SMCM To Add “Dog” Major to Curriculum

St. Mary’s College of Maryland has secured the necessary state funds to implement its long-awaited Dog Studies Programme, which will be open at the start of the fall semester of 2018.

This excruciatingly intensive discipline will be available as a major and a minor. It is recommended for current and prospective students who are interested in learning about the history and culture of members of the biological family Canidae, as well for as those interested in learning to become a dog themselves for an edge in the increasingly competitive job market. Hired by the college as candidate (or canine-date!) to head the Dog department as chair is Dr. Maximilian Wooffimus III, a golden retriever who has chased frisbees on university campuses for over 6 years (42 in dog years), and has been recognized by the Man’s Best Friend Society of Europe as an official “GOOD BOY.”

Elective courses will include Theories of the Tail, Butt Sniffing 101 (a business etiquette course), History of Napping, and Woofers in Literature – which includes both works featuring dogs as characters and works written by dogs. The required courses, Principles of Doghood I-III, will feature a lab (haha, lab) component where students will gain practical knowledge about barking and playing fetch. Concentrations for the major will be available in Pug, Retriever, German Shepherd, and Shiba Inu, to be followed by Chihuahua and Pitbull which are planned to be added the following semester.

An environmental activist from the school who wished to remain anonymous points out that incorporating Dog Studies into colleges will be “good for social progress, that our fluffy pals are finally starting to get the representation in academia that they deserve.” Critics of the program include Bertha Eugene, a self-described “cat person,” who opined that “learning about dogs is a waste of time, waste of parent’s tuition money because it doesn’t teach these kids anything practical about the real world.” Countering this is Pepper, a local dog a human student, who reminds us that “well I think with the current political trends, experts have predicted that it’s very likely that dogs are slated to gain control of the world economy, you know, so it’s definitely good preparation for people to learn to prepare to interact with dogs as their new maste– I mean, as equal subjects and not just mere pets.”

More specific details of the program will be announced in an AllStudent email to be sent out early next semester. In the meantime, the Registrar’s Office has assured The Point News that the rumors circulating – that one will need to submit medical documentation of an appointment to be spayed or neutered before signing up for classes in the Dog department – are completely unfounded. Also, freshman students entering in fall 2018 who show promise as dog scholars will have the option to apply for several scholarships of up to 50 milkbones and 20 rawhides. Alternate dog-housing options will be offered for upperclassmen.

SMCM Janitorial Team Sweeps Regional Championship

Staff members from the physical plant and housekeeping staff from around the college have formed a Varsity Janitorial team to enter the 50th annual Maryland state Custodian Olympics held last weekend at the University of Maryland, College Park.  The head organizer of the competition reports that “each event is designed to test a professional cleaner’s overall skill, endurance, and most of all, patience.”  Our team emerged victorious on top of seven other competing teams including the reigning champions “Mount St. Mary’s Moppers” and the dreaded “Salisbury Scrubbers,” whose families had been in the cleaning industry for generations.  

After the teams emerged from the locker rooms with newly stocked supply buckets to stands full of cheering guests, the events started. The St. Mary’s College team, the “Seahawk Sweepers,” went on to set record-breaking performances in a pentathlon that involved a pre-set course of five events: removing overflowed trash bags, tag-team relay sweeping, cleaning out a dorm microwave with a limited supply of wipes, scrubbing skid marks out of a toilet bowl, and wiping off graffiti of genitalia drawn in permanent marker from wooden tables, all as fast as possible.  Some of the other scored speed events that the team took the gold in included separating the trash from the recycling accurately, and an obstacle course “Sticky Shoes” that involved navigating a mop bucket through a floor full of spilled soda without stepping in it or wheeling over it.  

The all-day event included many festivities for the spectators. There were vendors selling hats designed to look like you were wearing a trash can or dustpan on your head among others, as well as educational pamphlets on how to keep your workplace tidy and such.  One visitor commented that “The stadium was very clean; there was no trash left in the stands or on the hallway floors.”  It is unclear if this was the case because the venue was swarming with rival custodians trying to outdo each other, or if the spectators felt angry gazes as they were about to discard their empty soda cups on the ground and just decided to clean up their act.  

Per tradition, the winning team, our St. Mary’s College of Maryland, was awarded the revered golden-toilet trophy, which looks exactly like what you’re imagining it does.  In addition to the trophy, the sponsor Sysco pledged a lifetime supply of paper towel rolls and single ply toilet paper to the winning team, which will help the college to cut down on expenses.  The team captain made a speech, how it was “a great honor” and thanking “my team, my supervisor, all our families, and the select few students who wished us good morning when they saw us in the halls instead of running in the opposite direction.”

