R. Erica Doyle VOICES Reading

Last Friday, Feb. 20 was the second VOICES reading of the semester featuring poet R. Erica Doyle in Daugherty-Palmer Commons of St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM). Doyle won the 2014 Norma Farber First Book Award for her book “proxy” and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Poetry. Associate Professor of English, Elizabeth Charlebois introduced Doyle “with pleasure and some undeserved pride.” Professor Charlebois met Doyle 35-years-ago when she was a resident assistant at Georgetown University and Doyle was a student on her floor.

Doyle attended Cave Canem in 1997, “a home for black poetry,” where she met Lucille Clifton who was teaching there at the time. Lucille Clifton was Poet Laureate of Maryland and a Distinguished Professor of Humanities at SMCM. Doyle described Clifton as a supportive presence in her life who encouraged her to “write what I like and not to feel pressure from other people.”

Doyle was born in Brooklyn with family from Trinidad and Tobago. Doyle states that because Trinidad and Tobago is the southernmost island of the Caribbean, it was “largely neglected” by colonial powers and “things were allowed to happen there that weren’t allowed to happen in other spaces that were much more powerfully controlled.” 

In her poetry about her identity and ancestry, Doyle incorporates Spanish and Trinidadian French Creole (called Patois). She emphasizes the importance of using “languages that we sort of made our own, like Patois,” and also using languages “that are imposed on us.”

Doyle also read from “Lifting Daddy Floating” which talks about being a child of immigrants. In “Victims of Unreason,” Doyle focused on gentrification by writing about the people in her neighborhood in Brooklyn where her family lived in a house which she says is now worth $5 million.

Doyle ended the VOICES reading by discussing a project she is working on with two of her cousins that she calls a “three-part investigation into our family.” They are doing work gathering oral histories, documents and research to look into the “very early origins of [their] family in the Americas.” Their family history includes Spanish missionaries that took their indigenous  relatives from Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago as well as Chinese indentured laborers. The project includes connecting all the family origins through missionary records, marriage records and any other documents. Doyle stated that her history includes people who were slaveholders, enslaved people, people of color, revolutionaries, enslaved Africans and all are “part of the history that lives inside of me.”

In their journey to discover and document their family history they have discovered ancestry that was “complicit as slaveholders” as well as “free people of color who also enslaved people.” This part of their history was “very painful for us to learn as a family, but Doyle encouraged the audience  to ask questions about their family and ancestry while they can. Doyle ended with the sentiment that “once we start asking the questions, we don’t know where it’s going to lead.”

The next reading is An Evening to Honor the Legacy of Lucille Clifton on Feb 29 at 7:30 pm in St. Mary’s Hall, an event presented by the Office of the President and the VOICES Reading Series. The event will feature poets Naomi Shihab Nye and Danusha Laméris.

Lunar New Year Celebration Draws Over 200 People

This year’s Lunar New Year Celebration was held on Jan. 24 in Daugherty-Palmer Commons. The Lunar New Year Celebration is an event held in collaboration with the Asian Studies program, the Department of International Language and Cultures and the Asian Pacific American Club (APAC). The Lunar New Year was relatively early this year, so the event fell on the first Friday of classes.

The main event of the Celebration was a station for guests to make dumplings which were cooked in the back and then put out later to eat. The room was covered with red decorations, with red symbolizing good fortune and happiness. Snacks were provided for people to enjoy while waiting for the dumplings they made to cook. The Celebration also featured a calligraphy station, a chopstick competition and karaoke to finish off the night.

Professor of Chinese, Jingqi Fu started the Lunar New Year Celebration at SMCM a few years after she came to the college in 1995, saying “we never stopped, so every year we have this New Year Celebration with dumplings.” The event was well attended from the beginning but “not to the level it is now,” Professor Fu added.

It started as a smaller event on campus and has turned into the larger celebration it is today, but Professor Fu said dumplings have been a constant throughout the years. She added that she is “very happy to see people who are not necessarily involved in the Chinese or Asian studies program” attending. Professor Fu says they always try to open the event to more people, including community members living nearby who come help her with the cooking.

Professor of History, Charles Musgrove, teaches Chinese history at SMCM and currently serves as the faculty advisor for APAC. Professor Musgrove calls the event “one of the best traditions we have at this school.” Professor Musgrove stated the turnout this year was “great and every year we always manage to have enough dumplings for everyone who stays so for me that’s the sign of a successful event.”

