Chandler Presents Nature Notes at VOICES Reading

On Thursday, Feb. 14, students and staff temporarily put aside Valentine’s Day plans to attend the second VOICES reading of this semester’s series, featuringSt. Mary’s own Associate Professor of English, Kate Chandler. The reading, held in Daugherty-Palmer Commons (DPC), included a variety of humorous and lighthearted environmental pieces featuring such things as mushrooms and feathered friends.

“It seems fitting that we are celebrating Kate Chandler’s writing on Valentine’s Day,” said Karen Anderson, Assistant Professor of English. “For me, her students, her colleagues, and her friends; we love her.”

The event began with four students presenting short readings of some of their favorite Chandler passages.

Following the readings, Professor of English Ben Click introduced Chandler, long time friend and colleague, with an anecdote about the first time they met, twenty years ago in Kent State University while in the doctoral program. Click described Chandler’s writing voice as modest, yet strong and assured. “Make sure you listen for it,” he added.

Chandler is a founding member of the college’s Environmental Studies program and has written and edited “Nature Notes” for the River Gazette, featuring pieces about her experiences with nature.

She began her reading with one such essay, titled “Magical Mystery Mushrooms.” Chandler described these mushrooms in her unique voice, depicting her love of nature and infectious inquisitiveness as she recalled photographing the grayish olive green Russula aeruginea and edible blue Lactarius indigo.

Her “obsessive” documentation led her to discover a particularly intriguing mushroom with a triangular gap in the cap. Chandler humorously recounted finding these mushrooms day after day on the path, until finally discovering the source of the misshapen “fruiting body of fungi,” a turtle.

Her second piece was titled “Weathering Life’s Storms: Lessons from our Feathered Friends.” This essay highlighted Chandler’s encounters with inspirational birds, specifically osprey and Caroline wrens. According to Chandler, these birds were exceptionally good at overcoming adversity, as well as building and rebuilding nests regardless of weather or predators.

“I could learn something from that,” Chandler read.

Her next piece, titled “When I am Brave; Meditations on a Brother’s Drowning,” was a moving essay written in a child’s perspective –an emotional recount of the drowning of Kenny Reynolds, Chandler’s youngest brother, who passed away decades ago at a beloved family swimming hole.

The essay was a reminder that nature can be at once beautiful and violent. Many in the audience claimed feeling touched by the memoir.

Chandler concluded her reading with a piece on discovering downed loblolly pines, describing their incredibly shallow root systems that, in her opinion, should not be able to support these massively tall trees. She recounted walking through a Redwood forest, and noted that these trees too have shallow rooting systems.

Chandler then recalled reading a tree guide that explained how Redwoods remain upright; “Redwoods’ roots literally reach out to others,” she read. “They also intertwine with other trees, and this creates a webbing effect.”

“They teach us a magnificent lesson,” Chandler continued. “These Redwood giants simply could not make it alone. This has me thinking about us as a  community at St. Mary’s College of Maryland; are we Redwoods, or are we Loblollys?”

Naturist David Gessner Presents in VOICES Reading

On Thursday, March 28, students and staff were invited to hear the unique works of David Gessner, writer, blogger, and essayist, in a VOICES reading held in Daugherty-Palmer Commons (DPC). Gessner has written eight books and several essays about his experiences in nature and on his redefinition of naturist writing. Currently, he is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

The event began with an introduction by Associate Professor of English Kate Chandler, a long time fan of Gessner’s work and his ability to travel.

“His articles and essays have appeared in a really interesting and diverse range of journals, magazines, and newspapers. He’s all over the place – and that’s part of the joy of his writing. Not that it’s all over the place but that he can be all over the place,” said Chandler. “It’s really interesting that he has a book called Sick of Nature, and still provides advice on how to write the perfect nature essay.”

Gessner began by reading a humorous non-nature related piece about his father’s reaction to his son playing Ultimate Frisbee in college; a story he felt would resonate with the St. Mary’s community. He described Frisbee from the point of view of his father, a man who considered it a sport for “long-hairs and druggies.” The piece was well received by the audience, particularly the description of Nathan, a player depicted as a “wild man” and “hunter from another clan” when playing the game.

