2012 Graduation Ceremony to be Held in New Athletic Center Arena

By: Stacey Axler

The senior class will graduate in the new arena of the recently opened Hodson Gym and Fitness Center Building, according to President Ronald Volpe.

“The provost recently invited all the senior officers to talk about and discuss what should be part of the commencement program for this year, and the decision was made to hold commencement in the new arena,” Volpe said.

The president said that the details and logistics of holding the ceremony in the arena are still being worked out.

The administration will be meeting with the student officers of the senior class in the first weeks of the semester to discuss the new location.

The shift in graduation location interests many seniors graduating this year, as it is a change from the traditional method of walking through the pergola and graduating outdoors.

Some seniors would prefer to graduate in the traditional method, because passing through the pergola is a longstanding symbol of completing the journey through Hood College.

“I would prefer to graduate outdoors rather than the new gym,” senior Erin Buchanan said. “One of the first things that I loved about Hood was the traditions.”

“I love the tradition of walking the path that we take for convocation for graduation as well,” Buchanan continued. “I feel that it really commemorates when we entered as first year students, and are now leaving as college graduates. I would never want to lose that.”

Fellow senior Kasey Smith agreed.

“If I graduated in the new gym, I feel that I would be missing out,” she said. “The tradition of graduating on the quad and walking through the pergola is a tradition that holds so much meaning. We walked through it before our first convocation welcoming us to Hood – we should be able to say our farewell to Hood the same way.”

But some seniors are excited about the change in graduation location.

“I would rather graduate in the new gym in case the weather is bad and the ground is muddy and such.,” senior Elizabeth Orrence said. “Plus, it would just be fun to be the first class to graduate in the brand new building.”

Volpe said that he had spoken to a number of students who had expressed opinions about graduating in the athletic center. He said that the new location does not exclude the possibility of walking through the pergola.

Noting that Hood’s graduation has been held in different locations over the years, Volpe called this year’s plan was “an experiment.”

Still, some students feel like the senior class should have had a say in where graduation is held.

“I would want it the traditional way outside,” Doug Raftery, senior and president of Student Government Association, said. “The new gym is great, but I see it more as a place to go for graduation in case it rains. It should be the seniors’ choice in the end.”

 

First-year Seminar Pilot Will Begin Next Year

By Catherine Collins

A pilot program for a writing seminar for incoming freshmen will begin in the fall of 2012.

Provost Katherine Conway-Turner said that she hopes the seminar will “provide an opportunity in the first semester for students to develop habits that will enrich their academic experience.”

The seminar will be an optional class offered in the fall semester for incoming freshmen. Professors will be choosing the topics for the seminar courses, which will be writing-intensive and are intended to improve the overall literacy and writing skills of freshmen.

“I hope students will be better prepared to think/read critically, write effectively, engage in appropriate research, and be intellectually ignited from the beginning of their Hood experience,” Conway-Turner said.

The faculty voted for the seminar pilot at December’s faculty meeting, with 47 for and 24 against. The pilot will be no more than three years. Starting in late January, a faculty committee will be established to oversee the pilot.

Faculty members will teach the freshman seminar either as part of their normal teaching load or as an additional course. If it is additional, there will be a stipend provided to the professor.

The idea of a freshman seminar was introduced last fall as part of a proposed revision of the core curriculum. The initial proposed seminar would have been mandatory for all incoming freshmen.

“There were concerns articulated by the faculty regarding the development and implementation of this as a requirement, so offering it as a pilot allows the faculty to see how it would work before a decision is made to make it a requirement,” Conway-Turner said.

 

Hodson Trust Donates Close to $2 Million

By Stacey Axler

The Hodson Trust, the largest donor to Hood, recently gave the college a gift totaling close to $2 million. The money will be used for scholarships, faculty research, and campus improvements.

“I was very, very delighted and pleased by the gift,” President Ronald Volpe said. “It was very generous of The Hodson Trust to give the college this gift, especially during a time of recession.”

The gift will primarily go to student scholarships and financial aid awards, including the Hodson Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to students.

The money from the Trust will also fund the Hodson Trust Star Scholarship program, which was established four years ago forMarylandveterans who have served in the military inIraqandAfghanistan. This scholarship pays for 100 percent of students’ costs not met by other scholarships or assistance.