Both Professor Fu and Professor Musgrove credit APAC for much of the organizing of the event in recent years, by running activities, announcements, entertainment as well as advertising for the event.

Senior Mariel Santos is the co-president of the APAC at SMCM, alongside Jay Guo. Santos joined APAC her sophomore year and immediately felt welcomed. As the big event for APAC each year, Santos says she “appreciates how many people come and it does show a good amount of diversity on our campus […] that’s why we look forward to it every year, it’s cool to see people who are interested in what we do.”

The Lunar New Year is the “most important holiday in much of East Asia,” Professor Musgrove said. Professor Fu described the Lunar New Year saying, “the whole country stops and nothing is going on except going home to family members and celebrating and eating,” and in times when food was scarce “you would keep the best food for these couple days.” 

Countries celebrate the Lunar New Year differently with different food and rituals and Professor Fu says that making dumplings is a huge tradition in northern China, describing it as “a must.” Professor Musgrove says the wrapping of dumplings during the Lunar New Year is a family affair and the dumplings “are supposed to bring good fortune for the year.” By making the dumplings at the event, Professor Musgrove says it “replicates that family tradition here on campus.”

Senior Nhu Chau described the Lunar New Year as “like Christmas and Thanksgiving in America, but special in its own way because it’s the time your family comes together and gathers.” Chau was born in Vietnam and said she missed seeing her family during the Lunar New Year, stating, “when I went to the event it brought back the memories and I remember now why people celebrate the Lunar New Year, it’s the gathering, the fun, the laughter and just enjoying food and hanging out with your friends.”

Coordinator of Diversity and Civic Engagement, Annesha Edwards-Carter, also attended the event and talked of the importance of diverse programs on campus. Edwards-Carter said people want to feel accepted at SMCM, making it “so important that the St. Mary’s Community makes this a place that is inclusive.” Edwards-Carter was also impressed that the event retained so many students, who were engaged with the activities provided, not just the free food.

With another successful Lunar New Year Celebration under her belt, Professor Fu added that they plan to “keep it going for many years to come.”

Spring Involvement Fair Aims to Get Students Engaged

The spring Involvement Fair took place on Jan. 24 in the Rec Courts at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Involvement fair is a chance for clubs on campus to showcase themselves to students to gain potential members. 

Junior Janine Benner is the current Club Coordinator at SMCM and serves as the liaison between student clubs and OSA (Office of Student Activities). Benner spoke of the purpose of the Involvement Fair, saying it is a chance to “get the people who aren’t really active on campus a chance to see what is out there.”

Sophomore Gina Fioravante is the vice president of the Sustainability Club and co-president of the Philosophy Club and attended the Involvement Fair to bring attention to both of these clubs. Fioravante joined the Sustainability Club last year because as an Environmental Studies major she cares “a lot about the environment and wanted to promote sustainability on campus,” and became vice president this year after a mostly senior exec board graduated. Fioravante sees the Sustainability Club as a way “to become more sustainable [herself] and hopefully learn from others in the club as well.”

Although Fioravante is a Biology and Environmental Studies double major, she got involved with the Philosophy Club after taking an introductory course last year and joined because she thought it “would be fun to discuss things that weren’t so textbook.” The Philosophy Club holds meetings that discuss various topics, such as the philosophy of the TV series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” the philosophy of art and the philosophy of virtual love.

Fioravante said the spring Involvement Fair is a good place for people who didn’t sign up for a club in the first semester to sign up for the second semester and hopefully get those students involved for the rest of the year.

There are over 80 student clubs on campus and 45 of them registered to attend the Involvement Fair. Benner said clubs on campus are a “chance for people who have the same interests to feel they are accepted” and “for people who aren’t so included for to get a chance to be included” in our campus community.

Campus Architecture and the Commemoration to Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland

We experience the architecture of our campus every day, but we rarely consciously evaluate its cultural and historical connotations, and, ultimately, its impact on us as students, faculty, staff and community members. 

Professor of Art History Joe Lucchesi complicates students’ understanding of the spaces around them in his Intro to Art History courses, and now in an interview with The Point News, turning the academic eye of critical analysis and historical contextualization not only to buildings we might see in textbooks and tourist photos but also to the buildings we inhabit and look at every day. Lucchesi and others also elaborated on the implications of St. Mary’s architecture for the Commemorative to Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland who once lived in the territory that the College and Historic St. Mary’s now occupy. 

