2010 World Carnival Presents Quidditch, Nerf Wars

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Photo by Brendan O’HaraPhoto by Brendan O’HaraPhoto by Brendan O’HaraPhoto by Brendan O’HaraPhoto by Brendan O’Hara

As one of the College’s annual traditions, World Carnival almost always manages to draw a large crowd of students and surrounding St. Mary’s County citizens to the Admissions Field in order to partake in all of its spring festivities.

This year, World Carnival can be chalked up as a great success, due to the perfect weather, the great number of activities that were planned, and the addition of some very popular and new events. While the choice of musical guests left various students with mixed feelings, the inflatable (and deceptively difficult) blow-up course achieved a relatively good turnout.

On Saturday, the various booths from the different St. Mary’s clubs and sports were advertising henna tattoos, free tie dying, cotton candy, chia pets, t-shirts commemorating the seven wonders of St. Mary’s, and a bucking barrel, among others. Outside vendors also included Maggie Moo’s ice cream, a lemonade stand, and other booths selling clothing, baskets, and more.

“Knowing all of the work that went in behind the scenes, I think the event went extremely well,” said sophomore Anna Danz, who was Vendors Chair of the World Carnival Committee. “The fact that we as committee members could enjoy it as well speaks to how well it was organized and the overall quality of the events.”

Within the tent several performances took place throughout the day on Saturday, as well as the night beforehand. The bands that performed included Donora, The Cool Kids, Black Coffee Experience, and Slyfoxed, with other performances being presented by Interchorus, a dance group from College Park, and Take One! Improv.

Possibly the most talked about events, though, were the new additions of the Nerf Gun wars and the Quidditch matches. The former event kicked off around 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Many students could even be seen running around Admissions Field, still playing, after the game had finished.

The Quidditch matches, on the other hand, started at 3:15 p.m. and lasted for a few hours. “We were thinking of cool events that St. Mary’s kids would enjoy,” said sophomore Thao Corcoran, the co-chair for Publicity and the Friday night events of the carnival. “And Quidditch is that cool event.” The matches produced a large crowd around the part of the field closest to Schaefer Hall, while various players dressed in costumes (and sometimes painted all over with body paint) ran around on broomsticks trying to win the game for their team.

“Quidditch was insane,” said Danz, “but in a good way. I mean, who doesn’t love unleashing their inner Harry Potter?” She also said that Quidditch will most likely make a comeback at next year’s World Carnival, but with a few changes to the rules.

Overall, this year’s World Carnival provided many of the students and locals around St. Mary’s County with a fun day in the sun during one of St. Mary’s College’s biggest annual traditions. “World Carnival was a great success this year,” said junior Jamie Phillips, the Volunteer co-chair of the carnival. “We had lots of great clubs and activities, and people seemed to really like the Quidditch and the musical acts.”

Students Gather for Food-centered Fun at Writer’s Harvest

Despite the rain and blasting winds, several students and professors trekked to the Boyden Gallery on Thursday, Nov. 12 to listen to tips from Food & Water Watch for organizing grassroots campaigns. The session was part of a food-themed night, followed by the Writer’s Harvest.

Food & Water Watch (F&WW) is a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. that works to ensure clean water and safe food both nationally and internationally.

The organization works on both grassroots and policy-making levels to achieve its goals, and Erica Schuetz ’07, a communications assistant for F&WW, came to campus to provide information about grassroots organizing.

Schuetz focused on Take Back the Tap, the national campaign to remove bottled water, in which many college students, including St. Mary’s students, are active. But, she also discussed a campaign urging Congress to enable public schools to opt to buy milk without artificial hormones.

Schuetz described a “power map” as one possible tool for grassroots organizing here at the College.

Power maps look at the main figures who are able to implement change but who are generally directly unapproachable due to the level of the office they hold, for example, the president of a college.

The maps then visually represent which people can influence the main figure, which people can influence the people who can influence the main figure, and so on.

The map allows an organization to focus its resources instead of simply casting a wide net of influence and hoping to create change. “You have to be realistic,” Schuetz said, “but also really ambitious.”

Schuetz also outlined the nature of internships at F&WW.  While experience with food and water issues “is a plus,” Schuetz said that experience with organizing for other causes also helps.

Sophomore Johanna Galat, also the treasurer for the Student Enviromental Action Coalition (SEAC), found the information useful in terms of grassroots organizing, and said that the idea of using power maps for future SEAC campaigns intrigued her. She found the overall topic especially interesting as well.

