The Colgate Scene
May 2005

Around the college

Students act out a scene during University Theater's production of Cathleen Ni Houlihan. [Photo by Jimmy Maritz '05]

Self-governed and making strides
An update on the Broad Street community
More than a dozen students were sitting in the W.H. Gifford Classics Center at Lawrence Hall on a Saturday morning in early April, discussing a paper about philosopher Hannah Arendt written by a senior from Bryn Mawr College. The session was supposed to last an hour and end at 11:45 a.m. But the students sitting around the table had more questions about Arendt's concepts of freedom and wonder, and the give-and-take continued past noon.

Instead of lunch, the students were eating up the chance to delve deeper into the paper's central theme, counter notions they felt missed the mark, and analyze the topics through the lens of their particular fields of study, primarily political science and philosophy.

It was just one of eight sessions held in the Classics Center and the Max Kade German Center as part of the inaugural Colgate Undergraduate Humanities Conference.

Five Colgate students -- Cole Banning '06, Jenni Cavazos '07, Katherine Davey '05, Brian Hinrichs '07, and Deb Karpman '05 -- made presentations. They were joined by two Hamilton College students and the Bryn Mawr senior, who had all answered a call for papers the Colgate organizers had sent out. After each presentation, another student was assigned to make an initial response to the paper, to get the dialogue flowing. "Human ideals and cultural expression" was the theme of the conference, which included a guest lecture by Duke University English professor Michael Moses the previous evening.

The conference's main organizer, Maura McClelland '05, was pleased with how everything tied in together.

"The papers really connected with the keynote lecture, so I think we're all getting a lot out of this," McClelland said after the first round of presentations. "There's a kind of synthesis with the theme." McClelland, with assistance from Eli Rubin '05, Jonathan Arsenault '05, and others, had organized the conference with the idea of drawing input from throughout the Division of Humanities and its diverse disciplines.

The interdisciplinary approach was critical for Jon Jacobs, director of the Division of Humanities. Jacobs also heads Colgate's Center for the Arts and Humanities, which works to highlight the interconnections between the arts and humanities on campus.

"The conference is a nice way for students who are intellectually interested in these topics to find each other," said Jacobs. "Somebody who is an art major can get to know somebody who is a philosophy major, and a philosophy major can find out they share interests with somebody majoring in French, for example."

The interdisciplinarity was also what attracted Jen-you Hwang from Bryn Mawr. It was her paper, "Hannah Arendt's Notion of Freedom and Wonder," that elicited the discussion about the philosopher's examination of freedom as a social concept and how that should be defined. Following Hwang's presentation, students discussed various views and understandings of "freedom" and how they might or might not relate to Arendt's ideas, citing the works of Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Hobbes, and others.

"It was a great opportunity, and I was really impressed with how it turned out," said Hwang. The other topics discussed at the all-day conference included "Observation Reversed: Transforming the Viewer into the `Viewed' in Figurative Portraits"; "Trauma and Trauma Writings: An Introduction to Japanese Atomic Bomb Narratives"; "Prince and Pater: The Norms Governing the Relations between Son and Father in Golden Age Athens"; and "Self Interest and Freedom in Thucydides and Herodotus."

Ronnie Millen '06, right, of the Brothers organization fields questions for actors Felix Justice, left, and Danny Glover, center, after their performance "An Evening with Martin and Langston." The pair brought to life Martin Luther King Jr. and Langston Hughes, two African Americans who played pivotal roles in 20th-century America, in Memorial Chapel in March. [Photo by Jimmy Maritz '05]

A recent study conducted by Colgate's Upstate Institute determined that Oneida Indian Nation enterprises have generated more than 7,000 new jobs in the region (Oneida, Onondaga, and Madison counties) since 1992, the year development began on the Turning Stone Casino. The casino, in Verona, Oneida County, is approximately 25 miles north of Colgate's home of Hamilton, which is in Madison County.

The Upstate Institute serves as a resource for organizations and individuals seeking regional expertise or information about upstate New York. These recent findings are the first of a multi-part independent analysis by Jill Tiefenthaler, director of the Upstate Institute, and Chris Brown, a senior majoring in economics, who calculated the numbers after looking at Oneida Indian Nation financial statements, employment figures, and other economic data.

During the 2004 fiscal year, Tiefenthaler and Brown determined that the Oneida Nation had generated 3,585 full-time equivalent jobs in Oneida, Onondaga, and Madison counties and stimulated the creation of 3,570 more positions in related local industries since 1992.

"While some other traditional employers have been reducing the size of their local workforces over the years, the Oneida Nation has steadily, and rapidly, increased its employment," said Tiefenthaler, who also serves as associate dean of the faculty and professor of economics.