Faculty research will also benefit from the  donation. The Hodson gift contributed $200,000 toward research, matching the amount from the previous year.

Additionally, money from the gift will go towards campus improvements, including continued residence hall upgrades and other campus improvements. Currently, the Hood administration hopes to upgrade the sprinkler systems in the residence halls that still need renovations.

The gift from the Hodson Trust also contributed funds to the Hodson Endowed Chair in Nursing.

“The Hodson Trust really supports the college,” Volpe said. “The Trust does not have to donate money, but [it] donates money once a year.  The money is restricted money and goes to where the Trust believes it is most needed.”

The Hodson Trust has awarded the college nearly $72 million since 1936. The administration continues to use this financial support from the Trust to support scholarships, endowed professorships, athletic programs, research grants and internships, and to build and upgrade campus facilities.

The college shows support for the generosity of The Hodson Trust by including the name Hodson in many buildings and facilities, such as the newHodsonFitnessCenterin the new campus athletic center, the Hodson Outdoor Theater, and the Hodson Gallery in the first floor of theTatemArtsCenter.

The trust was settled in 1920 by the family of Col. Clarence Hodson.

“I am so very grateful for the many years of gifts from The Hodson Trust and their continued support,” Volpe said.

 

Film Screening and Lecture to Commemorate Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Catherine Collins

A documentary and guest speaker will commemorate the  birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., on Jan. 31 on Hood’s campus.

A film called “At the River I Stand,” which chronicles the summer of 1968, specifically the sanitation workers’ strike inMemphis,Tenn.and King’s assassination, will be screened at 12:30 p.m. inWhitakerCampusCenter.

“This film fleshes out the story of aMemphissanitation worker and his co-workers and how Dr. King’s resilience and tenacity gave them strength to overturn the debilitating economic structure of their hometown and eventually the South as a whole,” said Dr. Kiran Chadda, director of multicultural affairs and international student programs.

“The Hood community has much to gain from viewing this film,” Chadda said.

“We, too, are a ‘melting pot’ of cultures on campus and must continue to accept everyone for who they are regardless of where they came from or what economic strata they belong to or what traditions they believe in,” she continued.

Later in the afternoon, Dr. Peter Levy, professor of history atYorkCollege, will give a lecture entitled “The Dream Deferred: The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Holy Week Uprising of 1968.”

Levy’s talk, which will take place at 6:30 p.m. inWhitakerCampusCenter, will examine the nation’s reaction to King’s death in 1968, and will focus on specific events inBaltimore.

“So many of us have seen footage of Dr. King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, or the March on Washington in 1963, or the Bloody Sunday March from Salma to Montgomery Alabama in 1965, but not many people are aware of what happened after his death and how ordinary men used his principles and tactics to incite change in major cities,” Chadda said.

She added. that the inclusion of local historical events will make the lecture even more interesting and relevant for students.

“Hatred and violence have not been completely eradicated and have only worsened in the past decade with genocides, terrorism, and hate crimes,” Chadda said. “The present day generation must take a stand against these toxic acts and rally for the good of all, just as Dr. King’s followers did during the days immediately following his death.”

SGA Corner: Fall Accomplishments and Plans for the Spring

SGA came into this school year hoping to create positive change, and we have taken the first step in doing that. Change must come in certain amounts, so from number one to 16, here is what SGA was responsible for during the fall semester.

1. The first item you might notice when you come back from break is our new LED Message Sign in Whitaker. This will showcase upcoming campus-wide organization events and SGA meetings to increase attendance.

2. We developed with the Marketing Department the first-ever SGA webpage and planted the SGA Executive Board faces and committees in the first fall edition of The Blue and Grey.

3. We found out that bike racks will be put on campus that have covers on them in the near future.

4. We had a dining services “Hot Topic” and helped bring back the to-go dinner boxes.

5. We wrote resolutions, or press releases, about Campus Safety blue safety lights and Computer Upgrades through Information Technology. We also urged students to speak up against criminal activity.

6. We had students come to us asking for help within their organizations, alternative spring break trips, and new athletic center fitness center policy and hours. Our Black Student Union came to a Senate meeting and presented challenges to us about tutors and roommate preference forms that we are working on.

