyone else, but personally, I like the idea of the increased flexibility for students, and I think that it moves the institution toward a greater recognition of the diversity in our student population, since it involves less labeling and more treating students like adults who can make informed choices,” said Smolinsky.

“St. Mary’s has set a precedent of giving its students a lot of privileges and I think this is something we can deal with,” said Weiss.

If gender-neutral housing were implemented, students would still have the option of same-sex housing.

“My understanding is that what we want to do is provide students more options,” said senior Justin Perry, SGA President. “That’s our big goal. A lot of people support gender-neutral housing that don’t want to actually participate in it. We want to provide more options and open up more opportunities for students to have a learning environment of their choice.”

Many of the College’s peer institutions already have gender-neutral housing policies in place. “[At the SGA meeting] I’ll be showing them the research that I’ve done about policies at other schools,” said Smolinsky. “So far, I’ve found about 35 other institutions that have some form of gender-neutral housing.”

Student opinion has been mixed but mostly positive. Students in general seemed supportive of the potential policy, though most said they did not want to actually live in gender-neutral housing.

“The first thing everyone always says is that boyfriends and girlfriends can live together and they’re going to break up and it’s going to be terrible. I think it’s a very heteronormative way of thinking,” said Weiss. In addition, according to the 2009-2010 “To the Point” handbook, cohabitation is prohibited.

“I kind of have two feelings,” said Perry. “I think that people in a relationship don’t necessarily desire to live with each other. I know plenty of couples who don’t live in the same houses… I also know that in the apartments and the townhouses it’s entirely possible for students to live with their partner if they chose to do so. If in the “real world” you choose to move in with your boyfriend or girlfriend, it requires an investigation into the strength of the relationship.”

“I understand that however open-minded we want to be about this kind of thing, in practice it would probably be kind of difficult or awkward,” said sophomore Johanna Galat, co-president of FUSE. “But I think if more people started doing it would become less awkward–it’s not that it’s inherently uncomfortable, it’s just not something we’re used to. I absolutely think we could get used to it.”

An Interview with Renowned Director Mehreen Jabbar

Award-winning director Mehreen Jabbar has worked in the film industry for 14 years. After graduating from UCLA in 1993 with a certificate in Film, Television, and Video, Jabbar returned to Pakistan to work in television.
There, she directed tele-films and television series as well as several short films.

“Ramchand Pakistani” is the the director’s first feature length film. Produced, directed, and edited by Jabbar, the film has won many prestigious awards, including the Fipresci Prze from the International Federation of Film Critics. A complete list of the awards, as well as more information about the film, can be found at http://mehreenjabbar.com.

According to Jabbar’s Web site, “Ramchand Pakistani” is a film, “based on actual events about an accidental border crossing of a Pakistani Hindu boy and his father into India and the consequences of this unintended action on the lives of the boy, his father and mother.” It was released in Pakistan and India in 2008.
Jabbar sat down with a Point News reporter to discuss the film, her influences, and why she decided to screen the feature at the College.

On showing the film at St. Mary’s:
[Professor Sahar Shafqat] wanted to show the film to the students. I thought it would be an interesting new audience for me. Film is one of the ways to really tell a story about a place that is only projected in a certain way in the media.

On becoming a director:
My father has always been in media. Both my parents had an ad agency…I did realize that I don’t want to sell things…[After graduating from UCLA] I started working for Pakistan television in 2004. At that time there were only two channels. Now there are seventy. I had always wanted to make a feature but Pakistan has an almost next to nonexistent film industry.

On the film’s reception:
It’s been really amazing because it allowed me to show the film at various venues all over the world. It’s been a good dialogue for me and an incredible learning experience for me.
On the challenges she faced when writing the story and filming:
How do you make a story compelling for an hour and a half? How do you formulate something? Because you know the family is going to see it. The father and son were there the whole time. It’s “adapted from actual events.” It’s very close, but we did take some liberties, definitely.

