Bon Appetit Employees Participate in Special Olympics

Bon Appetit employees Kegan Zimmerman (left) and James Calvert Sewell Jr. have competed in the Special Olympics. (Photo by Kevin Baier)
Bon Appetit employees Kegan Zimmerman (left) and James Calvert Sewell Jr. have competed in the Special Olympics. (Photo by Kevin Baier)

It’s not always apparent how much work goes on behind the scenes.  At Bon Appetit, two of the employees helping the kitchen run smoothly are James Calvert Sewell Jr. and Kegan Zimmerman, who are developmentally disabled adults.

The job is an opportunity for the two to socialize as well as acquire additional skills.  “They like to mingle around,” said George McClusick, the College manager of Bon Appetit.  “They go around and talk to everybody.”

“We work together as a team,” said Sewell.  Currently, the two mostly work in the dish room, although they hope to move on to other tasks soon.

“I’m happy to have them working here because I think they’re very uplifting to people around them, students and co-workers,” said George McClusick.  Sewell and Zimmerman are good workers, he said, who do anything they’re asked.

When not working, “I usually wander around downstairs, check the store out, see what they’ve got,” said Zimmerman.  Sewell also enjoys looking around.  “Sometimes I spend some money down in the campus store,” he said.

But working at Bon Appetit is only one among their many accomplishments.  Both participate actively in several different Special Olympics events, and Sewell has sung the  national anthem at the Special Olympics in the past.

Both have several gold medals and seem to excel in any sport they try.

“I decided to do snowshoeing this year to see how it is.  Came home with three gold medals,” said Zimmerman.  He also participates in track and field events.  On April 24th, he is going to Penn State University for the Special Olympics national regionals.  “I was told I’m going to be on ESPN and there’s going to be like three or four thousand people over there,” he said.

When he gets back, he hopes that McClusick will relax the dress code.  “Hopefully I’ll just wear the team USA Special Olympics sweatshirt and sweatpants while I’m working.”

Sewell is also an accomplished athlete.  “I do a lot of sports,” said Sewell.  “I’ve done soccer, basketball, and bocche…We came in second place last year for softball.”  His team also won a gold medal in soccer last year.

The two have several competitions coming up in the future.  Sewell has bocche competitions on multiple occasions at St. Andrew’s Church through April, May, and June.  On Tuesday, April 28th at Leonardtown High School, the two will compete in a variety of events.  And, Zimmerman will participate in a kayaking competition here at the College on July 25th and 26th.

Aside from sports, Zimmerman intends to work towards a culinary career.  He hopes to attend Baltimore International College.  “I’m going to study culinary arts,” he said.

McClusick hopes to bring in more workers like Sewell and Zimmerman.  “To look at you and I who are supposed to be normal, and to look at someone who has a disability – it shows you so much more about life.  It’s all straightforward, down to earth.  There’s something to be learned from that.”

Lecturer Discusses Mark Twain and the Metaphysics of Indian Hating

On Monday April 6th, Kelly Driscoll, associate professor of English at St. Joseph College in Hartford, Connecticut, gave a lecture as part of the Mark Twain Lecture series in the Blackistone Room of Anne Arundel Hall. The talk lasted for about an hour, and nearly forty students and faculty members showed up to hear Driscoll’s lecture, which was full of little known facts about Twain.

The talk focused on the life and writings of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, American author and humorist. Driscoll brought to the podium her extensive research and her theory on Clemens’ deep-seated hate for the Native American’s. Driscoll began by speaking of just how timeless the 19th century writers work can be, relating some of his pieces to the recession that America faces today and then she quickly got down to business by bringing to light work of Twain’s which outlines his racism towards the Native Americans.

The first piece of literature Driscoll referenced was a short excerpt from “Innocents Abroad,” the best selling work of Twain during his lifetime, published in 1869. The excerpt served as merely an introduction into Driscoll’s lens on Mark Twain, as he himself spoke of being what he would later call a “savage.” Along with an illustration of Clemens in Native American clothing were several other passages that Driscoll brought to the lecture which included “The Noble Red Man” written in 1870, and “Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims,” an address at the first annual dinner of the New England Society in Philadelphia.

There was also a letter written by Clemens to President Grover Cleveland in protest of Cleveland’s efforts seeking to assimilate Native Americans into white society by means of education, private land ownership, and parental guidance from the federal government.

