Hood Hosts One Day Without Shoes

By Stacey Axler

Over 150 Hood students and professors participated in Frederick’s One Day Without Shoes.

One Day Without Shoes is an annual worldwide event where participating individuals do not wear shoes to raise awareness of the many children who are exposed to diseases and challenges because they cannot afford shoes.  the event took place on Tuesday, April 10.

“This event was important mainly to bring awareness and give a voice to those around the world who don’t have the basic necessities of shoes. Plus, it reminds people to never take anything for granted,” senior Jacob Ausherman, the student coordinator of the event, said.

The event is supported by TOMS Shoes, a social justice business that gives a free pair of shoes to a child in need when a customer purchases a pair of shoes.

“[One Day Without Shoes] event was important because many people don’t know just how bad the situations are in other countries. Before you can fix a problem, you must be made aware of it,” sophomore Jessica Rumke, who participated in the event, said.

Rumke added, “I participated because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. If I can help make just one more person aware, than I have done my job because who knows where that one person will take it or how many more people they will tell.”

Participants in One Day Without Shoes met together on the steps of Alumnae Hall at 12:30 pm to walk through baker park and downtown Frederick barefoot.

The participants gathered at the Velvet Lounge for the One Day Without Shoes block party the store hosted.  The Velvet Lounge gave out prizes to certain participants such as free pairs of TOMS shoes.

Throughout the rest of the day, the students went barefoot around campus and the surrounding community.  However, some locations required students to wear shoes, such as the Coblentz Dining Hall and lab classes, for health and safety reasons.

“I participated because of my social work background. One of our responsibilities as a professional is to advocate for those who face inequalities or difficult situations. The other is that in order to better understand our clients we must ‘start where the client starts.’ By participating I am “standing in another person’s shoes,” and quite literally I can understand their pain. My feet were black by mid-day,” Ausherman said.

Along with the One Day Without Shoes event, a shoe drive took place on campus all week to collect shoe donations from individuals who wanted to provide for people around the world who walk barefoot daily.

This is the second year that Hood College participated in the global One Day Without Shoes movement.

The event gave the Hood campus and Frederick community an opportunity to gain a global perspective and experience the way less-fortunate individuals live.

“Things we have like clean water, access to medical resources, education, and shelter are not things other people around the world have as luxuries, or at all. It’s always rewarding to see something you’ve planned and spent any amount of time on to come together,” Ausherman said.


Music Professor Retires as Department Chair

By Sheila Headspeth

A long-time Hood College music professor will be retiring from his position as the music department chair, but will still remain a member of the faculty as an adjunct professor.

After teaching at Hood for 38 years, 25 of which he spent as the music department chair, Noel Lester will be focusing on running the summer music program at Hood and managing concerts. He will also focus on becoming a better pianist and said that giving up some of his responsibilities will help him perfect his craft. Lester has been playing piano professionally for over 40 years.

Before arriving at Hood, Lester studied at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, and it was there that he decided to apply to work part-time at Hood. Lester said he wanted to work at Hood because he like that it was a small and a liberal arts college.

Initially, one of Lester’s goals was simply to be a good teacher. “I wanted to raise the level of performance in my students,” said Lester. It was while performing that task that he also discovered the need for funds and scholarships specifically for Hood music students.

One of the biggest lessons Lester has taken from his time at Hood is to be more patient. “I am infinitely more patient and I am a better teacher,” he said.

Lester feels that he has significantly accomplished getting funds for Hood music students by helping to bring about four funds dedicated to annual concerts and six funds for prizes and scholarships for Hood’s music students. Lester has also brought an exceeding amount of awareness about Hood’s music department and feels that it is no longer struggling.

Lester recalls several great memories at Hood. He said that his favorite class to teach was “The World of Mozart” because he developed the course and he never got tired of teaching it.

In response to his recent farewell concert, Lester said it was bittersweet. “It was bitter because it’s always hard to let go…I have so many memories. [Yet] it was a celebration,” Lester said.

Lester also said that transitioning from department chair to an adjunct professor is, “a rebooting [because there will be] no more meetings and advising.”

After having chaired the music department for so long Lester said, “the time feels right for me.” Lester also added that his position will not be filled by a full-time person.

Lester said, “I am blessed to have wonderful colleagues in the department.” He also said that he is grateful to have been connected to 75 years of Hood’s history and that he looks forward to seeing Hood’s changes in the future.

Punk Band Cartel Coming to Campus for Student Concert

By Stacey Axler

The band Cartel will come to campus to perform a free concert for Hood students.

On Friday, April 19, Cartel will perform a 60 minute music set starting at 9 p.m. for Hood students and guests in the BB&T Arena in Hood Athletic and Fitness Center.

