Commemorative to Enslaved Peoples Completed, Dedication on Nov. 21

Written By: Hannah Yale

The Commemorative to the Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland is complete and the dedication ceremony is set to be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21. The Commemorative is an immersive art installation designed to honor the resilience, perseverance, and creativity of the enslaved individuals that lived in St. Mary’s City between 1750 and 1815. 

The field on which the Commemorative to the Enslaved Peoples of Maryland now stands was once home to three or four enslaved households. In 2016, while the college was preparing to construct the new Jamie L. Roberts Stadium, an archaeological dig by Professor of Anthropology Julia King and her students uncovered artifacts indicating the presence of slave quarters. Between 1750 and 1815 the land belonged to John Hicks and later John Mackall, two planters whose wealth we now know was built upon the labor of enslaved people. After the archaeological discovery, President Tuajuanda Jordan led several campus and community forums to determine the best way to honor the historical site. It was decided that the athletic stadium would be moved further back so that the historical field would remain entirely intact, and in 2018 President Jordan created a committee to seek proposals for a commemorative design. 

The Commemorative features erasure poetry, also known as blackout poetry, on a structure inspired by the “ghost frame” architecture at Historic St. Mary’s City. It was designed by Shane Allbritton and Norman Lee and features the poetry of Quenton Baker, whose work focuses on how Black interiority functions under the constraints of an anti-Black society and the afterlife of American slavery. The erasure poetry that covers Commemorative structure was adapted from historical documents related to the Mackall-Broome plantation, one of three known plantations which were located on the land around St. Mary’s City. Slave property advertisements, slave depositions of the Mackall-Broome family, runaway slave advertisements and relevant newspaper articles from the time period were transformed into powerful poems that allow visitors to honor the stories of enslaved peoples and to reflect on how slavery still affects individuals, communities, and the nation. 

During the day, the sky and landscape around the Commemorative can be seen through the reflection of the mirror-polished stainless steel on which the poetry is engraved. At night, the Commemorative is lit up from the inside, and the poetry is projected onto the ground surrounding the structure, creating an eternal illuminated vigil to the enslaved people who spent their lives in St. Mary’s County not only working, but enduring, loving and resisting. 

The Commemorative to the Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland was made a reality because of funding and hard work from the State of Maryland, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Maryland State Arts Council, Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium and Elizabeth and Jeff Byrd.

COVID and SMCM: A Semester to Remember

Written By: Angelie Roche

The 2020 Fall semester was one many will remember for years to come; because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of campus life at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) changed drastically. For one, there were heightened regulations —students were expected to wear masks everywhere on campus (indoors and outdoors) besides their personal living spaces, maintain a safe social distance and wash their hands frequently. Many first-year students who otherwise would have had roommates instead lived in single rooms to limit the spread, and a large number of SMCM students spent the semester at home completing classes online. Additionally, SMCM staff has undergone changes as well, having to constantly monitor COVID-19 numbers and making sure students and staff follow the guidelines they put into place. 

With the ongoing pandemic, many students did not have the traditional “college experience” they had expected. With such a large number of students being placed in single rooms, many found it harder to make connections with others on campus, but some found the experience to be not as bad as they thought. First year student Katya Scott, who had originally signed up for a double room but switched to a single because of health concerns, said that she “felt a lot safer” without a roommate, even though living alone was not her original plan. 

Other students stayed home entirely, taking all of their classes online. Freshman Emma Huckabee, who would have been a commuter student, was among those who decided to attend her classes remotely. She had mixed feelings about her first semester at SMCM; as a music major, it was especially difficult to navigate classes as live performances could not take place. However, she said she was “pleasantly surprised” by how her professors and fellow classmates adapted to the situation, making the semester enjoyable nonetheless. “Besides missing the experience of performing music live, I don’t think I’ve lost much of what I looked forward to,” she said. “I’ve made great connections, and every class has been engaging and interactive.”

For the Wellness Center staff, this semester has been hectic, full of surprises and very different than anything they had dealt with in the past. Director Laurie Scherer explains that the Center does not usually spend so much time dealing with one specific crisis; normally, the Center would be abuzz with giving students medication and providing counseling, but this semester their primary focus has been dealing with the coronavirus, from answering community concerns to talking to worried students who are afraid of getting the notorious test. However, Scherer says she is grateful for how well students have followed COVID-19 guidelines, keeping the weekly dashboard mostly free of cases and the isolation beds empty. There was only one major COVID-19 spike near the beginning of the semester, due to students moving in who had already been exposed, but afterwards SMCM has been able to maintain a mostly COVID-free community. 