According to Lucchesi, the architecture on the College’s campus has three distinct phases. The first phase is represented in some of the oldest buildings on campus, Calvert Hall, Kent Hall and St. Mary’s Hall. These buildings were built in a neoclassical style, which Professor Lucchesi describes as “making it look like Greek and Roman temples.” This style of architecture was particularly common in the late 18th century when Thomas Jefferson proposed University of Virginia as an institute for public education.

The idea behind this neoclassical architecture at the time was that an educational institution should reflect the intellectual heart of Western culture– namely, ancient Greece and Rome. Professor Lucchesi said neoclassicism “used that intellectual symbolism of classical temples … and turned it into educational architecture.” This type of architecture conveys an impression of educational prestige.

The second phase of campus architecture emerged in the mid 20th century as a shift to modern architecture. Instead of focusing on historical references of architecture, this phase focused on “modern education that was supposed to be about creating modern people,” explained Professor Lucchesi. The ideas at the time were about “looking towards the future and building the next future generation of leaders and thinkers.”

The buildings built at this time had a modern aesthetic with geometric spaces. At this time Montgomery Hall (popularly known as Monty), Somerset Hall (now the renovated Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center), the old library and the old Campus Center where all built. Somerset Hall has since been renovated and the old library and old Campus Center buildings have both been redone in a different style, so Monty is the only truly modern building from this phase that remains on campus. 

Professor Lucchesi said that Monty is “the shining example” of this modern, progressive style because it is the building for the arts. He states that Monty “was deliberately made to stand out from the visual look of all the other buildings on campus as a signal that what it housed inside of it was all the creative people,” although he adds that he doesn’t “think it aged very well but [he] understands the intention of it.”

The 1990s marked the beginning of the third phase of campus architecture, with the construction of Schaefer Hall. This style is marked by “design elements that reference local tidewater architecture” explained Professor Lucchesi. It is based on colonial architecture from St. Mary’s City and the general region SMCM occupies. The effect of this architectural style is to make the College “seem like it’s been grounded in this place.” This style is more of a historical reference as with the neoclassical style of the earlier buildings, but this time the historical reference was focused on the local area.

As Professor Lucchesi explained, “you’re [St. Mary’s is] kind of an old institution now so you want to establish your lineage and longevity in the area.” In order to do this, the architecture is made to look like it has always been there and fits in with its location. In more recent years, Professor Lucchesi pointed out that the idea of emulating local architecture “might be more complicated than we think” as it evokes the colonial history of the area.

Assistant Professor of Art History, Emily Casey, taught a course last semester titled “Race and Culture in the American Museum,” which was part of a pilot of the new LEAD (Learning Through Experiential and Applied Discovery) curriculum. Professor Casey explained that the course “looked at American museums as institutions of culture” because “they tell us what history we’re supposed to know and remember, but that can often be really biased based on who runs the museum.”

Zinna Moore, ‘21, took Professor Casey’s course, Race and Culture in the American Museum, which she says focused on “studying the power dynamics that are in place in museums as institutions.” Moore added that the tagline of the course was “museums are not neutral institutions” as they discussed how “a lot of the paintings and sculptures that were considered fine art were by European and American artists.” This “left little room for a lot of oppressed and marginalized groups like people of color and women and LGBTQ people.”

In February, three artists were hosted by SMCM to share their proposals for the Commemorative to Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland to be built near the Jamie L. Roberts Stadium. These presentations were open to the public and community members were encouraged to give feedback on the designs. 

The selected design is from the design firm RE:site, founded by Shane Allbritton and Norman Lee. Their commemorative design was titled “From Absence to Presence, Commemorating Contributions of Enslaved People.” The commemorative will feature blackout poetry from poet Quenton Baker. Blackout poetry involves looking at bodies of texts and creating poems from words within the text, while blacking out all other words. 

The commemorative itself is a building meant to represent slave quarters with walls covered in the blackout poetry by Baker. Casey explained Baker’s work by saying Baker “often takes texts that are related to slavery, like the writings of white slave owners and then uses this blackout poetry to make a text that is about black experience and black identity.” Baker will be using texts that are part of historical documents from the country to create the poetry displayed on the memorial. Casey describes this as “taking the language of white oppression and turning it into a form of black liberation,” by focusing on texts specifically from this area. 

