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The Campaign for Mount Holyoke Surpasses $200 Million Goal

Tatum Steps in as Acting President

Chaplain Recounts Afghan Suffering

From Seoul to South Hadley: Korean Scholars Visit Weissman Center for Leadership

A Look at The Campaign for Mount Holyoke October 1998 to Present

"Learning the Rules": Woodard's Flies Are Model Organisms for Genetic Research

Ideas Sought for Plan

Hip-Hop Artist KRS-ONE in Concert February 1

January Term's Captivating Calendar of Events

200 Celebrate Legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

Front-Page News

This Week at MHC

Nota Bene


Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives

January 25, 2002, Special Edition

January Term's Captivating Calendar of Events

by Vincenza Russu FP '03


Students taking Architecture Workshop with architect Gretchen Schneider create different kinds of spaces using large-scale cardboard "columns." The hands-on workshop was one of two architecture courses offered by the Weissman Center for Leadership.

Since its inception in 1972, J-Term has offered a special opportunity for faculty and students at Mount Holyoke to try courses and activities that don't fit into the fall or spring semesters. This year, students took classes for credit in areas ranging from architecture and anthropology to modern dance and theatrical production. Future teachers completed fieldwork requirements by observing and assisting in early childhood, elementary, middle, and secondary school classrooms. Others enjoyed a wide array of noncredit classes, including Knitting for Beginners, Batik, Sushi in the Afternoon, Introduction to Programming JAVA, and Kitchen Table Bookbinding.

With its alluring textbook Toxic Sludge Is Good For You! Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry, Public Relations 101 attracted seventy students to become the most popular course of J-Term this year. Instructor Kevin McCaffrey, associate director of communications, taught the writing-intensive course as an introduction to public relations and media relations by covering press releases, opinion pieces, speeches, media campaigns, and public relations plans. "The best part of the class was role-playing in all aspects of PR," said Andrea LeClair '02. "In one class, we were spokeswomen for PETA and the NRA, communications staff for Mount Holyoke, journalists, and op-ed columnists. The class got me interested in working in the the PR field, especially in communications."

J-Term intern Hayley Beers '05 works on a mailing for the executive director search committee of the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House.

Courses related to international culture and global issues were also popular this year. Those included World Energy Resources, Introduction to Korean Language and Culture, and Global Leadership Forum. The forum, which was sponsored by the Weissman Center for Leadership, attracted so many students that it had to be split into two sections. Leading both sections was Pat Sewell, an expert in multilateral leadership who has taught at Yale University, Princeton University, and Columbia University and in a number of Canadian universities. Sewell's books include Multilateralism in Multinational Perspective: Viewpoints from Different Languages and Literatures, 2000. "The world is a bust, but we'll have fun with it," said Sewell as the term began, meaning that the forum would take a creative approach to fostering awareness of the world's difficult issues and its need for leadership. He noted that Mount Holyoke graduates include Frances Perkins '02, the first woman secretary of labor, and Elaine L. Chao '75, labor secretary under President George W. Bush. Sewell hopes that forum participants will some day take similar leadership roles, especially director general of the International Labor Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Health Organization.

Writer Barry Werth taught the J-Term class Covering the Campus, which examined the world and culture of the academy through the prism of the news media.

Forum participants had diverse interests, from human rights to biosphere degradation, but all found plenty of opportunities to make their voices heard as they acted as leaders of states and presented their nations' positions on transnational issues. Participant Xindi Zhao '05 from Beijing, China, focused on human rights. She said, "We love peace, we want peace, and we need peace because we have suffered so much during the past 100 years. We were conquered by other countries seven times during the First and Second World Wars; we experienced three civil wars and ten years of cultural revolution chaos. More than sixty million Chinese have died. Today as Chinese we wish the world to see us, to understand us, to stop labeling us, to work with us, to help us, and to respect us."

The mysterious and mythical was another common thread, appearing in classes such as Introduction to the Tarot; Amazons, Bonobos, and Women at the Center: Anthropological Perspectives on Matriarchy; and The Psychology of Subjective Experience. The inspiration for the course in subjective experience, said instructor Susan Burggraf, visiting assistant professor of psychology and education, was the intersection between her work in psychology and her interest in Buddhist meditation. "Meditation is looking into one's own experience as it unfolds moment by moment," she said. "This introspection can yield interesting and useful insights, but is almost taboo in psychology, in which we study other people, what they say and do. In psychology we rarely study experience itself, because the only experience that can be known directly is one's own." Yvonne Skillings '02, Frances Perkins scholar and participant in Burggraf's class, said, "For me, meditation is a way of centering myself in order to ‘see clearly.' Sitting quietly for a few minutes daily in meditation practice provides the energy that, in my case, counteracts everyday stresses." Participant Theresa Bardy '05 enjoyed "getting a chance to broaden my perspective about myself as a person."


Wambui Wainaina '04 (right) tutors Nimo Hussein in her Holyoke home. The seventeen- member Hussein family from Somalia was living in a refugee camp before coming to the U.S. Mount Holyoke students tutor both parents and children several times each week.

At least seventy-five students sought learning outside the classroom by pursuing internships at sites from South Hadley to San Francisco. J-Term interns gained work experience in interests ranging from journalism to Jewish heritage. (Look for their stories in a February CSJ.) Other students made shorter forays from campus by joining shopping and ski trips sponsored by the Office of Student Programs. Still others made time for service to their community by participating in programs arranged by the Community Service Board out of Eliot House. They helped with homework and activities at Holyoke's Girls, Inc.; sorted and boxed food for soup kitchens and child care agencies at Food Bank in Hatfield; assisted disabled adults at South Hadley's Sunshine Village; created fun activities for veterans at Holyoke's Soldiers' Home; set up noontime meals for Kate's Kitchen soup kitchen in Holyoke; and tutored members of a Somali refugee family in Holyoke.


Pat Sewell greets his Global Leadership Forum students at a reception at the Weissman Center. The Center's Speaking, Arguing, and Writing (SAW) Program supported Sewell's class by assigning SAW mentors to assist his students with written and oral work.

As it has for thirty years, J-Term provided a variety of fun and serious learning opportunities both on and off campus. Those who missed these opportunities have a whole year ahead to plan for what could become a crucial month in their academic experience.

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