What Scherer is most concerned with now is how safe students will be when they return home for winter break. “We’ve been good on campus,” she says, “but I’m concerned about when students disperse… with cold weather prompting more indoor activities, winter is a tough time for viral illnesses.” She believes that the Spring semester, which begins Jan. 20, will look very similar to the fall — with no clear endpoint in sight, it seems that the coronavirus will continue to impact college life for at least another semester. Her advice for the upcoming break is for students to continue following the coronavirus guidelines. Even though the administration has no way of monitoring how safe students will be when they return home, Scherer urges that students be mindful about where they travel and who they interact with. If everyone does their part, hopefully the spring semester will be just as successful as the fall.

A Week to Celebrate Seahawk Transfers

Written By: Clare Kelly 

All across the country, colleges and universities celebrated their transfer students, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) did the same. Throughout the week of Oct. 19, the Office of Student Support Services held events to show their appreciation of transfer students. As Mary Dorsey, the Director of Academic Support, mentioned in her email, “We at St. Mary’s are thrilled that you have chosen us as your academic home and the place you will earn your Bachelor’s degree!” 

Transfer students’ rates, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, saw a 4.7 percent decrease in comparison to the rates of last fall, reported Inside Higher Education. Despite the pandemic, St. Mary’s still received many transfer students and also retained the ones they had received in past semesters. 

Throughout the week, the office held events that allowed transfer students to socialize. On Tuesday, Oct. 20 the office gave out SMCM t-shirts to all transfer students, and on Wednesday, Oct. 21 the Student Activities and Programs Board held a Virtual Fall Trivia Night. Then, to end the week, there was a Transfer-Time Bonfire at the Waring Commons Fire Pit. 

Hayley Romero ’22, a recent transfer student to St. Mary’s College of Maryland, said:

“I really love participating in all campus events where I can socialize with people.” SMCM provided transfer students with the opportunity to socialize and get to know one another while adhering to the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. Given the state of everything due to the pandemic, the in-person event was especially important to Romero, who remarked: “Just being able to talk to people helps make things feel normal, even though you have to wear a mask and keep distance. I especially liked meeting other transfer students because we have this shared experience.” She also explained that it is nice to be able to talk to people in-person when her interaction with them is usually limited to Zoom calls. 

In response to the week’s events, Dorsey said, “Our Transfer student events were a part of the National Transfer Student Recognition Week. We had a great response to our first set of events and we’re looking forward to working with transfer students to create a bigger set of events for transfer welcome events in January and for next fall.” 

Katelyn Kluh ’22, an athlete on the SMCM Volleyball and Basketball teams and a member of Catholic Seahawks stated that throughout National Transfer Week, “it was pretty cool to be recognized as a transfer student here at St. Mary’s with the special events held on campus.” Katelyn received a t-shirt in the beginning of the week and then was able to make s’mores at the Bonfire held at Waring Commons, which, as Katelyn puts it, “was a lot of fun!” She enjoyed connecting with the faculty, and specifically she says she enjoyed meeting “the wonderful Deena Kelly from admissions, who I had only previously corresponded with through email over the summer. She provided a lot of amazing guidance and support in my transfer process, which I am tremendously grateful for.” 

Mary Dorsey invites transfer students to contact her about any information they might want to get involved in. Transfer students often become lost in the mix of students As Inside Higher Ed mentioned in an article published earlier this year, transfer students are presented with many barriers. Inside Higher Ed recommended that four-year campuses take multiple steps to establish better connections, but one, in particular, includes creating programs geared towards transfer students. 

It is clear from these orchestrated events and the reactions of these students that these efforts meant much to them. These events allowed transfer students to meet each other, even amidst troubling times, and feel the warmth of the SMCM community.

Diversity Room Hosts Haunted Trail for Halloween

Written By: Nicholas Ashenfelter

COVID-19 has caused cancellations throughout 2020, and Halloween has been no exception. In light of so few public events, Shanelle Fleet (‘22) and Chyna Landon (‘22), two students, took it upon themselves to create their own socially distanced Halloween event. They settled on a haunted trail event that would allow students to enjoy Halloween-themed festivities while also adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Leading up to the event, Fleet and Landon made posts on the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) diversity page and hung flyers to advertise their Haunted Trail to the SMCM community. In addition to advertising to potential attendees, the two needed to recruit actors. Landon explained that recruitment was done through “word of mouth,” leading to a total of 15 volunteers. 

