Campus Pub To Begin Operation in Spring With Pilot Program

Specifics are starting to crystallize on the new proposed campus pub culminating in a potential pilot program this spring, according to General Manager at Bon Appetit Debi Wright.

The iteration of the pub currently being proposed was the idea of President Joseph Urgo, who first brought it to the student body earlier this year during the second Presidential Forum.

According to Wright, “the idea is to make the place sort of the hub…where students want to hang out and where they feel comfortable.” Originally, concerns regarding legality were worked out by the Vice President of Trustee Relations Kathy Grimes.

Since then the operation has been handed over to Bon Appetit, who also runs the pub at Hamilton College (Urgo’s previous institution and a similarly-sized private liberal arts college).

Wright and other members of Bon Appetit at St. Mary’s have since been doing research into Hamilton’s pub and considering options for what can be done here. Director of Operations David Sansotta, who himself comes from Hamilton college, said that they do a pub lunch Mondays through Fridays including entrees and a salad bar, and open it up on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

According to Wright’s discussions with Hamilton’s general manager, the pub also puts on programming such as trivia nights, which she also plans to do at the proposed pub here.

Many other specifics have become more concrete since the beginning of the year. According to Wright, the campus pub at St. Mary’s would not only be a place for students to get beer and wine, but also late-night food and, Wright hopes, coffee and expresso drinks.

As far as a schedule is concerned, Wright said that the pub would probably open around 7 a.m. serving food similar to what is offered currently at the Lewis Quad Grab n’ Go.

At around 11 a.m. it would begin offering made-to-order food similar to what is offered at the Upper Deck, and would begin serving beer and wine at 4 p.m. Food and drinks would be provided from then until 1 or 2 a.m.

Wright noted, however, that the days out of the week when the pub would be open, and what days it would offer beer and wine, are still to be determined.

As of this writing, Wright said that the pub would likely be either in Daugherty-Palmer Commons (DPC) or at the current location of the Grab n’ Go. She added, however, that she felt that “the Grab n’ Go is a better place in my eyes [and] it feels better; if I were a student I’d want it to be there.”

Assistant Dean of Students Kelly Schroeder echoed the sentiment. “Because I want to see this happen as quickly as feasible, I think the LQ rec room would be an ideal choice. You could do more in that space of turning it into a more pub-like environment.”

According to both Wright and Schroeder, programming at the pub will be a major part of the use of the space. Schroeder said, “I’d love to do some of the things we’ve been doing at Cole Cinema, but haven’t been able to serve alcohol.” She added that these would include things like movie nights, tailgates, an occasional coffeehouse.

The space would also be reservable, so clubs and organizations could host their own events.

Financially, however, Wright believes that the pub might be difficult to maintain. A major problem is that the pub cannot be in any way subsidized by the College (like Hamilton’s is) both because of the College’s status as a public institution and because, according to Urgo, “[The college is] not about to take on new expenses.”

Bon Appetit would also have to do major kitchen renovations to either location they choose, and hire a manager. Though there are still “many unknowns” at this point regarding what exactly will be done and what students and administration want, figures for doing these renovations are steep.

Drink prices would likely be above retail, though not by much. Wright said “our goal is to find a way to operate this and break even.”

Bon Appetit is currently working with a kitchen designer to figure out how much these renovations will cost, but in the mean time are looking into the costs of renting equipment for a pilot program to occur next spring in both DPC and the Grab N’ Go.

Wright added that the menus would include a very small and limited menu, featuring fare like chicken fingers, hot wings, nachos, and burritos. Which types of beer and wine the pub would serve have not yet been decided upon.

Student Trustee “Danny Five Names” Wins Mr. SMC

After an intense and emotional pageant election last Saturday, Dec. 4, senior and student trustee Daniel “Danny Five Names” Ruthenberg-Marshall was chosen as this year’s Mr. SMC, besting six other male competitors from all classes in a competition of creativity, talent, and three kinds of style.

“Wanna see some guys in formal wear? Wanna see some guys in dresses?” said Assistant Director of Residence Life Derek Young, the Master of Ceremonies of the annual Mr. SMC competition, to begin the event.

Held in the Great Room during brunch to attract a larger audience, the pageant featured seven competitors, male St. Mary’s students who were nominated by their student body with donations to the Class of 2011 and 2014 during the weeks preceding the event.

Gentlemen Ben Vannest, Brooks Schandelmeier, David Panks, Ben Israel, Brendan McCarthy, Josh Santangelo, and Ruthenberg-Marshall faced a round of events to show off their talents to the pageant audience on Saturday. Before the event, the candidates were asked to raise money for the Class of 2011 and 2014, sponsoring the event, through any means necessary.