7. We were able to tell the students that Price Auditorium had asbestos removed from it on the President’s SGA blog that will continue next semester: hoodcollegesga.wordpress.com.

8. We had a review of the event Policies for Dollars and will look at changes for that next year, especially in the Jeopardy department.

9. CFO Chuck Mann presented the school budget to the students and broke down where and how much of our money is going to certain places on campus.

10. We celebrated President Volpe’s 10-year anniversary as being president of the college.

11. We had two spirit days, which fulfilled our semester goal. One was blue and grey day, the other class color/dink day.

12. We took arguably the boldest stance any SGA at Hood has ever taken, this time on the proposed new core curriculum. We believe that the faculty heard us and implemented only a two-year pilot program of the first-year seminar.

13. We put on the most successful Holiday Dinner in the last four years, with a free giveaway (SGA Blaze cups!) that everyone loved, an ugly sweater contest that produced many hits and likes on our Facebook page, and a video montage in the dining hall.

14. We extended library hours the week before and of finals until 1:30 a.m. We will see how much it was used and also look into if it is worth extending library hours during future semesters.

15. We are going through possibly the largest structural change in SGA history with our senate because we want everyone to be involved.

16. We received confirmation that there will be a student representative on the space utilization committee (which will work on the Gambrill downstairs, house onRosemont Ave.the college purchased, Price Auditorium, etc.) and there will be student involvement in the Director of CARR and Director of Student Success and Outreach searches.

As you can see, there has been a lot accomplished in four months, and many of these are the material things that people see. For next semester, there have been talks about IQ Web, blackboard (which we understand is a big challenge and will be taking it by the horns next semester), co-programming, the game room, and “A Respect This Campus” campaign. Thank you for all of the support, and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, email sga.org@hood.edu.

 

Being a Proactive Young Voter in 2012

By: Lindsay Cogdill

I’ve been following the Republican primaries (as I write, only Iowa and New Hampshire have voted) for the last few weeks and thinking about something interesting: I don’t think I know anyone my age who votes in primaries. Everyone I know has strong political opinions, but few actually get involved in elections.

In 2008, more young people than ever before got involved in the election process. This was largely due to the inspiring rhetoric of our current president and the sharp divides between the Republican and Democratic platforms. But I believe people in my age group often hold back from getting politically involved because they don’t know how, are apathetic, are cynical about politics in general, or they believe their votes don’t count.

The election of 2008 proved the power of our generation to make our voices heard. This year is also an election year, and I hope that we can muster up enough courage and good sense to do so again! The advice I’m giving is largely applicable to any young person, regardless of your political affiliation.

First: know the candidates. Many people, not just those in the younger age group, make the mistake of building their ideas of the candidates on nothing more than sound bytes. If you find yourself listening to a news broadcast and thinking, “I didn’t know Mitt Romney was from Massachusetts,” or “Who the heck is Jon Huntsman?”, you should do some research.  Look up a list of everyone who’s running and then Google them to find out where they’re from, what they’ve done before, and where they stand on all of the current issues.

Second: identify your own most important issues. Many people get confused in primary races about the candidates’ positions on issues. Make it easier on yourself – identify three or four top issues hat are most important to you, and go from there.  There are a million fine distinctions within those things, but it’s a starting point, not a basis for my decision. After you identify the candidates who qualify for your vote based on your top three, you can take a closer look at their broader platforms and figure out which one fits your position most closely.

Third: register to vote, and do it!  Here I will confess a secret – I didn’t actually vote in the 2008 election. By the time I looked up how to get an absentee ballot for my home state (Georgia), it was too late to send it in. At that point I didn’t know that you had to send in absentee ballots early. Now I know that – and I’m sharing with you, so hopefully you can learn from my mistakes!

Fourth: Make sure you’re registered to vote in your state. Don’t try to do this the month before elections! When you register, you can choose if you want to be a registered Democrat, Republican, or Independent. If you register for a party, you can vote in the primaries. Look up how to register in your state – I registered through the DMV when I got my license. Then make sure you know where your voting center is, and how to vote via absentee ballot if necessary.

This advice is not meant to be all-inclusive, but I hope it will help some of you make the decision to get involved in the presidential election this year.

 

Response: Contributing to the Paper

I am writing in response to Doug Raftery’s “Letter to the Editor” published in The Blue and Grey on Dec. 8, 2011.