On editing the film:
It really teaches you about what not to do. I hope I’ve learned from it. And being so intimately involved [with the process and final product], a filmmaker or director will always be very vulnerable.
On criticism:

You have to have nerves of steel, whether you are a writer or an artist or a musician. You can’t please everyone. It’s important to share and learn what to take from that criticism and opinion. It’s not for the weak. You have to have nerves of steel, definitely.
On her influences:

I think I was introduced to some really good films when I was growing up. [European films] were sort of quieter films, they left more to the imagination. Because I was shy growing up, that appealed to me more. I was influenced by American films as well. Studio films of the seventies and eighties. When Hollywood used to make smart films.

On Pakistan:
It’s often a misrepresented state, I feel. It’s been caught up in some bad decisions it’s made politically. It’s not been given the voice in the West as some other countries.
Ramchand Pakistani can be viewed online at youtube.com.

St. John’s Pond Becomes Home to St. Messie Monster

Flyers were placed all around campus asking if anyone had encountered the St. John’s Pond Monster known as St. Messie. (Photo by Ken Benjes)
Flyers were placed all around campus asking if anyone had encountered the St. John’s Pond Monster known as St. Messie. (Photo by Ken Benjes)
First, there were the signs, spread around campus. “Have you seen me?” they asked, next to a sea monster’s silhouette. Then, in the dead of night, a tail appeared in St. John’s pond. As the rest of the monster was assembled, the sculpture the artist prefers to call “St. Messie” became a conversation starter around campus.

St. Messie (the name is a combination of St. Mary’s and Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster) was a project for an advanced sculpture class taught by professor Lisa Scheer.

“I charge the students to think up a way to create a sculpture that enhances an audience’s interactivity with it. Students can interpret that in a lot of different ways,” said Scheer.

“You can imagine how this sculpture could have just been like any sculpture that anyone put up. I would hope that some of the reason that it’s getting this sort of response is that the artist included all these ways to make it more interactive…as opposed to just presenting it as a given. I think the other thing about it is that [the artist] specifically chose something like the sea monster that is purposefully fun.”

According to the artist, who wishes to remain anonymous, the pond was chosen as the installation site because, “It’s right at the crossroads since everyone sees it. There are creatures in the pond but it’s really murky so you don’t really know what lives in there.”

The sea monster was assembled slowly in order to increase the interaction between audience and sculpture.

“This is the first time I’ve done something really public,” the artist said. “I think it added some character to the pond.”

In order to preserve anonymity, the artist installed the piece during low tide, at about three or four in the morning. “One of my friends helped me, but it was pretty hard because the mud is so thick and your feet get stuck in it when you step in it. We got stopped by [public safety] once because they were kind of confused about what we were doing,” the artist said.

The project received a lot more attention than expected. After the artist created a Facebook page called, “St. Mary’s Sea Monster?” current College students and alumni began a discussion thread about the monster’s name. Proposed names have included Alejandro, St. Messe, St. Messie, Johnny, Noah, Chessie (later clarified to be the Chesapeake Bay monster), the St. Mary’s Sea Monster, and Jessie.

“I think its name should be Noah because St. Mary’s City is famous for the Ark and Dove ships, as in Noah’s Ark and the dove that let them know the water was receding,” said Hannah Werme, one of the students who commented on the page. As of March 27, “St. Mary’s Sea Monster?” had 204 fans. The sculpture’s appearance was also recognized on Ken Benjes’ blog, SMCMLOL.

At least one student has met the monster in person. According to first-year Zach Etsch, “On March 10 right after my friends ponded me, I went out to do battle with the sea serpent, whose name, I was told as a reward for victory, was “Ursula.”

The campus community should keep an eye out for the sea monster’s return. “I’d definitely like to bring it back,” the artist said. “Possibly move it around the pond, like have it travel.”

WGSX Colloquium Speakers Call for Activism

The 11th Annual Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Colloquium, (En)gendering Political Change, started with a call to action.
“The most important message of your colloquium is that change can happen. Organized and together, you really can change things,” said Alice Cohan, one of the two speakers from the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF).

Cohan, along with Danielle Geong, gave the first presentation and discussed feminist activism within the United States and other nations. “We wanted to talk about feminist political activism and what that really means,” said Geong. “Obviously we’ve made so many gains in the last few decades, in the last few decades, in the last century. That said, of course, we continue to hit up against those glass ceilings.”
The next speaker, Madeline Kunin, showed exactly how those glass ceilings could be broken. Kunin, the first female governor of Vermont, used her personal political success story to encourage the women in the audience to run for public office.

