Suicide Awareness Video Produced by Former Student Trustee

Suicide and depression have long been held as taboo subjects in our modern society and through many points in history. The St. Mary’s Health and Counseling Center, along with videographer Danny Ruthenberg-Marshall, decided to make this video in order to breach that taboo and attempt to reach out to anyone in society going through similar issues who might need help, or who might just need someone to talk to during a rough patch in their lives. Through personal true stories, poignant questions and carefully crafted scenes, this video is designed to give strength to those who need it.

Check it out here, or watch below.

The Clothesline Project

Started in 1990, The Clothesline Project addresses the issue of violence against women. Women who have been affected by violence decorate a t-shirt as a way to feel empowered. T-shirts were hung along the Campus Center stairwell as a part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The stories on the t-shirts are from St. Mary’s students who have experienced sexual violence or are allies of the victims.

World Carnival Features Games, Events, Music from Around the World

On Saturday, April 21, the Student Govermnent Association (SGA) Programs Board hosted the 19th Annual World Carnival, featuring games, vendors, and cultural performances from all over the world. The carnival, which was held in and around the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics & Recreation Center (MPOARC) and on Admissions Field, lasted from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and then picked back up at 8 p.m. for musical performances by The Carpet House Band and Electric Six.

Because of the threat of rain during the day, most of the events took place in the MPOARC, but some of the vendors, food, and club tables were outside. However, the day proved to be sunny and warm until the end of the outdoor carnival events. Students could enjoy games and activities provided by clubs, play laser tag in a bouncy arena, take photos with friends in a photo booth, play an inflatable basketball challenge, play quidditch, or shop at the various cultural vendors and food booths.

The cultural events, held in the gym in the MPOARC, ran throughout the carnival and offered a wide variety of performances. One of the most popular events was the debut performance of the St. Mary’s Drum Corp, who drew interest by marching to and from the carnival. There was also a reading of the Sneetches by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Beth Rushing with a Take One! Improv performance. Local reggae band D.K.G.B., Maryland Dhoom, a University of Maryland College Park-based Indian Dance team, and Miller, another local band, also brought culture to the stage. Students who attended the events could choose from a table of free World Carnival swag, with items such as sunglasses, foam fingers, and color changing cups.

In addition to the cultural events taking place all day in the MPOARC, there was also a St. Mary’s Triwizard Tournament on Admissions Field, with various challenges happening throughout the afternoon. In the week leading up to World Carnival, students from each class could submit their name into the Goblet of Electric Blue Flames at the Campus Center. At 1:45 on Saturday, two names were drawn from each class to represent their class in three challenges: archery, castle destruction, and an obstacle course. Juniors Nick Huber and Owen Ma won the tournament, and the other classes all tied for third place.

At 4 p.m. on the Admissions Field, St. Mary’s held its version of the Indian Holi Festival, an Indian cultural celebration of spring. Participants were encouraged to wear bathing suits and were given white Holi Festival t-shirts to throw the colored powder on each other. “It was a lot of fun,” said first-year Danielle Lafferty. “It really was the perfect way to celebrate spring at World Carnival.”

During the festival, SGA clubs could host tables out on the lawn to raise money and interest for various causes.There was a raffle to raise tuition money for a Gambian students with exotic items from Greece, India, Slovenia, Turkey, Egypt, Italy, Poland, and Spain. Students could make tie-dye t-shirts to raise money for Circle K International for the Eliminate Project to rid the earth of neonatal tetanus or spray paint designs on a white shirt to raise awareness for Invisible Children.

The Crew Team challenged the student body to beat them in Erg sprints, or students could compete against their friends for pins and bragging rights. Carnival-goers had the opportunity to pie Officer Mary in the face, get a Tarot Card reading, or  buy a caffeinated goldfish. While not perusing the club tables, participants enjoyed Bollywood Masala, Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream, Gwennie’s Caribbean Food, kabobs, gyros, and activities at the craft vendor tables.

