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Senior Oration: Conor Stark ’15 and MamaDear

The Daily Deac continues to showcase the finalists for Senior Orations.  And with whispers of possible more snow to come this afternoon or tomorrow, we’re preposting Thursday’s Daily Deac just in case.

mamadearThere is a basketball game scheduled for tonight (WFU vs UVA at 7 pm here at the Joel).  A colleague in Athletics let us know that alumnus Parker Bradway (’11), a former Screamin’ Demon and member of Chi Rho, will be peforming the national anthem at the game Wednesday night with his band, MamaDear, as well as a halftime set.  My colleague wrote: “MamaDear got its name from the last line of our alma mater, thanks to Parker!  Having recently signed with entertainment-giant CAA, they were named the top up-and-coming band at the 2014 CMA Festival in Nashville.  You can find information on them via Facebook and they have songs available on iTunes.  Additionally, Parker and lead singer, Kelly, recently got married!”  They are playing Ziggy’s here in town on Thursday, so your students who like country music can hear more.

And without further ado…today’s Senior Oration is Losing Your Feet, by Conor Stark ’15.

– by Betsy Chapman

————-

I’ve always been struck by our desire to tell stories. It truly is one of the most peculiar facts about human beings, namely that—for some reason—we feel compelled to understand and be understood by one another. In our best stories, it seems to me that we keep returning to three questions in particular, questions which confront any reflective human beings: namely (1) who am I, (2) why am I here, and (3) how, then, should I live? And so we look stories to provide the context in which these questions can be asked and answered effectively. They tell us how we can understand the world around us and how we might relate to it in a meaningful way, in a way that might make our lives happy and whole. Who better, then, to hear such stories than college seniors, those of us who are about to wrestle with uncertainty, whose business it is to contend with the future? Indeed, we must not deceive ourselves here, we must admit that, although we may be anxious, uncertain perhaps, we, as befits our age, are also full of hope, which may lack a name as of now, but which bears all the marks of passion and resolve. (Pause) While only a foolish person approaches his life without anxiety, only an ornery one does so without hope, without that uniquely human hope that at the end of every story, lies a conclusion and a meaning. But perhaps it would be better to show such stories, as opposed to telling you about them.

One night, a man was seen walking outside of a town near Athens. In the sixth century, the night brought its necessity with it. It was time when meaningful labor ceased, when tired hands put down the plough and reached out for home. But this man’s day was just starting. It was as if the night’s warning was lost on him, as if he saw freedom where others had seen only compulsion. To many, it seemed that man was in the habit of talking to himself. But how differently he understood himself. As a child might wait under his covers, eager for his parents to come and finish yesterday’s story, so too this man waited upon the stars. If they had descended, he would try to speak with them for a while. But no secrets would be shared that night, for in his passion to shine a light onto heaven, the man tripped over his feet into the dark and fell head first into a hole in the ground. Justice had been served—and the night had claimed its due. Thankfully, a young girl came to his aid, and, after lifting him up, scolded him for his folly. The man’s name was Thales, and he was, by most accounts, the first philosopher. As of that moment, he succeeded in establishing what would be a long and glorious tradition of Western philosophy, of posing odd questions to yourself and seeming odd to just about everyone else. Being a philosophy major myself, I must acknowledge the truth in this story: one day, for example, I got so caught up trying to figure out how minds were related to bodies, I neglected the fact that my body was at once, hungry, tired, and several hours late to dinner.

Of course, these stories are comical. The person who forgets that he is on earth, although trying to storm heaven on top of syllogisms, is no doubt ridiculous. However, I’ve come across another story lately, one that is perhaps more tragic than the other comical, a story which has unfortunately become more commonplace and acceptable to us. A certain man was born, raised, and married in the company of good people. As he made his way through life, he made a reasonable amount of money, kept a reasonable number of friends and acquaintances at hand, and maintained a reasonable home life with his family. The man’s life passed quietly in this fashion, and, after he had died, everyone decided, as if by committee, that the man had lived a long and happy life, that others could only be so fortunate to have half of what this man achieved for himself. He was, in the end, a good person, who minded his own business and left his eyes on the ground, on life’s problems and demands. And yet, something happened to the man during his life that was most unfortunate. The man had forgotten or had allowed himself to forget that he had never known himself, had never known whether he was a good or bad person, or had lived the right kind of life. While Thales had neglected the ground beneath his feet, our honorable man had lived his entire life unknown to himself, neglecting a need he had always felt, which had always made him a bit uneasy.

