Preparing for Graduation: The Worst

If you’re a senior, chances are you’ve heard the following question: “What are your plans for after graduation.” Unless you’re very good at planning, you also probably don’t have an answer to that question.

Or maybe it’s just me.

Either way, whenever I hear that question, I suddenly find myself breaking out into a cold sweat. It’s not because I don’t feel ready to say goodbye to Hood – despite my love for my college, I can feel myself reaching my end.

I’m ready for no more class and no more campus life. Ready to be an adult in the real world, doing whatever it is that real adult people do. It’s just figuring out how to make it to that point that I’m worried about.

The problem is not having a plan, not knowing how long it will take for me to get a job, and not having an idea of what I am going to do with my life. While I have a vague concept of what I want to do – pretty simple, just writing – I’m still pretty fuzzy on the particulars.

In my defense, I don’t think I’m alone. “I don’t like to talk about it,” said Gabrielle Cavalier, a senior at Hood. “It gives me great anxiety.”

Knowing that in a month I’ll be an alum is a pretty hard pill to swallow. Even if you do know what your post-college life will look like, as lots of people who are better than myself at planning probably do, I imagine that it’s still at least a little terrifying.

Of course, there are parts of the upcoming graduation festivities that I’m happy about. I’m excited to take my last final, and to attend Pub Crawl and senior week. I am excited to know that I am done with classes, at least until grad school, and to prepare my cap and spend some time with friends. I’m ready for all the fun time.

But that’s where my excitement ends.

I know that, eventually, I will figure out what I am going to do with my life. I will have a job and a place to live, and I’ll be set. But being thrown out into the world, not having another semester to go back to in the fall, is pretty scary. It’s kind of terrifying not knowing where exactly you’re going to be in a couple months, or a year. And the closer we get to graduation, the closer I get to the unknown.

First-Year Housing: One Year Later

A year ago, Hood College was hit with a storm. It lasted for months and created chaos, with many of students getting pulled into the mayhem. This storm, was not a real storm, it was first year housing.

First-year residence halls are coming up on their first anniversary. The idea received a significant amount of pushback from students after it was announced. It has almost been in place for a year, and Hood College has been changed because of it. Whether or not this change is a good thing still seems to be up in the air.

For me personally, I never thought first-year housing was a good idea and still don’t. As a first-year I appreciated having upperclassmen friends in my building to learn from, and as an upperclassman it was always nice to have an easy opportunity to get to know the freshmen. When I talked to current upperclassmen about the first-year dorms, they seemed to agree.

Many students have expressed their opinions towards this matter throughout the past year.

“One of the things that initially drew me to Hood was the sense of community, and I think that [before] that expanded to all different classes,” said Sophie Smith, a junior. “I think that the freshman housing kind of made it more divisive in terms of cohesion among all Hood students.”

Many of the older students on campus acknowledged that there are some good things about the freshmen dorms, but overall do not like them.

“I think there is some positive things, like being able to bring tutors into the buildings two days a week, and I think now there is a better sense of community with the freshman,” said Afton Woodring, a junior and resident assistant in Smith Hall. “But I think the problem is that unless you’re a freshman athlete, or you are out-going, you don’t get to interact with upperclassmen.”

Kerry Murphy, a sophomore, living in the freshman dorms rooms with a first year, preferred when the dorms were integrated. She stated she doesn’t see a lot of the first-years, but does think they have all bonded. “I see a lot of freshman becoming friends with other freshman, which I guess is the whole point,” Murphy said.

“I think putting freshman in with upperclassmen is so much better,” Murphy said, “because the upperclassmen can help you find your way around and not be that freshman. And it makes friendships that you probably wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

For many upperclassmen, a negative impact of the first-year housing is the fact that the freshmen students do not live with more mature students, and so they get stuck in high school habits.

“It seems like first-year housing doesn’t allow for residents to mature when they are only surrounded by their peers, instead of by their mentors,” said Frances Morgan, a sophomore. “The resulting environment is just an extension of high school, instead of a more serious academic setting.”

