August 30, 2002
Plight of the Gypsies
In 1999, during the first three months of her stay in Bulgaria
as a Peace Corps volunteer, Sarah M. Perrine '98 took part
in an intensive language and culture training program. "We
each lived with host families, and mine happened to be Gypsy,
or Romani," says Perrine. "They were, and continue to
be, wonderful hosts and friends." But Perrine was shocked
by the negative reactions of Bulgarians toward her Romani friends.
The experience sparked a passionate interest in the situation
of the Romani of Bulgaria. During her Peace Corps term, she organized
two summer camps for young Romani children and a summer program
to help motivate Romani high school students. She also recruited
a group of new Peace Corps volunteers to continue the program,
on a larger scale, the following summer. When Perrine returns
to Bulgaria this fall as a Fulbright Fellow, she will be working
with a human rights organization in Sofia that focuses on the
Romani, as well as with the National Council on Ethnic and Demographic
Issues at the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria,
to help raise awareness of the problems facing the Romani. Perrine
is interested in finding out if conditions for the Romani have
improved under a democratic system of government, as well as in
researching how the government can better meet the needs of the
Romani community. When she returns from her Fulbright year, Perrinewho
majored in international relations and German studies while at
Mount Holyokeplans to apply to Ph.D. programs in political
science with a focus on Eastern European studies.
Seats of Learning
More than 250 of Shattuck Hall's chairs, as well as more
than a dozen tables and desks, are now seventeen hundred miles
due south, helping to meet a pressing need for classroom furniture
in Jamaica. When several classrooms' worth of furniture became
surplus property in the new science center construction and renovation
project, John Bryant, director of facilities management, got in
touch with the Massachusetts Materials Exchange, an organization
that matches businesses or institutions that have surplus items
with those who need them. The organization contacted Food for
the Poor, a Florida-based charity that works throughout Central
America and the Caribbean, bypassing governments to deal directly
with missions and contacts in those countries. In Jamaica, as
in the rest of the region, communities can barely afford to build
schools, let alone outfit them with desks and chairs, said Ann
Brier of Food for the Poor. While helping 250 Jamaican schoolchildren,
the College is also conforming to Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design (LEED) standards, as established by the United States Green
Building Council (USGBC). Thanks in part to the reuse of the furniture,
when two floors of Shattuck were cleared out, the materials discarded
filled just one small Dumpster.
An article by Scott Brown, director of the career development
center, was published in the April 2002 Journal of College Student
Development. In the article, titled "Exploring Complex Phenomena:
Grounded Theory in Student Affairs Research," Brown argues
that because of their close connections to college students, student
affairs practitioners are uniquely positioned to explore student
phenomena about which little data or understanding exists. For
those explorations of student learning, student development, and
student identity, Brown recommends "grounded theory,"
a qualitative research method that generates theory from data
obtained through social research. Brown has applied the grounded
theory approach to the study of wisdom development, research that
became the foundation for the annual American College Personnel
Association national conference in March 2002. Brown's abstract,
"Wisdom in Our Work: Reflection, Integration, and Application,"
encouraged the conference's 4,400 participants to consider
how students integrate and derive meaning from lessons they learn
in and out of class and the conditions that affect that meaning-making
process. Last summer, Brown focused on the same subject at the
Oxford International Roundtable for Senior Academic and Student
Affairs Administrators, delivering the paper "Learning across
the Campus: How College Facilitates the Development of Wisdom."
This summer, he presented "Assessing the Ineffable: College
and the Development of Wisdom" at the American Association
of Higher Education assessment forum. His article "A Model
for Wisdom Development and its Place in Career Services"
is included in the summer 2002 issue of the Journal of Career
Planning and Employment.
the end of May, Mount Holyoke convened a committee to select the
most outstanding Take the Lead action projects that evolved from
last October's program. Take the Lead is the College's
leadership program for teenage girls. While all the submitted
projects were successful, the committee chose those completed
by Shanté Bassett, Anna Boatwright, and Sarah Geisler for
three $500 awards. Bassett founded a youth organization in Queens,
New York, to help teens become involved in their communities.
Boatwright, a trained ballerina, brought the benefits of ballet
to a group of underserved children at a YWCA in South Carolina.
Geisler, whose mother has Multiple Sclerosis, created Invisible
Crutches: Help for Kids with Disabled or Chronically Ill Parents,
a self-help book she hopes to publish for middle school students.
The group awarded honorable mentions to Nissa Hiatt, who orchestrated
a race called Race to Erase Racism in Memphis, and Heidi Roop,
who raised $15,000 in school supplies for a small town in Mexico
that is one of the last breeding grounds for the Monarch butterfly.
A Smart Crew
In June, the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association named four
MHC rowers National Scholar-Athletes. Alexis Billett '04,
Katie Boates '02, Joanna Bradshaw '03, and Leah Roberts
'04 were four of only forty-five Division III rowers nationally
to receive the annual award, which recognizes the outstanding
academic and athletic achievements of female rowers and coxswains.
The Mount Holyoke rowers met the award criteria by participating
in at least 75 percent of last season's races in a varsity
boat and earning a 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA through the fall
On July 6, poet Mary Jo Salter, Emily Dickinson Lecturer in the
Humanities at MHC, participated in "The Angle of a Landscape":
Nature and Art in Emily Dickinson's World, a series of public
programs focusing on three aspects of nature and art as they relate
to the poet, her work, and her family. The programs were organized
by the Dickinson Homestead and the Evergreens, which are located
in Amherst, and the events were held at one or both of the sites.
Salter offered to an audience gathered on the Homestead lawn a
lecture on Dickinson's extensive and complex use of natural imagery,
in particular the Amherst native's poems that take as their starting
point birds and plants. The last lecture in the series, to be
held Sunday, September 22, will be given by Brown University English
professor Barton St. Armand, who contributed one of three essays
to The Dickinsons of Amherst (University Press of New England,
2001). The book also included an essay by MHC English professor
and Dickinson scholar Christopher Benfey. St. Armand's talk is
titled "Angling for a Landscape: Emily Dickinson, Stalking,
and the Privacy of Nature," an exploration of how Dickinson
as a poet viewed and portrayed landscape. Visit http://www.dickinsonhomestead.org/spec.html#angle
for additional information.
Earl T. Stanton,
associate controller at the College for twenty-five years, died
at age seventy-four on June 27. Stanton retired from his position
in 1998. He is survived by his son and daughter, a brother and
sister, and four grandchildren.
an authority on the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky and a retired professor
of Russian at the College, died June 22 at the age of ninety.
He joined the faculty at MHC in 1959 and was instrumental in building
the Russian department. He leaves his wife of forty-six years,
two sons, a sister, and two grandchildren.