John Cena Visits Campus: A Detailed Report

On February 4th, five-year United States champion John Felix Anthony Cena of World Wrestling Entertainment fame visited campus to host several small workshops and deliver a speech followed by presentation on the physics and aerodynamics of the Five Moves of Doom, titled “YOU WANT SOME? COME GET SOME!”  

As he first arrived in the morning hours when many students were skipping their 8 a.m.’s, he was ushered promptly to the ARC where the SMCM wrestling team and a few other club athletes were up bright and early, eagerly awaiting the superstar’s arrival.  I was, of course, not allowed into the ARC due to the pastrami incident last May, but a very bruised inside source who was sporting some sort of flashy looking new belt gave me an overview.  Apparently, Mr. Cena conversed with the attendees about their goals and ambitions, gave some tactical wrestling advice, and, as expected, demonstrated some moves.  The family of the wrestling team captain would like us to remind you that there is a station outside the great room where you can send your wishes and write a get-well card to their son.  Keep him in your thoughts and prayers.  

After lunch, Mr. Cena met with majors and minors in the TFMS department in Bruce Davis Theater to discuss the more artistic side of his career.  I listened to bits and pieces from the door for the first ten minutes or so before realizing that I was actually eligible to attend thanks to my acting class, so in I went.  Thankfully no one noticed me tiptoeing to a seat, for they were already deep in discussion of the cultural implications and historical influences of Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery!, considered by many as the high point of Cena’s filmography.  

In addition to the enlightening commentary, he answered some questions from the attendees.  One memorable one was when the person in the seat in front of me asked about Cena’s heritage. We learned that he’s part Hispanic, with his last name translating roughly to “dinner,” a name which this reporter would induce comes from a long history of eating up their challengers for dinner.  His parents took his first name from John the Baptist, because even in diapers he would baptize his opponents in pain.  

I learned some interesting things from the lecture itself, which took place in the evening; the content was accessible to a general audience.  Brock Lesnar even appeared as a surprise guest, and the two had an epic brawl, allowing us to see the scientific principles of his speech applied.  However, it didn’t have the expected attendance turnout.  On the one hand, the admission price for the lecture was $59.95 ($44.95 for DirectTV subscribers).  The Programs Board has another theory, notes the director – “it just so happened that many of the students who had expressed interest in attending had other engagements when the day of the event rolled around.”  “I guess you could say,” Mr. Cena commented about the attendance, “their time is up, so they can’t see me.”

Club Spotlight: The Alternative Percussion Collective

The Office of Studential Activities in association with the Musicality Department would like to alert the campus to the newest student-led club approved by the Student Association of Government during last Tuesday’s meeting by a vote of 1 (with 99 abstaining).  The Alternative Percussion Collective invites any boys and girls interested in the craft of contemporary noise-making to attend their interest meeting this weekend.  The president of the club, a 5th year senior, whose real name no one knows so they just call him “Mallet,” comments that, “Life is as short and as impermanent as a sound wave.  In life we strive to be memorable, likewise it is best to make lots of waves and make sure that they’re really loud.” 

Mallet also informed The Point News that “we hope the collective will be a great way for our fellow students to relax, learn, and make new friends – and lose many others.”  The club’s meeting place varies between the many study rooms in the residence halls.  The meeting time is nominally “24 hours a day,” but the members prefer to practice at night.  The club’s Vice President, having adopted the title of Sister Drumstick, clarifies: “In the first few days we’ve found that having many people making music in the same place at the same time can mess up everyone’s rhythm.  So we’ve adopted a sort of ‘divide and conquer’ approach, so that more people can hear us practicing, getting jealous and wanting to join us.” 

The mission statement of the club is to leave no place or time in a residence hall without noise.  Studies show that students doing work with loud ambient noises are 100% more likely to be successful in their tasks, assuming the tasks are all defined as staying awake.  What makes the club unique – the “alternative” part of the club’s name – comes from the fact that they don’t actually use any instruments.  According to the club treasurer, Brother Fist, “The SAG didn’t give us enough funds to purchase actual drum sets,” but this did not stop these passionate individuals, for, “we had to make do with what we had: our own bodies.”  He goes on, “we’ve found that stomping on the ground, slamming the study room furniture around, and just sort of hurling our bodies against the wall all have the same effect as music.” 

The Club’s webpage credits the inspiration for its formation to John Cage, famous composer of the piano piece “4’33.”  He recognized that everyday sounds such as city traffic – and in the club’s case, excessively obnoxious thrashing about – had a certain musical quality to it.  The hypocrisy of a noise-loving club comparing themselves to the self-dubbed “silent composer” is most likely just intended to make people even more angry at them.  The club’s first public performance will be titled “Earthquake” and feature the Amateur Opera Singers Club, the other controversial club from last year that people have complained about.  It will be performed in each common room every night of finals week. 