The commemorative is mirrored, which “creates this visual of darkness with the words being revealed or illuminated,” said Casey. At night, the commemorative will be illuminated from the inside, projecting the poetry onto the land surrounding the memorial.

Another aspect of Casey’s “American Museum” course focused on what the commemorative will be to the campus community. “How are we going to make this place for us as a community in keeping a conversation alive about the legacies of slavery here? And what is it going to be like having this sports stadium which is a place of celebration and competition and fun alongside something that is a sober, reflective memorial to a very painful and violent part of our past?” are among the questions Casey posed about the future of the commemorative as a place where the campus visits. Casey also adds that she doesn’t “think those are answered questions, we’re going to have to live with it to find out.”

In the future, Moore says “the College has to do a good job of making it a statement on our campus” because if people don’t already know about the commemorative, “they aren’t going to pay attention.” 

Casey implores people to think about the architecture on campus and recognize it is “commemorating a certain history, it’s commemorating a colonial history of white settlers,” when considering the colonial styles from the neoclassical buildings and local colonial buildings. “What kind of history are we already commemorating, where we think we are or not on this campus?” 

Kent Randell serves as the College Archivist of Information Science at SMCM and served on the first committee for the commemorative. Randell says the process of planning and building the commemorative showed “the importance of being thoughtful and deliberate in talking with students, faculty and the community,” and Randell credits this effort to President Tuajuanda Jordan, Ph.D. 

Casey says she plans on taking her students there when the commemorative is built and also continuing to teach about the commemorative and what it represents. Randell says that all the effort that went into creating this commemorative “makes you feel proud to work at a place that takes this seriously.”

First Screening of the Kate Farm Film Series: Sustainable Event at the Campus Farm

In an effort to create a sustainable event and bring awareness to the Kate Chandler Campus Community Farm, Sarah Jeffrey (‘20) organized the Kate Farm Film Series. On Friday Oct. 25, Jeffrey screened “The Last Honey Hunter,” a short documentary, at the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) Campus Farm using solar power to run the projector as part of the film series.

Jeffrey is an environmental studies major and said she “really wanted to do something on campus that would be inclusive and engaging for the whole student body.” With the help of environmental studies Professor Barry Muchnick, PhD, Jeffrey organized the event independently of any clubs but with the goal of bringing attention to the Gardening and Beekeeping Club as well as the Campus Farm. “I think St. Mary’s is lacking a little bit in sustainable, environmentally charged activities and I thought this would be a cool way to publicize the Campus Farm,” Jeffrey said she hopes the event will get more students and community members involved with the Campus Farm.

Professor Muchnick was recently awarded a $30,000 grant from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven according to an announcement on InsideSMCM. The grant money is to “support research, development, and implementation of new programming at the Kate Chandler Campus Community Farm through enhanced partnerships between St. Mary’s College and Historic St. Mary’s City.”

Enso Kitchen donated donuts to be sold at the event, with profits from the sale going to the Campus Farm. On the day of the screening, Jeffrey had help from other students with setting up the event and selling donuts. The event itself was relatively easy to run. Jeffrey said she “just needed to get some equipment from the media center, make a flyer and we projected the movie onto the side of the barn.” The event was powered by the solar trailer that is used by the Tiny House on campus. 

Jeffrey plans to continue the series with more events coming in the future, adding “I think outdoor activities are something that everyone enjoys and this is the kind of outdoor activity that requires the least amount of effort, you’re just sitting and watching a movie.”

In upper level Environmental Studies classes, Jeffrey says “we talk a lot about what interdisciplinary sustainability is and how important it is for students to take the initiative and not just wait for something to happen.” She added that “students have a huge responsibility when it comes to getting projects like this off the ground and up and running, […] it is our responsibility to say ‘hey this is important’ and act on it.”

Jeffrey chose to screen “The Last Honey Hunter,” released in 2017, because it was short and engaging and has recently been released for free streaming. “The Last Honey Hunter” is about a man in Nepal who cuts honeycombs on the cliffs of the Hongu River valley.

The series is named after Kate Chandler, who was a professor of English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) before she passed away in April of 2017 after battling cancer for two years. She helped found the Environmental Studies Program at SMCM and was the faculty advisor for the Campus Community Farm. The Campus Community Farm was renamed the Kate Chandler Campus Community Farm after her passing. Although Jeffrey said she didn’t personally know Kate Chandler, she said “the mark that [Kate Chandler] left on St. Mary’s was really profound. I think for someone that had put sustainability and environmentalism as a priority in their life and in the lives of students as well, I mean it’s the least we can do to include her name. […] It just made sense.”