“I just think food justice is really interesting and deeply connected to me in what I eat as well as being connected to the world,” she said.

Professor Jennifer Cognard-Black, who organized the session as well as the Writer’s Harvest, was happy with the turnout.

“I’m pleased that the people who came to the Food & Water Watch session were willing to brace the rain to discuss such vital issues as clean water and healthy, renewable food sources,” she said.

“It seems as though there are a number of students on campus who want to fight against the detrimental environmental impact of bottled water and who wish to work on issues of finding more sustainable ways to produce and disseminate food—and that’s wonderful.”

The Food & Water Watch session was followed by The Writer’s Harvest in Daugherty Palmer Commons. The Writer’s Harvest consisted of several students reading their food-related work and serving home cooked dishes.

Cognard-Black began the event by discussing her trip to India, where what she noticed most about food “was its simultaneous abundance and scarcity.” She was struck by being in “that poisoned position of being one of the haves in a world of have-nots.”

Cognard-Black was followed by her daughter, Katharine Cognard-Black, who read a story of her own. Hollin Roberts, Rose Akca, Kristen Marshall, Amelia Adams, Jess O’Rear, Swati Samak, Anna van Gohren, Katie Mazzocco, Susan Signorelli all read stories centered around food. Megan Kile, the last reader of the night, shared a poem that had everyone in the audience laughing.

“I wrote it in response to the idea that food is this very, very cultured thing,” said Kile. “Food snobbery was frustrating me at that point.”

The theme of the Writer’s Harvest seemed to be the relationship between memories, feelings and food.
Some of the stories were sad, such as Jess O’Rear’s story about chicken cutlets, which told about the loss of her grandmother and how food and memories are deeply intertwined.

“My grandma was my best friend growing up,” O’Rear said. “Food was something that almost defined her. Everything I know about food comes from her, and all of my best memories of food involve my grandma.”

Others, like Amelia Adams’ story, were humorous. Adams set her story at the Maryland Renaissance Festival.“I’ve been going all of my life and I worked there,” Adams said. “It’s always been a part of my life. ”

Veteran and Author Intertwines the Vietnam War’s Dead and Living

Professor Karlin from the College of Southern Maryland spoke of his book, which follows a soldier who feels guilt over his killing of another soldier during the Vietnam War. Karlin’s novel is based on true events. (Photo by Matt Molek)
Professor Karlin from the College of Southern Maryland spoke of his book, which follows a soldier who feels guilt over his killing of another soldier during the Vietnam War. Karlin’s novel is based on true events. (Photo by Matt Molek)

On Monday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day, Vietnam War veteran and postwar writer Wayne Karlin discussed his new book Wandering Souls: Journeys with the Dead and the Living in Viet Nam. The  book is a true story of a soldier’s experiences during and after the war that defined his life and changed those of families at home and abroad. Karlin, professor of the language and literature arts department at the College of Southern Maryland, published Wandering Souls in September.

“I was reluctant to write, to tell you the truth, at first,” said Karlin about the book.  “After the events that took place, I felt compelled to do it.”

The novel tells the story of American Lieutenant Homer Steedley, Jr., who killed Vietnamese Sergeant-Medic Hoang Ngoc-Dam in a chance crossing during the Vietnam War on the trails of the Pleiku Province, in what is now central Vietnam.

“When Homer talked to me about this, it seemed like his story was the story for all of us,” said Karlin, addressing the war veterans in the audience of community members, St. Mary’s students, and students of Karlin’s from CSM.  “It is a story never finished, and one needed to be told, to find peace for all of us.”

Karlin began with a presentation of the two soldiers as being very similar in their paths of life.  Steedley grew up the son of generations of war veterans in Bamberg, South Carolina.  Very poor, he learned things by necessity, from fishing to farming to even woodwork.  Similarly, Dam grew up in the rice paddy fields of traditional Vietnam, the son of a Vietnamese guerrilla soldier during the French occupation that ended in 1945.

During the presentation, Karlin referenced Wandering Souls to explain the story behind the meeting of Steedley and Dam on March 16, 1969, and Steedley’s collection of Dam’s personal belongings, including a diary, which would remain in his home 36 years after his service.

“Now to see not only the face of the man he’d killed, but also the carefully re-bound covers…confronted Homer with a mirrored and valuable humanity,” Karlin read.  “He tried not to think about it.”