The diversity room typically hosts discussions on gender, race, and sexuality, with this event being their first big program. The inspiration for this particular event seemed to come from Landon, who expressed a great interest in all sorts of haunted houses and trails. A different haunted house was planned last year, and that cancellation only served to fuel her motivation. The diversity room paid for all masks and props, allowing the public to attend free of charge. 

The event begins at 8 p.m. on Halloween and concludes at midnight. Fleet explained the planned layout was a trail leading through the Queen Anne woods, which Landon noted would be “scarier than normal.” Actors would be hiding at various points in the pathway wearing scary masks and costumes, hidden yet close enough to send chills down the spine. 

Landon herself would be responsible for overseeing the event. Before it started, she would check all the actors’ masks and costumes and ensure they were in their proper places. To contribute to the atmosphere, Landon also described the use of a speaker to broadcast ambient thematically-appropriate sounds, as well as hanging more traditional decorations. 

To those concerned about safety, Landon and Fleet had only reassuring things to say. All actors will wear masks that fit both COVID-19  guidelines as well as the spooky theme. They will be spread far enough apart from each other as well as guests to avoid inadvertent infection. Guests will also be spaced out, with small groups permitted to travel together and only a set number allowed in the trail at once. 

While the standard Halloween events, such as Hallowgreens, typical haunted houses or pumpkin patches may not be available or running like they typically would, Fleet and Landon have planned an event in the hopes of still eliciting that same feeling of Halloween joy. In more humble words, they say that they want to “just  provide something fun to do.”

Increased COVID-19 Particles Detected in St. Mary’s County Wastewater

Written By: Angelie Roche

On Oct. 16, officials in St. Mary’s County, notified residents that they found elevated levels of viral particles containing COVID-19 in the county’s wastewater. These particles, which are shed by individuals who have the virus, can provide an indication of COVID-19 spread in the area, according to Dr. Meena Brewster, a St. Mary’s County Health Department officer. The samples were collected from a variety of wastewater treatment facilities throughout the county through a collaborative initiative between St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), the St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission and the St. Mary’s County Health Department. 

Beginning in May of 2020, officials began monitoring the wastewater of St. Mary’s County after considering a plethora of scientific evidence proving that the water can contain measurable particles of the coronavirus, which can indicate a spike in cases. This sort of testing has many benefits; it is a way to collect a non-biased sample of the whole community, rather than just those who receive tests. Wastewater monitoring is not new —it gained worldwide attention in the 1990s, when it was used to track the spread of the polio virus in efforts to eradicate the life-threatening condition. Though a vaccine had already been widely distributed at that point, the poliovirus was able to spread without its noticeable symptoms, allowing it to spread undetected in many communities where it was thought to have been extinct. Officials, then, used infection information gained from wastewater samples to vaccinate entire communities whose samples indicated the presence of the poliovirus.

While the wastewater testing used now is similar to that of the 1990s, the current situation differs significantly. First, there is not a vaccine for COVID-19, so officials cannot respond to wastewater monitoring by vaccinating entire communities to prevent further spread. Additionally, COVID-19 is a respiratory disease while polio was spread mainly through feces, so scientists were surprised when they found that the coronavirus can be present in an infected person’s digestive tract, meaning that wastewater monitoring could be an indicator of the disease. According to a virological assessment of hospital patients which took place earlier this year, viral shedding present in infected people outlasts the presence of symptoms; in fact, the particles are excreted primarily during the “non-infective” stage for up to several weeks. 

Many are wondering what the recent wastewater spike means for residents of St. Mary’s County and students of SMCM. At this point, the answer sounds all too familiar: all students must continue to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With Halloween approaching, students may be tempted to attend parties or large gatherings, but recent spikes in COVID-19 indicate that individuals ought to be more cautious than ever, especially considering the recent results of the wastewater testing in St. Mary’s County. Though the SMCM COVID-19 Dashboard still continuously displays little to no positive cases on campus each week, it is still possible that the virus could be present but undetected. To ensure that no further spread occurs, students ought to continue to wear masks, wash their hands, monitor their symptoms, and follow the College’s COVID guidelines.