“The event was originally hosted by the Rotaract Club,” said senior Colleen O’Neil, the Class of 2011 President and organizer of the event. “After one week of nominations, we sent an email out to the top 20 candidates, and the first 10 to reply are selected for the competition.”

While ten candidates were selected for this event, a series of circumstances resulted in only seven men entering the competition. A minimum of $30 was required for the competition, and candidates raising the most would receive the most points contributing to their overall score for the event.

“This year, we raised about 50 dollars in nomination money alone,” said O’Neil, “and we can expect at least 300 dollars from the fundraising requirements.”

After their personally written biographies were read by associate MC and Assistant Director of Admissions Tricia Realbuto, the candidates walked on stage for the formal wear competition.

Vannest led the round well with a sleek suit complete with top hat and cane, followed well by Schandelmeier’s pinstripe suit and Panks’ comfortable but classy green dress shirt.

Following Israel’s black suit-cane combination, Ruthenberg-Marshall stepped onto the makeshift stage in a suit as well, which he showed the audience that he could quite easily remove to reveal a well-pressed blue dress shirt.

McCarthy seemed to stand out in the competition as well with a bright blue suit and smiley-face tie, followed by Santangelo’s suspender-dress shirt combination.

Wacky wear followed the formal dress round, where each contestant modeled their most socially unacceptable outfit on-stage for creativity points. Vannest again began the round, in a button-down vest (no under-shirt), boxers, and a duck stuffed animal just below the belt.

Schandelmeier’s cowboy hat, neck bandanna, tight jean shorts, and rolled-up shirt to expose his stomach all created a look that seemed to impress the audience. Panks’ black-netted long-sleeve shirt, small skirt, and inflatable crayon prop was followed with Israel’s rolled-up shirt and short orange shorts.

Ruthenberg-Marshall came out with a tight-fit one-piece dress, as did Santangelo (in a different color) after McCarthy’s very revealing strapless leopard dress and make-up.

For the talent show portion of the show, Vannest unicycled and played a tune with his recorder, while Schandelmeier used a wooden battle axe to make a towel-wrapped apple “disappear”, smashing the apple into pieces and sending the remains flying into the audience upon revealing the inside of the towel.

Panks ate a raw onion for his performance, followed by a Hiphopapotamus rap from Flight of the Conchords by Israel. Ruthenberg Marshall’s rendition of “Paper Towels” by MagicHugs was followed by McCarthy’s balancing act, which involved balancing Panks’ giant toothpaste tube, a fishing pole, and Schandelmeier’s battle axe, courtesy of the audience.

Santangelo ended the talent show portion with a ballet performance choreographed to “Battlefield” by Jordin Sparks.

The most informative portion of the competition, the swimwear-question-and-answer round concluded the performances of the candidates. Vannest, in rolled-up swim trunks and shirt, responded to Realbuto’s question “which professor would you marry” with Tom Barrett, for his beard.

Schandelmeier’s winter swimwear (a jacket to stay warm during his cold summers in Maine) followed, with Schandelmeier replying that his Jersey Shore name would be “Brooks von Schandelmeier”, since “nothing could be better.”

Panks responded that “Poker Face” was the Lady Gaga song that best described him, in his Harley Davidson jacket that concealed a white T-shirt with heart cut-out, which he tore from his chest on stage. Israel wore spandex, short shorts, and a swim cap as he responded that he would ask College president Joseph Urgo “where’d you get that awesome fedora?”

In swim flippers, goggles, small shorts, and a Seahawks shirt, Ruthenberg-Marshall sang his answer to Realbuto’s question “which Disney princess would you be and why” with Mulan’s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”

McCarthy, in a blue plastic poncho, described his funniest story from freshman year, where he sang a song from “All Dogs Go to Heaven” to an unknown girl for $15. “She ignored me, and kept reading,” he said.

The show concluded with Santangelo who, in his red-striped boxers and red tank top, claimed that his favorite superpower to have would be shape-shifting, so that he could be whatever he wanted to be.

The five judges of the competition, a mix of females from the Class of 2011 and 2014, tallied the points of each candidate based on their fundraising success and performances, while the audience had a chance to donate last-minute funds to their favorite contestants.

Young and Realbuto announced the winners of the competition following the tally. Panks took third place, and McCarthy (the reigning Mr. SMC) took second. Winning by four points, Ruthenberg-Marshall took his place on the “Mr. SMC” podium to receive the Mr. SMC banner.