In the Symposium, Plato has someone say that, underneath every passion and every love, lies a desire for happiness and for good things. In his words, “love always wants to possess the good forever, [since] that’s what makes happy people happy.” Indeed at the end of our striving, whether for money, grades, security, friends or family, lies a desire to be happy. And there we can go no further, since if someone were to ask you why you wanted to be happy, you would rightly respond, ‘What do you mean, why do I want to be happy—I just do’.  But it seems we’ve omitted a few things. For don’t we say that courage makes someone happy? What about justice, moderation, or wisdom? Surely we don’t call the person happy, who in cowardice shirks his duty, who, through intemperance, cannot control his actions, who, because of ignorance, stumbles recklessly through life? It seems, on the contrary, that, if we want to be happy, we need virtue. That’s a good thing, too, since, although other people may rob us of our wealth or tarnish our character, the virtues are lost only through negligence. It’s curious, then, that, while the virtues are so essential to our lives and to our happiness, they have been so unceremoniously abandoned.

Recently, we have talked about the differences between races, genders, and classes, and have asked ourselves many questions in favor of those suffering injustice. How can equality be won for this group? How can we give freedom to crowds of disenfranchised people? Valid and difficult questions no doubt, but are there not also questions with a different sort of character? Questions that, as it were, take it upon themselves to search through the crowd, saying nothing to the group, but saying everything to individual, overlooking entirely the issues of gender, class, or race? Indeed, these questions find every man in the protest, every member of the cause, and whisper to him “are you the person you should be, are you living the right kind of life?” In short, they take us aside one by one, in order to examine each of us about virtue and what it means to live a good human life.

Pascal said that mankind’s problems, for the most part, would be solved, if we could all just learn to sit quietly with ourselves, alone in our rooms. While not that drastic, I’ve often wondered what kinds of misunderstandings and injustices we might avoid if, instead, we focused on being understanding and just people, in whom we might see the virtues of wisdom and justice at work. While it is not wise to lose one’s feet or forget the world’s problems, it’s certainly far more foolish to wander through life without stopping to look at oneself properly—to examine whether one’s life is good and happy. For it is this reflection, this refusal to be deceived by oneself, and this love of excellence, which makes, and has always made, a human being a human being.

 

A Surprise Snow!

Mother Nature pulled a fast one on all of us early this morning.  We woke up to snow that had not been predicted or expected.  This was not a huge snow event, a light powdery covering that was enough to obscure the grass but it was not inches and inches deep.  The event was really that no one saw this coming – and subsequently there had not been the kind of pre-snow brining of the roads that you’d come to expect.

At first the campus was delayed until 9:30, but that was revised to 11 am to give time for the road conditions to improve.  I drove to campus at 10 am and did not encounter any difficulty in my very short commute (only a few miles from campus).  Once I got here, I made a loop around campus and checked out the appearance of the roads and sidewalks.  God bless our Facilities crew, they had already done a remarkable job clearing the walkways and salting the paths.  During my drive around campus I saw several people walking along the paths.  They were being careful and not walking at a super brisk pace.  Happily, I did not see any of them appear to slide or slip.  (Aside: I saw one young man jogging in this mess.  That is dedication).

While we try to remind you in various ways of closings or delays, you and your students would be wise to bookmark the Wake Alert website.  You’ll notice in a delay or closing that there is a banner that appears at the top of the Parents’ Page (as well as other websites within wfu.edu), but Wake Alert is the place with full details.

2 24 quad camI don’t know if it will be cold enough all day for the snow to last, but as of 11 am you can still see it on the Quad Cam.  This is a screen capture from moments ago.

There’s not enough snow to make a big snowman or to try to sled, but I bet our students will find some fun in the snow nonetheless.

 

– by Betsy Chapman

 

Golden Moments

If you were watching the Oscars last night, you saw the golden moment of Wake Forest’s own Kelly FitzGerald (’17), whose short film was chosen as one of six winners in a Team Oscar contest.  You can see Kelly at the Oscars here, and there is a wonderful story in the Winston-Salem Journal about Kelly, with commentary by our own Mary Dalton, Professor of Communication and Film Studies and Faculty Fellow for Luter Hall.

Speaking of winning moments, Dr. Dalton was recognized at last week’s Founders’ Day Convocation as winner of the Schoonmaker Prize for Community Service.  She was among a number of faculty members recognized for excellence in teaching, service, and more.  Congratulations to all the winners; you can read more about each of them at the link above.