“This is a really great event for the college.  Cartel is certainly a band on the way up,” said Director of Student Activities and Orientation Don Miller.

The event is being brought to the students by the Office of Student Activities and various student organizations such as the Campus Activities Board (CAB) and Blazer Radio.

This event marks the first concert the college has hosted since 2006.  Other years, including this one, the Blazer Radio hosted Bandfest during May Madness, an event where Blazer radio DJs played music consecutively for several hours.

“I think it is a unique opportunity for Hood College, and I support their decision to bring a band here to perform,” said junior Kellie Duncan.

Duncan added, “Because the concert conflicts with the end of the musical, I’m upset I won’t be able to see the band in it’s entirity.”

Earlier this month, students had the option to vote between three bands to come to campus: Cartel, Bowling for Soup, and Hellogoodbye.  Of the people who voted, Cartel got the most votes.

While the event is free for the Hood community, students can bring a guest for an additional $20. Students can pick up the tickets in Whitaker during the remainder of the week.

A local Frederick band will begin playing music at 8 p.m. to act as the cover band for Cartel.

After the concert, the band will do a short meet and greet and will sell merchandise to those who attended.

“I’m really excited for Cartel to come to the college, it’s really great to be able to go to a concert, and I feel that’s it’s a really new event for the school,” said sophomore Brittany Gammel.


Newt Gingrich Speaks on Campus to Packed Audience

By Stacey Axler and Kimberlyn Bennett

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination spoke at Hood College to a packed Hodson auditorium.

On Monday, April 2, Hood hosted a lecture for the Speaker to address Hood students and faculty and the Frederick community to inform those in attendance about his plans and initiatives if elected president of the United States.

“I enjoyed the visit to Hood [College], I felt the students were prepared, I felt the questions were well thought out, and I felt we had a great dialogue.  This is what college is about: communicating and sharing ideas,” said the Speaker.

The lecture began with an introduction from Newt Gingrich’s wife, Callista Gingrich, who explained that she is confident that Newt Gingrich will win the 2012 presidential election.

After the introduction, the Speaker addressed the audience for an hour.

Overall, the speech focused on the advancement in ideas as a population, as well as highlighting the importance of education and a strong work ethic as keys to success.

“I think working at McDonalds is better than not working at all,” the Speaker said during his lecture.

After the speech, students had the opportunity to ask questions to the Speaker.  The topics of the questions ranged from immigration, to marriage equality, and the economy.

After the question and answer portion of the event, the Speaker stayed at Hood for an additional 30 minutes to have a private discussion with the members of Hood College Republicans.

“I’m one of the minority republicans at this school and so I’m really interested to hear what he has to say… Hood says we’re open to all people but a lot of people here are very against conservatism,” said freshman Margaret Negas, a Hood College Republican member.

The Hood community felt split about the Speaker’s visit to campus: with some supporting the Republican candidate’s speech and others opposing his presence.

“To have a presidential candidate at Hood is exactly what we want to see… this event provides the student with a wonderful opportunity,” said History professor Dr. Len Latkovski.

Some students and faculty protested Gingrich’s presence at Hood.

The protestors included several students such as seniors Lindsay Cogdill, Katie Rattigan, and Kyle Hodum, as well as Hood psychology professor Dr. Shannon Kundey.

“I don’t appreciate a person who doesn’t represent Hood ideals,” said Cogdill, as a reason for protesting.

Besides Hood students and faculty, members of the Frederick community came to the campus event to see candidate Gingrich speak.

“I want my children to be prepared for their future and we made it a priority to hear Speaker Gingrich because I believe the American people owe him a debt of gratitude when he was speaker of the house.” said Lisa Deener, Hood Alumni ’91.

The campus visit of Gingrich was the first time a presidential candidate visited the college since John F. Kennedy visited Hood in the 1960s.

“This event provides me the opportunity to see someone who is making on impact of the world… this is “putting us on the map,” said senior Zach Roberson.

Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson Visits Campus

By Kimberlyn Bennett

Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland, visited Hood College on March 26.

Robinson, who was the first female president of Ireland and also the former United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, was brought the Hood College by the political science department and the Virginia Lewis Endowment Fund.

Paige Eager, political science professor, said, “Mary Robinson has had such an important career both in Irish politics and on the world stage. She was the first female President of Ireland and took on controversial topics for her time including abortion, contraception, and gender equality.”

Robinson conducted workshops with students about climate justice and human rights, and gender and leadership, during her two day tour at Hood.