SMCM Relay for Life Offers Numerous Fall Events Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

Written By: Olivia Sothoron

St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s (SMCM) chapter of Relay for Life works tirelessly throughout the year to raise money for their big event in February to donate to the American Cancer Society. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has proved challenging to be able to host fundraising events in person, however, co-presidents Cady Gorsak (‘21) and Dianna Greene (‘22) have found ways to transition to online fundraising and are hosting events that follow social distancing protocols to adhere to the College’s guidelines. 

Throughout the month of October, SMCM Relay for Life has provided numerous fundraising activities to raise money for the American Cancer Society’s research on cancer prevention. Gorsak explained that planning for the October events began at the beginning of the semester, and hosted a virtual kickoff event on Sept. 30. 

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Relay for Life Club worked to create fundraisers that align with this theme. One fundraising event which has been offered throughout the month of October is Tea for Ta-Tas. Participants can purchase hot chocolate, tea, baking kits and teaware from Sipology, and 20% of the proceeds will go towards SMCM Relay for Life. In addition, the club has also been advertising Boo-B Grams, which are bags full of candy that can be purchased through a Google Form for $2. The candy bags were picked up on Oct. 30 during the Pumpkin Decorating and Costume Contest. 

Gorsak explained that she was most excited about the Pumpkin Decorating and Costume Contest because she loves fall and everything that has to do with pumpkins. Participants signed up and paid a fee of $8 to participate in person or $5 to participate virtually. The fees include the pumpkins as well as the decorating supplies. 30% of the proceeds will be donated to the winner of the pumpkin decorating contest, and the winner of the costume contest will be given a gift basket. 

In order to maintain social distancing and COVID-19 protocols, Gorsak stated: “We adapted our guidelines by having three blocks for the event to limit the amount of people per each time slot, so for the Pumpkin Carving and Costume Contest. Each of the three time slots will last 40 minutes. Then we will provide hand sanitizer and have wipes to wipe down tables that are used throughout the event.”

The main Relay for Life event held in February will more than likely be virtual, explained Angela Draheim (‘03), who has been involved as a member of the SMCM Relay for Life committee for as long as it has been at the College. She explained that she first became involved in Relay for Life when her mother-in-law was associated with the event in Washington County, MD. Draheim’s life has been greatly impacted by cancer, so she is happy to participate and raise awareness and money for cancer research. She stated that SMCM Relay for Life has a fundraising goal of $15,000 for their main event. Draheim mentioned: “The American Cancer Society has predicted nearly a 50% drop in donations this year due to COVID-19 so it is more important than ever to support this worthy cause in any way possible to ensure the continuation of the critically important research and patient programs that are supported by RFL fundraising.”

As the fall semester is wrapping up, Gorsak, Draheim, Greene and club co-advisor Dean Joanne Goldwater look ahead to the spring semester and their main event in February. During these uncertain times in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important to continue to raise awareness and money for cancer research to ensure that those suffering from cancer can continue to receive the proper treatment to ensure their recovery.

Spring Semester Schedule Announced

Written By: Angelie Roche

On Monday, Oct. 19, the Office of the Registrar released the academic calendar for the Spring 2021 semester. The format of the semester is similar to that of Fall 2020 as it is condensed, and ends earlier than normal in order to prevent students from going off-campus for extended periods of time and possibly becoming exposed to the coronavirus. St. Mary’s Project presentations will occur on April 26 and 27, final exams will take place between April 29 and May 4 and Commencement is scheduled for May 8 — roughly a week earlier than it would normally have been. The semester, which runs from Jan. 19 through April 27, will include two short “mental health breaks” rather than a longer spring break. The one-to two-day-long breaks are scheduled for Friday, March 5 and Friday, April 2 to Monday, April 5, spaced so that there are about six weeks between each break. 

While the College’s administration noted that they believed the shorter breaks were intended to ensure the safety and mental wellbeing of its students, some St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) students believe that more could have been done. SMCM freshman Breanna Berry says that the mental health breaks should not be called “breaks,” as they are only one day, and that is not a sufficient amount of time for students to truly relax and decompress. Many share similar views, but recognize that even short breaks are extremely important stress relievers. Now more than ever, anxiety levels among college students are extremely high. A study conducted at Texas A&M University earlier this year found that 71% of students reported greater stress, anxiety, and depression due to COVID-19. Reasons for this sharp decline in mental health ranged from decreased social interactions to fear about the health of loved ones, and, of course, academic concerns. Though SMCM had no official breaks this semester, their plan to at least allow students some time to decompress will likely be welcomed by many.