The second piece in the reading was from Gessner’s book, My Green Manifesto, although it was originally written for the radio show “This I Believe.” The narrative was about Gessner’s definition of wildness.

“I have traveled all over the world to experience the wild, but some of my wildest moments have been closer to home,” he read. “Wildness is unplanned and unpredictable.” He stated that the two most wild moments in his life were when he held the hand of his dying father, and when he held his newborn daughter for the first time.

Gessner also read a piece about literary envy and jealousy, specifically about his competition with another more famous naturist writer in the 90’s; Sebastian Junger (author of The Perfect Storm).

The reading continued with a piece on Ospreys, considering the prominent presence of this bird in St. Mary’s County, and Gessner’s appreciation of our school’s mascot, Solomon the Seahawk. Gessner described his obsession with seeing these majestic birds dive. “There are times that I feel perfectly content, consumed by the process of hunting for the hunt, fishing for fish,” Gessner read. “There’s a primitive satisfaction in reducing life to one goal.”

Gessner concluded with two short readings. The first was his “declaration of independence” from his book, Sick of Nature, and the second piece was a short section of My Green Manifesto.

“Books are still important and the natural world is still important. And we need to construct a life where these are things that we still value” said Gessner. “To me, thats what these books were all about.”

Trans Poet Kit Yan's Slam Poetry Focuses on Identity Growth

On Wednesday, March 20, renowned trans poet Kit Yan gave a performance of his unique blend of acoustic song and slam poetry to a collection of St. Mary’s students and faculty, in Daugherty-Palmer Commons (DPC). Hailing from New York City and having been featured in HBO’s documentary Asians Aloud, Yan has appeared in front of audiences numbering in hundreds of thousands. His performance at St. Mary’s in front of an intimate crowd was not lacking in the thought provoking and confrontational material for which Yan has become known.

Yan’s set covered a gamut of issues from gender, sexuality, and sex to family, love, and the painful process of growing up. Yan opened the evening with a warning about the explicit nature of his poetry and the hour-long set that followed did not disappoint. Through impressive wordplay and often hilarious verses, Yan spoke about life as an Asian-American trans man. His poems detailed graphic sexual encounters as a young person in New York, struggles with family accepting his sexuality, and his personal journey through adolescence exploring his identity.

Yan’s performance, however, transcended sexuality and gender. Yan’s stirring poems touched on the issues that all young people relate to. “Is anyone in here in love tonight?” he asked, in between poems. “I love love so much!”

Yan went on to perform, accompanied by his own ukulele playing, poems dedicated to the ones he has loved, and what love has been in his own life. “Your touch makes every bathroom brawl, every parental humiliation, and every pronoun mistake okay,” Yan said in one poem.

Senior Josh Santangelo, who helped organize the event on behalf of Feminists United for Sexual Equality (FUSE), was thrilled with the evening. “There was a long planning process to get to tonight, but I was really happy with the turnout and the performance,” Santangelo said. “After being a fan and seeing many of these poems online, it was awesome to see them performed live.”

Senior Andrew Reighart was equally impressed by the performance. “I’d only seen slam poetry on TV before this… It was so interactive and really thought provoking. I really appreciated how upfront Kit was in breaking boundaries with his language and subject matter.”

For Yan, performing slam poetry has been a key piece of his journey of identity. “Spoken word is the people’s art for self expression. It allows me to explore the topics closest to me, all aspects of my identity, be it race, sex, or family,” Yan said following the show, “and through writing I process these issues.”

Yan was grateful to his St. Mary’s audience and already looks forward to coming back. “I perform at all sorts of venues on tour, from bars to festivals to clubs,” Yan said. “The energy here was really cool.”