US-backed Forces Plan to Seize ISIS Capital City of Raqqa

A campaign in northern Syria aims to capture the unofficial, de-facto capital city of Raqqa from ISIS control. The operation is lead by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and a collective of Arabic, Turkish, and Kurdish militias, although the United States is included in the effort.

The campaign, “Euphrates Anger”, officially began on November 6th but is an effort expected to take months, because once the air and ground military operations are complete, the SDF will need to establish a governance that will be acceptable to the locals in the surrounding regions.

Euphrates Anger has been described as an “isolation” effort, a siege to cut off certain supplies to the city prior to the primary assault and ground liberation. Raqqa is about 50 miles from Syria’s northern border with Turkey and is roughly the size of Richmond, Virginia. Michael Maloof, a former Pentagon official, told RT America that what may complicate matters is the element of competition between United States and Russia to take over the area and lead the subsequent democratizing effort. It is also feared that the Turks will refuse to cooperate with the Kurds.

NBC News points out that because of its position and nature, “Raqqa provides an enticing target for Westerners lured by ISIS propaganda. Tens of thousands of wannabe jihadis have traveled to Syria from Europe, North Africa and to a lesser extent the United States.” For this reason, many nations have a stake in the outcome and its success would be a major letdown for the infamous influence of ISIS’ propaganda strategies. NBC also comments that civilian locals suspected of treason were being executed in increasing numbers in Mosul and Raqqa, so the change in leadership may be welcome though care must be exercised.

On the other hand, CNN’s International Correspondent interprets the local sentiment as one of fear: “ISIS has been telling the civilians in Raqqa that when the Kurdish fighters come into their city they will be slaughtered in the street… With little access to the media and Internet, people no longer know who to trust.” CNN also reports on the statements of Coalition spokesman Col. John L. Dorrian, who confirms that the coalition will be employing calculated airstrikes as “shaping operations…against Da’esh leaders, command and control and resources.”

The statement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter regarding the effort is essentially that it will not be simple or easy but that it is a necessary step to ending ISIS’s “barbaric grip” and “disrupt the groups ability to carry out terror attacks.” The projected success of the operation will likely not be the absolute end of ISIS as the world knows it, but it will nonetheless be a decisive blow.

The information herein is as of November 16th.

Literary Alchemy Writing Workshop

On October 27th, the English department and Jennifer Cognard-Black hosted a writing craft workshop titled “Literary Alchemy: Combining Poetry and Prose.”  About twenty-three participants were in attendance from 4:00-5:15 p.m. in the Blackistone Room, the lounge that overlooks the Campus Center and Route 5 from the newly finished Anne Arundel Hall.  The workshop was lead by two visiting published authors, essayist Maureen Staunton, and poet Melissa Goldthwaite.  The writers are acquaintances of Dr. Cognard-Black from her graduate study days, and they also took part in the Voices Reading “From Curlers to Chainsaws” later that day.  

The focus of the workshop was on the “lyric essay” form, which starts to break down the differences between creative nonfiction and the poem.  The Seneca Review describes the emerging genre as one that “forsakes narrative line” in order to give ”primacy to artfulness.”  As such, a lyric essay might be different from a memoir because it “moves by association” between ideas rather than being analytical or comprehensive, and often “takes shape mosaically” whereby it has greater meaning when one sees the work as a whole.  Staunton agrees that these essays are attractive for their ability to “connect the personal to a more abstract idea.”  Some examples Staunton handed out to participants were an excerpt from “The Pain Scale” by Eula Bliss and a piece titled “Joyas Voladoras” by Brian Doyle.  According to Goldthwaite, “Almost any topic can work for a lyric essay.”

Starting at about the halfway point of the event, Goldthwaite had participants attempt an exercise where each person would pick one “center word” to write down, then write as many “association words” branching off from it as quickly as possible, eventually branching off of those words, et cetera.  Goldthwaite notes that “you don’t need to be neat, this is an invention.”  One could for the first time notice how seemingly unrelated actions, concepts, or objects hold a personal, unique connection for oneself due to some past experience ranging from an inside joke to a family tragedy.  

Afterwards, participants were to pick some of those terms and free-write about them while making sure to incorporate typical poetic devices.  Many participants were willing to share these attempts at an impromptu lyrical essay.  Some examples included themes moving from mice to designing things and the foundations of what it means to be a student, or from dogs to the theory of evolution and population control of wolves for the sake of territorial expansion.  Staunton comments, “I love how one word can just spider out and take you so many directions.”  

The event had a good turnout; all the room’s chairs and then some extra were filled, and there were no awkward silences (the periods where participants were writing were silent, however).  The workshop itself was well-received, with most individuals lingering around afterward to enjoy refreshments or ask one-on-one questions to the visiting writers.  For those interested in English-department sponsored events, the next VOICES reading by Kim Roberts will be November 10th at 8:15 in DPC.  