Climate Change and Tick-Borne Disease Event from St. Mary’s Health Department

In an event coordinated with the St. Mary’s County Health Department, St. Mary’s County of Maryland (SMCM) hosted an event titled “Changing Threats: Impact of Climate and Environmental Change on Tick-Borne Disease” on Oct. 22. The event was introduced by Dr. Meena Brewster, an adjunct professor of environmental studies, who is also the St. Mary’s County Health Officer. The speaker was Robyn Nadolny, PhD, who is a biologist and program coordinator at the Tick-Borne Disease Laboratory for the Army Public Health Center.

The Tick-Borne Disease Laboratory runs a program called the Human Test Tick Kit Program (HTTKP) which tests ticks collected from Department of Defense personnel, including all branches of the military. Once a tick has been collected, it is sent to the Tick-Borne Disease Laboratory where they test the tick for possible diseases. The results of the test are then reported back to the tick-bite victim. 

Using this information the Tick-Borne Disease Laboratory is able to track tick-borne disease across the United States based on the reports they’ve received. From the HTTKP, the laboratory has seen that the population of lone star ticks has increased dramatically in the last 20 years in Fort Meade, MD. Maryland is in the top 20 percent of states with tick disease cases. 

Ticks are responsible for at least a dozen human pathogens in the U.S., including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and red meat allergy. Ticks find hosts in animals that they latch onto and feed off of, falling of the host when they’ve had enough blood. If the host a tick feeds on has a pathogen, the tick will ingest that pathogen. Ticks with pathogens can then infect hosts with the pathogen as well. When ticks latch onto humans, ticks are able to pass on the pathogens if they’ve been infected with one.

States in the Northeast, Midatlantic and Upper Midwest have the majority of ticks and tick-borne disease cases, but in recent years ticks have been expanding their territory across the U.S. Climate change means warmer areas in the U.S., so the hosts ticks live on also expand their territories, so the ticks are able to move farther than before. Climate change also means shorter winters kill off fewer ticks, increasing their populations and also increasing tick-borne diseases.

The shorter winter also means that the nymph ticks and adult ticks feed on hosts at the same time, which infects more of the nymph population because infected adult ticks will pass on diseases to nymphs. In turn, more nymphs are infected with tick-borne diseases and as they grow the adult population will carry more disease. Ticks are also able to survive extreme weather conditions, as they are able to adapt to climate differences. 

The spread of tick territory also affects animal populations, as ticks host on many different animals such as deer, mice, birds and lizards. In a 2018 New York Times article titled “47,000 Ticks on a Moose, and That’s Just Average. Blame Climate Change,” scientists tagged moose calves in order to count the tick populations on them. Moose calves often die from the large number of ticks on their bodies, the article stated that they can die from “anemia, which develops when many ticks drain a moose’s blood.”

Dr. Nadolny suggests checking your body for ticks each time you return from spending time outdoors in places that may have ticks. There are other resources to that track tick activity in the U.S. such as TickEncounter and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information about tick-borne diseases and the areas they are most common.

SMCM Plans Redesigned Core Curriculum

St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) is currently in the process of reworking and rethinking its core curriculum in order to best meet the needs of its students. A group of 13 faculty members and one student member make up the Core Design Workgroup, tasked with redesigning the core curriculum.

The discussion about redesigning the core curriculum started over a year ago, beginning with the Board of Trustees and SMCM’s administration. The faculty took over the effort soon after. They began by assessing whether the current core curriculum does what the faculty would like it to do.

Professor of Mathematics Dave Kung, the chair of the Core Design Workgroup, said this process involved “feedback from faculty, from students, from alums and even from students who chose not to come to St. Mary’s.” They also examined the curricula at other institutions, especially institutions we are similar to.

The redesigned core curriculum consists of three major components:First Year Honors Experience, Honors Pathways and Professional Literacy.

The First Year Honors Experience restructures the current CORE 101 course all first-years take into two 3-credit Honors Seminars (meant to be taken in conjunction with the Professional Literacy courses). The first Honors Seminar will focus on writing skills and the second Honors Seminar will focus on public speaking and quantitative literacy.