Meatless Mondays: Environmental Benefits Explained

By Sophomore Nick Smith

As we all know, the school is currently undergoing a ten-week Meatless Mondays trial period. While the lack of meat is immediately apparent, the environmental benefits are not as visible. One of the biggest complaints on the SGA feedback form was that there had been no scientific analysis of the environmental benefits of a Meatless Mondays program at our school. As a member of SEAC, I was tasked with finding out the facts.

Raising livestock is an environmentally costly process. Livestock pollute the environment in two main ways. The first is enteric fermentation, which is a digestive process that occurs in ruminants, or mammals who eat plant-based food. The main pollutant produced by enteric fermentation is methane, a greenhouse gas (GHG) 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The second way livestock pollute is through manure. Animal waste produces another GHG, nitrous oxide. This gas is 298 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Manure also pollutes waterways, but for the sake of keeping the calculations simple, we’ll just focus on atmospheric pollution.

By determining how much less meat we consume during Meatless Mondays, we can determine the amount of atmospheric pollution that our school is not responsible for. According to Bon Appétit, we order 325-360 fewer pounds of meat per week than we did before meatless Mondays. While it is possible to measure this amount in terms of methane and nitrous oxide, it is typical to use equivalent carbon dioxide (eCO2), which allows us to directly compare the pollution potential of a mixture of gases. So how can we know how much GHG emissions come from that amount of meat? In the paper entitled, “Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States,” published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, a group of scientists calculated the amount of eCO2 resulting from the production and transport of different types of meat. According to their research, red meats produce 22.1 pounds of eCO2 per pound, and white meats produce 5.9 pounds of eCO2 per pound. These numbers include food miles, although transportation only accounts for 6% of the total GHG emissions. If we take the average of the 325-360 pounds of meat not ordered each week (342.5), we can compute a range of eCO2 released in the production of that much meat. The low end of the range corresponds to all white meat, the high end, red meat. Using the numbers from the paper, we get 2,021-7,569 pounds of eCO2. This means that 2,021-7,569 pounds of eCO2 would have been released into the atmosphere in the production of meat that we’re no longer ordering.

Here is a calculation that might mean more to the average person. Using data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we can convert eCO2 into gallons of gasoline that we would need to burn in order to produce that amount of eCO2. The EPA reports that the average CO2 emissions from a gallon of gasoline is 8,887 grams, or 19.84 pounds. This means that our range of eCO2, converted to gallons of gas burned, comes out to 101.9-381.5 gallons. And we save that much every week we have a Meatless Monday.

Obviously, this is no small amount. Not eating meat one day a week can significantly reduce your contribution of pollutants. However, how can we be sure that we are actually reducing emissions? Can a school as small as ours influence demand enough to alter supply? After all, do we really think that this amount of meat is so much that farmers are cutting back production? Honestly, probably not. I doubt that our actions alone have a large impact on production. However, we are not the only school with a Meatless Mondays program. There are 153 other institutions of higher learning in the US with Meatless Mondays programs. Just as one vote does not elect the president, one school does not change production. But many together can have an effect.

Ask Miss Meghan: Why Spice Is Not The Spice of Life

Dear Miss Meghan,

I’ve been hearing mixed things about these new drugs available in gas stations. What’s the truth? They’re legal, but are they safe or not?

-Highly curious

Dear Highly curious,

Is anything you find in a gas station really safe to eat? Legal or not, the drugs you’ve heard about are often more dangerous than their illegal counterparts. Spice, is sold in gas stations and marketed as an inexpensive and safe substitute for marijuana. Though its packaging boasts of “natural” ingredients, drug manufacturers are selling something more menacing than an innocuous herbal blend. Unprocessed and safe are part of the brand’s desired image, but the actual psychoactive effects of the drug are produced by synthetic cannabinoids sprayed onto inactive plant material.