Some students, however, fear the breaks will only heighten the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak. SMCM junior Dylan Parham understands that the college shortened breaks to protect against COVID-19; however, he says that a three-day weekend will not prevent students from leaving campus. He observed that “if you go to Lot R (in between Lewis Quad and Warring Commons) it is half empty without fail each weekend,” so students are still leaving campus despite SMCM’s strict policies. Though administration can condense the semester by providing less breaks, they still do not have complete control over students’ activities; it would be nearly impossible for them to attempt to monitor when students leave the campus, and where they are going. However, the College continues to advise students to wear masks and practice social distancing in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines in order to ensure their own safety, as well as the safety of the SMCM community.

Wellness Center Distributes Free Flu Shots

Written By: Angelie Roche

On Oct. 7, 9 and 13, the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) Wellness Center provided free flu shots for all students, faculty and staff at the Aldom Lounge. Students were able to reserve a timeslot online beforehand in an effort to adhere to social distancing protocols. In addition, upon entering the Lounge, recipients were asked to procure their SMCM ID and Daily Symptom Check. According to Laurie Scherer, director of the Wellness Center, over 400 members of the St. Mary’s community signed up to receive shots during those dates. This number is approximated, though, because the Wellness Center also allowed people who had not signed up to walk in and request shots. 

Getting a flu shot each year is the best way to reduce the risk of contracting influenza, a virus which shares many symptoms with the novel coronavirus, according to Penn Medicine. Both are respiratory diseases which can present in a variety of ways, ranging from asymptomatic or mild to extremely deadly. They are also both transmitted through respiratory droplets. The key difference is that influenza has a lower incubation period, meaning it can spread faster, but the coronavirus’ reproductive number and mortality rates are both higher. 

With COVID-19 going around, students may think that it is not as important to protect themselves against the flu, but this is not the case: while getting the flu vaccine will not prevent COVID-19, it could save valuable medical resources that are in short supply. Additionally, contracting influenza still carries the risk of hospitalization and death; though that risk is low, it is better to be safe than sorry. Receiving a flu shot protects not only one’s own health but the health of others, and SMCM’s Wellness staff is doing its best to make the process as simple as possible. 

When a student or staff member arrived at the Aldom Lounge to receive their shot, they were each handed a pen and clipboard with one page of information to fill out. In order to guard against COVID, each clipboard was sanitized afterward and pens were not reused. Afterwards, Wellness staff provided some information about the vaccine and then gave the shot —a process which altogether took no more than 5 minutes for most people. According to Freshman Niamh Connell, who went on Oct. 13, the procedure was surprisingly easy, and  “everyone did what they could to ensure COVID guidelines were being followed.” The best thing, she said, was its convenience — students did not have to fill out any insurance or unnecessary personal information, making the process quick and efficient. Finally, a major benefit was that the shots were free, making them accessible to all SMCM students who wanted to do their part to help the community.

Black Lives Matter at SMCM

Written By: Hannah Yale

Activists, some wearing face coverings or face masks as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, hold placards as they attend a Black Lives Matter march from Hyde Park, central London on June 20, 2020. – British activists continue protests sparked by the death in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in the United States. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

On Saturday, Oct. 3, the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) Programs Board and the Hilda C. Landers Library collaborated to lead a virtual event about the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality and the state of racism in America. The event was organized as a lecture series on Zoom, with speakers Professor Sahar Shafqat and Kelsey Bush presenting over Zoom at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively. 

Shafqat is a professor of Political Science who participated in the #ScholarStrike in early September by dedicating her teaching time to speak about racial injustices in the country and how to take action. During the #ScholarStrike, Sharfqat shared a presentation with her students titled “Abolition and Defund the Police: Understanding the Current Movement to End Anti-Black Racism.” She shared this same presentation with those in attendance at the Black Lives Matter lecture on Oct. 3. 

The main focus of Shafqat’s presentation was police violence and how the police functions as an institution that maintains systemic racism. In May, a Black man named George Floyd was the victim of a police-instigated murder. “It is not a mistake that Black people are murdered routinely by the police,” Shafqat said. Her presentation showed a picture of Kyle Rittenhouse, the white teenage boy who shot and killed two BLM protestors in Kenosha, WI in August and was allowed by police to leave peacefully, as well as a photograph of an MPD officer fist-bumping a member of the white supremacy group the Proud Boys in Washington, D.C. in July. “Black criminals and white criminals are treated very differently,” Shafqat said, explaining that Floyd was killed because he had allegedly used a counterfeit bill while Rittenhouse comitted murder and was let to leave the scene. 