The Honors Pathways will replace the current pathway of taking a class in each discipline: Arts, Cultural Perspectives, Humanistic Foundations, Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences. The new pathway is called the “Integrated Inquiry Pathway” and will involve taking several different courses in different disciplines about a related topic.

Kung said the Integrated Inquiries system allows students to “get those breadth requirements all in the context of some issue that they care about.” This will differ from the current breadth requirement system because “instead of doing those separately where they may have nothing to do with each other, a student coming in would take four classes that are all surrounding the theme of climate, or four classes that are all about global public health or four classes that are all about identity,” Kung stated.

The classes will pull from different disciplines to create a well-rounded pathway, although students can still choose to fulfill this requirement with The Exploring the Liberal Arts Honors Pathway, similar to the current pathway.

Professional literacy will help students with developing their professional skills and will involve two 1-credit classes in a student’s first year, CORE 103 and 104. These two courses will focus on “strengths articulation, résumé development, immersion experiences and interviewing skills.” A third course, CORE 202, is a 2-credit class “in which students continue self-exploration, begin to explore group dynamics, and practice effective teamwork skills.” This course involves a small “out-of-class experience” which acts as a preparation for an internship or research experience.

Kung stated the importance of this addition of professional literacy, saying “there’s a big equity issue there, kids from well-off families have support for résumé writing and support frankly for entering the workforce.” These professional literacy courses aim to give students the same opportunities in their first year in order to develop their professional lives.

The revised core curriculum also includes an Honors College Promise which guarantees an internship or research experience to all students, provided they complete the Professional Literacy aspect of the core curriculum. This would replace the current Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World (ELAW) requirement. Kung said the idea is to change ELAW to be an experience that students want, rather than a requirement they need to fulfill, “we want to change that into an enticement because these are things that you should want to do, and the College is willing to step up and say ‘we will guarantee this.’”

The language requirement is proposed to change so every student takes at least a 102-level course of a language. Students will also have a Senior Capstone where they can still complete an SMP or have a project that serves as a culminating experience for all students. “We want to make sure that everybody has a chance to stand up in front of their peers and talk about something that they did that finalized their major,” Kung stated.

Lastly, the committee also wants the College to place more emphasis on Study Abroad opportunities, including Study Tours and Semester abroad programs.

Joseph Perriello, ‘21, is a SGA senator and serves as the student representative on the Core Design Workgroup, a position he was appointed to by the SGA. His role is to protect the interests of current and future students by ensuring the redesigned curriculum will benefit both groups.

Perriello has helped facilitate student focus groups to get feedback from current students. The feedback was mostly positive, however, “there were some concerns brought up about how the new curriculum will take away resources from electives.” Perriello stated that the committee has been working hard to ensure the revised curriculum “remains a resource neutral curriculum,” so faculty members will still be able to teach elective courses.

The current version of the revised curriculum has gotten positive feedback from most of the faculty members, with 80-85% supporting it in the most recent vote. Next, the workgroup will focus on considering resources required to implement the changes. The goal of the workgroup is to have parts of the core curriculum in place for the Fall of 2019, with a full roll-out in future years. The faculty will vote on the core curriculum at an upcoming meeting either Dec. 3 or later in January, and the workgroup would spend this upcoming semester writing a new catalogue for the curriculum.

Admissions Enrollment Increases, New Program “Hometown ‘Hawks” Unveiled

The most recent report from the Office of Enrollment Management revealed an increase of 54 newly enrolled students (new first-year students and transfer students combined) following an enrollment decline in recent years that began in 2010. Following the successful enrollment of Fall 2018 students, the Office of Admission unveiled a new initiative through an AllStudents email, called “Hometown ‘Hawks.”

This year was also the first time since 2010 that the number of all students (returning and newly enrolled) has increased from the previous year. However, there was a 5% decrease in the retention of students. The Office of Admission is working to reach a 90% retention rate of students, outlined in their strategic plan.

Vice President for Enrollment Management David Hautanen has been at SMCM since July 2017, after visiting and observing “an amazing location, absolutely beautiful, stunning, on the water, great facilities, really smart students, accomplished faculty, and one that really presented an opportunity to grow an institution.”