The major musical event in the evening, although originally planned to take place in a tent on Admissions Field, took place in the MPOARC. The opening act was a band made up of seniors Matt Pindell, Scott Smoot, and Mike Snow, otherwise known as The Carpet House Band. The headliner was Detroit-based band Electric Six, known for such hits as “Danger! High Voltage” and “Gay Bar.” The band’s sound, as described by AllMusic.com, is a mix of “garage, disco, punk, new wave, and metal into cleverly dumb, in-your-face songs.” Although all students may not agree that they were exceptionally clever, the music was a good way to end another successful World Carnival. “The band wasn’t really my thing, but it was a great way to end a fun day,” said first-year Julia Maas.

Students "Get Their Float On" at the Waterfront

Friday, April 27 marked the end of classes for the Spring 2012 semester at St. Mary’s, and many students took advantage of the sunny clear blue skies and invigorating wind to celebrate spring before finals week at the Sailing Club’s bi-annual “Get Your Float On” event.

Sunbathing, sailing, windsurfing, and kayaking were encouraged as students swarmed the James P. Muldoon River Center and Waterfront on Friday afternoon. Members of the Student Education Association decorated many a sunbather with henna tattoos, which browned in the sun before being chipped away to reveal an orange design. Those who were sailing-inclined reveled in the great wind that was present, and most of the waterfront’s sailboats were in use during the event.

The Sailing Club’s large charcoal grill was in constant use throughout the afternoon, and it peppered the wind with delicious-smelling smoke as the grillers dished out hamburgers, veggie burgers, and hot dogs to hungry students, who chowed down on the chips and sodas that were also provided.

Sophomore Jemarc Van-Axinto said of the event, “I think it’s a really nice way to get out to the watefront–but of course we’re St. Mary’s students, so we could do this anytime. Thankfully it’s a nice day, and it’s great that we have a sponsored event that gives us an excuse to come down. I know a lot of people from North Campus who are grateful to come hang out at the river like we’re supposed to.”

Relay for Life Wraps Up Successful Year

On Tuesday, April 17 the committee for Relay for Life at St. Mary’s College held a meeting to discuss what has been accomplished throughout the year in their fight against cancer.

For the recent Relay for Life event that was held on Feb. 11-12 in the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center, the team managed to raise $32,086, despite their original goal of $42,000.

“We were a little under,” said the newly appointed Event Chair, sophomore Colleen Hughes, “but we still try to raise the bar every year.” She continued to say that $32,086 is still a very significant amount that can help a lot in the fight.

After the big event in February, the team that raised the most money was Residence Life with $5,017. The Crew Team also received acknowledgement, as they had a large portion of their members participate, leading them to split themselves into two different teams that both raised a lot of money.

The largest individual fundraisers were Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life Joanne Goldwater with $2,175, junior Will Dyer with $1,331, and junior Madailein Harrigan with $1,035.

The weekend after the wrap up meeting, the Relay for Life committee held a booth at World Carnival where they were taking donations, doing hair wraps, streaking hair purple, and selling raffle tickets for $5 for a chance to win a new Mazda.

On April 26, they also took part in the Remembrance Day event that took place at the James P. Muldoon River Center to hand out information on grief counseling related to cancer.

On Wednesday, May 2, which is a Reading Day, the group will be hosting Midnight Munchies at 7 p.m. on the Lewis Quad patio to help raise money.

Through all of these activities, the committee, which is now headed by Hughes and first-year Teresa Padgett as Event Co-Chair, is hoping to make Relay for Life a better known group on campus.

To get involved with Relay for Life, students and staff can email Hughes at cshughes@smcm.edu, or can attend any of the open meetings that will start back up next year. While they are always looking for people willing to be on different committees within Relay for Life (i.e. publicity, sponsorship, fundraising, mission and advocacy, etc.), they also are looking for anyone willing to join and lend a helping hand.

“Relay is a success because of all the people involved,” said Hughes, “from chairs of committees, staff sponsors, participants, donators, survivors, and caregivers!”

Spring Dance Show A Worldly Performance

Performed in Bruce Davis Theater for anyone lucky enough to find a seat, this semester’s Dance Show was an impressive combination of well-rehearsed choreography, diverse participation, and inspiring messages.