The first-years about their opinions on the freshmen-only dorms, they mostly seemed to agree with Morgan’s point about the negative impact on not having older students around.

“Living with freshmen, there is no one there to keep them in check or to keep them from doing dumb stuff,” said Paul Downs Jr., a Memorial resident. “When you live with older people, you mature up, because older people are not afraid to come at you.”

Kaitlin Marutani, another first-year, agreed, “I think if there was more upperclassmen mixed into it then maybe some freshman could get advice from then that they couldn’t get from people who don’t have those experiences.”

Another problem first years cited was drama among the freshmen, exacerbated by the first-year residence halls.

“It’s not that I don’t like [first-year dorms], but we’re separated,” said Shawn Barnes, a first-year resident of Smith. “So when we’re separated, and it’s just a bunch of freshman, there is more drama.”

However, while many freshmen did cite things they do not like about freshmen dorms, not all of them think the dorms were a bad idea. Christopher Lafontant, a freshmen Memorial resident, said he thinks the first-year dorms are great.

Lafontant said: “I actually think it’s a very well thought out plan to put all the freshman together, because a lot of people when they first come to college are kind of a little nervous. When they’re around people their own age, they can basically be comfortable. When I first moved into Memorial, it was kind of easier to relate to people, because we were all talking about high school and prom and all this other stuff.”

“I think one of the pros about it is having all the freshman together,” Marutani agreed, “since it’s a new experience for everyone and you can experience it with people who are kind of going through the same things.”

Overall, it seems like freshmen have mixed feelings on the dorms. Many of the first-years thought there were good and bad parts about the decision. Most expressed preferring having dorms the way they used to be would probably be better.

“It kinda stinks because I have a lot of friends that are upperclassmen,” said Samy Brandt, a freshman who lives in Memorial, “but it’s also nice because we have just freshman activities. I can see the positive in it, but I just kinda wish that it was more integrated.”

Professors also stated they have not seen an impact on the students as a result of the first-year dorms.

Dr. Van Winter said, “I’ve been positively impressed with this year’s freshman class. I was also positively impressed with last year’s as well.”

“A part of me likes it, but most of me hates it,” Downs Jr. said. “A lot of freshmen don’t have upperclassmen friends, and that’s sad, cause you kinda need people to guide you. Hood is a small community, and if it wants to be in unison, it has to go back.”

In general, the verdict seems to be, everything is okay. However, while there are some positive aspects to the first-year dorms, it also seems to have caused a divide on campus. For instance, finding first-years to talk to for this article was not easy, simply because as a senior I barely know any freshmen. A year later, and I’m still not entirely sure why this had to happen. I don’t think I am alone.

The great winter… that didn’t happen

cherryblossom2print[1]

