Sunday, April 17, 2011

Very busy times on campus as the semester comes to a close.

As our semester and academic year come to a quick ending there are so many student activities that it is sometimes difficult to find the time to attend all of them. In the pictures above, you will see a group of students in Eddie's Lounge on campus enjoying a concert put on by Adam Reczek, who is seen above reading out information about prostate cancer awareness. Adam is in my Men & Masculinities class and when I told them (30 second semester seniors - 15 women and 15 men) that I wanted their final projects to be creative Adam took me at my word and asked his friend Matt to join him for a set of amazing guitar music and singing and then he asked Mike Check, our campus Acappella group to join him on stage. The coffee pot on the table served as a container for donations and they raised $85 AND provided some excellent information to everyone gathered there about the very serious issues surrounding prostate cancer - this is one of the most unique final projects I have received from a student and I am proud of Adam and his friends for doing this.

Yesterday afternoon, before heading over to the Duffy Field and Senior Day for our men's lacrosse game I joined my friend and colleague Ingrid Peterson from the Career Development Office for two panel presentations to accepted students who were visiting the campus. We responded to their excellent questions about everything from "what do I do if I suck at languages" to "how can I figure out what I want to major in" - it is always fun to see our prospective students before they make that difficult decision - there were great questions and, as always, it was fun to work with Ingrid.

There is a concert this afternoon over in Ross Sport Center which is a benefit as part of the College's Earth Day celebration. It was planned for the green outside of the library but as I look out my window and see the continuing rain outside, it is a wise decision to move it indoors. The group presenting the concert is BAREFOOT TRUTH, which, if you have ever followed my blog you know IS my favorite group - with two former SMC students performing it has become a favorite of many more than just myself.

Three weeks of classes left AND an Easter weekend break- students are completing their work, WE are all busy grading that work and with the sun making an appearance every now and then, life on campus goes on at a hectic pace. Many of my seniors have been successful in their job hunt and have been hearing from either graduate schools OR places they have been seeking employment from and therefore needing recommendations. It looks like a good end of another great year.

As always, please take good care, be well and keep all of the members of our military and our veterans AND their families in your thoughts and prayers.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dinner at Dave's - GRACE Potter and Barefoot Truth

Each spring semester I invite students from my Men & Masculinities course to my home for dinner. I cook, they eat and then we sit around and talk until I have to throw them out - this past Monday I asked someone what time it was and they said 11:15 and I just said they all had to leave as it WAS late for me and I had to get up in the morning :) Each group consists of 4, 5 or 6 students - here are pictures of the first two groups - we have a great time and they are so appreciative of having dinner at a "professor's" home that it is worth all of the effort in planning and feeding young college students.........

Last night the Student Association held their Spring Concert. There was a great deal of discussion on who the performers could/should be and they settled with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals AND my all-time favorite group, Barefoot Truth. Running a concert on any college campus is a challenge - there is the set-up, the management of tickets and security, the advertising and marketing, the "management" of the venue and the overriding fear that any concert MAY NOT be a success. Grace Kelly is our Director of Student Activities and in that capacity, she works closely with all of the students involved in the concert activities. Mark Litchfield is our Special Events man and he has the experience and skills to work with performers, physical plant AND most importantly, with our students. The collaboration between Grace (Kelly) and Mark is amazing to watch. They arranged for student-workers to handle all of the needed tasks and rather than DOING the work themselves, Grace and Mark have taught our students by example how to get things done. Matt Seklecki and Claire McQuillen are the two students from the Student Association who are co-chairs of Programming and it is their responsibility to make sure that things run smoothly from a student perspective - their responsibilities run the gamut from marketing to enlisting student volunteers to work the event.

Well, the concert was amazing. There were several, several hundred people in the Ross Sport Center gym last night for a great time. Barefoot Truth first became MY favorite during the senior year of two of the band members who were SMC students. Garrett and Will have worked tirelessly to make this band what it is today - they travel all over the East Coast performing and their sound has grown over the years - you can check them out at their website at - it is well worth a listen. I spoke with both Garrett and Will last night before they performed and they were just so happy to be back on campus and performing before an SMC crowd. Their sound in that gym was the best....... They have a solid following on and off campus in the Burlington area and their fans were NOT disappointed. Both Dean Jeff Trumbower and I have been avid fans for several years and it was great to have our Academic Dean at the concert too.

Grace Potter - what can I say about her? She has recently been on the Letterman Show as well as the Leno Show and she was completely on fire last night. Early on in the evening after she finished her sound check and before the doors were open to fans, she walked past Grace Kelly, Mark Litchfield and a couple of students and waved to us, said hello and was just amazingly friendly and welcoming. A Vermonter herself, she clearly appreciated being on OUR campus and she put on a fantastic show. Unlike so many "performers" today, both Grace Potter and the guys from Barefoot Truth were approachable (Grace Potter even offered to sign autographs for folks and was so unassuming that you would wonder who she was if you ran into her on the street) and clearly appreciate their fans. The smile on Grace Potter's face lit up the entire gym... So, congratulations to Grace Kelly and Mark Litchfield for once again setting the stage and enabling our students to actively work at making a concert a success. Congratulations to Matt and Claire for the success and to all of the many, many student workers who all combined to have a very successful concert..... Well done!!!!

We only have a few weeks of class left in the semester so all of my students are busy completing major assignments, readings, journals and projects - it has been a great semester and once again I am able to say that I have not had even one bad class the entire semester...... They WERE a bit upset last week with the prediction of another 8 0 10 inches of snow for Friday BUT in the end that did turn out to be an April Fool's Day joke as we barely had a dusting. While winter isn't over yet, warmer days are coming and hopefully they all see the end in sight. Our seniors are looking back on their four years and ahead for when they leave - an interesting mixture of emotions. The next few weeks will go faster than they realize.

Please take good care and, as always, please keep all of the members of our military and all of our veterans in your thoughts and prayers.