Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Back to SMC, and Upcoming Events on Campus.

Hey Folks!

Over the recent Thanksgiving break, I got to go home for the first time this semester to visit with my family in Rome, NY, where, for a few days, our extended family and grandparents descended on the house for holiday festivities and movies and such. It was a refreshing weekend, but Sunday night I made the trek back to school and am settling in for finals week. Lucky for me, I have sit-down finals in all five of my classes, so it'll be a busy next few weeks (heh heh... heh).
Anyway, besides the end-of-the-semester stress and business, we have some really cool events coming up on campus! Two of which are being put on by your friendly, neighborhood Saint Michael's College organization for LGBT (queer), allied and intersecting issues, social justice and activism: Common Ground.

The first event is a Transgender Day of Remembrance, which will be held this Thursday at 6.30 after the Common Ground meeting (which meets at 5.45). This is in honor of November being Trans* awareness month, and it will be a small ceremony, including candle lighting, readings, sharing, and reflection. Given the timing in the semester, and having recently celebrated Thanksgiving, I think the timing of this event is very appropriate. Even though we all have lots of stress at this time of year, it's important to remember those who have faced a great deal of hardship and challenges, and be humbled by our own good fortune. The location will be either the Center for Women and Gender or the Chapel, and we will walk there from the regularly scheduled Common Ground meeting.

The second event we're hosting is a guest speaker by the name of Chloe Schwenke, who is a USAID senior advisor appointed by Obama, as well as a self-identified transgender woman. Her areas of expertise are Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance, as well as LGBT policy, and she has worked largely in Kenya and South Africa, as well as one year as a Fullbright professor in Uganda. The event will be held in McCarthy at 5pm on Wednesday, December 5th, and due to her areas of interest, will likely entail lively discussion and learning! It's also free and open to the public.

So it will be a busy and interesting end to the semester! And definitely swing by these events if you can!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Macklemore and Early Season Skiing

Hey folks! I apologize for the wait; unfortunately this time of year is pretty busy :p

Me and the Bro!
As I mentioned quickly in my last update, I got to see rapper Macklemore perform at Higher Ground this past friday with some friends and my younger brother! When we got there, the line was LONG, and some friends of ours who got there really early (and were at the front of the line) got hugged and served hot chocolate by Macklemore! It was a cold night, and that just goes to show how cool he is.

Saturday morning, my little brother and two friends of mine got up early to drive down to Killington to catch some early season snow. It was mostly man made, but they know how to make snow down there! Stowe was also open, and from what I know Smuggler's Notch had lifts running this week! Tis the season to be skiing ;)

Killington killin it with the snow!

The rest of the semester looks pretty busy, hopefully with some time to ski, though! Got my fingers crossed and snow-dances coreographed; all I can do now is hope for some sweet precipitation!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Look out for a post soon!

Due to tests and papers, etc. I won't be able to post tonight, but look for a post on my weekend skiing and going to see macklemore coming soon!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Wilderness First Aid and Fake Blood.

Hello Everyone!
As a part if the Instructor Training Program for the Wilderness Program (WP) in which Boates and I (and a bunch of our other friends) are currently involved, we participated in a two-day intensive Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course this past Saturday and Sunday. Both days, the course ran roughly 8-5, and it took place on-campus.
This is a perfect example of one of many perks associated with being a WP instructor at SMC. Because of our affiliation with the program, this training was subsidized for instructors. That being said, a lot of stuff is subsidized for all SMC students through the WP, including this training (although at a different amount). A most famous example of the WP's awesomeness is the very inexpensive Smugg's Pass that's available to all undergrads, but every trip the WP offers to SMC students is at a significantly lower price than it would be if you were to pay for it and organize it on your own (like climbing in Acadia! and check Boates' post! there's a sweet vid). Besides, you get to chill with instructors, other students, and sometimes professors when you go on WP trips, which is super chill :D
This training, though, consisted of mostly potential instructors, as well as some others who found the program through SOLO, the group that administers the training. On Saturday, we did a combination of classroom time and on-hands practice in "the field" (the quad). The first day was mostly remembering to check vitals, isolate the patient from their environments, and learning how to move people if necessary. It was very informative and we had a lot of fun (besides, the weather was AWESOME this weekend). The second day was some more classroom time, but a little more gnarly this time around. We got to use splints, fake bruises and fake blood. Needless to say, that was considerably more enjoyable, and I regret to inform you that, in the midst of the WFA fake-blood merriment, I neglected to take gorey pictures of both myself and Boates.
*crowd moans*
Now, now; all is not lost! For luckily I have this picture of Boates with a sharpie monocle.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Going to a Catholic College.

From the Saint Michael's College website.
Saint Mike's is a Catholic college (hence the name, you know). For me personally, when I was looking at colleges, that wasn't something I took into consideration. I tell people all the time that I was drawn to SMC because of the location and the ridiculous access we have to outdoor stuff (like Wilderness and the Smugg's Pass), and that I decided to attend because of the professors and small-college atmosphere. But in a lot of ways, the Edmundite and Catholic affiliations of the college have enhanced my experience even though I entered college as a non-practicing Catholic.
One such way is through service, which is a huge part of the Edmundite tradition. On campus, we have the Mobilizaion of Volunteer Efforts (MOVE) program; which, if you've ever been on a tour or are familiar with the college at all, you probably know is one of the college's biggest programs. And there are so many students involved with MOVE that it's a commonly cited activity for students (by graduation, nearly 70% of Saint Mike's students will have participated in a MOVE program in some capacity). This semester I began working with International Outreach, which is a mentoring program (run by students) for international youth from Winooski, and that's been a really positive experience. I'm also going on an extended service trip during spring break to Hope House in Long Island, which a friend of mine went on last year, so I'm really looking forward to it!
Another way the Catholic tradition at Saint Mike's has enhanced my experience personally was the LEAP retreat, and this is another program that almost every participant will recommend. I went on LEAP this past weekend, and for reasons of confidentiality, I won't share much about what was talked about or what happened (gotta keep it a surprise!). But basically, its three days of talks and reflection about topics like self awareness, faith and community, and it's geared towards college students. Also, you don't have to be Catholic to attend, and a lot of participants aren't.
Besides these experiences I've had, there's also a group called VITA, which is a peer ministry group, and I'm sure many other things that I'm not even aware of. So if you want to be involved in the church or campus ministry, you can be. But it's also possible to not do any of these things if you choose not to. Basically, there's the opportunity if you want to be involved, and no pressure if you don't want it!
Thanks for reading!