Winter is coming. Winter is here. Winter is… over? At least, that’s what it feels like.
During the time of year when students are normally bundling up, dreading the cold and reining in the snow days, the 2017 winter months have seen a change of pace. Short sleeves and summer dresses have replaced wools coats and scarves, and what should be the coldest time of the year has been feeling like the warmest.
While the possibility of a few snow days is still there, the traditional coldest months of the year are quickly slipping away from us. It’s looking like we might not have a winter this year.
“This is a really warm year, and we’ve had a number of really warm years and warm winters in the last decade, like record breaking kind of things,” Professor Eric Annis said, an associate professor of biology who teaches multiple undergrad and grad classes related to Ecology and climate change.
“I don’t know off the top of my head how many of the warmest winters of record we’ve had over the last decade, but it’s a lot. And that’s on record since maybe the 1850s,” Annis said.
According to Annis, the main difference between climate and weather is that weather happens on a short-term scale, whereas climate deals with things on a decadal scale. He said that one of the most immediate impacts this weather could have would be a negative harvest for places which are blooming now, but could very well die if a hard frost comes in the next few months.
“It has problems, even if it’s very comfortable for a lot of people,” he said.
Many students seem to agree that while enjoyable, the warm weather of the last few months is worrisome.
“I definitely do not like this warm weather,” Kaylene Wright, a senior said. “Because however nice warm weather is, I am not satisfied with the winter yet. I really want there to be snow.”
Additionally, Wright believed this weather could have a negative impact on the world at large. “Obviously I’m not an environmental scientist, but this does seem to go with the trend that we keep having hottest years on record,” she stated.
Molly Masterson, also a senior, agreed with Wright, saying “It is absolutely horrible and you should all be terrified, because the world is actually going to end. I’m not kidding. Everyone is like, ‘yay we can wear shorts.’ No. You’re going to be on fire in a year.”
However, not all students are adverse to the recent warmer weather. “I really like it, cause it’s warm and I hate the cold,” Beth Montague, a junior, said. While Montague has been taking advantage of the high temperatures, she does acknowledge the threats this weather poses.
“I know it’s terrible for the environment,” she said, “and that global warming is terrible and we’re all probably going to die. But I like it while we have it.”
Students are not the only ones enjoying the warm weather. Although President Chapdelaine is worried about the weather, she also has found things to like.
“It’s great, because as the president, calling snow days is the absolute worst part of the job,” she said. “It’s a really hard call to make and it seems like you can never get it right. Somebody is going to be upset. So as a president, I’m loving it.”
Despite her enthusiasm for not calling snow days, she does agree that the weather has negative implications. “On a personal note, I really miss winter,” Chapdelaine said. “I think there is ample evidence that we have climate change going on, and I worry. We should all do what we can to support our environment. Try to do our part.”
Chapdelaine also joked, “I do think that the weather has been so warm, we should probably have had an anti-snow day,” she said. “But I figure I’d get in trouble for that too, if I just said, on account of beautiful weather in February, let’s just cancel class!”
According to Annis, it is important for individuals to get involved and find out what they can do, because we do have an impact.
“One of the most important parts of climate change, which is driven by human impact and human factors, is the amount of CO2 and methane that we emit on a per-capita basis,” Annis said. “So, how much does each person on a daily basis release into the environment?”
Annis stressed the importance of becoming educated on the subject, and encourages everyone to look into the Union of Concerned Scientists, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He believed that citizens must understand the issue so that they can vote against it.
“Vote for candidates that understand there is a problem and that we need to fix it,” he said.
He believes that misinformation poses a large threat to the world regarding climate.
“Most of the controversy that people talk about in the media is fabricated,” Annis said. “You’ve got a very strong opposition that has been mounted to the science behind it, but there’s really no controversy within the scientific community that this is happening. It’s very quick and very easy to just say bad things about the science without any foundation. And we need to do something about it.”

Graduation cords stay despite rumors

As graduation draws nearer, questions about what seniors will be wearing at the celebration, including what cords will be worn and by whom, have arisen all over campus.
Along with the black cap and gown, graduating seniors also wear a series of cords that represent both academic honors organizations and various clubs. Interestingly, this tradition is not one that is practiced at many other institutions across the country, with most other colleges only have cords for honor based organizations.
“In my experience, and at my undergrad, they were all academic cords, or honor cords specifically for majors,” Gretchen Nonemaker said, director of Student Engagement.
The Hood cords extend to nearly all clubs on campus, with most student run organizations having a cord made up of one or two colors. Many students feel that club cords are an important Hood tradition that is integral to a Hood graduation.
“I think it’s a way to decorate your gown in a really special fashion, and in a way that really has meaning and reflects on your college experience,” Una Regoje said, a junior. “I think it’s a very adorable way of decorating this special occasion, and having it personalized but also mean something.”
In the past, decisions about graduation regalia have fallen on the bookstore and the provost’s office. This year, both the bookstore managing team and the provost are new, meaning that what seniors will be wearing come graduation is slightly up in the air.
“There are academic cords, and then there are these cords that are student organization based,” Nonemaker said. “Traditionally, that’s something that has come out of the provost’s office, so I think that’s where it’s sitting right now.”
Currently, because she is new to the school, Ricker is still learning all about the Hood regalia. She said she is especially looking forward to graduation and is excited to see this important Hood event.
“I am so excited about commencement at Hood.” Provost Debbie Ricker said. “I’ve never experienced it, but as it is at most institutions, it’s a great celebration of achievement and accomplishment, and I’m excited to experience it with all the Hood graduates in May.”
Currently, the bookstore has begun the process of looking at cords and figuring out who gets them.
“Right now we’re in the process of trying to find out who needs cords and which cords they need,” said Debbie Rhodes, the bookstore store manager. “We will have them ordered as soon as possible through Herff Jones.”
One thing seems clear: students have become attached to the cords, and are looking forward to getting to wear them this spring at graduation.
“Honestly, I think that without the cords, the gowns look kind of ugly and bland,” Regoje said. “So I would not like them to be removed.”