With these and other resources on the topic of Twain’s Indian Hating, which she will be addressing in her book, due out later this year, Driscoll astounded many students and faculty members alike with just how racist Samuel Clemens was towards Native Americans. After the lecture there was a brief question and answer period headed by Professor Benjamin Click himself, the director of the Mark Twain Lecture Series on American Humor and Culture.  During the sessions students and faculty members got the chance to ask Driscoll more about her theory on the metaphysics and psychology of the stark racism that Samuel Clemens displayed in his life.

The lecture, to say the least, left students both surprised and enlightened even though a lot of the audience members were students of Dr. Benjamin Click and enrolled in his various Twain-related classes. First-year Michelle Sultzman, who has attended previous lectures in the Mark Twain Lecture Series, said the entire speech “was very interesting” even though she’s had classes before where she has learned about Mark Twain’s life. Senior Lael Neale also enjoyed it. “I had no idea that Twain had been accused of being biased” against the Native Americans, she said.

“Everyone has this vision of Mark Twain as being this noble guy,” said senior Matthew Decker, the assistant to Click in the Mark Twain Lecture Series on American Humor and Culture. “It’s kind of unnerving to find out his views on other races.”

Circle K Club Honored for Commitment Service

From left: Circle K Club executive board members Erica Schmitt, Kristen Brunot, Kelli Hill and James Massey pose with their awards. (Photo Submitted by Kelli Hill)
From left: Circle K Club executive board members Erica Schmitt, Kristen Brunot, Kelli Hill and James Massey pose with their awards. (Photo Submitted by Kelli Hill)

The Circle K club here on campus was recently honored with several awards for their commitment to service in the St. Mary’s community.

“Circle K is a community organization service club on campus geared towards giving back to the local community, but we have a special emphasis on children,” said club member, sophomore, Courtney Ross. Circle K is an international organization that works in conjuncture with the Kiwanis club.

On campus, Circle K may be known for their work in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF and the recent canned food drive, but most of their work is done outside of the campus community.

“We do a lot of stuff in the community,” said club President, junior Kelli Hill, “ For the community two of us act as advisors at Lexington Park Elementary, Spring Ridge Middle School, and Great Mills Elementary School,” said Hill. “Our goal [through the club] is not just to get kids to graduate from High School but to continue their education,” said Ross.

Circle K executive board members, President Kelli Hill; Vice President, junior Kristen Brunot; Secretary, first-year Erika Schmitt; and Treasurer, first-year, James Massey, found out that they received numerous awards at the Capital District Circle K International Conference, held in Timonium, Maryland.

The group were awarded with the Jeffery M. Wolff -Cub Achievement; 1st Place Scrap booking; Outstanding Kiwanis Advisor Award; Dale Larson Kiwanis-Family Relations Award; secretary Schmitt was awarded with the Tremendous Timeliness Award for turning in all club paper work on time; and president Kelli Hill was awarded the King Crab award for performing more than 250 hours on service in the last year.

To receive the awards the group had to apply for the one’s whose qualifications they met. “ It was like applying to college,” said Ross.  The award for timeliness won by secretary Erica Schmitt, was not one that she applied for. “Erica’s award, she didn’t apply, she got it because she was on time,” said treasurer, James Massey.

“I was pleasantly surprised about the award,” said Schmitt, “I knew that all the reports were turned in on time, but I wasn’t aware that there was an award for it.”

Next semester Circle K hopes to increase their membership and continue doing their services for the community. “…I hope to increase our numbers. We are a small club, but we have active members,” said Schmitt.

Circle K’s next meeting is Wednesday, April 15 in Montgomery 103.

Intercollegiate Fashion Club Holds Show

On Thursday, April 9, 2009 the Intercollegiate Fashion Club (IFC) held a show in the ARC featuring several different collections from budding designers.

The show featured models from St. Mary’s, but they also utilized models from outside of the school. Models were seen in everything from shiny, red bodysuits to printed tee shirts. The show had a decent turnout with audience members comprised of both students and community members.

Outside of the show The Invisible Children Committee sold DVD’s, bracelets, and collected donations. They also gave away various hats and scarves with the Invisible Children logo on them. Some of the merchandise was featured in the show and can be ordered online.

[slideshow id=12]

Students Throw Annual Mardi Greens Celebration

Students parade in the library in celebration of the campus tradition of Mardi Gras on February 24th. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)
Students parade in the library in celebration of the campus tradition of Mardi Gras on February 24th. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)

At approximately 9:45p.m. on Tuesday Feb. 24, a small number of students gathered on the greens to celebrate Mardi Gras. The students dressed up in colorful clothing and picked up instruments and pots and pans in order to make their merriment known to the rest of the campus. The gallant Fat Tuesday advocates paraded scantily-clad around campus on the particularly cold night in outrageous outfits. With pride they reminded the campus for the next few hours that Mardi gras must not be forgotten.