The drugs you find at gas stations (Spice, K2, Fake Weed, etc.) are classified as designer drugs. They are not legal because they are harmless; they’re legal because there is not yet enough research to ban them. Manufacturers are in a constant race against the policies of the Drug Enforcement Administration to keep their products legal. Five of the active ingredients originally present in Spice have already been banned and replaced with equivalent synthetic cannabinoids. It is likely that these will also be banned in the future and replaced with more unresearched chemicals. There are not yet scientific studies on the effects of Spice- the chemical compositions of many of its compounds are not fully understood.

Drug users are excited by the prospect of freely available equivalents to marijuana, but the effects aren’t quite the same. Synthetic marijuana is more likely to produce psychosis; though the synthetic ingredients act on the same receptors as marijuana, the compounds in Spice bind more strongly to them, producing unpredictable effects. The DEA estimates that Spice and similar drugs produce effects that are 200 times more potent than those of marijuana. Because their formulas are constantly changing, there is not enough research to make definitive claims about the health effects of synthetic cannabinoids. However, data from poison control centers links Spice to vomiting, addiction and withdrawal symptoms, kidney failure, elevated blood pressure, and heart attacks. It can also cause mental destabilization and exacerbation of existing psychological problems.

The law banning the first round of synthetic marijuana compounds went into effect in 2012. Obama’s July Synthetic Drug Prevention Act was the result of a court case in which an Iowa teenager committed suicide while under the influence of synthetic marijuana. The teenager, David Rozga, shot himself with his family’s hunting rifle an hour after smoking the psychoactive material. His death has been used as a rallying point for increased control of synthetic substances such as Spice and bath salts.

Just because you see it sold in gas stations or head shops doesn’t mean it’s safe. These products are only legal because they’re constantly evolving and not fully understood. Personally, I would want to avoid becoming a test subject for the newest batch. Stick to the risk of buying a premade sandwich- at least the ingredients listed on those are scientifically understood.

Sincerely skittish of synthetics,
Miss Meghan

Food Review: Nicolletti's Pizza

By Jeremy Piper

Once again, in search of good food at cheap prices, I ventured out from the comfortable bubble of St. Mary’s. At the intersection of Three Notch Road and Chancellor’s Run Road I found just the place: a little Italian place called Nicolletti’s: the perfect place to get some pizza, pasta, a calzone, or even a cheesesteak sub.

When first walking in to Nicolletti’s, you come face to face with a menu roughly the size of Rhode Island (it took me a few minutes just to read through the entire thing). Besides the veritable bevy of menu options, Nicolletti’s even offers a salad bar, just to complicate things further. Once you make your decision about what to eat, you pay a surprisingly small sum for the monstrous amount of food you get, and grab a seat. Nicolletti’s is a sit-down restaurant but you do not have a waiter or waitress; the food is brought to your table and that is the extent of interaction. Certainly a plus for those who are reclusive, shy, or are just plain tired of someone constantly bugging you throughout your dinner and conversation.

After much deliberation, I finally decided to opt for a cheesesteak sub. I chose this, not only because it is one of my favorite culinary companions, but also because it is a good test of a restaurant. There are several factors that can sway how it turns out, and after having bad subs in the past, I hoped for the best. What I ended up feasting on was a delicious medley of flavor that surprised even me. As many of you already know, a cheesesteak, once eaten, resembles something like a brick in your stomach. However, the Nicolletti’s cheesesteak was somehow light; extremely filling and satisfying, but not overwhelming. The bun had been broiled so it was crispy on the inside, the steak was perfectly cooked and not greasy, the lettuce was fresh and green, and the tomato was red and crisp. I can do nothing more than recommend it to you all (I have heard great things about their pizza too).

When I went, the place was pretty sleepy. Only a few people occupied the comfy booths and were talking quietly amongst themselves. However, the closer it gets to 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. the more crowded it becomes. Because of the cheap prices and hearty amount of food per serving, it is the target of parents for birthday parties and sports team meetings. It is a child-friendly environment so, depending on when you go, you may have to suffer a screaming 4-year-old in order to eat cheap. Don’t think of Nicolletti’s as the “coach” class of restaurants; if you plan your trip right you will have a lovely experience.