In his winning speech, Ruthenberg-Marshall quoted from the “Paper Towels” video from the talent competition, saying “holy s–, I spilled soy sauce all over the place.”

All profits from the event were divided evenly between the Class of 2011 and 2014, with the hope that the Class of 2014 will continue the competition next year.

“Mr. SMC is a kind of mascot for the school, someone that could show up at events,” said O’Neil. “We’re trying to create that image, and hope that [the Class of] 2014 takes it on.”

Bike Shop Coffers Refilled by SGA

After much deliberation and discussion regarding funding for the Bike Shop, the Student Government Association (SGA) unanimously passed a resolution on Nov. 16 to begin offering funding for the next three semesters.

Originally the Bike Shop was funded through the Physical Plant, but recently Assistant Vice President of Campus Operations Derek Thornton informed senior Paul Parzynski, who manages the Bike Shop, that there was no longer money in the budget to continue funding.

This left the Bike Shop without a way to pay its workers; if employees worked, they did so without compensation.

However, with the recent resolution passed by the SGA, the Bike Shop will now receive almost five thousand dollars a semester for the next three semesters.

The resolution was sponsored by Townhouse Senators senior Frank McGough and junior Katie Caffey, and SGA Vice President senior Ken Benjes and co-sponsored by Student Trustee senior Danny Ruthenberg-Marshall.

Of the five thousand dollars, $100 will be assigned to purchasing parts and the remainder will go toward the payroll, with Bike Shop employees making around $7.25 an hour and managers making around $9.00 an hour.

Thus, the Bike Shop will be funded about fifteen thousand dollars until the end of spring 2012.

The money will come from the SGA’s Special Carryover Fund, since SGA’s operating budget for the coming semester wouldn’t be able to afford the funding. According to Treasurer Matt Smith, senior, the Special Carryover Fund has around $85 thousand.

After funding for the next three semesters has expired, the SGA discussed raising student fees to support the Bike Shop. According to Assistant Dean of Students Kelly Schroeder, fees used to fund student organizations through the SGA haven’t risen in ten years.

The recent increases in student fees, Schroeder explained, have all gone directly to initiatives such as the Green St. Mary’s Revolving Fund, not to the general budget.

Thus, if SGA decides to increase student fees, the additional money would fund not only the Bike Shop, but other student clubs and organizations, though nothing has been resolved as of yet.

Originally, members of the SGA voiced concerns that the Bike Shop currently has no overseeing faculty or staff member to whom employees report, as SafeRide does.

Previously, Thornton oversaw operations, but without funding, the Bike Shop had no faculty or staff member in charge.

Eventually, SGA concluded that the Bike Shop will report to both the Treasurer of the SGA and a St. Mary’s faculty advisor or sponsor. Additionally, funding will not be disbursed until both an oversight structure and a faculty or staff advisor has been approved by the SGA Treasurer.

Parzynski was pleased with the amount of funding and the organizational structure the resolution proposed. “It’s exactly what we wanted–money.” Parzynski also commented that the Bike Shop would not need more than the fifteen thousand dollars they’ve been allotted, nor do they need more than $100 for parts.

The funding will now allow for approximately five to eight employees working around 20 hours a week, including one manager and seven mechanics.

For Parzynski and the Bike Shop, SGA’s funding couldn’t have come sooner.

“We’ve had to fight way too hard to get five grand a semester. Ever since we started we’ve been fighting to stay alive.”

Reusable To-Go Boxes Get Test Drive in Spring

This coming spring Bon Appetit plans to implement a trial reusable to-go box program, a welcome addition to college residents tired of seeing overflowing trash cans filled with Styrofoam ones.

The call for reusable to-go boxes on campus has been growing ever since their first implementation at Eckert College in 2007, according to Sustainability Coordinator Luke Mowbrey.

Prince George’s Hall Senator and member of the sustainability committee sophomore Becky White said that other colleges, such as Washington College, Frostburg, Maryland Institute of Art, Notre Dame, and John Hopkins have also implemented similar programs.

She added, “not all these schools are necessarily [ranked] ‘greener’ than us… which speaks more to the need to do it.”

The current system of disposable to-go boxes is, in contrast to the sustainability and beautification initiatives of the college, ecologically harmful and aesthetically displeasing.

Styrofoam, according to Mowbrey, is non-biodegradable and releases many toxic chemicals when it is created.

Although recycling Styrofoam is technically possible, Mowbrey said many people don’t do it because it’s difficult and cost-prohibitive.