Although the first documented parade in America occurred in 1837, the holiday’s recognition dates as far back as the year 1699 when the French explorer Sieur d’Iberville sailed into the Gulf of Mexico, from where he launched an expedition on the Mississippi River. As Mardi Gras was being celebrated as a national holiday in France already, on March 3 of 1699, Iberville had set up a camp on the west bank of the river about 60 miles south of where New Orleans is today. Iberville named the site Point du Mardi Gras.

Festivals centered on the same idea of carnival are still widely celebrated today around America. Fat Tuesday is so named because it falls right before Ash Wednesday, the last day before Lent which is a forty day fasting period observed by the Roman Catholic Church as well as various Christian denominations. Some of festivities that go hand in hand with the pagan holiday include wearing masks, dancing wildly around, drinking and feigning general madness for the duration of the night.

St. Mary’s didn’t celebrate Mardi Gras to the fullest on Feb. 24, however, the celebrations continued on Friday Feb. 27 with MardiGreens. Over 150 students crowded in on the greens to celebrate what a Facebook event started by some seniors called “a St. Mary’s tradition that should not be forgotten.” It was a particularly warm night and most students enjoyed being outside, even though the school-sponsored “NEST” occurred the same night in the nearby Daugherty

Palmer Commons building.

Source.

Post Secret Creator Frank Warren Speaks at Second Annual President’s Reception

warrenThe second annual President’s Reception, hosted by College president Maggie O’Brien and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, was held on Friday, February 20 in Glendening Hall.  Attended by most of the senior class, it was an opportunity for the class of ’09 to meet their graduation speaker, Frank Warren.

The reception began with a welcome and introduction from Kalada Nemieboka, the president of the class of 2009.  Frank Warren, the creator and author of the PostSecret project, followed.

Warren shared several of the Valentine’s Day secrets that were currently posted on the PostSecret blog and spoke briefly about his experience with the PostSecret project.

“One of the things I learned from seeing the three thousand secrets from strangers is that we all have secrets that can break a heart,” he said.  “If we could understand that connection between friends and strangers, I think there could be more peace in the world.”

President Maggie O’Brien and David Sushinsky, the director of alumni relations spoke next.  Sunny Schnitzer, the president of the Student Government Association, concluded with a toast.

Afterwards, Warren signed copies of his books and posed for pictures in the Glendening Annex.

The senior class began the process of finding a graduation speaker in their sophomore year.

“We tried something new,” said O’Brien.  “It speaks a lot to the senior class that they chose a person who shows so much heart.”

“The students made a strong case for the speaker this year,” said Kelly Schroeder, the Assistant Dean of Students.  “It’s a very relevant topic for the age that we’re in.”

“I thought he was fantastic,” said Nemieboka.  “It’s not about the money.  It’s not about the fame and fortune.  He’s basically a hometown hero for us.”

The College is creating its own PostSecret project in preparation for the Class of 2009’s graduation.

“It’s open to the whole campus,” said Nemieboka.  Students, faculty and staff are invited to pick up pre-addressed postcards from the info desk in the campus center or the circulation desk in the library and send in their own secrets.  It’s anonymous and students are allowed to send in an unlimited number of secrets, the only requirements being that the secrets are true, anonymous, and have never been shared.

There is currently a display case with secrets on the second floor of the library.  As more secrets are sent in, they will be displayed at other spots around campus.

Jafar Not Aladdin’s Only Dark Side

Islamic Studies professor Dr. Betül Basaran discussed the mischaracterization of Arabs in Disney’s “Aladdin” with students. The movie was shown Wednesday, February 11 Cole Cinema as a part of The Other Side of Disney Movies series.

The movie, which originally debuted in 1992, quickly became a hit, bringing in over $217 Million in the US and more than $507 million worldwide. The movie takes place in fictitious, Middle Eastern city of Agrabah, where protagonist, Aladdin, fights for the city’s princess, Jasmine, as well as to prevent a plot conceived by the King’s Grand Vizier, Jafar, to become King himself.

Despite the popularity of the movie, Disney ended up releasing the movie with several changes after the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC) boycotted the movie.

The Committee’s biggest concern with the movie was the first line of the movie’s opening song, which originally said, “Oh, I come from a land, From a faraway place, Where the caravan camels roam, Where they cut off your ear If they don’t like your face, It’s Barbaric, but hey, it’s home.”