Following Dam’s death, Steedley sent his belongings to his mother’s home in South Carolina and continued his service as a Company Commander.  He returned home in 1975 with ear tinnitus and terrible memories that led to a period of drug abuse and adrenaline-seeking, indicators of post-traumatic stress disorder.  He entered the field of computer science as a technician, and through it met his future wife, Elizabeth “Tibby” Dozier, in 1991.

Years later, Steedley’s mother found Dam’s diary and belongings from the war, which marked the beginning of Steedley’s journey to find Dam’s family in Vietnam.  After contacting several writers, Karlin was eventually reached.  “I didn’t think I could do it,” said Karlin.  But, using Dam’s birth certificate, which gave his full name and hometown, they were able to find the Hoang family.

Karlin made the journey to Dam’s family in 2005, returning Dam’s belongings in what became an unexpected procession of members of the community who had also lost family members in the war.

“[The Vietnamese believe that] people in this life need to be buried in the home soil,” said Karlin.  “Everyone must go back to their origin to be buried.”  To the townspeople, the trip represented not just Dam returning home, but all of the missing soldiers from the war.

Steedley joined Karlin in a trip in 2008 to meet Dam’s family, and to offer his apologies for killing Dam and the tragedies of the war itself.  “[Dam’s brother] told me ‘we are not angry with this American,’” said Karlin.  The family was proud that the man who had killed Dam now praised him for his bravery.

Karlin concluded his presentation with a description a of a trip he, Steedley, and Dam’s family made to a cemetery where Dam’s body could possibly be found.  They found Dam among the graves, and conducted a funeral to return his body into the soil in the Vietnamese tradition.  Steedley served as a pallbearer, and he and Karlin assisted in Dam’s burial.
“We were burying the war,” said Karlin.  “I am grateful to have had the experience of doing so.”

Karlin also focused on  how often soldiers feel alone in their inability to communicate to others the atrocities they experienced.

“When you come back to the States, you don’t talk about the war,” said Karlin.  “People didn’t want to hear the stories,” the experiences of the soldiers that made them seem far different from the way they were when they left.

“He puts a lot of soul into his writing,” said Sarah Landmann, a former student of Karlin’s from CSM.  “He makes the rest of us tear up too.”

Michael Cain, political science professor and director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, introduced Wayne Karlin before his presentation, sponsored by the VOICES Reading Series and the Center for the Study of Democracy and as part of the Asian Symposium on Democracy, Rights, and Development.

“[This book] really brings home the cost of war,” he said.  “[Karlin] presented in a way that made the war feel less abstract, and more real.”

Choirs, Brass Ensemble Play to Full House

On Friday, Nov. 13, St. Mary’s Jazz Combo, conducted by Don Stapleson, performed in Montgomery Hall. The ensemble performed with special guest Sandy Mahoney. They performed music by Johnny Mercer, Chuck Mangione, and Chick Corea. (Photo By Matt Molek)
On Friday, Nov. 13, St. Mary’s Jazz Combo, conducted by Don Stapleson, performed in Montgomery Hall. The ensemble performed with special guest Sandy Mahoney. They performed music by Johnny Mercer, Chuck Mangione, and Chick Corea. (Photo By Matt Molek)

The voices of St. Mary’s College Chamber Singers echoed through the recital hall in Montgomery Hall to start off the Choir and Brass Ensemble Concert on Friday, Nov. 6. Many students, families and locals attended either the 4:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. performances.

The concert consisted of the St. Mary’s College Chamber Singers, the St. Mary’s College Choir and the St. Mary’s Brass Ensemble.

The recital hall did not accommodate the entire audience. Many fans listened from outside in the hallway during the 8:00 p.m. performance.

“The whole room was full, and the doors and hallway in back were all full of eager people who wanted to hear everyone singing, which was great,” said first-year Ryan Thompson, a member of the choir.

First-year Megan O’Hern enjoyed the College Chamber Singers’ opening performance of “O Magnum Mysterium” by Tomas Luis de Victoria. “I love it when they sing it forte,” she said. “It’s so powerful.”

The Chamber Choir also performed Morten Lauridsen’s rendition of “O Magnum Mysterium,” followed by “Ave Maria,” by Josquin Desprez and Anton Bruckner.

The lively beat of “Elijah Rock” by Moses Hogan pleased the crowd immensely,  said Thompson. The final song sung by the Chamber Choir was “The Battle of Jericho,” also arranged by Moses Hogan. After intermission, the Choir and the Brass Ensemble came on stage to perform John Rutter’s “Gloria.”