Each year at Founders’ Day, three seniors are selected to deliver an oration that addresses how they have changed during their four years at Wake Forest.

The winners of the 2015 Senior Orations competition were:

I hope you’ll take the time to read these orations and see the talent and depth of thought of our seniors.  We’ll continue to feature the other Senior Oration finalists in the coming weeks.

Finally, there was a senior video shown at Convocation.  Senior parents, grab your hankies.  Freshmen parents, four years goes fast.  Enjoy every minute!

 

– by Betsy Chapman

Senior Oration: Anne Hillgartner ’15

In the coming weeks, the Daily Deac will feature the finalists for Senior Orations.  Three students were chosen to read their Senior Oration during Founders’ Day Convocation.  But all of the top ten orations are worth sharing, and we’ll publish one at a time.

Today’s Senior Oration is Mentorship, by Anne Hillgartner ’15.

——————

I can remember the best week of my life: it was in September of my sophomore year at Wake Forest.  I was only three weeks into my new internship with the Secrest Artists Series and we were hosting our first event, the Wayne Shorter Jazz Quartet.  One of my responsibilities was transporting the artists to and from the airport, their hotel, and wherever they wanted to go.  This was not a chore, but rather it meant I got to interact with musicians I had admired for years.  At the end of the week full of film screenings, master classes, and performances, I was driving the pianist, Danilo Perez, to the airport at six o’clock in the morning.  Despite the hour and his exhaustion, he was talkative, asking me about what it was like to be a student and helping me study for my Spanish test later that day.  In our conversation, he gave me a piece of advice that I’ve never forgotten.  He said, “Believe in other people and the enthusiasm they have.”  When he got out of the car, I scribbled down some notes on a scrap of paper and this line was one of them.

Now two years later, I realize the importance of having enthusiasm for the work and passion of other people.  My Wake Forest experience has been set apart because my mentors characterize Perez’s advice.  The support I have received from professors, supervisors, and friends has done more than made me knowledgeable, write effectively, and hone my musical skills.  It has left me with a profound sense of gratitude for those who showed excitement for my interests; who took the time to support my academic pursuits; who were essential parts of the web of resources.  Wake Forest’s greatest gift to me has been my mentors. 

So, who are they?

I was lucky to have an internship with the Secrest Artists Series not only because it exposed me to wonderful musicians like Danilo Perez and Wayne Shorter, but also because it introduced me to my first mentor: Lillian Shelton.  She was an example of how to call upon all the resources of the university—the Secrest series was run only by two people: Lillian and me.  Yet what made the Series possible was the support of so many other offices at the university.  For the Wayne Shorter event, we partnered with the biology department, the office of sustainability, campus life, and IPLACe. Lillian always took me to meetings with advisors, artist managers, and administrators even though I was only a student.  She insisted on introducing me to all the people she knew.  The result of her mentoring was that I realized early in my college career the great wealth of individuals that wanted to work together, were happy to provide free thoughts and advice, and wanted to see our work at the Secrest Series prosper because they believed it added value to the Wake Forest community.

Academically, Wake Forest prides itself on the close relationship between students and faculty encouraged by research, office hours, and small class sizes.  I experienced this benefit myself when I decided to write a thesis for my history major.  I wanted a way to combine my interest in history, my passion for music, and my love of Venice (where I studied abroad).  So, I dreamed up an idea to study a little known Venetian composer named Luigi Nono, and ask the question, “how did an upbringing during the revolution of Mussolini’s Fascism affect his life experience?”.  I knew his archives were located in Venice, and that his widow was still alive, so I wanted to return to the city to research and meet with her.  As you can guess, this wasn’t going to be an easy or inexpensive dream.  But, when I walked into Dr. Peter Kairoff’s office to pitch the idea, he just said “done” practically before I had finished my sentence.  Through his resources, he connected me with the composer’s widow for an interview, helped me find funding, and secure a place to stay.  Dr. Kairoff had confidence in me, something that I really needed as I undertook this giant, risky project.  Similarly, my history advisor, Dr. Alan Williams, supported my alternative topic and helped me take the experience and translate it to my best possible thesis.  He was not just concerned with the successful completion of the paper.  He cared about the process—making sure that broader research methods and critical thinking across disciplines were the real things I was learning.

These are just three examples of mentors, but I could name well over fifty individuals that have left an impermeable mark on my college experience.