The Spring Dance Show, titled “The World Is Our Stage,” was performed at 8:30 p.m. on April 18-19 and 7 p.m. on April 20-21. Composed of 28 performances spread over two acts, the roughly two-hour show was far from small this year, and the size certainly did not come at a cost to quality.  One of the most popular performances of the night, “America’s Best…Degrassi!?!?” (choreographed by Jemarc Van-Axinto), was performed first and included 16 dancers on stage reflecting on what it really means to be “cool” in school.

The show did not lose momentum after dance number one, with well-practiced performances throughout the evening. The dances themselves were not only large groups of St. Mary’s students, but also individual and two-person dances. Almost all of the Senior Spotlights, or dances choreographed and performed by a senior in the club, were done individually, including (among others) Alyssa Ames’ “Girl You Know,” and Colleen Brummitt’s “If It Kills Me.”

Songs used throughout the night included those from Florence and the Machine, Coldplay, Rick Astley, Brooke Fraser, Timbaland, Scarface, and Christina Aguilera, all encompassing the worldly theme of the show. The performances themselves, as always, also reflected such diversity, with performances not only being upbeat and exciting but also romantic,  funny, cute, and somber. Each dance group had a different story to tell during the show, and did so in a seemingly flawless way.

Those who stayed in the theater during the intermission (between acts one and two) were treated with a performance choreographed by Dance Club alum Ricky Ramos, who recently graduated from the College. The performance was powerful, fast, and upbeat, and certainly seemed to get the audience excited for act two.

The second half of the performance began with “Four Years on the River,” with 15 performers choreographed by Holly Callan.  With six of the 14 performances being senior spotlights, act two mirror-reflected act one, though the performances were far from similar. The humorous “Internet Trainwreck” dance choreographed by Marina Carlson in act one was balanced well by Allison Romano’s “Jailbreak” in act two.

The entire theater was filled for the Friday evening show, forcing some of the students to sit in front of the seats on stage. A taped line on the stage indicating the area where people could sit, a line placed for good reason given that several performances worked right to that line to give those in front an up-close and personal view of the dance.

Sponsored by Assistant Vice President of Academic Services William “Lenny” Howard, the show turned out to be an overall success, well-succeeding last semester’s spectacular performance. The Dance Club is headed by President Holly Callan and Vice President Maurielle Stewart.

The Pub Obtains Correct Liquor License One Year Later

The St. Mary’s County Alcohol Beverage Board has approved a beer and wine license for The Pub on campus. Although supplies and other details are being worked out by St. Mary’s food vendor, Bon Appetit, The Pub is set to sell alcoholic beverages no later than next semester.

After previously having problems with obtaining a liquor license since The Pub’s trial run in the Spring 2011 semester, Bon Appetit has been trying to work towards having the ability to sell alcohol to of-age students during certain hours of the week.

Set backs with selling alcohol during the Spring 2011 and Fall 2012 semesters delayed the official opening of The Pub, when troubles occured obtaining the correct license for this type of venue as Bon Appetit had conflicting information on how to go about the process.

“We do have the Class B Beer and Wine License for the Pub,” said David Sansotta, Bon Appetit’s General Manager at St. Mary’s. After a unanimous decision at the hearing, the board approved the license.  Robert Shenes, Bon Appetit’s attorney, argued the case in defense of the license. After the complications earlier this semester with obtaining the correct license, The Pub will finally be able to offer more than its food services.

As far as when The Pub will start selling alcohol, Joel Blice, Director of Operations for Bon Appetit, said, “We don’t know yet because of logistical reasons.”  Blice and Sansotta both explained that they have to ensure that everything is in place before they begin selling the beverages. “We want to make sure all our goals are met,” said Blice. While Bon Appetit is sure that they will need some time to set up the supplies in The Pub, they expressed interest in getting the sale of alcoholic beverages to occur sooner within the upcoming weeks. “We’re hoping that everything moves quickly,” said Sansotta. “But we have not promised a date of opening.”  Yet no matter the outcome, alcoholic beverages will still be granted to individuals of legal age for fall semester.