Combining the Choir and the Brass Ensemble enhanced their sound, reverberating it throughout the recital hall. Larry Vote, the choir’s conductor, was satisfied with the choir’s performance. He said that the Choir and Brass Ensemble “came together naturally.

“I’m very pleased; [the] students showed great focus and energy,” he said.

The St. Mary’s College of Maryland Choir, Chamber Singers, and Orchestra will perform Handel’s “Messiah” on Dec. 6 at 4:00 p.m. at the Immaculate Heart of Mary’s Church located in Lexington Park.

Food Not Bombs Co-Founder Speaks at St. Mary’s

Students pick up materials offered by Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry and give donations. (Photo by Rowan Copley)
Students pick up materials offered by Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry and give donations. (Photo by Rowan Copley)

On Friday, April 17, the co-founder of Food Not Bombs, Keith McHenry, gave a lecture on food and social justice.  The lecture was hosted by the Global Justice League.

Earlier that day, in the spirit of Food Not Bombs, the club handed out bagels that they retrieved while dumpster diving.

Food Not Bombs is an all-volunteer organization that works towards nonviolent social change.  Groups take food that would otherwise be thrown out and use it to make vegetarian and vegan dishes that are then served in public areas.  The organization also serves food at protests.

During his lecture, McHenry described how Food Not Bombs was started in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1980.  McHenry and his friends started having bake sales to raise money for their causes, one time dressing up in military uniforms (they claimed that they were selling baked goods to raise money to buy a B1 bomber) and another time dressing as hobos to serve soup.

They eventually started serving meals to protestors and Food Not Bombs was born. It had become an active organization in Cambridge by the time McHenry moved to San Francisco, where he started the second chapter of Food Not Bombs.

In San Francisco, McHenry began serving food to the homeless in Golden Gate Park.  “We’re one of the worst countries in the world for homelessness,” McHenry said.  However, the police tried to shut down the volunteer efforts.  According to “The Story of Food Not Bombs,” on the organization’s website, the San Francisco chapter has been arrested over one thousand times, “in government’s effort to silence its protest against the city’s anti-homeless policies.”

But nothing has stopped the movement.  McHenry credits part of the organization’s success to the fact that each chapter operates independantly.  “It’s totally been a benefit not to have a hierarchy,” he said.  Aside from enabling each local group to operate autonomously, the structure of the organization means that decisions can be made by consensus.   The movement can’t be disrupted because of the loss of a leader, said McHenry, because there is no single leader.  Nobody is looking to someone higher up for answers, so the ideas of Food Not Bombs can be reproduced anywhere in the world.

And they are.  Food Not Bombs has active chapters all over the world, in areas including Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.  Groups work for different causes in different areas, but the principle ideas are the same.  Whether the chapters are serving food in the aftermath of a natural disaster, assisting anti-war efforts or protesting nuclear facilities, Food Not Bombs serves discarded or donated food to the people who need it and works towards social justice.

“The food has always been donated.  It’s food that’s being thrown away,” McHenry said.  Food Not Bombs has continued to be a nonviolent movement, despite the U.S. government’s accusation of terrorism and the arrests of many of the members.

“We’re organizing against these threats to our future and trying to create a future that we want to live in,” McHenry said.

“Keith McHenry is an amazing person,” said sophomore Aaron French. “One of those people who really have a great story to tell, and the audience at the event here really wanted to hear that story…His talk sparked student discussions about non hierarchical organizations, anarchy as a means of social justice, and most importantly of all: food!”

Ally Moore was the student who brought McHenry to campus.  “I started in September,” she said, beginning with emails as soon as school started.  Eventually, she got in contact with McHenry and, “he let me know that he was going to be on the East Coast in mid-April and gave us a time that he would be available.”

The Food Not Bombs lecture was really the Global Justice League’s first involvement with the organization.

“We had done a couple of dumpster diving trips and gone to D.C. to hand out food,” said Moore, “but since we’re in a rural place it’s harder to find food to distribute in a central area like it is in the city.”

The group is looking to practice the Food Not Bombs philosophy.  “If any other group on campus is having a protest, they can let us know and we’ll provide food for them,” Moore said.