For taste, I gave Nicolletti’s 4 stars; for price, 4 stars; for atmosphere, 3 stars; and for service, 5 stars (they were extremely nice and wanted my business), for a total of 16/20 possible stars. Keep up the good work Nicolletti’s.

From the Chief's Desk: A Bit of Unsolicited Advice

I’d like to discuss the little phenomenon I like to call “The Wake Up Call Moment.” We’ve all experienced it at some point, and it goes a little something like this; you’re scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, chuckling at the latest memes and statuses, when suddenly you read a status that makes you sit back and reevaluate your life.

Your friend from high school just got accepted into the Harvard Graduate program. Maybe someone your age suddenly got engaged, or won a scholarship to a writing conference. You’re staring at a picture of your friend finishing a triathlon- and it’s his third.

Bottom line is someone somewhere has done something with their lives, and yet here you are, eating Ben & Jerry’s, still unsure about what you are even having for breakfast tomorrow. I know I am not the only one who has had the 2 a.m. panic attack about where their life is heading.

Therapists trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy contend that we engage in “self talk,” positive or negative patterns of thought that we use to cope and solve problems. This self-talk can be problematic when we engage in catastrophic thinking; exaggerating the consequences of failure. When you are having that 2 a.m. panic attack, that is what you are doing.

Although I am no expert on the matter, I have experienced telling myself that if I don’t complete X, Y, and Z then I will get nowhere in life. So I am offering a few tips to get you through it.

First, accept that at this moment in time, panicking will not make you get where you want to be any faster. So breathe. Second, remind yourself that you are not alone. Everyone who has ever succeeded in life has at some point in time panicked about it.

Now that you are calmer, it is time to make a game plan. The key is to start small; make a list of exactly what you want to accomplish tomorrow. Then, expand that list to goals for the week.

Buy a journal and in it, write down a few life goals – do not limit yourself here. Even if you don’t think you will ever be an international pop star, if it is a dream of yours, write that bad boy down. Remember that no one is going to see this journal, and therefore there is no one to disappoint (more on that later).

While writing down goals, think about the distinction between goals you have for yourself and those others have for you; doing this will help put things in perspective. Do you want to have kids by the age of thirty or do you just think you should? Highlight the ones that are truly your own goals. You may find that these are not as unreachable as you first thought.

Keep in mind that people are different. It is unreasonable to compare yourself to another person because frankly, you aren’t the same. It’s one of the great things about being human, in my opinion. Even someone who is the same by nature can end up completely different though nurture: ask any identical twin.

I will leave you with some food for thought; according to the National Institute of Mental Health, fear of failure can greatly stunt an individual’s potential. It leads to anxiety, stress, and missed opportunities. So, when looking at what someone has accomplished and convincing yourself that you are a failure, remember: you can’t succeed unless you try.

An Ode to the Great Room

By: Hillary Wall

As graduation approaches faster than JUrgo on his Vespa (so I have a couple months), I’ve been thinking a lot about what I am going to miss most about St. Mary’s.What will I reminisce about in ten years time? Will it be the river or the sunsets? Maybe. Will it be walking barefoot to class or the flantastic uniform of a St. Mary’s student? Probably not. There is one place that has always been there. A place where tots are plentiful the morning after a rough night, a place where you can shamelessly develop a real addiction to cookies and a place where it’s okay to walk out with a spoon and a to-go cup full of mashed potatoes. That magical place, my friends, is the Great Room.