The United States, she said, “is seventy-third in the list of countries with women in the lower houses of parliament,” with fewer women in the House of Representatives than in Afghanistan’s comparative political body. Kunin said she had hope that the numbers would soon look different. “Your generation is much more concerned about social issues than my generation was,” she said.

Caroline Slobodzian, the third speaker and the president of the DC Chapter of the US National Committee for United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), screened the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell and led a discussion afterwards. The movie told the story of the Liberian women who staged a silent protest outside of the Presidential Palace in order to end their country’s civil war.

The fourth speaker, historian Marc Stein, gave a lecture titled, “Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement: Historical Perspectives.” He discussed the misconceptions surrounding the Stonewall riots as well as the debate over what terminology to use when referring to the LGBT community.

The last event was a roundtable moderated by professor Sahar Shafqat and including speakers Kunin, Slobodzian, and Stein. The speakers began by discussing what makes an activist and moved on to cover topics such as gay marriage, the recently passed healthcare bill, and textbooks in Texas. Ultimately, the speakers agreed that everyone has the potential to be an activist, and that change is the result of creative group work.

“Do we need to find new, creative ways of activism?” asked Stein. “Absolutely.”

The speakers also discussed what it means to be an activist. “I think we live with contradictions and I think we struggle with contradictions,” said Stein.

“I thought it was amazingly coherent, though they came from very different perspectives. They made it a point to be inspiring and empowering,” said Katharina Von Kellenbach, professor of Religious Studies.

First-year Lindsey Siferd agreed. “I really enjoyed the range of events and speakers they brought in because it really represented WGSX and not just women’s studies. I thought that was such a great range of opinions and voices.”

“There was so much overlap. Even though they were talking about different things, there was a kind of really nice camaraderie between them.”

“I think that a lot of students have been really affected by it,” said sophomore Jess O’Rear, the other student member of the colloquium board. “I think that this has really set a fire under a couple of students, people who wanted to do something but didn’t know how to go about it.”

Colloquium co-chairs Kate Norlock and Leon Wiebers said they began planning for the event a year ahead of time.

“When we invite the speakers to campus, we tell them what the theme is and they can interpret it however they wish,” said Wiebers. “That results in an unknown event. And we’re so happy that events so far have been delightful.”

The colloquium is held in part, said Norlock, “becase we don’t expect people to have a background in gender issues and feminist activism. It is our way of showing the many, many things that scholars and performars do.”

The colloquium, sponsored by a variety of academic departments and campus organizations, took place on March 23, 24, and 25. All events took place in Cole Cinema.

The subject of next year’s colloquium will be women and war.

ARC Danceathon Raises Money for Haiti

On Friday, Feb. 26, students danced in the Athletic and Recreation Center until 2:30 am for the “Dance Your Shoes Off Dance Marathon!” The event, which was part of the Nest and hosted by the Residence Life Staff and Programs Board, was held to raise donations for Haiti. Attendees were asked to bring a donation of 5 dollars for the American Red Cross or shoes for Soles for Souls.

“Staying up until 2:30 am never felt so good!” said senior Sola Ogundele, Director of Campus Programming. “There were some committed dancers that showed up at 9pm and danced until last song (2:30 a.m.), and I could not be prouder of the SMCM community.”

20 dollar gift cards to the campus store were given to Julia Funey, Katelyn Heydt, Maurielle Stewart, Molly McKee, and Erica Watson, the five people who remained at the end of the six hour marathon. 149 students attended and donated 174.72 dollars.

“I think the event was definitely a success,” said Chelsea McGlyn, one of the Prince George’s Resident Assistants who helped run the event. “I was surprised by the generosity some people showed (the DJ volunteered two extra hours in order to stay for the entire marathon, some people came in just to donate, Programs Board for combining their resources with ours to make it a success).”

“The Nest was in charge of finding and hiring a DJ to perform from the hours of 9pm-3am. ResLife organized the refreshments and the prize for the dance off winners,” said Jessica Harvey, Programs Board chair for the Nest.
The Invisible Children club will be hosting a similar event in April.