In the re-release of the movie, Disney dubbed the opening line to change it to say, “It’s flat and immense, and the heat is intense. It’s barbaric, but hey’ it’s home.” Although it’s an improvement, Marvin Wingfield of the ADC in a 1995 newsletter article said that “problems remain” with the movie.

Professor Basaran agreed. She pointed to the movie’s contrast of the “good guys,” Aladdin and Jasmine, as light skinned with no accent and the “bad guys” with darker skin, dirty clothes and heavy accents as “an unfair stereotype of dirty Arabs.”

Basaran went on to ask that “while some might brush it off as a cartoon, how many kids watched [Aladdin] and formed stereotypes? Doesn’t Disney have an obligation to do better?”

First-year Keith [last name withheld] agreed and said that, “until middle school, that’s what [he] thought Arab culture was.”

Senior Rawle Lucas points to Disney’s change of the location—from Baghdad, as was originally proposed, to Agrabah—as a sign that filmmakers did not intend for the cartoon to be taken as a serious cultural statement.

“They purposely did not portray the time period [or culture] seriously by taking it out of context,” Lucas said.

“That’s a perfectly valid argument, but the movies are a stepping stone to a larger conversation.” according to junior Sara Metz, who is the chair of the Program Board’s Multicultural Committee and organizer of The Other Side of Disney Movies Series.

Metz, who very much likes many of Disney’s movies, is concerned that when “people grow up watching these movies they are instilled with certain stereotypes.” It was this concern as well as the desire to “combine what people like with a discussion of the stereotypes portrayed” that inspired her to organize the series.

The next movie in the series will be “Hercules,” which will air Wednesday February 25th in Cole Cinema, and will be followed by a discussion with Linda Hall, Associate Professor of History. Other movies in the series will include “Mulan”, “Pocahontas” and “The Lion King.”

Professors Give Love Lines Talk

This year marks the return of the Love Lines talk that features a panel of professors answering any “love/sex” questions anonymously submitted by students.

Love lines was hosted by the First Response Team in the common room of Queen Anne and the panel included husband and wife, Professor Jennifer Cognard-Black (JCB), and Professor Andrew Cognard-Black (ACB). JCB and ACB ended up participating in the panel when JCB was asked by one of her students who is a part of the First Response Team. “One of the peer advocates is in my Women Word Literature course, and asked me if I would be willing to do the panel. Given that I had worked hard to see that sexual assault programming be supported on campus ever since I arrived at St. Mary’s, I definitely wanted to assist the Peer Advocate in any way I could,” said JCB.

ACB got involved, naturally through JCB. She asked him if he would be willing to participate due to the fact that the two of them used to give panels back in graduate school on issues that would again be brought up during Love Lines.

Originally the panel was meant to be made up of more faculty then just the Cognard-Blacks, however the faculty members who were asked decided that they would rather not appear on the panel. “ [When asked to do the panel] Andrew said ‘sure’; all other faculty said ‘no way’. So we wound up being the only two who said ‘okay.’” said JCB.

Love Lines ended up being a type of discussion group, with JCB and ACB sitting at the top and students forming a big circle around them. Members of the First Response team took turns pulling questions out of a box that had been set in the campus center. The questions ranged from sexual to relationship advice. JCB also thought that the questions were of a rather mixed variety. “I thought many were honest, some were unclear, and a few were silly or meant to be shocking,” she said.

When answering the questions ACB and JCB gave both personal and academic advice. ACB, a Professor of Sociology, would relate his field of study to some of the questions, and JCB a Professor of English would relate questions to novels that she has read or taught.

Because of the personal nature of the questions it is understandable that those participating in it would feel reserved or uncomfortable about answering questions. However, JCB and ACB tried to be as open as they possibly could. “ Our only “fear” we had was that we didn’t want to expound on something we didn’t know a lot about,” said JCB.

President of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Asks for Increased Student Involvement

William Baker, the president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, spoke at St. Mary’s on Thursday, February 12.  His lecture, titled, “Saving the Chesapeake Bay and Its Tributary Rivers: Will Science-Based Public Policy and the Rule of Law Prevail,” focused on how students and community members can make a difference in the race to save the Bay.

“The Chesapeake Bay is worthy of your efforts,” he said.  “It’s been called the crown jewel of the world’s estuaries.”

He began the talk by giving an overview of the structure of and the problems facing the Bay.  Although it covers a large area of land, he said, if scaled down to a length of two hundred meters, the Chesapeake Bay would have the thickness of a dime.