To ensure that illegal drinking would not occur at The Pub, Sansotta explained that “we have a high-tech machine that can read every driver’s license possible.” The card reader will be able to note if the card holder is using a fake I.D.  He also added that “anyone who wishes to drink will be carded at the door and wrist-banded.”

Bon Appetit will not be taking any chances with selling alcohol to underage students, according to Blice.  “We know we will be more strict on carding than regular bars or restaurants,” he explained.  In addition, Sansotta commented that “there will be only one transaction per customer so that students aren’t buying drinks for their underage friends.” Beer and wine sales will also be limited to the hours of 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday nights.

Students of age and other members of the college have been patiently waiting for The Pub to get their liquor license. Junior Shannon Boswell was intrigued to learn that students would finally be given this opportunity. “I think it’s great and it’s about time,” said Boswell, who looks forward to her senior year at the college.

Sansotta explained that he will send an email to students alerting them of when alcoholic beverages will be available at The Pub.

"Doomsday" for Maryland Budget

On Wednesday, April 18, President Urgo sent out an all-student email concerning the state budget and how it will affect the recent push for providing the living wage to the staff on campus. In the email Urgo discussed the affect of the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) on the College’s budget. The state legislature failed to pass BRFA and if it is not passed by July 1, the state will revert to what is referred to as the “Doomsday Budget.”

“The potential impact to St. Mary’s College, while not precisely defined, would include a permanent budget cut of approximately $1.8 million,” said Urgo in the email. “Aside from eliminating the proposed January 2013 cost-of-living salary increases, we would also face a range of potential actions including increased employee health care insurance cost, layoffs, financial aid reductions, and further increases in tuition.”

President Urgo concluded the email by encouraging students to work with the College to persuade Governor Martin O’Malley (Democrat) and the legislators to hold a special session to ensure that the state is not forced into the default budget plan. “We welcome you to partner with us in pushing for reconciliation and the passage of a budget for fiscal year 2013. Please reach out to your legislative delegate and senator to let them know how important passage of the state’s operating budget and BRFA are to our campus community and the residents of Maryland.”

The “Doomsday Budget,” according to The Washington Post, results in “more than $200 million in cuts to schools; reduced aid to state universities and community colleges; and the elimination of funds for police, libraries and state employees, who’d lose their first pay increase in several years.”

Vice President for Business and Finance Tom Botzman said, concerning the Doomsday Budget, “Right now, if we magically wound the clock forward to July 1, that’s the budget that would come into play. That budget would prohibit any increases for state employees. It would also reduce funding for higher education by 10 percent,” which is the reason why the college is taking the $1.8 million hit.

If the legislatures choose to resolve the budget, they would need to hold one or two special sessions to pass two bills, a revenue bill and BRFA. BRFA will decide how the state will spend its budget while the revenue bill will raise taxes to pay for the budget.

“It’s how much they’re going to spend, how much they’re going to raise in revenue, and how they’re going to spend it,” said Botzman. “It’s quite likely that the governor will call a special session of the Maryland Legislature…in which they will address those budget bills…. Once they do that, the College will now have what its allocation is from the state.”

The budget that the college board will vote on at its meeting on the day before graduation, assuming that the state budget will come through, will provide funds for salary increases for all employees. However, despite having the funds, they would not be able to enact these changes because there is still a state-wide freeze on spending in place. “The question is: what are we going to do? We are going to proceed with a budget that provides an allocation for salary increases and we will then use that allocation when the state removes the freeze,” said Botzman.

The freeze has been in place for over three years, but Botzman and the College remain “hopeful and confident in the governor and our legislatures to move forward so that we can provide salary increases to all employees. But when? As soon as possible – that’s when we’d like to do it and we’re going to do it.”

The College is not actively planning for a scenario in which the “doomsday budget” is enacted because they “really feel confident that [the state] will find a resolution, but we are state agents and we have to wait until things get resolved.”