Of the 7,155 positions created, the Upstate Institute found, approximately 97 percent of them were held by non-Indians. Tiefenthaler noted that this figure is significant for an Indian nation operating a tribal casino. By way of comparison, about 57 percent of employees at tribal casinos in Arizona are non-Indian workers.

"The Nation's substantial capital investments have also had a positive impact on Central New York's employment numbers in recent years," added Tiefenthaler. "In 2004, for example, the $140 million in capital expenditures by the Oneida Nation supported more than 1,900 jobs in construction and its subsidiary industries. Although these jobs are not permanent, these capital investments are important because direct employment will continue to increase as the facilities come online later this year," she said.

Forthcoming segments of the study will examine what effect the Oneida Nation's operations might have on several other measures of the region's well-being -- including tax revenue, bankruptcies, crime, and social service costs -- and the impact of its vendor spending on local output.

Over Spring Party Weekend, students gather to watch Lyle Roelofs, provost and dean of the faculty, ride the mechanical bull at his next-door-neighbor's, the Phi Delta Theta house. [Photo by Jimmy Maritz '05]

Joanne Schneider, director of library and information services at Saint Michael's College in Colchester, Vt., has been appointed university librarian, effective June 1, following the retirement of Judy Noyes in December. Previously, Schneider held a senior position in the Middlebury College Library.

Charlie Melichar, who has served as director of media relations since the fall of 2003, will become vice president of public relations and communications on June 1, following the retirement of James Leach.

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Barker, associate curator at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art drawings and prints department, will become director of the Picker Art Gallery on July 1.

Jaime Nolan has been appointed director of the Office of Undergraduate Studies (OUS). Nolan has served as director of the ALANA Cultural Center since arriving at Colgate in July of 2003.

Adam Burnett, associate professor of geography, will become associate dean of the faculty on July 1. Dan Saracino, Charles A. Dana Professor of mathematics, will join the Dean's Advisory Council as director of the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in July.

Colgate's monthly e-mail newsletter for prospective students has won a silver medal in the Council for Advancement and Support of Education's 2005 Circle of Excellence Awards competition. "Explore Colgate," a joint effort of the admission and communications offices, was judged against 26 other entries in the web-based and electronic HTML external audience newsletters category. In the same competition, university photographer Timothy D. Sofranko received a silver medal in the Photographer of the Year category.

Sofranko also earned third place in the 2005 National Press Photographers Association Best of Photojournalism contest, in the Portrait and Personality category, for an image of Trinidadian children playing musical chairs that he took while on assignment with Colgate's West Indies Study Group (see Expanding horizons).

Brooklyn poet Irving Feldman shares conversation before his Colgate Poetry Series reading in the Ho Lecture Room in February. Feldman writes about the Coney Island days of his youth, handball players at Brighton Beach, writing, his observations of artists and poets, and the persistent and enduring effects of the Holocaust. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

When the Office of Admission started preparing last fall for this year's round of applications, they purchased the usual number of folders to accommodate all of their files.

At the end of December, they placed another order. In January, they bought more.

"The applications just kept coming and coming," said Karen Giannino, senior associate dean of admission. "We thought our numbers might rise this year, but we weren't expecting this much."

At press time, admission staffers had received 8,007 applications, up 22.2 percent from 2004's total of 6,551. The figure shatters the university's previous record of applications received -- 6,848 -- by 16.8 percent.

To put that in perspective, the class's target size is 730 students.

"I think we've all gotten a lot of paper cuts from our files this year," said Giannino with a laugh.

Dean of Admission Gary Ross said there were many reasons to be happy about the future Class of 2009. The number of early decision applicants jumped to 253, up 27.7 percent from 198 last year. Likewise, more international students applied for admission, as did high schoolers hailing from virtually every region around the United States. The quality of applicants has held steady from previous years, according to Ross.

Driving up College Street toward campus, it is hard to miss the colorful banners decorating the lampposts, which were created to promote the second Colgate Arts! Festival. The banners remain posted, reminding the community that during the week of February 14-21, an artistic presence loomed over campus. One day there were elaborate outdoor ice sculptures; the next, a vibrant light show illuminated the buildings on the upper quad. Theater, dance, and music groups performed throughout the week and the art department displayed the works of many students.

For this, one can thank the Colgate Arts! Initiative (CAI), founded in 2003 by Matt Brogan '05, Emily Kindler '04, and Rebecca Spiro '05, with the help of Noël Bisson, assistant dean of the college and liaison to the arts.

To create CAI, Brogan, Kindler, and Spiro invited representatives of every student-run arts group to participate. "They decided that the main goal was to bring more visibility to student-led arts groups and to give these groups a common voice," said Bisson, "since they face many of the same obstacles."

Nick Thielen '05, a member of CAI and several student theater organizations, noted that the theater community has both benefited and contributed significantly to CAI. "We are such a large and, by our very nature, public-oriented group," he said. "Student Theater has been very successful in the last three years with a series we call One Night Stands, staged readings in the basement of Creative Arts House." University Theater performed a One Night Stand at the start of the Arts! Festival to kick off the week.