Winter fashion for Maryland weather

What’s up my fellow fashionistas! After fall filled with dark lipstick, cute boots, and plenty of pumpkin spice lattes, winter is here! Time to hang up our fall jackets and get ready for some heavy duty chilly whether! I’m talking wool coats, knit scarves, and anything else to try and keep the cold out. It’s time to try and stay warm all day, every day!
…Unless you live in Maryland, where the weather is about as unpredictable as it gets. Some days it’s completely freezing outside, and other days it feels like it’s the middle of April.
While this weather has negative implications for the future of our planet, even more important is what it does to fashion! How is one supposed to dress themselves if they don’t know what season it is going to be tomorrow? But fear not, my fashion friends! After much deliberation, I have put together a handy-dandy list of all the essentials you’ll need this winter(/spring) season! Here is what everyone needs in their closet!
A heavy-duty coat: While cute little jackets work for the fall, it’s winter now, and that means you need something with a few more layers to it. Everyone has a staple coat for the colder months that becomes an essential part of their look, and it’s just about finding what works best for you!
Cute little jackets: Yeah, okay, maybe last week you needed a heavy-duty coat, but today it suddenly feels like May. Cute little jackets, which stop you from being too cold but also are really just there to… well, look cute, are perfect for a state where seasons chance every day!
An iced coffee, or maybe a cool cup of lemonade: Yeah, I know I just said iced coffee is for the summer, but when your winter feels like summer I think that is acceptable to switch things up. Some days it’s just so hot out, and you need a cool drink to stop you from getting a heatstroke. Just fun little Maryland things!
Hardcore boots: Cute little booties are for the fall. We’re in the thick of things now, and that means some knee-high boots that will protect your feet from the cold (and possibly the snow). Cold feet are the literal worst, and that means finding a stylish, protective boot to get you through these longs months.
Flip-flops: We all knows those days when it’s warm outside, the snow is melting, and you could use some of that refreshing water on your feet! A super cute pair of flip-flops is just what you need to get through the warm winter months!
A super cute pair of warm tights: For those cold-cold days when you just can’t wear pants again, tights are what anyone needs to make a skirt or dress doable for the season. But remember: I’m talking WARM! That means cotton or wool, or any other fabric that will keep the cold out. If you’re going to be wearing these instead of pants, then they need to get the job done!
A razor: Yesterday it was freezing and you needed wool tights, but today? It’s totally warm, the breeze is light and refreshing, and you can swear you see some flowers blooming! It’s time to let your legs free, and that means breaking out the razor. Some girls like to take a break from shaving their legs during the wintertime. Ha! Not in Maryland. (Or you could not do that, since this is a gag and women being forced to shave is simply a result of the patriarchal society we have been forced to live in.)
An itsy-bitsy bikini: This might be the most important item on the list! A little swimsuit is perfect for those days when the day before there was a record-breaking blizzard, but you just woke up and all the snow has melted and everyone is having a slip-n-slide party on the quad! You don’t want to be the only one missing out on all the fun just because you forgot to keep a bathing suit handy during the winter months!
Well there we have it folks! Hope these fashion tips can help you get through the long winter/spring months, and keep you warm/cool the entire time! And the best thing about these bits of fashion! They can be worn all year round, so long as you don’t leave our wonderful state of Maryland! That’s right – in this state, you get to be confused about the weather all-year-round!