While I had some qualms with Raftery’s response, I felt that the letter highlighted many points that both the staff of The Blue and Grey and the Hood community should consider.

Our editor-in-chief’s recent articles and editorials, notably, “Opinion: Salaries, iPads, and the Administration at Hood” and “Analysis: Faculty Salaries at Hood,” bring up topics that seem to appear in many recent issues of The Blue and Grey. Understandably, a lot of students, as noted by Raftery, are “tired” of seeing this information presented throughout multiple issues.

I personally became upset when Raftery explained that he “feel[s] that the Blue and Grey staff isn’t doing their jobs…”. As the news editor , I am disappointed to hear that I am not doing my job.

While more “interesting profiles on students,” in Raftery’s words, are definitely needed in The Blue and Grey, articles featuring factual and seemingly less positive articles should also be featured in the newspaper, as long as they are well-written, factual, and newsworthy accounts.

One article that sparked a lot of controversy was “Analysis: Faculty Salaries at Hood,” published in the Oct. 27 issue. Some readers believed that this article painted Hood in a negative light because the story contained information about the relatively low salaries that Hood professors receive. Raftery does note an important statistic in his letter to the editor: While professor salaries are low, “Hood faculty earns the fifth-most out of 11 comparable schools per credit taught ($4,066).”

At The Blue and Grey, we do not want to paint the college we represent in a negative light at all. However, the newspaper staff does want to inform the Hood community about current issues, and one issue that has been noted is faculty salaries.

While Raftery and, I’m assuming, other students do not understand why the newspaper included an article that seemingly entices students “to speak up and go crazy over nothing at all,” other students have praised the article for bringing to light a Hood concern that many students did not know of before. I feel that the article at least sparked interest in the “minority” of the student body.

As Raftery says, the article features faculty members who “are unhappy about challenges they are currently facing.” The newspaper staff as a whole strives to incorporate stories about the Hood community as a whole, and this includes both students and faculty.

A lot of readers are upset about our frequent coverage of iPad information. Sometimes I even think that this publication covers iPad information too much, and I agree with Raftery in this regard. Also, the iPads definitely do provide an integral marketing tool for the college. I work as a tour guide for Hood, and I see that many prospective students are drawn to the allure of the iPad. Who wouldn’t be?

However, some members of Hood have qualms with the iPads, and that should be addressed in the newspaper. One concern that often floats around campus is how the school will pay for the iPads. As the campus newspaper, the staff tries to present new information about the iPads, which often includes funding and cost.

Some readers were also angered by Catherine Collins’ “From the Editor” editorial, published Nov. 17.  While Collins may seem to “bash” Hood’s administration and policies, there is a happy medium. Yes, The Blue and Grey could feature less negative articles about Hood.  But the newspaper also features very positive articles about Hood and interesting articles highlighting the achievements and interests of the Hood community. In the past few issues, The Blue and Grey has featured Athlete of the Issue, a Policies feature, and an article about student accomplishments in MSL (to name a few).

Are there things that could be changed about The Blue and Grey?  Yes. But the problem stems from the fact that – not to make excuses – at the end of the day, our staff only has 15 members.

If something is happening on campus that should be covered, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We might not know that a student has completed an interesting project or went on an interesting trip, and we would appreciate the student body’s support in letting us know what we should cover.

Also, you can go one step further and write for the paper. Do you want to see regular columns about music, art, movies, math, science, campus events, off-campus events, etc.? Please write for us. You do not need to write a lot to be published.

And working for the paper would look good on any resume! It’s not just for English or communication majors either – we need photographers and cartoonists, math, science and honors columnists, sports writers, and an advertising and distribution manager.

Please, if you have ideas for the newspaper, tell us! Together, we can improve the newspaper to a publication that everyone is proud of. You can contact me at sma14@hood.edu for more information.

Stacey Axler

News Editor

 

Editorial Stance

Editorial Stance

This edition’s editorial stance is about the first-year seminar pilot beginning next year. While improving writing skills is a worthy endeavor, we have noted some potential issues with the seminar pilot.

The fact that the seminar is optional could be a problem, because the students who need it the most might not be the students choosing to taking advantage of it. Maybe there could be a writing test to distinguish the students who need the seminar more. There is currently a noticeable unnevenness in the overall writing ability of Hood students, and an optional course won’t necessarily help balance it out.