In addition to theater groups, Bisson said all other arts organizations represented in the CAI are benefiting from the collaboration as well. — Brittany Wopperer '06

Sociologist Allan G. Johnson responds to a student's question during his lecture "Unraveling the Knot of Race," in which he shared his views on the steps necessary to create a more equitable society. Johnson -- well known as a writer, teacher, and public speaker who has worked on issues of privilege, oppression, and social inequality -- visited the campus in late February as part of Colgate's efforts to encourage increased awareness of and discussion surrounding issues of diversity. [Photo by Jimmy Maritz '05]

Pat Kabat is an all-star. The Colgate junior, who has taken on leadership positions in organizations from all corners of campus, from debate to fencing, was recently recognized nationally for his accomplishments. He was named a member of USA Today's 16th annual All-USA College Academic Team -- one of three academic teams -- which honors top students for their "outstanding intellectual achievement and leadership."

The 60 honorees were selected from a pool of more than 600 nominees by a panel of judges who considered grades, leadership, activities, and, most importantly, how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom.

"Pat has played a vital role in transforming and expanding intellectual life at Colgate," said Adam Weinberg, dean of the college, who worked with Kabat as he pumped new life into Colgate's debate society and created the Student Lecture Forum.

Kabat learned the news about his selection to the academic team while on the London History Study Group.

"I think the award goes as much (or more) to Colgate as it does to me," said Kabat, who is working on his honors thesis on author C.S. Lewis's Hibernian identity, his affection for Irish mythology, and the role it played in his writings. "I'm fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead a few things at Colgate, and without the confidence of a great number of people at school -- friends, faculty, and administrators -- I don't know that I would have learned or led anything."

He has made a name for himself in the classroom as well.

"In twenty-three years at Colgate, Pat is one of the best students I've encountered," said Joe Wagner, professor of political science. "He is an intellectual who loves interesting ideas for the kind of beauty that the mind can create."

Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, force commander of the 1993 United Nations intervention in Rwanda, spoke about conflict and genocide during a lecture sponsored by the Center for Ethics and World Societies and the peace and conflict studies department. [Photo by Jimmy Maritz '05]
Renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator Nikki Giovanni spoke and read her poetry to a full audience at Love Auditorium in February, sponsored by Sisters of the Round Table (SORT) [Photo by Jimmy Maritz '05]

Adrianne Gonzalez, a 2005 International Songwriting Competition finalist, performed at The Barge Canal Coffee Co. Saturday Night Music Series in Feb. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

The freest generation of women is "spending half their time preoccupied by the size of their thighs," acclaimed author and visiting speaker Naomi Wolf told a crowd gathered in Love Auditorium in late March. Driven by advertisers, she said, today's "rigid, extreme, unnatural" ideals of beauty are a conspiracy to preoccupy women from more important issues of social change.

During her lecture, the author of the award-winning bestseller The Beauty Myth used studies and statistics interspersed with humor to discuss touchy issues such as body image, and urged the audience to carefully monitor the negative impact advertising can have, particularly on women. She also connected with a senior working on an honors thesis.

Looking back at women in history, Wolf noted that major shifts in beauty ideals always followed women's moments of triumph.

"In the 1920s, women got the vote, and overnight the beauty ideal shrank. In the Second World War, beautiful women were voluptuous. But then women got the `pill' and they became twiggy," she said. Now, in an age in which women spend 70 cents of every consumer dollar, cast up to 12 million more votes than men, and comprise 53 percent of the population, we have what Wolf called "the anorexic fashion model."

By using computer-enhanced images of the young, thin, tall, and blonde, the mass-media encourages only one ideal of perfection: "Let's just call her Barbie," said Wolf, noting that by perpetually undermining a woman's confidence, the cosmetics, dieting, and plastic surgery industries can continue to push their "ineffectual" products.

Senior Laura Lesswing, who help-ed coordinate Wolf's visit, said most women don't realize how much the marketplace affects their self-image.

"I think that's something we all need to keep in mind as we're being consumers of magazines and beauty products. What is this message doing to us, and how are we interpreting it?" said Lesswing.

After the lecture, the 30-minute Q&A session involved almost as much audience participation and group dialogue as it did Wolf's own responses. When senior Katie Fedorka, who is conducting research on body image for her honors thesis, mentioned that her own recent studies have revealed a trend linking body image with conversational tactics, Wolf requested that Fedorka help her collaborate on a future article.

"I've always been a fan of Naomi Wolf," said Fedorka. "I wanted to hear her thoughts and see if she would help me come up with any conclusions to my own research, and she did!"

Wolf's lecture was cosponsored by the Colgate Activities Board Lecture Committee. — Elisa Benson '06

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