White said that reusable to-go boxes would cut down on the significant number of these thrown away (600 boxes a day, according to her statistics), decreasing the college’s negative environmental impact along with the amount of trash present on-campus.

She added that reusable to-go boxes would also be more durable and microwave-safe. Ultimately, Debi Wright, General Manager at Bon Appetit, said that it would take about forty uses of a single reusable to-go box to “break even” environmentally, with any use after that being an “environmental plus.”

Mowbrey said that the reusable to-go boxes, if successful, could be expected to be “a wash” financially. Mowbrey also said that the cost of the initial reusable to-go boxes, which retail at around $3.75 each, will be paid for through the College’s sustainability budget.

Wright said that although reusable to-go boxes would cut down on having to buy disposable ones, other costs would arise–such as those associated with the additional chemicals and water needed to sterilize the to-go boxes when they are brought back.

Previous students in the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) as well as former sustainability fellows have campaigned for to-go boxes in years past, but according to White there is “much, much more support” from students and administration than ever before.

“SEAC has shown a lot of interest and collected a number of signatures from students,” Mowbrey said. “It was something they brought to my attention when I came in in September.”

He added that a program for reusable to-go boxes was planned last year, but that a combination of logistical details and what he termed “little kinks” derailed the plan.

White said that a major issue were technology limits on OneCard readers, readers which have since been upgraded to support an accountability system.

The current plan for the pilot program will begin early next semester, when the first 500 students to volunteer will be able to opt-in to the program.

Mowbrey said accountability for bringing back these to-go boxes would work through the OneCard system; students who had opted in to the plan would have a mark on their account designating them as part of the trial, and after taking out one reusable to-go box would be expected to bring it back to be cleaned and provided with another one.

He said that at this point there were no financial burdens to be placed on students who wanted to be part of the program or those who lost a to-go box, but that these may be implemented later depending on the results of this pilot.

Mowbrey also emphasized that the program was optional, and Styrofoam to-go boxes would still be readily available for anyone who wanted them.

Although there is expected backlash to the change, possibly similar to that upon removing trays from the Great Room last spring, most people involved with the program expect things to go well. According to White, “most schools, after doing the pilot, have been successful.”

Tuition Likely To Increase In Spring

With the continuation of tough financial times and the related difficulties of budget planning, St. Mary’s College tuition is most likely to increase once again this semester. How much of an increase, however, is currently up in the air.

Vice President of Business and Finance Tom Botzman laid out the current budget concerns, the many factors going into the rising cost of the College’s operation, and potential solutions (including tuition increase) in his presentation to concerned members of the campus community Friday entitled Sustainability of the College’s Financial Model.

In this presentation, Botzman first outlined how the St. Mary’s budget works. He said that the budget is divided between the operating budget, which is what the College uses for day-to-day operations, the capital budget, which is used for building projects and maintenance, and the St. Marys College of Maryland Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which handles the College’s endowment portfolio (money which is donated to the College to be used as investment capital).

The operating budget of the College is, according to Botzman, around $69 million.

Botzman noted that the College’s revenue comes from four sources: tuition and fees (44 percent); auxiliary services, including the book store and money paid for housing (27 percent); a state block grant based on the cost of living (27 percent); and other sources (22 percent).

Botzman also outlined the primary reasons that the College is in a difficult financial situation. The biggest one, and the one from which many of the others stem, is the current economic recession. Botzman asserted that the past two years “[were] the most difficult budgeting years since the Great Depression.”

This difficult economy has in turn led to a substantial decrease in the amount of money coming from investments made with endowment money, even fixed investments. According to Botzman, case transfer from the Foundation to the College (disregarding money for facilities) went from a high in fiscal year (FY) 2006 of $1.8 million to only $400,000 in FY 2010.

Vice President for Development Maureen Silva, who gave a presentation entitled Trends in Board Fundraising before Botzman’s, said that there was a loss of around $2 million in the endowment during 2008 and 2009, but that it had been recovered for the most part this year and that it was relatively, “not a dramatic decline, and certainly not as dramatic as other institutions.”

Another major problem facing the College is the ballooning cost of health care, for current, and especially retired, faculty. Botzman said that heath insurance costs for the College will increase by $427,000 next year. In contrast, the increase in the College’s state block grant is expected to only be around $280 thousand.

According to Botzman, it would take a three percent increase in tuition next year just to cover health insurance and retiree health benefits.

Other challenges for the College include the meal plans, upon which all profits or loss are taken by the College and a drop in revenue from the book store.