Jonathan Moughty, a student who attended the climate and justice workshop, said, “The idea was human rights were being impacted by climate change and this should make government more aware and active in addressing it.”

Robinson also met with students from Hood’s History of Ireland class.

The former president in addition gave a keynote speech concerning the concept of a global village and climate justice for a crowd of 400 in the Hudson Auditorium.

“I think her stance on climate justice, is somewhat controversial for some in the United States,” Eager said. “As she stated many times, she realizes that there remains climate change deniers in the United States and abroad for that matter. However, she believes that the younger generation get the science and understand the importance of stewardship for future generations,” she said.

Robinson wrapped up her time at Hood by moderating a Social Justice panel on Tuesday morning featuring local organizations such as Heartly House, UNESCO Center for Peace, NAACP, Friends of Frederick County and Frederick County Commission for Women.

“President Robinson was personable, gracious, down-to-earth, engaging, interested in the history of Hood College, and very impressed with the questions are students asked,” Eager said.

First Year Read Book Selected

By Stacey Axler

All new students of the class of 2016 will read the book “Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China”, written by Leslie Chang as a part of the First Year Read (FYR)program.

The First Year read program was established last year as an additional discussion activity during fall orientation for the class of 2015 last year.

“The book is based on interviews with young workers in China and thus it provides a glimpse into the thoughts, feelings, concerns and realities of young people who are lured from the countryside into the city in hopes of a better life and expanded opportunities….  The book also situates Hood students in a conversation that links the themes of the book with the headlines of today,” said Hood Provost Katherine Conway-Turner.

“Factory Girls” is based off of interviews and meetings that author Chang had with various factory workers to find out more about the appeal of factory work in the industrial areas of China.

The book has won numerous awards and accolades, such as the PEN USA Literary Award for Research Nonfiction and the Asian American Literary Award For Nonfiction.

Similarly, “Factory Girls” has been mentioned by several publications and magazines as one of the best books of the year.

The book offers topics for examination across disciplines and thus I believe it will generate a great deal of discussion inside and outside of the classroom,” Conway-Turner said.

Next fall, Chang will come to the college to discuss her book with the Hood community.

Every year, the FYR program reads multiple books to select the best possible selection for the incoming Hood class.

“I would like to thank members of the FYR committee for all of their work and their commitment to recommending outstanding books for our FYR programs,” Conway-Turner said.


From the Editor

Now that the majority of the editorial positions on the newspaper for next year have been elected, the transition of responsibility for those positions has begun. The edition after this one will be the senior issue, which I’m going to place in the hands of Stacey Axler, who will be the editor-in-chief next year.

Graduation is almost exactly one month away, and contrary to the crippling senioritis I’ve been experiencing, everyone is telling me that I’ll miss undergrad once it’s over.

While I’m sure this is true, if I’m going to miss being in college, it will probably be more out of vague nostalgia or a desire to revise certain decisions than a genuine wish to relive the experience. Undergrad has been a very strange experience: not completely fulfilling but also not completely disillusioning.

I’ve learned a lot, both academically and about myself, in my four years at Hood, but I don’t think even the ideal experience would have been worth the price tag. I do think liberal arts are important, but where have all these tens of thousands dollars gone? Are we paying for an actual experience, one that is educational, social, and significant, or are we paying for the illusion of an experience?

To a certain extent, I do feel like I’ve had a voice during my time here, and a number of courses I’ve taken and professors I’ve met have been invaluable. The bureaucracy and phoniness of it all, however, is impossible to ignore and so discouraging. Hood needs to figure out what exactly it is trying to offer its students.

The former editor of The Blue and Grey, Morgan Wright, once said that Hood was in an “identity crisis,” and I think that’s completely accurate. Is this a liberal arts school where academics are actually a priority, where there’s a real sense of community, or is it just a place where people come to get a degree and then leave? I really don’t know.

Every individual brings a unique perspective and motive to his or her college experience, but I feel like Hood’s student population is incredibly fractured. People aren’t here for the same reasons. There’s no unifying element among the student body. For all the talk about the “Hood community,” I’m not sure there really is one.

The problems here can’t be fixed until the college will come out and honestly say what its actual priorities and goals are, instead of propping up this misleading and confusing facade.

Catherine Collins


The Editorial Stance

This edition’s editorial stance is regarding Newt Gingrich’s visit to Hood on April 2. The board agrees that the presence of a political figure, especially a presidential candidate, regardless of his or her opinions, is a positive reflection of a liberal arts education.

The fact that Gingrich is politically and socially conservative does not create any type of conflict with Hood’s mission or ideals. It’s illogical to argue that a liberal arts institution shouldn’t host conservative guests. On the contrary, the point of a liberal arts education is to expose oneself to as many possible viewpoints and make informed conclusions. Gingrich’s visit to Hood created a necessary and beneficial dialogue about topical issues.