As an upperclassman, I was confronted with a situation where I was needed for support.  After my junior year, I had to make the decision to quit or continue marching band.  My first two years of band had been exhausting: I had seen Wake Forest lose more times than win.  I had a great family from marching band, but, let’s be honest: it was not always fun to be out in the cold, fingers bare, wind whipping through the stadium, raining, playing a clarinet for five hours, staying all the way to the end of the game, especially at a game that we might lose.  My senior year there would be two new coaches and new band director, and the rebuilding year would present many new challenges.  Nevertheless, I decided to continue in the marching band.  Call me crazy.. My decision was inspired by the example of my mentors who had supported me even if it made their lives a little harder.  Though I hadn’t seen great years in Wake Forest sports, it was more important to me to be a source of support for the teams than to have my Saturday afternoons to myself.  Often times the marching band members are counted on to be an example of enthusiasm for the stadium. I really believe that our presence does not go unnoticed by the players and I think our supporting role is an invaluable contribution to the school spirit of Wake Forest.

As I venture into post-graduate life, I will take with me the inspiration and lessons of mentorship at Wake Forest.  My mentors taught me the value in showing excitement for other people’s ideas, not just my own.  They showed me that great things could happen not only when you are a leader, but also when you are a great supporter of the work of other people.  They taught me to appreciate and use the talents and resources at Wake Forest.  Their selflessness was found not a single act, an afternoon of volunteering, or an evening at the soup kitchen, but in an enduring commitment to their students. Their approach to life valued working together and the strength of ideas when combined rather than standing separate.  My mentors have showed me the validity of Danilo Perez’s advice in the car when I was nineteen: to believe in other people’s enthusiasm.  The greatest lessons of my education could not have been learned through books alone.  These lifelong lessons were the product of the joint effort and collaboration with my Wake Forest mentors. Their example is my continuing source of inspiration.

Vote for a Deac

I received an email the other day about a photo contest featuring one of our very own Deacs, senior Emily Jobe (’15) of Summerfield, NC.  Emily was studying abroad last summer in China.  She just happened to have her umbrella with her when her classmate (also a WFU student) snapped this shot of her in front of the Shanghai skyline.

totes contestThe photo has now made it into a contest that Totes, the manufacturer of said umbrella, is hosting on Facebook.  It’s a lovely picture, and you can vote for our Deac Emily online via Facebook. (The first thing you see is a “Fans only” window, which I skipped.  Then you see Emily’s photo where there is a “vote” button at the top left.)  I hope the Deac Nation will rally with lots of votes for her!

In other campus news, it is bitterly, brutally cold.  Colder than we have seen this year, and it looks to stay that way through the weekend.

Speaking of cold and pictures, there are a lot of great pictures of students in the snow this week on Instagram, including this fun slide show.  You can look for the Wake Forest University Instagram account.  Are any of your Deacs in those pictures?

 

– by Betsy Chapman

Snow Day!

Today campus is closed because of snow.  The 3-5″ we were predicted to have didn’t come to pass.  We only have an inch or two, and that got tapped down by sleet lastnight.  You can check out the snow (while it lasts) via the Quad Cam.  For those of you who are wondering about dining options on campus, there are still some.  Check out ARAMARK’s Campus Dish website for hours and availability.

Since I can’t get to work and bring you any stories from campus, I’m bringing you a different story and a plea for help.  Wake Forest has a new project, the Innovation Quarter, which has been selected as a finalist for the Great Places NC People’s Choice Award in the National Historic Rehabilitation Category.

The Wake Forest Innovation Quarter is in the historical downtown business district. The Innovation Quarter is a unique community that is being developed to support life science and information technology research and development. The quarter is being developed around the expanding biomedical campus for Wake Forest University Health Sciences (WFUHS) that will create a nexus of intellectual activity attracting new biotechnology investment and development to the heart of the city.

Great Places in North Carolina is an awards program created by the American Planning Association in 2012 to highlight Great Places and the communities and people that have created them.

Will you show your WFU pride and help vote for the Innovation Quarter?  Voting is open now and ends at 5 p.m. on February 27. We are currently in second place.   Vote for the Innovation Quarter online.

 

– by Betsy Chapman

Happy Black and Gold Friday!

It’s Friday, and as always, I hope you’re making it a Black and Gold Friday wherever you are.  Wear WFU colors and show your school pride!

Correction from yesterday: the Kissing Kanines booth is in the Benson Center 3rd floor. Hope your students get the chance for a big pooch smooch today!

This weekend is the University Theatre production of Waiting for Godot.  Given our recent Five Senses of Scales, there’s no better time than the present to encourage your students to see some high quality theatre.

