Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hope House Throwback.

Just over a week ago I got back from a service trip to Hope House, Long Island, which I talked about here. Tonight was the welcome-back dinner, and during the slide show a video of mine (above) was featured with other photos and videos from the trip; which reminded me that I want to share it here :p again, thanks to Hope House, MOVE and my fellow trip participants!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Incentivized Extra-Curricular Activities and Weekend Nights.

At Saint Mike's there's a lot of learning that goes on outside the classroom. It's not uncommon for professors to assign events as a part of class or for extra credit, and more often than not it's for good reason (you know, like learning and stuff). But seriously, if a professor is encouraging you to go to an event, it means they think you'll find it interesting or useful, and they're worth going to.

Dr. Mullins in Cheray 111.
On Friday, the Tri-Beta Honor Society (science honor society) hosted  Dr. Mullins, an expert on immunology, to talk about his work on melanoma. It was assigned for extra credit for my bio class, and who says no to extra credit (answer: I don't)? So I went, and it was well worth the time. He shared with us about his research, which is geared towards re-training the immune system to fight cancer (melanoma) in the same way it does a cold or other virus, and discussed why we're not already capable of doing this. Definitely interesting, if not a little over my head :p (but heck yes, extra credit!)

Mmm, pizza ;)
After that, the weekend began. Friday night some friends and I went downtown for food, ice cream and ear piercings, at American Flatbread, Ben and Jerry's and Yankee Tattoo. We also checked out Tradewinds, which is an artsy shop that your mom would love (and they sell lots of cool earring and other jewelry). I got some dark green stones for my ear lobes cause green is irrefutably the best color ever.

Then, since it snowed so much this week, we decided to go skiing on Saturday at Smuggler's Notch. The conditions were great, and I'm pretty sure all the trails were open. If nothing else, Doc Dempsey's was open, so it was automatically a shred-alicious (awesome) day of skiing.

As for now, there are just a few days left til the Easter long weekend, for which I am going home and sleeping extensively. Can't wait to see my dog Marcy!

Marcy says thanks for reading ;)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Extended Service Trip to Hope House Ministries.

Hey all!

This past Saturday I got back from a MOVE extended service trip down to Long Island, New York, where five other Saint Mike's students and I got to spend time volunteering and learning about Hope House Ministries. In a few words, the mission of Hope House is to aid the marginalized and the poor (the full mission can be found here), and we got to participate in a few of the organizations services, as well as live and interact with the men living in the community house. The community house is a place where people, primarily young men, come to grow and develop or get back on their feet, many of whom have had problems with addiction. Essentially, the community house serves the need of the community, and over the last decade or so, there's been a need for effective programming to assist young people who are struggling with addiction and other associated problems. Spending time there was really powerful for me; the guys in the house were so open and welcoming, and as a group we got to hear their stories, partake in healthy debate and discussion, and learn how to play dominos and various card games (the Hope House guys can take ANYONE in spades).

Some lively debate in the park.
We also got to volunteer at the Montfort Academy, which is similar to the Hope House model, but for a teenage demographic. I only spent a little time there, but mostly we just hung out with the kids, watched movies, or played basketball (well, Alan, another guy on the trip, played basketball, and we watched). It was inspiring to meet some of these kids and to hear some of their struggles, and to see the opportunities that going to Montfort might help them pursue.

Finally, we also volunteered at Pax Christi, which is a short-term living situation for people who are critically homeless and need a place to recuperate in order to find new housing. Here, we mostly helped with maintenance and making dinner, but I also had the opportunity to sit in on advocacy consultations for people who were in need of a more permanent residence. Having seen this makes college housing seem like pie, since we all know we're guaranteed to live somewhere. Not everyone is as lucky.

All in all, it was a really positive experience, and it all culminated in a group reflection we had with the guys at the community house on the last day. Basically, we opened discussion for everyone to share their experiences and thoughts on having us there, and it was pretty clear to everyone that this week had an impact on all of us. It was humbling to hear how much they enjoyed our presence, and I was pretty honored at what some of the guys shared with us.

If I could take away one thing from this week, it's probably that none of us are better than addiction, and it's impressive that these men are strong enough to cope with it. I was astounded at how powerful some of the stories were, and blown away at how far some of these guys had come from their previous struggles. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to spend my spring break at Hope House, and for that I can't thank them enough.

Thanks for reading! And if you want to learn more about Hope House's mission, or if you want to get involved, definitely check out their website.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

From Long Island

Hey y'all!

Quick update: on Long Island for the MOVE service trip I mentioned earlier. Don't and won't have much time to post this week (currently on my phone), so look forward to an update this coming weekend or next week!


Monday, March 4, 2013

Allison Bechdel at SMC and Mardi Gras in Burlington

Hey all!

Last week was an eventful one on campus, since the Center for Women and Gender hosted  author Allison Bechdel to speak on her writing process, and work in general. Bechdel is an award-winning lesbian cartoonist, and her work is mostly memoirs and other queer-themed topics. The presentation was funny, informative, and included some highlights from upcoming work. You should check out some of her books if you're interested! I know there are some in the library and a few in the CWG as well (minus one, which is sitting on my desk).

Also, Burlington hosted it's annual Mardi Gras festival and parade downtown this past weekend! Yes, it is a few weeks after the fact, and I'm not totally sure why, but I've heard that the town has it later so it's a little bit warmer for the tourists. Not entirely sure if this is true or not, but hey, why not? It was a great time! Check out some pics:

Some of the crowd... in a tree

Austin Powers? Seems legit.

It was a great weekend! And it's crazy to think there's only this week of classes until spring break... weird.

Thanks for reading!