People are always quick to dismiss the Great Room, blaming a “bad main-line” and no good options. And believe me, I have been right there with you. Though, after a semester of really bad meals, I began to realize that this was not the fault of the Great Room, but my inability create good meals. I decided that I would become good at Great Room, a master of Great Room, if you will. I developed a new way of looking at the Great Room, which came with a side of love and affection for the Great Room. Hopefully through this column, I will be able to impart some of my wisdom on you, so you too can master the art of Great Rooming.
1. The Great Room is also a verb.
Like the good honors college student that you are, you’re probably thinking, “good at Great Room? That sentence is grammatically incorrect! Why should I take Great Room advice from someone who doesn’t even use correct grammar?!” In any other context you’d be correct, but not this one. The most important part of mastering the Great Room is the understanding that it is an action that you can master. Great Room-ing is a skill. You can be good at Great Room or you can be bad at Great Room, but you first must accept that you CAN Great Room. After you have accepted this premise, you can then begin mastering the art of Great Room.
2. Brunch So Hard
The best place to begin your training is brunch; in order to be good at Great Room you must be good at Brunch. From now on you must vow to always brunch hard with heaps of tots and always do your best in creating the best breakfast sandwich/waffle and ice cream combination at every Brunch. Now I could write an entire novel on the beautifully delicious union of breakfast and lunch, but instead I shall quote one of the best poets of our time, Kanye West: “Brunch so hard, that [tot] cray”. The most important thing to learn is how to create YOUR own personal breakfast sandwich. Like fingerprints, breakfast sandwiches are unique to the creator. This journey of discovery is one you must do alone to truly create a breakfast sandwich that reflects you. This discussion of breakfast sandwiches leads me to my next piece of advice.
3. You can never go wrong with a sandwich
With a plethora of bread choices from bagels to ciabatta rolls and the fact that the sandwich line has been on fire lately, your options for sandwiches are practically endless. You can never go wrong with a sandwich. That piece of advice goes beyond the Great Room. It is important though that you think outside the to-go box. Don’t just limit your sandwich ingredients to just the sandwich bar. Add cranberries to your turkey sandwich, put sliced cucumbers on your tuna. You also have the option of making a salad and putting it into a wrap.
In this section I would take the time to ask each of you reading to take a personal moment of silence in memoriam of the panini presses that we lost to the fire code recently.
Those scrumptious toasties that you graced us with will never be forgotten.
Okay, moving on. After becoming awesome at sandwich making you will begin to see the Great Room differently.
4. Stop looking at the options as options, but as ingredients:
Granola + craisins + chocolate chips = trail mix.
Ice Cream + Coke = Coke Float
This leads me to my next point.
5. See opportunity in new additions and changes
Look for opportunity in every new addition to the Great Room. Take for example, addition of the celery to the salad bar. Now I was confused at first, why they would add sliced veggies to a line already devoted to vegetables. Though, with this addition, an awesome opportunity presented itself. Not because I like to eat like supermodel Gisele Bündchen (though I do look remarkably like her), but because celery is a staple to my favorite snack: Ants on a Log. Now for those of us who blacked out from pre-school to 4th grade, Ants on a Log consists of cut celery with peanut butter smeared into the well with raisins put on top; all of these ingredients are there for us in the Great Room. Or if Ants on a Log isn’t your thing, the addition of the hot chocolate machine also meant the addition of the mocha. Half hot chocolate (2/3 if you’re me) and half coffee. Try it. It’s delicious.
With these tips, dear reader, you are well on your way to become a Great Room master. I hope to see you around the Great Room, with an exquisite breakfast sandwich in hand.

From the Chief's Desk: Stress Less This Spring

During my years as a college student, I have seen and met all kinds of people – but the one thing I can safely say we all have in common is the unwelcome presence of stress hanging over our heads.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, stress is defined as the brain’s response to any demand – but that doesn’t seem to cover it, does it? To me, stress is the ten ton elephant in the room that seems to always travel in the company of its cousins, anxiety and panic.

Physiologically speaking, stress is a good thing. It keeps us moving, keeps us working – but an excess of it is what results in those rip your hair out moments we all seem to experience come finals time. And so, as we enter a new semester, I have decided to give you all some unsolicited advice to deal with the elephant and its cousins.

My first tip I am stealing from Douglas Adams’ book, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. That nugget of advice is this: Don’t Panic. Panic is the result of stressing about stressing, and it is counterproductive in that while panicking, that deadline that you are dreading is still approaching, so take a breath. It’s not the end of the world (although if you’ve read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, it kind of was).