Teeing Up for 2011

Professor Alex Meadows plays mini-golf in the library. (Photo by Dave Chase)
Professor Alex Meadows of Team Parlament Mathadelic plays mini-golf in the library. (Photo by Dave Chase)

The library, typically a place of silence and study, was transformed into a 12 hole mini golf course on Friday, April 24th. With holes snaking through reference books, periodicals and even chairs, students and faculty had to demonstrate pro-level putting skills on this challenging par 45.

The fundraiser for the Class of 2011 was spear headed by Class President, Charles Onwuche. Organized last year by the Class of 2009, mini golf in the library is a new tradition at St. Mary’s. One that Class of 2009 President, Kalada Nemieboke, was gracious enough to let the Class of 2011 take over, according to Onwuche and a tradition that he hopes to pass on.

“We had a great turn out,” said Onwuche as he watched the last few groups finish up. Although he did not have a final count, Onwuche felt confident that the fund raiser was a success. The funds will go into the Class of 2011’s general account and will most likely be spent on the class’ Senior Week.

Whether it was on the 1st hole, ‘The Outback,’ located on the patio outside of the library or the final hole, which started at the top of the theater style classroom on the third floor of Baltimore hall, most golfers struggled to keep the ball from rolling too far on the unforgiving library floor. Putting the ball behind the holes, which were often made out of half a solo cup taped to the floor, also presented a challenge.

Not to Pete Karis, Studio Supervisor for the Art & Art History department, who managed a hole-in-one on the 9th hole. Also known as ‘The Magazine Maze,’ this hole featured a small ramp at the end of a row of periodicals on the second floor of the library. “All I could think of was Chevy Chase from [Caddy Shack] saying ‘nahnaanahnaa’,” reflected Karis.

“It was cool, really good times,” he added with enthusiasm, “they should do it every Friday afternoon.”

Mike Snow, Class of 2012, was hesitant at first but warmed up quickly saying, “the first couple of holes were kind of lame but the rest were really cool.” He also commented that he “thought it was a shame more people did not turn out.”

Of those who did show up, Team IPS came in first with the overall lowest score, followed closely by Team Fail in second place and Team Parlament Mathadelic in third.

Dances Show Off Multitude of Different Numbers

The dance numbers included Hip Hop and R&B choreography, lyrical ballets, belly dance, jazz contemporary, a theatrical piece, merengue, and a modern rock piece. (Photos by Rowan Copley)
The dance numbers included Hip Hop and R&B choreography, lyrical ballets, belly dance, jazz contemporary, a theatrical piece, merengue, and a modern rock piece. (Photo by Rowan Copley)

The dance show’s theme, “Born to Dance” was fulfilled as students both in and out of the dance club got the chance to perform and show the college how they like to move it.

Makeyda Hilliard, a senior and president of the dance club, lamented not working more with the school for better performance venues that are good for both the audience and the dancers. The show took place in Somerset Gym in the ARC, an unlikely venue for the event. Previously, the show had taken place in St. Mary’s Hall, where tickets needed to be sold to control the number of people allowed inside.

The secluded entrance to the show had no effect on the jam-packed audiences that the club attracted during each show. In fact, some parents who arrived late and missed their reserved seats left complaining that they were not able to see their children as up close and personal as they would have preferred.

The club made do with the space given to them, though. They put up blinders to the audience in order to allow for backstage privacy for the dancers, in addition to adding brown paper on the windows to keep the show intimate and secluded.

The show was complete with a series of senior spotlights featuring those students who have been dedicated to the dance club here at St. Mary’s for years. Each spotlight featured no more than eight students at a time with their own choreographed pieces. The seven spotlight dances were spread out between the first and second act.

Senior Megan McDonough, who has been performing at the dance show since her freshman year, commented on the variety of dances performed during this semester’s show. “The Saturday show was the best for me, probably because I knew it was my last performance. The crowd was also really good on Saturday and helped all of the dancers stay pumped.”

“When I first came here as a freshman I didn’t even know they had a dance club,” said senior Binwi Ngwa-suh. However, after seeing the spring dance show of 2006, Ngwa-Suh joined the dance club. This semester she performed in over three dances, including a senior spotlight. “I decided to go out dancing,” said Ngwa-Suh.

Senior Micha Benons describes dance as one of the reasons she decided to come to St. Mary’s College of Maryland. When alumni and former dance club executive members Katherina Furrs and Rachel Flurrie told Micha about the dance show, she couldn’t resist.