Botzman also discussed how increases in tuition would affect the College. A one percent increase would amount to a $1.2 million deficit and a $200,000 increase in revenue, with each percentage point increasing revenue (and therefore decrease deficit) by around $200,000.

Botzman then outlined three possible scenarios: an increase in tuition by three, six, and nine percent.

A three or six percent increase would still require the College to freeze faculty lines and reduce transfer to the Physical Plant budget, though the nine percent increase would allow an increase to financial aid and would allow the College to restore two eliminated faculty positions.

However, Botzman said he realizes any increase in tuition will increase student strain and decrease diversity on campus.

The College is also in the process of attempting to boost fundraising in order to lessen the need for tuition increase and make the College more stable in the tough economy. In her presentation, Silva emphasized reaching out to alumni and friends of the College, and was optimistic about efforts on this front.

She said, “we’ve more than doubled what was raised last fall… there are a lot of alumni excited about [President Joseph Urgo] and the way the College is heading.” She also said she was confident that she could significantly increase alumni giving through outreach, and planning for a new fund-raising campaign will begin in 2011.

Another possibility for helping the College’s finances would be to reapply for the yearly state block grant, which was last set in 1992 and not tied to the number of students currently enrolled. Since 1992, the College has added around 400 on-campus students.

Botzman said, however, that this possibility was difficult to justify unless the College were to go on a growth campaign, which there are no plans of doing.

Considering that the state has just announced a $1.6 billion deficit that needs to be fixed this year, Botzman said this was an unlikely solution for the short-term. He did say, however, that “the Governor has been really supportive of the College.”

Botzman said that the final tuition increase will most likely be announced in February, at the next Board of Trustees meeting and after the Governor’s budget comes out the following month.
Despite the difficulties of the budget, Botzman remained optimistic.

“The President and Board of Trustees are committed to keeping the quality of academic and residence programs while keeping the cost of the College affordable for students and there families. That’s always the balance.”

Talk of Honor Code Begins

Despite being an honors college, St. Mary’s lacks something many colleges in the United States take for granted: an honor code.

Honor codes deal primarily with academic integrity and in turn the consequences of academic dishonesty, such as cheating and plagiarism. According to President Joseph Urgo, they are common at many small colleges.

“The motivation [of the honor code] is to put more trust in students and give them greater say in academic experience.”

According to Robert Paul, Chair of the Faculty Senate and Associate Professor of Biology, most cases of academic dishonesty are currently handled as a matter between the student and his or her professor.

These “in-course penalties”, as outlined in the “To the Point” student handbook, may be a final grade of “F” for either the assignment in question or the entire course. In the most flagrant cases of academic dishonesty, or in cases of appeal, students are brought before the academic judicial board, a body consisting of four faculty and three students which finds the student not responsible or responsible for misconduct based on a preponderance of evidence; an appropriate censure is then handed down by the Provost.

Although these policies have been present in the student handbook and its faculty equivalent for years, Paul said that it puts both discretion and enforcement more in the hands of faculty than students. “It places faculty in policeman’s role to take care of [academic dishonesty], and that’s not a good role.”

The major difference between this policy and the proposed honor code is that the latter would be written by, maintained, and enforced primarily by the student body instead of faculty. Urgo said this would show that “students value academic integrity highly and students want a share in preserving it.”

Paul said, “the honor code is not something faculty can impose on students,” but added that the faculty senate would support an effort to implement the honor code.

Urgo said that the honor code would also come with other benefits, primarily the ability to have unproctored exams (i.e. exams where professors and/or teacher’s assistants would not have to be present) and a review process of the policy every few years.

Urgo further added that at many colleges students also receive a session during an orientation explaining the honor code, though the specifics of this policy have yet to be implemented in anything the college has currently developed.

Despite these changes, however, Urgo said, “I don’t see it changing in a fundamental way the academic experience… just making us more aware of academic values.”

Although no one is against the tenets of an honor code, Student Trustee Danny Ruthenberg-Marshall said that some students have noted that an honor code is somewhat unnecessary. He added, “I don’t think there’d be any discernible difference in what we do…we already have an unwritten, unspoken honor code.”

Student Parliamentarian Joshua Santangelo said he had heard some of the same concerns, and added, “some people said that one thing that makes [what we have now] so special is that it’s unspoken.”
Santangelo said that the Student Government Association (SGA) has no cemented position as of yet.

“There hasn’t been too much staunch support so far [either way]. It’s kind of been dead even.” He also said that the SGA’s future actions would likely be an attempt to gauge student interest in the honor code and, at some point, pass something either in support of or against it.

