Transitions Pre-Orientation Program

The Transitions Pre-Orientation Program is a FREE, retention initiative that was designed to strengthen the academic, social, and cultural experiences of first-year students. It is based on the three R’s: relationships, resources and real skills.

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The Transitions Pre-Orientation Program will be held August 24 – 26, 2015. Participants will be provided an opportunity to make valuable connections with current students, faculty, staff, and alumni. They will be paired with a mentor who will use their familiarity with campus life and resources, as well as their personal experiences as Saint Anselm students, to provide them with valuable advice and guidance. Participants will be educated about the plethora of resources that exist at the College to aid them on their journey toward graduation. And they will learn valuable skills to help them be successful in and out of the classroom.

Programs of this nature can be found at colleges and universities across the country; research has shown that they play an important role in facilitating student success. The Transitions Program has a 95% retention rate.

Transitions is particularly relevant for students from traditionally underrepresented groups (commuter, multicultural, and first-generation) but students from ALL backgrounds are encouraged to participate. There will be a diverse group of students attending the program. In terms of racial/ethnic diversity there will be White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American and Multiracial people. There will be commuters and residential students. Some will be first-generation college students and others may have family members who are Saint Anselm alumni. There will even be international students who attend the program.  Overall there will be many differences among the participants, but also many similarities! Although students are coming from different backgrounds they share the goal of wanting to be successful in their college careers.

Students who participate in Transitions are strongly encouraged to attend all New Student Orientation events which will be held August 27 – August 29, 2015. It is a supplement to Orientation, it was not created to replace the larger program.

To obtain more information and/or register visit http://www.anselm.edu/Current-Students/Student-Life/Multicultural-Center/Transitions-Pre-Orientation-Program.htm

Finding Ourselves in Unity to Our Community Retreat

In addition to their toothbrushes and sleeping bags, they brought open hearts and minds to the Grotonwood Camp & Conference Center in Massachusetts on Saturday, February 7. Twenty-five Saint Anselm students and the Multicultural Center staff, embarked upon a journey together that was transformative and empowering.

Retreat Leaders

The Finding Ourselves in Unity to our Campus Community (Unity to our Community) Retreat was a student-driven, retention initiative that was created to promote community building and support for multicultural students. It was born out of conversations several students had about the many struggles multicultural students on campus face.

Multicultural students can feel isolated due to the lack of diversity on campus in the student body and among the faculty and staff. They endure stereotyping and discriminatory comments on Yik Yak and other social media sites. They do not see themselves represented in the curriculum and experience unwelcoming behavior by faculty in the classroom. They deal with people who believe racism no longer exists. And they are frustrated and disappointed by an administration who seems to be apathetic when it comes to diversity issues.

After a series of discussions about the aforementioned issues and more, these students wanted to make sure other multicultural students knew they were not alone in facing them, even if it is how many of them may feel. As a result, six student leaders came together to discuss planning an event that would connect the multicultural student body in their common struggles at Saint Anselm, and bring them and their allies together as one community in unity. They planned the agenda, assigned roles and marketed the retreat. Word-of-mouth served as a powerful recruitment tool. The students who attended represented a diverse group of races, ethnicities, political beliefs, socioeconomic statuses, and sexual orientations amongst other identities. Although multicultural students were targeted for the initiative, anyone with an interest in creating positive experiences for them were welcome to attend.

Unity to our Community was designed to be engaging. A video, interactive exercises, and small and large group discussions were used to facilitate dialogue and interactions among participants. Retreat leaders emphasized the importance of making people feel comfortable, therefore several activities were planned in the beginning to help promote a safe environment and help participants get to know each other better. Participants were encouraged to step outside of their comfort zones and make an effort to meet new people.

Ash Beckham’s TED Talk, “We’re all hiding something. Let’s find the courage to open up” served as a catalyst to for a discussion about “personal closets” which are hardships people have endured in their lives. Other activities assessed comfort level with social issues and experiences at Saint Anselm. Dialogues ranged from the experiences of athletes vs. non-athletes to the issue of respect on campus.

The retreat closed by having participants write a letter to themselves that addressed the lessons they learned and the changes they wanted to make after attending Unity to our Community. They were also asked to offer a brief reflection and say something positive about one of the participants.

Finding Ourselves in Unity to our Campus Community served as a forum where students could share their own stories and experiences, showcase their leadership skills and participate in community building exercises. New relationships were formed. Old ones were strengthened. Important issues were discussed. And people enjoyed getting off campus and having fun. Overall Unity to our Community was a powerful tool to help multicultural students and their allies feel validated, supported and unified.

Students at Annual Retreat

Students at Annual Retreat

Beyond the Scarlett Lining: Gone with the Wind Revisited

Aside from my love of my own field of English and Literature, and other interests in all things education, leadership, and French, I readily confess that I am a classic film fanatic.