“I got so excited I came, and I joined the club,” said Benons. “What I’ll miss most is the commitment of the dancers and the fact that nobody who joins is deterred by their own personal dance level. I love that we have no concern about if you’ve danced before or what type of dance you’ve done.”

This year’s dance show featured a special performance done by the Modern I Dance Class.

“Makeyda started the tradition of bringing a non-traditional group into the show,” said Ngwa-Suh. “Last semester it was the step team and they rocked!  This semester it was one of Kelly Mayfield’s classes and they were great. That was a nice added element for the club members; we really liked having another group backstage with us!”

“I thought it was really neat to see students express themselves,” said Frank McGough, a sophomore. “I liked the last dance the best because everyone acted drunk.”

“I think the show was awesome! I am so proud of the dancers and the choreographers,” Hilliard said after the show. “I will miss everything. I can’t even find the words to say what I loved most about being involved in dance club. For me, dance club made my college career awesome!”

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Alumni Get Jazzed Up Again

One evening in the ARC  38 years of music at St. Mary’s came together. On Saturday, Feb. 28, an audience of over 800 was treated to two separate Jazz Ensemble performances: the Jazz Ensemble during the 1970s, whose members came from across the East Coast; alongside current members of the Jazz Ensemble.

Don Stapleson, the current director of the Jazz Ensemble, began the evening by mentioning the Jazz Ensembles’ passion for the “traditional jazz” of Thelonious Monk and Louie Armstrong. The Jazz Ensemble then played four jazz numbers, including a piece called “I Remember Clifford” which Stapleson dedicated to a friend, renaming the song to “I Remember Jeremy.”

Between both Jazz Ensembles’ performances, former St. Mary’s president J. Renwick Jackson spoke about the college. He reiterated several times that “St. Mary’s College is a place of dreams.” Jackson was president of St. Mary’s from 1969-1982, and is now a Reverend at Community Of The Creator Spirit in Brookhaven Hamlet, New York. “We were told it wasn’t possible for a public college to be as good as a private college.”

After Stapleson’s ensemble played, Bob Levy took the stage to direct the ensemble of Alumni. Levy has an interesting directing style – he’ll move forward to signify an increase in intensity, embodying the tempo and intensity of the music as he directs it. Levy’s ensemble performed almost a dozen different jazz numbers, several of them written by members of the ensemble.

Levy was absolutely fundamental in making the school’s music program what it is today. “The magic of tonight is the magic of Levy,” said Maryland Poet Laureate Michael Glaser. “He did it when he was here in the ‘70s and he did it here tonight.”

Jazz musicians from across the East Coast returned to St. Mary’s on February 28 to perform together. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)
Jazz musicians from across the East Coast returned to St. Mary’s on February 28 to perform together. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)

Levy started the Music Department in 1971, directing his first concert in December of that year.

After the show, he spoke of the early years of the music department. “I was captivated by making something from nothing,” to be able to shape its attitudes and philosophy. “It was a joyous time for me.”

“The amazing thing is here’s a guy who’s finishing a PhD and he’s coming to a school with no music program,” said Jack Palmer, a member of the original ensemble.

Levy said he was glad to meet current students. “There’s some talented kids with great potential to blossom.”

The arranger for musician Prince and St. Mary’s alumni, Greg Boyer, directed the ensemble for a song he arranged. When Boyer stepped onstage, he apologized that he didn’t have a speech for his composition, explaining that he would let the music speak for itself.

Students from the current Jazz Ensemble found it exhilarating to meet previous members of the Ensemble one-on-one, including Boyer.

“He came up and talked to me, I almost died,” said Alex Schwalje, a current Jazz Ensemble member. “I, like, worship him. Prince is all about musicians who can play well.”

“I just hope that in 30 or 40 years I can come back and play in the jazz band… and have as much fun as they’re having,” added Nick Hughes, a first-year.

Bob Levy (left) who began the music department in 1971, directs alumni during the Jazz Retrospective.
Bob Levy (left) who began the music department in 1971, directs alumni during the Jazz Retrospective.

Don Mumbert, a member of the local community said meeting the alumni was “great for the younger musicians, so they can see where they can be.”

Most of the audience was composed of members of the community, or family and friends of the musicians. “It’s disappointing that more students didn’t show up,” said Bryan Alexander, a [junior].

“It was so cool to see that this small college could produce this,” said Leroy Pressley.

Returning alumni were also excited to be back at St. Mary’s. Larry Brown, who teaches at Great Mills High School, said that former Jazz Ensemble members were eager to return here. “Some of them haven’t seen each other for 20 years.”