Trustees Discuss Finances, Future

Concerns over a tuition increase, budgeting, and the availability of scholarships dominated the conversation at the Board of Trustees’ second quarterly meeting of the academic year.

Held on Dec. 4 in the Glendening Annex, the meeting’s planned location in Washington DC was changed in an effort to save money, said senior Student Trustee Danny Ruthenberg-Marshall.

Molly Mahoney Matthews, Board Chair, opened the meeting by emphasizing the Board’s responsibility to maintain the “quality liberal arts education” provided by St. Mary’s, despite this being a “time of financial challenges” for the school, the state, and the nation.

President Joseph Urgo’s report similarly expressed concerns over the rising prices for education, both at St. Mary’s and around the country. He pointed out that “St. Mary’s is situated better than many” with its ability to control its own budget while receiving state support, and the effect this has is on keeping “our price lower than our peers without sacrificing the quality of the educational program.”

He added that there are ways the College is attempting to maintain this quality more sustainably, including an increased effort to raise funds from the private sector and, more specifically, alumni.
“We require investment by those…who find in our mission and accomplishments an endeavor worthy of their intellectual and financial support,” he said, adding that this support is merited through “the strength of our [educational, administrative, and fiscally responsible] operations.”

Maureen Silva, Vice President for Development, has been working to cultivate alumni and other donor relations “so that [in the future] private funds can be relied upon for College operations” in addition to state support, said Urgo.

“If those whom we’ve educated do not conclude that we merit their support, the argument cannot in good conscience be made to the state or to anyone else,” he added.
Ruthenberg-Marshall’s report as the Student Trustee echoed such financial concerns.

Despite knowing “the financial realities of [running] the College,” Ruthenberg-Marshall asked that the Board take student concerns into account when determining the tuition increase. He reported that students frequently approach him worried about how tuition increases might affect their ability to attend St. Mary’s.

“Traditionally, the second quarterly meeting would be when we vote on tuition changes,” he explained, but the vote was postponed until the next meeting. This was done to avoid raising tuition more than is necessary, since more must be learned about the College’s finances and its block grant from the state.

However, Ruthenberg-Marshall pointed out that some sort of tuition increase is inevitable.

Neil Irwin, ’00, Chair of the Committee for Enrollment and Student Affairs, discussed that the students who struggle the most when paying for college tend to be middle-income students who are ineligible for government grants, despite not coming from affluent families.

He also pointed out that rising costs could lead to losing top-tier students to institutions that are more expensive on paper but cost less due to larger financial aid packages.

Irwin referenced a presentation Wes Jordan, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, gave to the Enrollment and Student Affairs Committee previously on the rising costs of tuition.

Jordan pointed out that since the 2001-2002 academic year, tuition increased 85 percent for in-state students and 105 percent for out-of-state students.

The financial aid budget also increased in that time (from $1.8 million to $5.4 million), but the student population grew by 23 percent Cindy Broyles, ’79, Chair of the Development Committee, asked the trustees to consider a philanthropic commitment to St. Mary’s in order to “support retention of top students.”

She brought up the importance of giving regular contributions rather than occasional large gifts. Many grants that the College could apply take into account the percentage of Trustees who have made monetary contributions.

Last year, 83 percent of Trustees donated money, though Broyles set a challenge to meet 100 percent participation this year. At this point in the academic year, 43 percent of Trustees have made some sort of monetary contribution to the College.

Broyles also reported that an alumni phone-a-thon led to 54 percent of alumni contacted making commitments to the College, though more information was needed to see how alumni were selected to be contacted.

Alumni contributions during the phone-a-thon rose by 18% from last year, a good increase, said Broyles, since alumni contributions are also measured when the College applies for grants.

Despite the focus on tightened finances and fundraising, Matthews reported that the Board of Trustees approved a salary increase for tenure track assistant professors during their Executive Session earlier in the day.

The increase was necessary for faculty retention, said Matthews, considering that these professors’ salaries fell below the average salary of tenure-track professors at the College’s peer institutions. On the other hand, salaries for tenured professors at St. Mary’s are above the average of tenured faculty salaries at peer institutions.

According to Ruthenberg-Marshall, the raises will only add an additional $100,000 to the College’s budget.

At the meeting, the Board also approved to have Aaron Williams, Director of the Peace Corps, come to St. Mary’s as the Commencement Speaker for 2011. Robert Paul, Faculty Senate President, also reported that the faculty approved to recommend to Larry Vote, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, that St. Mary’s join the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS) Consortium.