Catherine Collins, editor-in-chief

Stacey Axler, news editor

Vesper Arnett, lifestyle editor

Maegan Green, sports editor

Josie Wawrzyniak, advertising manager

Katrina Castner, web editor

At the Movies: Wrath of the Titans

By Jarred Braxton

“We gods are losing our power. We believed the titans to be imprisoned forever. Now they are breaking free.”

All hell is breaking loose, and the heroic son of Zeus is all that stands in evil’s way bringing on oblivion on earth in Jonathan Liebesman’s (“Battle: Los Angeles”) “Wrath of the Titans.”

The sequel to 2010’s “Clash of the Titans,” is set eight years after the demigod Perseus, reprised by Sam Worthington (“Avatar,” “Man on a Ledge”), vanquished the monstrous kraken and has retreated to a small fishing village to raise his son Helius, played by John Bell (“A Shine of Rainbows”).

This peace will not last unfortunately as beasts that predate the gods, from minotaurs, makhai and chimeras, are slipping out of the underworld prison known as Tartarus and wreaking havoc across the ancient world.

The king of the gods Zeus, reprised by Academy Award nominee Liam Neeson (“Schindler’s List”) tries to reason with his jaded brother Hades, reprised by Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes (“The Reader”), to restore Tartarus but is betrayed by his son Ares, played by Golden Globe nominee Edgar Ramirez, who plots with Hades to drain Zeus of his power and offer it to their father, the Titan Kronos.

If Kronos walks the earth again, it spells certain doom for all mankind and it is up to Perseus, the warrior queen Andromeda, played by Rosamund Pike (“Die Another Day”), and the demigod Argenor, played by Toby Kebbell (“War Horse,” “The Conspirator”), to venture to the underworld and free Zeus from Hades’ clutches before Kronos is reawakened and rips the world apart.

On paper this movie sounds awesome and it looks like a rock-solid action movie, but the final product of “Wrath of the Titans,” is exactly the same as its prequel-a letdown.

The movie just doesn’t incur the wrath in its name and if one is expecting a fire and brimstone texture to this movie, it is more smoke and mirrors to be honest.

Liebesman does sit at the helm of great visual effects in this movie and one can tell that he did his due diligence in researching his Greek mythology, but the problem is that the movie is just flat. The action is there but it doesn’t hit any high marks in any relative area of film making.

Liebesman does a steady job at directing this movie, but there is a lack of ambition present in his approach. He just doesn’t do anything with this movie that blows the audience right out of their seats.

The cast was as mundane and as uninspired as the cast from its predecessor. Even the new additions of Kebbell, Ramirez, Pike and Golden Globe winner Bill Nighy’s (“Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest”) Hephaestus, couldn’t breathe life into this action story.

Audiences could get some kind of educational momento from “Wrath of the Titans.” They can learn about some aspects of Greek mythology that they didn’t know about before, such as the fact that Kronos is the father of Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, but that is where it ends.

“Wrath of the Titans,” in all its feeble splendor is an unnecessary but admirable sequel to a very disappointing film from a very tragic genre. It was admirable that the writers tried to add more to a story that didn’t need to be added to but it was completely stale and unnecessary.


The Reading Corner: The Factory Girls

By Paige Jurgensen

Next year, the First Year class will be reading ‘Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China’, by Leslie T. Chang, which is a book that all Hood students should read.

‘Factory Girls’ is a collection of stories from the migrant workers of China. Thousands of young women, usually girls in their mid to late teens, migrate from rural town to the factory city of Dongguan, China. Factory life for migrant girls is simple: work sunup to sunset, eat, sleep in a dormitory within the factory with a dozen other girls; all for a hundred or so dollars a month. Why? Because for girls in China with little opportunities, factory work offers a chance to better their situation. The migrant girls excel in self reliance in a country that holds preference for sons over daughters.

Unfortunately, some of the migrant girls Chang interviews have chosen a life outside of the factory and within “Karaoke Bars” (which is essentially just a brothel where guest sing.)

Chang captures the factory girls’ bravery and determination in her accounts of migrant life. In addition, Chang includes a few of her experiences as an American of Chinese descent in China and stories from her family’s immigration.

When reading ‘Factory Girls’, it’s hard not to speculate on the difference between the migrate factory workers of China to American girls of the same age. The factory girls, some as young as fifteen, leave home, travel across China (often alone), and set up life for themselves; whereas, American teenagers don’t like going to public restrooms alone.

‘Factory Girls’ is definitely a must read.