It was really cold yesterday – and WINDY!  The wind howled much of the day and into the night lastnight.  The wind is supposed to be diminishing today so perhaps it won’t be quite so cold.  Here’s the Deac-end forecast.

love-sunsetFinally, I wish all our Deac families a very happy Valentine’s Day.  May you feel the love of those closest to you.

Don’t forget to send an e-Valentine to your students through our Deacon Greetings.

– by Betsy Chapman

Valentine’s Day Thoughts

This weekend is Valentine’s Day, which can be a really tricky time in college.  Students might be in a relationship, or they might be in some sort of ambiguous place where they don’t want to push too hard to DTR (Define the Relationship) and scare their partner off.  Or they might be happily – or unhappily – single.

So there may be some ambivalence, drama, grumpiness, or excitement about V-day, depending on where your Deac is coming from in his or her personal life.  As with so many other things, I’d urge you to just roll with whatever vibe they are giving off to you.

woof forestThere is one sure way to get some love for Valentine’s Day.  ‘Woof Forest,’ the intrepid group who brings dogs to campus, is sponsoring a Woof Forest Kissing Kanine booth on Friday on Manchester Plaza (aka Mag Quad on South campus) from 1-4 pm on Friday:  “Come to Manchester Plaza to get kisses from lovable pups just in time for Valentine’s Day! All proceeds benefit the Forsyth Humane Society.”  I am not clear on whether you have to pay to kiss a pup or they are just asking for donations.  But puppies are college student catnip, and I suspect it will be a big time draw.

There are many more events this weekend that students can take advantage of if they don’t have Valentine’s Day plans.  Check the Events Calendar for more details.

It goes without saying that it is always a good time for you to tell your kids you love them. But especially on Valentine’s Day!

– by Betsy Chapman

 

5 Senses of Scales Fine Arts Center

Today I felt drawn, as if by magic, to Scales Fine Arts Center.  Like there was some weird gravitational pull nudging me in that direction.  Scales is one of my favorite places on campus.  I have been thinking of Scales a lot and have wanted to do a Five Senses there, and despite the gray and dismal day, I wandered over there around 11:30.

If you aren’t familiar with Scales, it is the one academic building that deviates from our Georgian brick architecture.  A unique and distinctive part of our skyline.  Scales has two buildings – an upper (where Brendle Recital Hall is) and a lower (where the Mainstage Theatre and Hanes Art Gallery are).  There is a dance studio in back of lower Scales too – an old airplane hanger that has been converted.

So I spent about 1/2 hour observing lower Scales for the Five Senses.  Enjoy.

I see…

– Three pods of low seating, with four chairlike sections to them.  A solitary stainless steel travel mug sits abandoned on the tabletop of the first one.

– Funky looking 1960s-70s style chairs ring the room.  Think avant garde Brady Bunch residential chairs.

– A vibrant color scheme – tans and purples and sages and oranges and tomato reds are everywhere, from the carpet to the pods to the funky chairs to the walls.

– Four groups of people when I arrive.  Three are solitary students engrossed in studying or surfing laptops, it’s hard to tell from my vantage point.  There is a group of two people talking in the funky chairs, and I am having a great deal of difficulty telling if it is two students or a student and a youngish (or just young at heart) faculty member.

scales sculpture- A giant lizard/insect/birdlike scuplture hangs in the middle of the room.  This has been here since my student days.

– Lots of signs on the Theatre Box office and restroom doors – how to declare a major in one of the fine arts, posters for Waiting for Godot (our next University Theatre production) as well as other local productions.

– A member of Facilities pushing a rolling trash can into the restroom to clean it.

– A sandwich/snack vending machine, as well as a coffee machine.  Both get used during my time there.

– The entrance to the Hanes Art Gallery is closed; a sign says the current exhibition is coming down and they are installing the next (to open Feb. 17th).

– Girls in scarves.

– The Box Office door open and a person came out.  I had no idea anyone was in there, as the windows were all closed.

– Three Facilities workers with big wrenches enter and take the elevator upstairs.

– A girl takes the funky chair next to me.  She has black equestrian boots with muddy toes.  Not caked in mud, but I walked in wet muddy grass splotches.

– An older gentleman walk in with what looks like a giant Army duffle.  The duffle is the exact shape of a conga drum (apologies to my Music colleagues if I mislabeled that one).