The budget that is currently being planned for the coming fiscal year will provide funds for increasing the internet speed between three and five times over the summer, two additional faculty lines, more money to hire faculty, increased rates for heating oil and sewage, more employee benefits, and an upgrade to Blackboard.

“We have to wait, we have to be patient,” said Botzman. “I know a lot of students, staff, and faculty are concerned about others in our campus community and we have done the best we can to relay those messages and we are grateful to those who are helping to encourage our legislatures to solve this because once they do, then we have a  little bit better certainty and we’re not making plans for what-ifs, we’re making plans for what will be.”

Spring 2012 Exam Schedule

College exams will begin this Thursday, May 3 (following a reading day on May 2), and end on Tuesday, May 8. The schedule below is courtesy of the St. Mary’s website.

THURSDAY, MAY 3

M, W or MW classes meeting at 2:40 p.m.: 9:00 – 11:15 a.m.

T, R or TR classes meeting at 12:00 p.m.: 2:00 –  4:15 p.m.

M, W or MW classes meeting at 6:00 p.m.: 7:00 –   9:15 p.m.

FRIDAY, MAY 4

T, R or TR classes meeting at 8:00 a.m.: 9:00 – 11:15 a.m.

 T, R or TR classes meeting at 2:00 p.m.: 2:00 –  4:15 p.m.

SATURDAY, MAY 5

M, W or MWF classes meeting at 8:00 a.m.: 9:00 – 11:15 a.m.

M, W or MWF classes meeting at 10:40 a.m.: 2:00 –   4:15 p.m.

T, R or TR classes meeting at 6:00 p.m.: 7:00 –   9:15 p.m.

MONDAY, MAY 7

M, W or MWF classes meeting at 9:20 a.m.: 9:00 – 11:15 a.m.

M, W or MWF classes meeting at 12:00 p.m.: 2:00 –   4:15 p.m.

T, R or TR classes meeting at 10:00 a.m.: 7:00 –   9:15 p.m.

TUESDAY, MAY 8

M, W or MWF classes meeting at 1:20 p.m.: 9:00 – 11:15 a.m.

Sustainability Intern Positions to Continue Next Year

In light of College and State of Maryland budget crises this year, the recently terminated Sustainability Fellow position is not scheduled to be reinstated next year despite considerable campus support.

Begun in 2008 as a one-year fellowship program, the Sustainability Fellow position was designed as the only full-time sustainability office position. The person holding this position would be in charge of organizing and researching sustainability initiatives on campus alongside campus planning and facilities.

However, recent budget deficits led to the position’s suspension last year (held at the time by Lisa Neu ’10), which, according to former Dean of Students Laura Bayless, would allow for the hiring of a new associate in the Office of Financial Aid and a Judicial Affairs Coordinator in the Office of Student Activities. Replacing the fellowship was the Sustainability Internship program, under which three students would work alongside Facilities Planner and Sustainability Coordinator Luke Mowbray throughout the year to expand the College’s sustainability initiatives.

According to Mowbray, the positions will be continued next year, with an intern also working over the summer in preparation for the upcoming academic year.

“The student intern program will be continued for the same reason it was started,” said Mowbray. “As a new program we’ve been figuring out how to be the most efficient with new staff resources.”

Much support has been shown by the College community to restore the Sustainability Fellow position, largely for the same reasons the initial suspension decision was called for appeal to the President’s Council last year by former Student Trustee Danny Ruthenburg-Marshall. While financially more efficient to hire three part-time (10 hours per week) student interns over a full-time Fellow position, the inherent decreased efficiency of the position from a sustainability standpoint is difficult to overlook.

“Overall the student interns were fantastic workers and achieved a great deal,” said Mowbray. “The challenges we had with the new structure had to do with the total number of hours worked by sustainability staff and the inherent scheduling and oversight issues typical of part-time student positions.”

Despite appeals to College President Urgo and the Board of Trustees by a variety of students on campus, including SGA President Mark Snyder, the Sustainability Fellow position remains suspended until further notice, and interns will be hired to continue into the summer and following year.