Being A Feminist In the Age Of Trump

Calling yourself a feminist isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

Despite its pretty straight-forward meaning, which according to Dictionary.com is, “advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men”, the term feminism has been misused and misinterpreted for years, developing a reputation that tends to illicit more disdain than anything else.

As someone who has been self-identifying as a feminist since high school, I’ve gotten used to receiving all sorts of negative reactions. I’ve had guys immediately try and argue why I shouldn’t call myself a feminist, and other guys drag famous women’s equality advocates through the mud, as if somehow by discrediting them I’ll change my mind.

There are people who tell me the term feminist is offensive, because it “excludes men,” and other people tell me it’s dumb to believe in feminism, because in 2016 things are equal. And then there’s my favorite: a raised eye, judgmental tone. “Oh. You’re a feminist?”

As if it’s so ridiculous.

And I want to be clear, these reactions don’t just come from men. I’ve had women and girls telling me that I shouldn’t identify as a feminist for as long as I’ve had men doing so.

Earlier this year, the website The Odyssey published an article titled “I Am A Female And I Am So Over Feminists,” in which a young woman details the ways in which she believes feminists are crazy and need to calm down. In the writer’s eyes, feminists ought to stop complaining, because it’s 2016 and things are fine.

That article was posted in May of this year, so I can’t say if the writer’s opinion has changed, but I know that for me it’s really hard to look at the world and believe that everything is as it should be.

In the past month, we’ve heard a presidential nominee brag about groping women and talk about his disapproval of Roe V. Wade, the 1970s Supreme Court decision that allowed women the right to an abortion. We’ve also had several women come forward and say that he sexually assaulted them, to which his response was, “she would not be my first choice.”

Let’s also not forget that #repealthe19th was trending for a while.

Looking at the current political landscape, it’s hard not to be reminded of the fact that white women have only been voting in this country since 1920. (This is nothing to say of the difficulties women of color faced when trying to vote, which lasted into the 1960s.)

Obviously, most Trump supporters likely do not share the sentiment that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote, but the fact that this is a candidate that inspires this kind of rhetoric is alarming.

The truth is that when I first became interested in feminism, my own interests were not at the center. While I worried (and still do) about things like the wage gap and rape culture, my interest in women’s rights had a lot to do with girls all over the world who were not as fortunate as I was: girls who were forced into child-marriages or who face violence for simply going to school.

As much as I appreciated others parts of feminism and believed that equal rights were important in all respects, I understood that I was very lucky to have been born into a middle class white family in the United States.

Now in 2016, with the election only a few weeks away, I still do not take for granted how privileged I am, but I also am continuously hurt and outraged by the things I hear from a candidate who has proven both in his policy and words just what he thinks about women. I keep on going back to that Odyssey article, to the woman telling me that I should be happy with the way things are – that I ought to shut up about my feminism.

I only have one reaction: don’t tell me we don’t need feminism when Donald Trump is the Republican nominee.

Fall into Autumn Fashion

Finally, it’s here. After months of waiting, a brutally hot summer, and more sunburns than I could possibly count, the greatest season of the year is finally here to grace us with its too short presence.

There are lots of different reasons to love fall, whether it’s the changing leaves, the pumpkin flavored everything, or the magical scents that come along with it. But personally, I like the clothes.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I maybe like fall a little more than the average person (but also is it possible to like fall too much?). It is by far my favorite season, and while the rest of the year is okay, I guess, fall is basically the peak. And what is a good fall without a good fall style?

First, there are the boots – the glorious, dark, hardcore boots. While wearing boots is not really a seasonal thing (I wear them throughout the year, except during the summer), putting on some hardcore boots in the fall somehow just feels that much more special.

They are, some would say, they only acceptable footwear for the fall season, and if you don’t find the right pair… you might want to stay inside this year.