“It’s not really that big or that deep,” said Baker.  “It’s not that much water.”  At a normal scale, the average depth of the Bay is twenty-one feet.

During the second half of the lecture, Baker addressed what could be done to save the Bay.

“History may write that a well meaning but ultimately timid group lost the Chesapeake Bay,” he said, but emphasized that that doesn’t have to be the case.  “Let’s go out and write some history.  Let’s join the biggest fight our nation has ever seen.”

He discussed the methods that the Chesapeake Bay Foundation uses to “save the Bay,” such as education and restoration.

The lecture ended with a question and answer session, where Baker encouraged students and community members to write to Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s our duty as citizens, said Baker, to make sure the government keeps its promises.  “I don’t think we’re ever going to able to say that as citizens we won’t have to monitor the government.  We’ll have to be vigilant,” he said.

We want “an avalanche of letters” to be sent, he said.  Students should write, “in their own words to say why the federal government should put the Chesapeake Bay at a high priority.”  More information can be found on the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s website.

Baker also discussed the relationship between climate change and the Bay.

“The impact is tremendous,” he said.  When the water heats up, it holds less dissolved oxygen, which leads to the creation of dead zones.

Baker also praised St. Mary’s students for their environmental work.

“I’m not one to get impressed very easily,” he said.  “You all deserve a round of applause.  It’s unbelievable.”

“I think the lecture itself went really well, but its success will be determined by what we do,” said senior Marjorie Foley, who played a large role in organizing the event.  “Will himself said that he wants students to not ask what they can do, but to present their ideas.”

“His message was first that the Chesapeake Bay is still having serious problems because of the inability of the government to enforce existing laws.  The second theme was the role of students in this is to make the government accountable,” said professor Michael Cain, the head of the Center for the Study of Democracy at the college.  “Their voice is needed in democracy — I think that was a very positive message.”

The lecture was sponsored by the Center for the Study of Democracy, the Sustainability Committee, the Nitze Scholars and Environmental Studies programs, Democracy Studies and the Student Environmental Action Coalition.

A related speaker, Dr. Gerald Winegrad, a former state senator and a current professor at the University of Maryland, will speak about the Bay on Saturday March 7 at 11 a.m.

Twin Oaks Communards Give Talk on Polyamory

Last week, members of Virginia communes Twin Oaks and Acorn came to St. Mary’s to talk to students about several cultural movements in which they engage.

On Monday, Feb. 16th they held a sharing circle about polyamory, an alternative relationship model to monogamy, and on Tuesday they held a workshop entitled “Honest Seduction.” The commune members, who refer to themselves as communards, also gave talks at classes throughout the week.
Twin Oaks is a community of around 100 adults (currently 93) that was founded in 1967, and is one of the largest secular communes in the country. Members of the community share work and operate with an internal cashless economy. According to Paul Blundell, a St. Mary’s alumnus who lives at the similar commune Acorn, each community member lives on around $5000 and has a comfortably middle-class existence. Blundell said that the communards “live a pretty standard existence,” with propane and electricity, a recording studio and other amenities. More can be learned from their website, twinoaks.org.

During the Honest Seduction workshop, a member of the audience asked if polyamory was possible. “Well, if it’s not possible then for 30+ years I’ve been doing something quite impossible,” answered Paxus Calta.

However, Calta said that they wanted to do a workshop without having to cover “crazy” relationship models. Calta is known for being an anti-nuclear power activist and for a pamphlet on polyamory he has written.

The workshop mostly covered three topics: disclosures, love letters and radical romance. Disclosures are important bits of information that you tell to the person in whom you are interested, like disclosing that you have an STD or emotional trauma in a way that you can bond more closely with the person whom you are telling. Radical romance is the idea that relationships can be consciously used as tools to better onesself. People already learn and grow from relationships, of course. “We believe you can do that in a more deliberate way,” said Angie Tupelo.

At the Polyamory Sharing Circle, students asked questions about the interesting love lives of the visitors. This was essentially about 18 people sitting around cramped in the Womyn’s center asking questions of the four visitors about their experiences about polyamory, and how such a relationship model might work.

“Polyamory is for me less of a defined thing and more of an anti-definition,” said Blundell. “You can write your own script for relationship models.”

Polyamory is not for the indolent. “Since I became polyamorous, I read way less books,” said Tupelo. “It takes a lot of time.”

The communards say they want students to know that their lives are wide open. Tupelo said that “there are all kinds of ways of doing things and I want to show [students] a way they probably haven’t thought of.”