– The same Facilities staff member who had the rolling trash can goes up to a student.  They are talking just out of earshot, but it is clear from their tone of voice and body language that they know and like each other.  There is no awkwardness of people who aren’t familiar with each other – they are clearly known entities.  I am assuming she either studies here often and/or is a major and in the building a lot.  I hear her say that her throat hurts, and he is telling her to look after herself.

– Later I see the same gentleman and another male student interacting.  Not sure who smiled first or spoke first, but they know and like each other too.  It’s a sweet little moment to witness, this staff member watching after his flock.  When you don’t have your parents around, sometimes having an adult who knows who you are and talks to you can make all the difference.

– A dog – the holy grail of college students!  A staff member has her small dog on leash, and while she talks to the student in the line above, the dog wanders to a girl at the next pod who can barely contain her delight.  The dog goes back to its owner, and I catch the girl peeking at the dog a couple times, hoping the dog will wander back to her (the dog doesn’t).

– As it gets closer to noon, a few more students wander through on the way to class or to find a place to study.  It is decidedly hard to figure out who are students and who are faculty or staff.  I have seen a couple of youngish guys in blazers and chucks and they could equally be a senior or a young faculty member.  Working with the arts must keep everyone here young.

 

I hear…

– The big wrenches of the Facilities guys.

– Piano music.  It is wafting up from somewhere beneath us (there is a lower floor where art studios are located).  It sounds to my untrained ears like some sort of modernish classical piece.  Whoever is playing is really good.

– Zippers of backpacks being opened and closed.

– Crinkly paper from Subway being unwrapped.

– Now I hear jazz – it sounds like a trumpet.  How is that possible?  No, it’s the piano again, no jazz.  Puzzling.

– White noise from the HVAC as it goes on and off.  While on, it sounds a bit like the white noise you hear during an airplane flight.

– “Good to see you!” as a student greets another.

– Squeaky doors as they open and close.

– Jazz trumpet again.  I figure it out, it’s either being played in the art gallery behind me, or being piped in somewhere.  Whenever the piano quiets, you can hear the jazz.

– A warm (and surprised) hello from a faculty member who sees me.  I am not a regular there, hence the surprise.

– The whirr of the vending machine as people make selections.  It sounds a bit like the vacuum tube at a drive in window of a bank, where you put your check in the pod and then send it through the big tube to the teller.

– Piano is louder now and really, really pretty.  This is not someone pounding out Chopsticks.  This is someone with true talent.  The music seems to shift between a more modern tempo, sometimes lilting.  Gorgeous.

 

I feel…

– A little awkward as I sink into my funky chair.  It sits low, but it is comfortable once you get there.

 

I smell…

– Nothing in particular for a long time.

– The girl next to me has a Subway sub, and I start to think I smell warm chicken, like one of their heated sandwiches.

– A few minutes later, the smell is stronger and really appealing.  When I walk out, I realize there is a girl next to her who has a warm Einstein’s Bagel sandwich with some kind of wonderful savory aroma.

 

I taste…

– Nothing.  Though that savory bagel is calling my name.

 

Final thoughts – I love Scales.  Love, love, love.  Between the beautiful music and the bright colors and the people, it is a happy place to be.  I saw so many people say hello, or hug each other, or have big smiles and squeals of delight when they saw each other – it just feels like a wonderfully collegial place to be.  If your Deacs haven’t discovered the magic that is made in Scales, I hope they get on that in a hurry.  Some of my happiest memories are there.

 

– by Betsy Chapman

Campus Grounds

20100923peifer1929I had a meeting this morning in Campus Grounds, which is a student-run coffeeshop in Taylor Hall.  While the Starbucks on campus always feel like a Starbucks, Campus Grounds has a more intimate, arty feel to it.  The walls are all brightly painted and the tables are colorful and interesting – one was a table completely covered in an image of the Mona Lisa.  It’s a cheery place to be, particularly on a gray and dreary day like today.

Campus Grounds was host to a handful of students around 10:30 when I was there, as well as a group of faculty meeting.  The students I saw (all female, interestingly enough) were studying at tables on their own.  I didn’t stop to linger on the selection of food and coffees this morning, but from what I saw the options looked good.

On the Quad today are a lot of yellow Thrive leaves with statistics on them about sexual assault, as part of Tie a Yellow Ribbon week.  The yellow was about the only thing brightening up the gray day.

While there is rain projected for today, the good news is at least it is warmer.  Today should reach the mid 60s, and yesterday it was 70 and sunny.  My apologies to all of you who are suffering under tons of snow (I am looking at you, Boston families).

– by Betsy Chapman