Obviously, the best sort of bottoms to wear with your to-die-for boots would be jeans. Skinny jeans are the only option.

Now, I’m 5’3, which means that finding a pair of skinny jeans that I don’t have to roll up is pretty impossible, but rolled up skinny jeans is a look that most everyone can work it. Or, you know, don’t roll them up, but know that you’re more or less failing fall style when you don’t

Next, you need a sweater. A warm-and-cozy-and-super-comfortable sweater.

Warm sweaters are one of my favorite items of clothing, and I also get that much happier when we get closer to the time of year when I get to wear them.

Sweaters also come in all shapes and sizes, but I would say that when it comes to fall, the bigger the better. Get a sweater that sags.

Get a sweater that feels stuffy. Get a sweater that’s a dress.

Fall wouldn’t be fall without some flashy and fashionable make-up, and for this mysterious season the darker, the better. Go crazy with your looks, and treat every day like it’s Halloween.

All I’m saying is that a day shouldn’t go by that you don’t break out the face paint. That’s not even to mention that coats.

The right fall coat can make or break your fall style, and if you end of picking the wrong one your entire fall season is basically ruined. Now, I’m not going to say that going with the classic green coat is the only option… just that you will be completely devoid of style without it.

Ultimately, of course, the most important element of fall style is to be comfortable and happy in whatever you’re wearing. Playing around with different clothing and make-up can be a lot of fun, but it’s not enjoyable if you don’t feel safe and comfortable while doing it.

The more you experiment with what you wear, the more your style will grow and change over time. Going outside the box can sometimes lead to the best discoveries.

Or, you know, you can just throw on a sweatshirt and jeans and call it a day. Really, “fall style” is just whatever you choose to wear during the fall, and there is no reason why I or anyone else should be giving advice on this stuff.

New rule: to be a true fall fashionista, dress like a pumpkin every day.

NPR host visits Hood

Professor Orloff (left) moderates discussion with Korva Coleman (right) Photo Courtesy of Chris Hamby

National Public Radio Newscaster Korva Coleman visited Hood on Sept. 22 to kick off the Passion and Profession series.

Coleman, who has been working at NPR since 1990, talked about her experiences with failure, how they have shaped her into the person she is today, and how this brought her into the world of journalism.

“I am doing what I desire to be doing,” Coleman said. “It’s the experience of failure that helped me learn this.”

Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Coleman majored in journalism at Howard University. She later went on to Georgetown University to study law, but dropped out when she realized that her true passion was radio.

“Radio is both an art and a science,” she said.

During her talk, Coleman quoted both Alanis Morissette and Kahlil Gibran. Coleman also talked about the importance of college and how important a college experience can be in shaping someone’s character.

“College is here to help you learn about your humanity,” Coleman said. “Let yourself become exceedingly uncomfortable.”

In addition to her talk for the Passion and Profession series, Coleman also spoke to a class of Communication Arts and English students, moderated by Professor Orloff.

“I thought that it was a rare opportunity for CMA majors to have time to talk with somebody who is actually practicing the profession, in a way that many of our students aspire to,” Orloff said. “She’s actually doing the news.”

Orloff normally teaches Reel Journalism during this time, but volunteered her classroom so that Coleman could have a chance to speak directly with students.

“The timing worked out, and she was generous enough to come a little bit early just to meet with students, rather than through the campus wide presentation in the evening,” Orloff said.

During this time, Coleman spoke about a day in the life as an NPR newscaster, which involves going into work at 3 a.m. and often having to be quick on her feet. Coleman says that she likes to use her platform to talk about stories that not everyone is looking at.

Many students felt that Coleman was enriching.

“Her talk was very inspirational and life-changing. I idealize her,” said John Curran, a senior. “She’s just a great human and there is a lot to learn from her. I love NPR and didn’t know what I was going to do when I graduated. Now I want to work for NPR.”

Coleman said that she feels she currently has her dream job, and that the hardest story she has ever had to work on was the Sandy Hook shooting.