The continued relationship would ensure that St. Mary’s has five to ten slots available at CMRS, the College’s only Signature study abroad program in the United Kingdom.
The next General Session for the Board of Trustees will be held Feb. 26, 2011 at 10 a.m. in the Glendening Annex; it will be open to the public.

Teach-in “Re-humanizes Victims” and “Desantizes Violence” of War

Students for a Democratic Society-SMCM (SDS) assembled a plethora of speakers for the first Victims of Warfare teach-in; a three-day, six-hour event highlighting the horrors and misconceptions of war.

The lecture was held Dec. 2, 3, and 4 in Goodpaster Hall and drew crowds of interested students willing to learn from the experiences of these enlightened and powerful speakers.

The goal of the teach-in was to “re-humanize the victims of war and de-sanitize the violence of war,” said junior Jack Mumby, an active member of SDS. Speakers included professors from several academic disciplines, a member of Feminists United for Sexual Equality (FUSE), and both victims and soldiers of warfare who shared personal accounts.

The lecture began with a speech by Associate Professor of Political Science Sahar Shafqat, on the United State’s current involvement in Afghanistan. After a discussion of media portrayals of war, Shafqat showed attendees photographs of a soldier on Afghani soil.

“We have been told that this is a good war. I question the logic that war can be good,” Shafqat said. “America is seen as an occupying force, and the people [in Afghanistan] will support the Taliban over an occupying force that has no knowledge of the peoples wants and needs. The only way to help is to leave.”

The lecture spurred a lot of discussion on American influence in the Middle East, and the reasons for going to war. Former Iraq soldier Josh Stieber, also a speaker for the event, commented on the matter.

“I was told that liberation is going on in the Middle East and that we were going to spread freedom and democracy,” Stieber said. “There are all these motivations that go into war.”

The teach-in continued with a discussion on state terror tactics in countries such as Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, given by Political Science Professor Fevzi Bilgin.

Personal experiences of several wars were also a topic of discussion among speakers, who told stories from the perspectives of both soldier and citizen. Professor of Religious Studies Katherina Von Kellenbach shared her memories of the Gulf war, which were affected by Germany’s cultural memory of bombings during World War II.

She showed photographs of indiscriminate bombings of cities and fire storms, and spoke of the traumatic affect of war on citizens in her country.

“The scars of that war are absolutely alive,” Kellenbach said. “I can never think about Iraq or Afghanistan and not image what it would feel like 60 years later . . . 100 years later. There’s no way to even speak about these experiences.”

Another deeply personal account of warfare was given by Dr. Wayne Karlin, author of Wandering Souls, a novel on his experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam War and the aftermath of being a veteran. Karlin read several poems written by Vietnam veterans, including “Song of Napalm” by Bruce Weigl.

“Most veterans didn’t consider themselves poets before the war, they had to find the words,” Karlin said. “When the pain is confronted – that is when you can do something about it.”

In order to kill Vietnamese soldiers, Karlin mentioned that a person would have to dehumanize their enemy. He said, “The first casualty of war is your own heart.”

Karlin has been involved in the student run “DOVE Fund” created to raise money to sponsor a rural revitalization project for central Vietnam. Following his speech was Professor of Economics Ho Nguyen, also involved in the fund, who spoke on the economic and psychological costs of war, as well as the cost of human life.

He also shared his personal experience as a child in the midst of the French invasion in Vietnam.

“I was lucky to be born at all,” Nguyen said. “The French created a famine. My whole family had to go into hiding. These are the victims of war – these people did nothing and were on the receiving end, like I was.”

Co-president of FUSE junior Johanna Galat discussed how women are victimized in war, termed “feminicide.” According to Galat, Women were often sexually assaulted as citizens in invading countries, as well as while in the army, and rape was often used as a tool of war.

Among the lectures of the horror of warfare was a discussion on hope. English Professor Michael Glaser conveyed a message of hope in the face of warfare in his discussion of the war in the Middle East.

“It is a profoundly important challenge to not become the evil that we deploy,” Glaser said. “It is job is live with as much authenticity and integrity as we possibly can. Even in wartime.”

Similarly, Philosophy Professor Rochelle Greene presented the concept that “change is possible” and engaged the panel of students in an interactive discussion.

“We share this world, I want to discuss what we don’t want to happen in it” Greene said. “Philosophically speaking I want to say hope is the motor that wills us to live . . . and there are steps that we take to negotiate change. This teach-in is doing a great thing. I encourage you to keep asking these questions.”

The SDS hopes to continue this lecture in coming years, possibly making the Victims of Warfare teach-in, an annual event.