Director of Admission Kendra Lawrence joined SMCM in August after working at various schools, both public and private. Lawrence enjoyed her experiences at smaller institutions because she felt she excelled more in those environments. Lawrence said she was drawn to SMCM because “[she] appreciated when [she] came here that people seemed to have a sense of pride and seemed to really care about the place.”

Despite the increase in enrolled students, Lawrence emphasized that, “at the end of that day, we need students to help us tell our story.” Hometown ‘Hawks was created to involve students with admissions, by getting SMCM students to spread the message about the College to prospective students and encourage them to apply.. “The recruitment [process] cannot rest with this one office, we have students from all over the state of Maryland, we can’t be everywhere all the time,” said Lawrence.

As outlined in the AllStudents email, SMCM students can get involved either formally or informally. Informally, SMCM students can always be representing the College to prospective students when they are home. This benefits both current and future students, as Lawrence stated, “you guys lived the experience every single day so if you can communicate that when you go home and talk to the next generation that’s coming in, that helps us and it helps you as well.”

Hautanen recommends that all students “go out to their home communities with the goal of encouraging at least one student to apply […] that would be doing your part as a member of this community to help build this community for the future value of yourself.”

The Office of Admission is offering formal training to students who signed up for the Hometown ‘Hawks program on Dec. 5 . Those students will return to their high schools or community colleges over winter break to represent SMCM and recruit students to apply.

Hautanen says the institution is growing, and that means “we have additional resources to make the student experience even better […], we’re looking to grow in-state, we’re looking to grow out-of-state, we’re looking at growing internationally, we’re looking at achieving our diversity goals,” as part of their comprehensive enrollment model.  Already this fall semester, the Office of Admission has completed more than 600 recruitment visits.

Enso Kitchen Opens in Historic St. Mary’s City

A new bakery, Enso Kitchen recently opened its doors in Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC). Enso Kitchen serves a variety of breads, sandwiches and pastries, all handmade.

The owner of Enso Kitchen, Rubing Yen, is married to St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Ellen Kohl. Yen says having a wife who is a faculty member at SMCM has helped spread the word around campus. “I kind of intentionally have not really advertised much […], because I wanted to have some time for my staff to get acquainted with our routines and really work through any problems that arose,” Yen stated.

“It’s been great, definitely picking up faster than I expected,” Yen said of the first few weeks they’ve been open. Yen currently employs eight students from SMCM on his staff. “The students I have working for me are the best. Even with no kitchen experience, no baking experience, no cooking experience, I think the students I have working here are better than 90% of the people I’ve worked in commercial kitchens with,” Yen said of his staff.

Yen says the students also bring energy to the kitchen, and “they’re super willing to learn too […], I think only one person had any previous bread or baking experience but everyone has been super interested in it and super willing to learn and try and fail and make adjustments.”

Yen had been thinking of opening a bakery for several years and when he and his family moved here, he found this location at HSMC. “I told them the vision and they really worked super hard to make this whole space happen, they did almost all of the work in here and it’s incredible,” Yen said, “the folks at Historic and at the College have been amazingly supportive and welcoming.”

Before Enso Kitchen, Yen worked in restaurants and in the food industry off and on since he was in college. He also worked an environmental educator and taught English in Taiwan. Most recently, Yen was an elementary school teacher in Athens, Georgia for seven years before moving to Southern Maryland.

Yen’s love for baking is “a fairly recent interest” after getting serious about it four or five years ago. He began baking naturally levain sourdough every day for two years, “changing one little thing here and there to see how it would affect the outcome, it was a lot of baking by feel, I did very little measuring.”

His love of sourdough bread grew into “appreciation for other types of baking, other types of bread, and other types of techniques.”

Yen also mentioned there is a surprisingly sizable local population that visits Enso Kitchen, “I think the word has spread among some of the neighborhoods here and there and I’m starting to see a lot of repeat customers.”

Enso Kitchen is open Monday through Friday from roughly 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (or when the baked goods sell out), with lunch hours from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. It is located in HSMC by Farthing’s Ordinary.

Print Edition of Volume 79, Issue 3 in Circulation Now!

Print copies of The Point News’ most current edition have begun to circulate the St. Mary’s campus community. Pick one up from any St. Mary’s College of Maryland building. If you can not find our drop-off location near you or would like to request the paper be delivered to a specific spot, please email Lauren at lksmith1@smcm.edu. For those unable to access paper copies, either due to proximity or any other reason, take solace in this PDF of the newspaper available by clicking the link below.

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