“It has great value for me to tell the truth, even with a broken heart,” Coleman said.

According to the Hood website, the Passion and Profession series “will bring to campus speakers whose careers are based in a particular set of personal values that connect to a current social justice issue.”

The series was created by the Career Center and the Office of the Dean of the Chapel.

Coleman speaks in Whitaker Commons to the Hood community Photo by Ellie Blaser

Coleman speaks in Whitaker Commons to the Hood community
Photo by Ellie Blaser

Hood College Theater Groups Merge

IMG_2666

The interior of Brodbeck Music Hall facing the stage. Photo by CJ Blickenstaff

The start of the 2016-2017 academic year has marked a major shake-up for musical theatre at Hood, since the two theatre groups here on campus have merged into one.

The two different groups, Hood College Student Musical Theatre and the Hood College Theater Alliance, put on two separate shows last spring, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and Legally Blonde, which both were performed in Brodbeck Music Hall.

“There’s really only one place where a full musical can be performed in, and that’s Brodbeck,” says Gabe Cassutto, class of 2017, previously elected to be the president of Hood College Student Musical Theatre prior to the merger. “Brodbeck is very old, so there was some unnecessary and significant wear  on Brodbeck last year because of the two shows.”

According to Cassutto, it was the strain of allocated resources, “both financial and participatory,” that led to the merger.

“The merge ultimately happened because of the financial situation in Student Life, and that there’s just really no way that you can fund two full-length musicals for two different groups and everything that goes into it,” says Carla Kronsbein, class of 2017,  and vice president of Hood College Theatre Alliance.

“When we think about a campus the size of Hood, and the resources that we have available, it only makes sense for there to be one predominant organization on campus,” says Dr. Gurzick, former advisor of the Hood College Theatre Alliance and now a co-adviser for Hood College Student Musical Theatre. “So we came up with the decision to merge the groups and as co-advisers, both myself and Professor Staininger, agreed that that was a great way for it.”

The Hood College Theatre Alliance was active for the 2015-2016 academic year, and was the result of complications within the group after the planned production, Urinetown, could not be performed.

“For the 2014-2015 academic year, Hood College Student Musical Theatre planned to put on Urinetown. This show ended up not actually happening, and this issue stemmed from not having enough members in the cast,” says Cassutto. “This was a legal matter. Legally, we had to have a certain number of people in the ensemble and in the main cast. If we didn’t we legally couldn’t put it on, because we would have to change the music.”

Cassutto says that possibly changing the music would have been in violation of a contract that was signed to get the rights to put on the show in the first place. Lynn Staininger, the show’s music director, decided to refuse to continue to work on the show because of the legal obligations that were not being met.

IMG_4182

The exterior of Brodbeck. Photo by CJ Blickenstaff

“There is debate, and I will not comment on who is to be at fault for not fulfilling the cast number,” says Cassutto. “Typically, that responsibility will fall amongst the administration, as in the director, the assistant director, the casting director. As a result [of the show’s cancellation], the director and the assistant director decided to create their own group, feeling that they were not able to create a show under the current exec board and cooperating with the music director.”

Kronsbein says this became very complicated.

“Deadlines just were not met, things were falling apart, and in my opinion, rightfully so, the board decided to pull the show,” says Kronsbein. “So then [the director] decided, ‘screw you guys, we’re gonna make our own club where we can do what we want’ So that’s how that happened.”

Kronsbein says that she feels that the divide was about politics, and that once these politics were taken away, the groups were able to come together again.

“I think [the merger] is a great idea. I think that people are finally getting over themselves,” she said. “I’m glad we’re back together, and now we’re under the direction of Lynn [Staininger] and Dr. Gurzick.”

Going forward, the merged groups, which now work under the name Hood College Student Musical Theatre, are going to try working together to put on a spring musical. At this time, both Kronsbein and Dr. Gurzick say that the selected spring show is The Wedding Singer.

Kronsbein hopes other music-related events can be put on throughout the year.