According to Professor Shafqat, there is a reformist approach and an abolitionist approach to racism in policing. A campaign called 8 Can’t Wait is a police reform plan that seeks to ban chokeholds, require de-escalation, require warning before shooting, and bring about other changes within the police institution. The problem is, Shafqat explained, most of the police departments that have been seen in the news lately for police brutality had already agreed to most if not all of the 8 Can’t Wait reform policies. Alternatively, there is an abolitionist approach to the issue in which America must “re-imagine and re-envision what our society looks like, and that means eliminating the police from our vision of society and how we deal with one another.” The abolitionist movement advocates for defunding and demilitarizing the police, and re-allocating police funds towards providing safe housing and other community social services. 

Interim Chief Diversity Officer Bush also presented for the event, sharing personal accounts about his experiences growing up as a Black man in St. Mary’s County. Bush also focused on racially motivated police violence as a symptom of systemic racism in his lecture, stating: “This is not just about policing, this is about government structures, too. This is about the understanding that people don’t value people. People see people as dollars, people see people as others, people don’t see people as people.” Bush stressed that it is vital to understand why systemic racism is so violently perpetuated in America, but that thinking and talking about racism alone will not solve the problem. Bush continued: “If we want change, what change do we want? If we want change, how are we going to implement it? If we want change, how are we going to sustain it? Those are always the questions you have to ask.” 

Bush has open office hours on Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Any students who have inquiries about what St. Mary’s is doing to promote racial equality on campus or how individual students can do their part in learning about and taking action against racism can contact him through the SMCM website.

St. Mary’s College to Offer Winter Term in 2020

Written By: Olivia Sothoron

For the first time in decades, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) will offer a winter term between the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. The winter term– or “Winterim,” as it is being called–was announced to students in an email from the Office of the Registrar on Sept. 9. The email stated that the Winterim “begins on December 14, 2020, and ends on January 12, 2021; final grades will be submitted by January 15, 2021. Classes can carry up to four credits and will be taught as either three-week or four-week courses.” 

The email also explained that students who enroll in the courses during the Winterim will be charged “the College’s published per-credit rate of $200 per credit.” In addition, some courses which require the use of a laboratory or studio could have an additional fee. For the purposes of Financial Aid, SMCM is counting the Winterim as a part of the Fall 2020 semester. This means that students who decide to take a course during the Winterim period who were considered full-time students in the Fall 2020 semester will not have to pay for an additional fee, and will only be charged $200 per credit. However, students who are considered part-time in the Fall 2020 semester and decide to take courses over the winter term could possibly be considered full-time students in the fall since the winter courses are counted as a part of the fall semester. 

Another email from the Registrar on Sept. 29 announced that registration for Winterim courses will become available on Oct. 19 and will remain open until Dec. 11. The email also stated that since the SMCM Portal is unable to handle registration for both the Winterim period as well as the Spring 2021 semester, registration for the Winterim period will be completed through a Google Form. 

The email on Sept. 29 also released the courses which will be offered during the Winterim period. SMCM faculty have the opportunity to submit proposals for Winterim courses. A list of the courses which have already been approved for the winter term can be found on the SMCM website under the Office of the Registrar and Winter Session. The Winterim period will feature courses in the following disciplines: anthropology, art, art history, astronomy, biology, chemistry, economics, educational studies, English, environmental studies, international languages and cultures, math, philosophy, physical fitness and recreational sport, political science, psychology and theater, film and media studies. The website also features course descriptions so that students can decide whether or not they want to take that specific course. 

The courses offered are not just CORE requirements, but also upper-level electives for specific disciplines. For example, Dr. Indrajit Chaudhury in the SMCM Biology Department is offering BIOL 480, which is Molecular Biology of Human Diseases. The course description states that “in this course students will learn a wide range of human diseases ranging from infectious diseases such as bacterial, viral (including COVID-19) and prion diseases, diseases of immune system, cancer, nervous system diseases, cardiovascular diseases and genetic diseases.” 

For more information on the Winterim period, visit the SMCM website and look under the Office of the Registrar and Winter Session. The Winterim 2020 semester provides an opportunity for SMCM students to get ahead on their credits while taking interesting courses in order to keep themselves busy over their winter break.