Saturday, February 18, 2012

12 Unofficial/Official Weird/Awesome/Unexpected Things at SMC

I love Saint Mike's! But it's easy for me to say that, since I've been here for almost a year and have had time to soak in all that the college has to offer. Of course I'm talking about things like the $30 Smuggs Pass, the location, the academics; but all this is stuff you can learn on a tour. There's so much more beneath the surface that you can only learn from being a student here or talking to a student that goes here; and that's where I come in. I thought it would be cool to make a list of all the Weird/Awesome/Unexpected things that I've found here, so here goes nothing!

1. Secret Room 
I frequent Durick Library. It's where I get most of my work done, and a great resource (for obvious reasons). But one time, my friend and I were going there to meet for a group project, when we noticed from the outside a room we had never seen before (this was towards the end of last semester). We took a peek through the window, and this room looked NOTHING like the rest of the place; it was older, kind of creepy and looked like it belonged in a Scooby-Doo mansion. Intrigued, we walked inside and slyly made out way over to where the secret room should have been; but being the inexperienced freshmen we were; we hadn't anticipated the door to the room would be locked. Not being able to get inside, we drew the most obvious conclusion; that it was password-protected and most likely contained top-secret FBI material. But to this day we'll never know... 

(Just kidding, no FBI happenings here; but you do need permission and a key to get in, and we hear it contains rare/valuable/important documents and things like that).

2. Professors 
You hear that Professors are awesome at every college you visit, but SMC has its share of exceptional ones. For example, Prof. Delaney, who is currently doing fieldwork in south-east Asia (in fact, I hear the entire Anthropology/Sociology department is fantastic), Prof. Haloj, who speaks fluent Swiss French and dabbles in languages like Breton, and a few my friend Tarah mentioned to me, such as her "awesome Indian professors (Tara Natarajan, Reza Ramazani, Shefali Misra...)," as well as Professors Walsh (economics, who gives Harry Potter problems sets and invented products and kumquats) and Mindich (through his course, Tarah got to meet the 2012 Republican Candidates in NH). SMC Profs for the win!

3. Sex Survey 
Last Spring, SMC's newspaper, The Defender ran an article about Sex and Relationships with a survey of SMC students about sex and related topics. Check out the article here, definitely an interesting read and well-written; plus, it's been the subject of student debate on several occasions since it's been published, both inside the defender and out.

4. Holy Shif
(Disclaimer, this publication has no affiliation with the college) This independent student-run publication has caused a bit of a stir since it's debut at the end of last semester. Under the title, the magazine claims,"The f is silent; you shouldn't be," and its mission is the open discussion of social justice issues and related topics. Anyone on campus is invited to submit work, and I hope to by the end of the semester. For anyone into social justice, activism or the like, Holy Shift is definitely something worth checking out; and if you're not interested in these things, reading this magazine might lead you to be.

5. Dragon Slayer 
In February, during the wikipedia blackout, the SMC Twitter account tweeted that "St. Michael originally founded #smcvt as a training center for dragon slayers. It was converted to a college in 1904. #factswithoutwikipedia." Whether this is true or not... I hope so.

6. Ghosts 
This isn't something I tend to buy into, but a few of my friends do, and it's at least interesting. Apparently, there are certain parts of campus that are haunted by ghosts. The only two I know of are Joyce 4th (J4) floor, which is where I live, and Founder's Hall. Like I said, I'm not into the supernatural, but I have a friend who lives down the hall and claims to hear noises in his single at night that he can't explain, and another who claims he actually saw the J4 ghost walking down the hall. Pretty creepy :p

7. Egg Station at Breakfast 
This just goes to show you how awesome the people are who work in the dining hall. I'm a regular at the Egg Station in the morning, and so is my friend Carlos. We each get the same thing every morning, and at the end of last semester, all I had to do was walk up to the counter and they would start on my order without me saying it (so awesome!). Even better, my friend Carlos got his egg whites so often, that they would start making his order when they saw him walk in the dining hall. 

As an aside, another reason why the people who work in the dining hall rock, is that they're super accommodating.  Some people worry about dietary restrictions when they make their college choice, so this is for you guys! They keep a fridge stocked with vegan/gluten-free products, and are good about labeling things as vegetarian or not. And I've replaced meat with tofu at the stir-fry station so many times. If you need it, they'll get it; seriously!

8. Fair Trade 
This is another awesome fact; SMC recently became the 6th Fair-Trade University in the country! I knew that Vermont was kind of crunchy, but this is outstanding (especially since we did it before UVM). Basically being Fair Trade means that we pledge to use Fair Trade products (which are also organic) as much as we can on campus and in the dining hall (and we already had things like local VT soy milk). Also, this resolution goes hand-in-hand with the social justice crowd on campus. Yay activism!

9. Open Academic Buildings 
You'd expect the library to be a good place to concentrate when you need to get work done, but I was surprised when, during finals week, my friends and I discovered that the classrooms in the academic buildings are open for student use outside of class hours. So far I've only used them to study when we first found them during finals week, and on a few weekends since then, so I don't know the official times when they're open for student access. But they're great for group projects, or if you need lots of whiteboard to work out a calc problem; and there's projectors in the rooms if you need them. Definitely another great resource.

10. Alliot Crush 
Any current SMC student knows what I'm talking about. Online, there's a formspring account called Alliot Crush where students go to post about their crushes, or unnamed someones they saw and found attractive while at Alliot (Alliot is the building where the Green Mountain Dining Room is). It can be entertaining and distracting; posts are often funny, sometimes sweet (sometimes suggestive), and rarely boring. On campus, it's notorious as a go-to website for two-minute study breaks.

11. Crosses 
At least in the freshman quad (Joyce, Lyons, Ryan and Alumni halls), each dorm room has either a crucifix, or the outline of where a crucifix used to be above the doorway. I don't know why some rooms have them and others don't, but I've heard plenty of outrageous and unlikely reasons why people think so; most of them supernatural (like we need more ghosts).

12. Massive DVD Collection 
Finally, one last awesome fact to wrap up this twelve-part list; Durick Library has a MASSIVE movie collection. Favorites of mine are the Scream movies and other horrors. These movies can be a great way to unwind on the weekends, as well as useful (i.e documentaries and foreign-language films). It's basically like Blockbuster on campus; except it's free and still exists.

Twelve things, there you have it! Thanks for reading!

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