“I see us up and out, and coming back to the traditions and being able to have events, like the Gender Bender Cabaret [and flash mobs], just so that we have things throughout the year and not just one big performance at the end,” Kronsbein said.

Kronsbein also says hopes the Frederick community will be able to be involved in any future Hood productions, since the theatre program at Hood is so small.

At the moment, the groups are putting together their exec boards and planning for the rest of the year.

“We had a meeting and the two groups came together and I thought it was a really valuable meeting,” says Dr. Gurzick. “I think we saw that there are tremendous amounts of interest and enthusiasm.”

It looks like time and compromise are what it will take for these groups to work effectively as one.

“I think that there’s going to have to be a lot of compromise, and I think that if we stick to it for the love of theatre, that it will come out on top,” says Kronsbein. “We’re trying to come to the community as like, this merge happened and we have our [stuff] together, and that we’re not just like blindly wondering what we do know.”

Cassutto is not so sure. “I think having one theater group on campus is a good idea, and I think the merger is great in theory, but unless proven wrong in the following weeks, has seemed to be poor in execution,” he says.

Cassutto says that the next big step is putting together a good administration.

“I want musical theatre at Hood to stick around. I want it to be a thing that people want to go out and do,” Cassutto says. “The founders of this organization are very close friends of mine, and I can’t look them in the eyes and tell them that their legacy at Hood failed while I was here.”

Post-College Gourmet Recipes: Ramen Edition

For many seniors here at Hood College, graduation means the start of a new beginning – a life on your own, or at least the first steps towards that. Whether you have lived in the dorms all four years or spent some time off campus, graduation means a major change in more ways than one.

For those seniors who have spent all or most of their college career living in the dorms, graduation also means a change in one of the biggest aspects of everyone lives: food. While the dining hall and take-out may vary in quality, it’s still nice not having to prepare your own food, which can be expensive and hard to make. While Ramen Noodles are often seen as a popular staple of college life, with a little time and effort they can be made into something amazing – and, it is important to note, cheap. Here are some great Ramen recipes to help graduates eat on a budget.

Chicken Noodle Soup:

Often it can be hard to properly take care of ourselves when we are sick. I know that I usually try to ignore my sickness for as long as possible. With the easy recipe, you’ll be able to make yourself a good, warm meal that will help you feel better and taste delicious!

What you need: cooked chicken, cabbage, carrots, and ramen noodles cooked for 3-minutes in boiled water.

Sirloin-Snap Pea Stir-fry

This can be a delicious dish for anyone who enjoys stir-fry and not spending a lot of money (so I’m thinking quite a few of us). It’s a tasty mixture that can be as flavorful as you want – had the spices and meat that you want! Top it off with snap-peas to make it perfect!

What you need: thin slices of beef, scallions, garlic, and ginger, and beef broth and soy sauce for the sauce. And of course, snap-peas!

Chicken Salad

Sometimes you want to eat a little healthy, or at least pretend to! With this salad recipe, you can easily have protein, greens, and of course everyone’s favorite noodle – Ramen! It’s quick and easy and won’t put a hole in your wallet, while also being super yummy and great for any occasion. (Just maybe don’t mention that it’s made with Ramen… people might get judgmental, let’s be honest).

What you need: toasted Ramen, chicken, lettuce, almonds, and spices.

Plain

Last but not least, we can’t forget the joy out of having your Ramen plain – but this I mean without everything. No spices, no vegetables, not even any hot water! Sometimes in life we get tired and lazy and don’t feel like doing anything, even taking the time to cook a little Ramen Noodles or ordering a pizza. If that is ever the case, just know that Ramen is edible and tasty if it is completely plain and uncooked (kind of like a cracker)! So when worst comes to worst, you’ve at least got that!

What you need: Ramen… and literally nothing else.

For those of you graduating soon, I’m sure the world probably looks like a scary place (hopefully it doesn’t), and that you have got a lot on your mind. It’s important to always know that no matter wat happens, Ramen Noodles will always have your back!