There was a bond between members of the Jazz Ensemble when it first began. “You can see the solidarity of people who used to go here,” said Lauren Scrieber, a senior.

“The college is where this group of people formed a family,” said Terry Alvey. “To come back and do this and be greeted is amazing.”

Polar Bear Splash Leaves Students Cold, Wounded

Students and staff charge into the frigid waters of the St. Mary’s River at this year’s Polar Bear Splash. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)
Students and staff charge into the frigid waters of the St. Mary’s River at this year’s Polar Bear Splash. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)

On Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009, over 150 students and faculty members  participated in St. Mary’s third annual Polar Bear Splash. Over 200 other students and onlookers cheered on their friends as they prepared to make the plunge.

The College’s Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) passed out waivers in order to protect themselves from any liability if injuries should occur before participants in the event were allowed to jump in. The result saw four students hospitalized, and numerous others in need of serious medical attention.

The Polar Bear Splash was started by SEAC in January of 2007 with hopes of raising awareness about global climate change and its effects. Each year since then, the event has attracted a growing number of students as well as media and has been successful. This year, in addition to raising awareness about climate change and green initiatives like the Green Power Referendum, SEAC also raised some green in order to fund their trip to Power Shift 2009, a nation-wide youth meeting in Washington D.C. committed to solving the climate crisis.

“Today is ridiculously windy, but it’s worth it,” senior Marjorie Foley said just moments before she took the plunge. “They’re doing a fundraiser!”
While Foley was being subtle about just how cold it was, even before she ran into the 38 degree water, Patrick Gilbert complained that it was “colder than a witch’s tit” outside. “Everything about it is cold,” he continued, “but we’re raising awareness about Global warming.”

Sustainability fellow, alumna, and participant in past Polar Bear Splashes, Rachel Clement feels that one of the great things about the Polar Bear Splash is that “it gives students an opportunity to make a strong statement to the campus, surrounding community, and the local, regional, and national media that we know and care about stopping climate change, and are willing to jump into a freezing river for the cause.”

“I’ve always wanted to do it,” a soaking senior Kait Gruber remarked just moments after the polar bear splash ended. “We’re really affecting the planet a lot more than we think, and it really is important to raise awareness about global warming.” Seconds after this statement, Kait had to limp away because she discovered the bottom of her feet were severely cut and bleeding profusely.

Countless participants of the splash this year were injured as a result of the oyster shells, rocks, bottle glass and other debris that polluted the sand outside of the new river center. Leading member of SEAC and senior, Shane Hall feels “terrible for all those people who came out to have a fun time showing their commitment to stopping climate change who were injured” especially because of the fact that in previous years the splash has incurred only a few injuries.“Because of how safe the former two splashes were, even for people who refused to wear shoes, we did not anticipate the amount of injuries that occurred.”

“While SEAC repeatedly communicated to the school community that participants should bring a towel and wear shoes, unfortunately many people did not heed this warning,” Hall added. “The other problem is many people interpreted “shoes” to mean flip-flops, which come off easily when you sprint in the water.”

“I was running barefoot – stupid, I know,” recalled sophomore Jamie Phillips about his experience in the polar bear splash a week later,  “but I know people who were wearing shoes that still got cut up from the ankle up.” Phillips was outraged as he was “sent away by the Health Center when [he] requested crutches and a brief check-up.”

Because the local hospital had already opened a case for the other students, the health center did not want to “get involved,” said Phillips. “I had to buy my own medical prescriptions out of pocket,” he laments about the situation.

Even though he was one of the few who actually received medical care, Phillips was unable to walk from Thursday night to Monday evening. As a result, he missed nearly a week of classes, and remains still with a limp, a wound to remember deep within his feet, and a hole in his pocket. Jamie is not alone, however, as many students are still feeling the effects of the Polar Bear Splash of 2009.

“I’m still healing,” Gruber said about her injuries from that day.

“We should have done more,” said  Hall on behalf of SEAC, but he also contended that while greater safety measures are a must, “I’m positive the hardy, dedicated students of St. Mary’s will be ready to splash again next winter.”

However, some students, including Phillips feel as though it we might just be better leaving the splashing to the Polar Bears. Phillips said, “It’s not well-publicized or dynamic enough of an event for me to want to go down and get injured on a cold February day.”

Jafar Not Aladdin’s Only Dark Side

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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