Ever since I was young, I have made it my hobby to watch as many classics as I can. I’ve conquered many lists of top films and read countless biographies, reviews, and blogs.

Gone with the Wind

Gone with the Wind

My major interests in classic film continue to lie with Hollywood during the Studio Era, film “fun facts,” and the history of how films were made. My special interest remains in the history and development of the Academy Awards. For me, awards season is what football season is to many die-hard Patriots fans!

My recent interests in film led me back to one of my all-time favorite movies: Gone with the Wind, a film that I have seen multiple times, including most recently on the big screen for its 75th anniversary.

Having read the novel and knowing the phenomenon that it caused in literature, film, and American culture, I wanted to delve more into the subject of this timeless movie as it celebrated a major milestone.

So I recently picked up a book entitled, Frankly My Dear: Gone with the Wind Revisited, written by the one and only Molly Haskell, one of the best critics of our time whose interests have specifically been about women in film.

Reading this awesome book and seeing the movie on screen were only two reasons of the many that I felt it an appropriate time to revisit this American classic in my own way.

With awards season on the horizon, and the Civil Rights biopic Selma recently released, it seemed appropriate to look at Gone with the Wind from a racial justice standpoint as well as a phenomenon that celebrates a milestone.

Knowing so much about the black actors who performed in the film, the characters depicted by Margaret Mitchell in her novel, and what Molly Haskell had to say in her book, it seemed an intriguing topic to focus on.

And so I came up with the idea of doing this program called “Beyond the Scarlett Lining: Gone with the Wind Revisited.” While the presentation could go on for hours, surpassing the nearly four-hour length of the film itself, I plan on focusing on certain subjects to come to an understanding of how the book and film extend far beyond its famous protagonist: Scarlett O’Hara.

Examining the literary, film, and cultural phenomenon will be the first step and I will eventually arrive upon the idea of whether or not historical accuracy exists. Additionally, a major focus will be on the theme of racial justice and whether or not it is present in the characterization and performances by the black actors in the film.

Arriving on other ideas in between, I will raise some important questions, including:

  • While politically incorrect, did the black actors in the film do justice to the roles that were written for them from the book and screenplay?
  • How far has literature and cinema come with themes of accuracy and justice since the 1930’s? Would these real-life incidents and characters ever be depicted in the same way today?
  • Why do you think Gone with the Wind has been such a success?

In examining these points, I hope to arrive upon how Hollywood can still view Gone with the Wind as a classic, relevant to today and thank it for the influence it has had on performers and filmmakers of all backgrounds and knowledge.

So please join me on Monday, February 16 at 7:00 pm in the New Lecture Hall (1D) in the Dana Center. I guarantee that you will walk away knowing a bit more and that you too will be swept away by the immense influence that is one of my all-time favorite films, Gone with the Wind.

“Die-In” Held at Saint Anselm College

Students from Saint Anselm College staged a silent "Die-In" in the Coffee Shop. 

Black lives matter (even at Saint Anselm College).

"So here we are this afternoon, lying down for four and a half minutes to bring attention to the everyday issue of racial justice in the United States,” was part of a statement read by India Barrows ‘16, before a crowd in the dining hall at Saint Anselm College.

Despite the fact they are in the midst of preparing for final exams, a dedicated group of students decided that today was the day to speak up. Like thousands of other people across the country, they staged a silent “die-in” demonstration in both dining halls on campus to protest the recent deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and overall systematic abuse of people of color.

Students wore black clothing and held signs with statements like “Black Lives Matter,” “Hands up Don’t Shoot,” “I Can’t Breathe” and “Stop Police Brutality.”   They lay on the floor for four minutes to represent the four hours that Brown’s body was left on the street after he was shot.

At the end of the “die-in” students exited with the “hands up, don't shoot" pose which has served as rallying cry that has begun to define a movement. They walked from Davison, the main dining hall, to the Coffee Shop where they reenacted the “die-in.”

Although the event was organized exclusively by students in the Multicultural Student Coalition, some faculty and staff joined in to show their support. According to Nyatan Bol ’17, “I participated because I am tired of being complacent. Not saying anything validates those who oppress us.”

Students staged a silent "Die-In" at the Coffee Shop

Reflecting back on the experience, one participant said that what she witnessed was symbolic of what is happening in society today: “Some people stopped and gave us encouraging comments, asked questions and even joined us. Others did not even look our way. They pretended like nothing was happening.”

One of the main goals of the “die-in” was to generate dialogue. A follow-up discussion is being planned  for next semester to help facilitate these conversations.

Below are additional photos taken at the "Die-In" held at Saint Anselm College.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sacmulticulturalcenter/sets/72157649283031949/

#BlackLivesMatter #SACLivesMatter