St. Mary’s Equestrian Team Prepares for IHSA Competitions in Spring

You may not know it but St. Mary’s has an equestrian team. We spend crazy amounts of time riding horses, getting up before dark for shows many miles away, and fundraising to finance our expensive sport.

The St. Mary’s Equestrian Team is a horseback-riding club sport which competes against both varsity and club teams from other colleges in the Baltimore/D.C./Northern Virginia area in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA).

The team currently has 14 members, 8 of which are new this year. Recent efforts in recruiting and spreading awareness of the team has resulted in a slew of first-year riders, giving our team a lot of potential to rise to the top of the 16-team region.

The St. Mary’s Equestrian Team has been around for over 14 years, riding at A Moment In Time Stables (AMIT), a Leonardtown farm owned by Bobby Lindley and home to over 70 horses. Thanks to donations, the team has a few horses to call our own.

Twice each week, team members drive 30 minutes up to the barn which is by the St. Mary’s County fairgrounds to take lessons with AMIT instructors and the new St. Mary’s Equestrian Team coach, Holly Stello.

Holly is a professional Equitation rider from New Jersey who moved to the area last April. She has ridden for most of her life and trained with famous and talented riders and she’s here to pass her knowledge on to us!

So far she’s done an excellent job of whipping us into shape for our fall riding season which started in early October.

Along with our new coach, we have welcomed 8 new riders to the team, 7 of which are new to St. Mary’s. After membership dwindled last year, we sorely needed new riders and, thankfully, our recruiting efforts have paid off and our team is back on top again! Currently, we are in 8th place out of 16 schools—not bad for a team that is much smaller than most!

On most weekends during the school year (both Fall and Spring semesters), the Equestrian Team competes at stables across the Baltimore/D.C./Northern Virginia area, riding the horses of other competing colleges in the region.

The IHSA competitions are in the English riding style with an emphasis on equitation which pays especial attention to the rider’s position and movement while riding on the flat (walk, trot, canter) and over jumps.

Part of the challenge of the IHSA competition is riding an unfamiliar horse and, within a few minutes, create the bond between horse and rider that is so essential to the sport. Ahead of the team are 3 more shows before the end of the school year.

To cap off the season, a Regional competition is held and, so far, two team members have qualified to ride. Last year, riders qualified for both Zones and Regionals so maybe this year they’ll have what it takes to go one step farther to Nationals in Lexington, Kentucky!

So, just remember: if you see someone walking around campus in riding breeches, (which look like weird leggings with leather patches on the inner thigh) or wearing riding boots, they’re probably on their way back from training to kick butt this Spring. Give them a wave and cheer them on! With new talent and new leadership, things are looking good for our team’s future.

SMC Dance Show “Dreams of Dance”

From Nov. 17 to 20,the Dance Club hosted their Fall dance show titled, “I Dream of Dance.”

The dances involved old and new styles of dancing, as well as a few international styles. Dance club leader junior Melissa Griffith welcomed the audience to the show by saying, “Hopefully we will be in your dreams tonight.”

The dance show began with lots of different types of dances. One of the international dances, a Chinese Fan Dance, ended the first act.

Choreographer Jessica Chen explained what it was like creating and working on her dance by saying, “It was really hard but it was also a lot of fun.”

Another international dance involved belly dancing. Sophomore Will Rees, a member of the audience, said he especially liked this act. He added, “The show was phenomenal. They brought in a lot of styles, and it’s always good when there is belly.”

One more modern type of dancing used was popping, where the dancer regularly contracts and relaxes muscles. One dancer, senior Caroline Vanblargan, preformed this in a dance titled, “You Got the Green Light, Baby!”

When describing her experience with the dance show, Vanblargan said, “It was really fun, it was the first time I had been choreographed.” She added, “I’ve been doing [popping] for two years, I’m self-taught.”

One more traditional dance in terms of motions was titled, “Beguiled.” In this dance first-year Laura Rodriguez became “charmed” by fellow dancer and first-year Scott Mclnerney.

While it initially seems like Mclnerney’s character reciprocates Rodriguez’ character’s feelings, he later rejects her. When describing the creation of this dance, choreographer first-year Kia Krondorfer said, “In the beginning I started with an idea, and when I started working with other people it all came together. It was a team effort.”

When asked about the future Krondorfer said, “I know that each show will get better and better.”

The dancers entertained students and faculty alike. Dean of Students Laura Bayless said, “I look forward to the Dance Show every semester and it never disappoints.” If students are curious about dance they can try out for Dance Club, or go to the new Spring show next semester.