My second piece of advice is Get Ahead, then Plan Ahead. Getting ahead in work while you can is always a good idea, however do not expect to stay ahead – as many of us know, the semester seems to speed up around midterms and sometimes assignments may come in the form of curveballs. So have a plan. Buy a planner in the campus store or make one on your laptop, scheduling when and for how long you will work on assignments. Have a calendar in your room with assignment deadlines color coded to indicate importance. Make sure to do lists every week. That way, when you can no longer be ahead, you have a plan to make sure you don’t get behind.

My next nugget of knowledge is something most people forget when facing a stressful event because it seems counterintuitive – but it is important: Schedule Time for Fun. According to a plethora of studies conducted on undergraduates, taking breaks while studying has been found to improve memory and reduce anxiety – and I can tell you from experience that spending fifteen minutes every two hours of studying to play Sims or jog will make a huge difference, if not in grades than in your sanity.

Fourth (and this one is important) – dont procrastinate in the beginning of the semester because you think you can “catch up” later. You can’t and you won’t. We all know Facebook, Reddit, Pintrest, Twitter, Tumblr and social websites of the like are the Bermuda Triangle when trying to get work done. To help avoid temptation, consider using productivity applications such as SelfControl or Cold Turkey that block your access to these websites for a period of time. I think having Facebook on a Blacklist for a day is healthy once in a while.

Finally, I would like to remind everyone of the importance of sleep. Young adults ages 18-20 need 8 hours of sleep to function at their peak, and sleep is incredibly important for your physical and mental health. The more sleep you get, the more you will retain, the less you will need to cram before that 8 a.m. exam.

If my advice helps at least one of you de-stress, then I can say I’ve done my job. Happy spring semester everyone.

'Women's Movements, Feminism and Islam in Turkey: From the Ottoman Empire to the Present'

On Oct. 25, Dr. Ayfer Karakaya-Stump visited the College and presented her research on women’s movements in Turkey before a crowd of students in the Blackistone lecture room in Anne Arundel. The lecture consisted of her findings on feminism in an Islamic context and covered Turkish women’s activism from the reform movements of the late Ottoman Empire through the early Republican era.

Karakaya-Stump began the lecture with an overview of the diverse feminist movements in Turkey as they progressed over the last century. According to Karakaya-Stump, feminism has been an issue of debate since the early 19th century.

“My goal is to show you that Turkish feminism has strong roots and that it is still vibrant today in 2012,” Karakaya-Stump said. “My assertion of the indigenous roots of Turkish feminism is grounded in the assumption that the potential for feminist consciousness is always present in any society, arising from innate discrepancies in the constructive categories of gender and the internal tension that exists within any given gender system.”

She went on to define feminism as any movement that seeks change in the existing gender roles with the ultimate goal of empowering women. She stated that women’s issues have historically been a battlefield for modernizers and conservatives, and have been viewed as intertwined with discourse on national progress, public veiling and most recently, on abortion and women’s reproductive rights.

Interestingly, the initial feminist discussion in Turkey was conducted by men, however after some time, women joined in.

“What made [women’s involvement] possible was the emergence of women’s press,” Karakaya-Stump added. “For the first time in the second half of the 19th century there appeared periodicals that were specifically for women and that also included women authors. In general the women’s discourse was very similar to the discourse of the reformists, with issues of progress and education. The empire had to progress along western lines in order to be able to compete with the west, and women too had to progress, to help the nation. Education, of course, was the main demand.”

The lecture continued with an examination of various Turkish Feminist journals and writers, as well as the different waves of feminism that affected this area.

Karakaya-Stump concluded with an examination of the debates over wearing a headscarf publically, calling it an example of the “personal” becoming “political.” The issue has become increasingly controversial in present day Turkey.

Overall, the lecture was well received by the students and staff in attendance.

“Learning about the modern day feminist climate in Turkey was extremely interesting,” said junior Leila Kurman. “I especially liked learning about the headscarf debate that is currently occurring there.”