Before considering the need for a new writing seminar, perhaps the college should consider admission standards, the effectiveness of Hood’s current 099 and 100-level writing courses, or incorporating more writing skills into other English classes.

Additionally, although the board recognizes that professors will be volunteering to teach the course, the availability of our faculty  remains a concern for upperclassmen.

 

Catherine Collins, editor-in-chief

Stacey Axler, news editor

Vesper Arnett, lifestyle editor

Maegan Green, sports editor

Josie Wawrzyniak, advertising manager

Katrina Caster, web editor

 

From the Editor: The Real Problems

The two main news stories in this edition – “Class of 2012 to Graduate in Athletic Center Arena” and “First-Year Seminar Pilot” – address topics that I think reflect some fundamental problems at Hood right now.

There’s nothing wrong with holding the graduation ceremony in the new arena. But there is something wrong with the administration making that decision without reaching out to the student body first. The officers of the senior class will be consulted on the details of the new plan at the beginning of this semester, but the initial decision has already been made.

The problem here is that the administration apparently doesn’t see anything wrong with making this decision before actively consulting a single student. Why couldn’t there have at least been an effort of the part of the administration to survey a majority of the senior class to see which of two options they preferred (graduation on the quad or in the new arena)? Supposedly one of the benefits about being part of a small college “community”  is to have a say in decisions like this.

A graduation ceremony should be about celebrating the senior class, not about finding reasons to use an expensive arena.

Regarding the first-year seminar pilot, I think its most glaring flaw is its attempt to fix a problem (the writing skills of incoming freshmen) that is actually the symptom of a more fundamental problem (Hood’s high acceptance rate).

According to data from U.S. News and World Report, the acceptance rate for Hood in 2010 was 86.2 percent. The  acceptance rate in 2011, according to College Board, was 79 percent.

In 2010, the average SAT writing score of Hood applicants was 528, and in 2011, it was 532, according to information Hood’s Office of Institutional Research.

Those numbers are higher than the national averages by 36 and 43 points, respectively, but considering the quality of our faculty, the price of our tuition, and the way Hood likes to market itself as a place of exceptional academic excellence, I would expect the scores of incoming students to be much more significantly above average.

Moreover, through 2011, Hood had been using applicants’ writing scores only for the purposes of placement in English courses, but not in the admissions process.

If Hood is really concerned about the writing abilities of freshmen, why doesn’t it focus more on applicants’ writing skills during the admissions process? Maybe we wouldn’t even need this seminar if incoming students were already prepared to read and write at a level required for an advanced college course.

Like many of this administration’s decisions, the seminar pilot ignores the real problems at play at Hood.

 

Catherine Collins

Editor-in-Chief

 

Book Review: “The Weight of Silence”

By: Paige Jurgensen

“The Weight of Silence” by Heather Gudenkauf is a dramatic family mystery mixed with a story of child abduction and just a hint of adultery.

The novel begins with the disappearance and suspected abduction of two young children, Calli andPetra. The girls’ parents call the police, who immediately suspect Calli’s also-missing abusive father.

Calli’s mother, Antonia, goes through an emotional nightmare as she desperately searches for her daughter with the help of an old lover.

Meanwhile, Calli, who has not spoken in three years after witnessing a traumatic event, narrates her scarring experience throughout the novel.

Gudenkauf uses a strong emotionality to drive the reader to keep turning the pages. Each character has a strongly defined voice and personality that the reader is sure to identify with.

Though “The Weight of Silence” is narrated by several characters, the main voice is Antonia’s. I believe Gudenkauf chose to have Antonia narrate a bulk of the novel because she is the mother of a missing girl; therefore, her thoughts and feelings could be expressed more powerfully than any other of Gudenkauf’s characters.

As I read “The Weight of Silence,” I didn’t feel like I was reading a novel at all. Instead, I felt as though I was experiencing the journey in the novel along with the characters.

I truly enjoyed the fact that it is a realistic abduction story, with waiting, worry, and unfathomable dread.

Regardless of the genres you enjoy, whether it is mystery, family dramas, or love stories, you are definitely going to enjoy “The Weight of Silence.”