The Four Best Places On Campus to Spot a Dog

St. Mary’s College of Maryland is renowned for its beautiful outdoor environment.  On nice days, students will often encounter a visiting family or a local on a walk with their favorite pet through campus, allowing said students the unique opportunity to witness something both joyful and fluffy, and perhaps even the opportunity to pet it.  Here are the best spots to hang out at in order to increase your chances of spotting such a majestic creature.  

  1. Roofs.  While it’s true that most dogs lack the limb flexibility to ascend a ladder, that is of no circumstance.  Elevated places are generally well-regarded for their ability to allow individuals a wide range of vision.  Consider this: if you are standing on the ground, there may be a dog on the other side of the hill that you’re unaware of, but if you’re up on Monty’s Roof, you just might catch a glimpse!  (Note: The Point News does not condone trespassing on staff only areas of school property, so you heard it from a friend).    
  1. Computer Labs. It’s an unfortunate fact of life, but pets throughout history have generally not been permitted inside academic buildings.  But dry your tears, for now there is a neat workaround!  Most of these buildings contain computers, and these devices are fit with an internet connection that can help you.  Doug Walker, sophomore, describes the process: “I just typed ‘dog’ into the search bar, and bam! There’s a whole row of canines for me to admire.”  Try it yourself next time you find yourself stuck indoors.  
  1. An empty athletic field at night.  Most people who walk dogs do so during the day, but what if it is night, the labs are closed, and you want to see a dog?  Well, ask the Heavens and ye shall find.  If you get away from the lights of civilization, wear some expensive jewelry, and fix your attention to the southern celestial hemisphere, you might see the constellation Canis Major.  “It was to be such a noble and mesmerizing dog,” said Anima Traner, freshman, “that I didn’t even notice my jewelry had disappeared.”  
  1. An animal shelter.  I know what you must be thinking – wait, the local animal shelter isn’t on campus!  However, wouldn’t it be convenient if it was on campus? Well, you and your friends can get together, raise some funds, and offer to buy the property from the county and annex it for the college!  I reached out to the Commissioner of Pet and Property Affairs for just this purpose and this was the response: “That lot is not up for sale.”  If you encounter this problem, have no fear, for, you guessed it, there’s a solution: offer more money!  The corruption of greed is bound to kick in eventually, and the ends justify the means in your quest to have the image of a dog implanted in your visual cortex.  

Best of luck!

Service and Social Change: Stuff the Pantry

The St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s food pantry was established in Spring 2014.  It is located in Campus Center room 146, which doubles as the “commuter kitchen.”  The food pantry relies on student and faculty donations of non-perishable food items to run and it is available to all members of the community who need it, both students and faculty.  The Service and Social Change webpage on the college’s website describes the food pantry as operating “as a result of the kindness and support of our community” and under the motto “Give what you can, take what you need.”  

For the three weeks from Tuesday, October 4 through Tuesday, October 25, SMCM Service and Social Change campaigned to have everyone in the school community “stuff the pantry” in a food drive effort.  The organization explains that “we go through a decent amount of food,” and as a result of this, “the pantry was pretty barren and it needed to be filled as soon as possible so that food would be available to anyone who needed it.”  Even though Oct. 25 has passed, donations are accepted all year and can contain any types of non-perishable food items.  In fact, the organization notes that it would be good to have the pantry well-stocked in November “because of Thanksgiving and winter as well as National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week.”  

SMCM Service and Social Change will be holding the Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week from November 12-20.  It will include educational events on each weekday including a “sleep-out” and the Oxfam Hunger Banquet, where participants are randomly assigned a class status and given a greater or lesser amount of food based on it.  On Saturday, November 19 they will be hosting a service day looking for volunteers to assist local homeless resources.  The organization also oversees many on-campus student clubs that are socially-oriented or service-based such as Amnesty International and Habitat for Humanity.  

If you would like to donate to the pantry, you can either deposit your non-perishable food items in the labeled boxes across campus to be collected periodically or else bring them directly to the pantry.  The All-Student emails about the drive mention that donation boxes can be found in “Campus Center, Upper Monty, Schaefer Lobby, Goodpaster Lobby, Glendenning Lobby, Anne Arundel, Kent Lobby, the ARC, and Calvert Hall.”  In addition, the SMCM Service and Social Change staff has expressed that there are plans to have donation boxes in the residence halls next semester.  The organization revealed during the drive that “so far Calvert Hall and Public Safety have given us the largest donations.”  

If you have a need and are interested in taking advantage of the pantry’s resources, there is no need to feel ashamed, for the staff assures that the pantry is “an anonymous resource” that runs on the honor system and “we like to allow for people to come and go without note.”  A donation to the food pantry insures that you help somebody in your local school community.