Plenary at Haverford College

PlenarySpring15

Students raise their “Plenary Packets” to vote for a resolution.

Last weekend, Haverford students came together for a unique Haverford tradition: Plenary.

Plenary is a once-per-semester session where the student body meets in the gym to talk about life at Haverford and how we can make revisions to our policies and programs. It is a pillar on which stands our entire system of student self-governance. The Haverford administration trusts us to lead and run Plenary so that we can make administrative decisions and recommendations on our own, and they know that we take the process very seriously.

Two-thirds of the student body must attend in order for Plenary to take place. Students stand and present resolutions on which a two-thirds majority of attendees must vote “yes” on in order to pass. These resolutions can range from the expectations that Student’s Council places upon its members to a recommendation from the student body to remove the college’s paper towels in the interest of environmental sustainability.

This past Sunday, there were nine resolutions, including revisions to the official policies of Honor Council and the ratification of the Honor Code itself.  Continue reading

Tri-College Linguistics Conference

On February 13, Haverford hosted the first Tri-College Undergraduate Linguistics Conference. Linguistics is a Tri-College major at Haverford, which means that Haverford, Swarthmore, and Bryn Mawr share faculty, and students can take courses for the major at all three schools.

At this Tri-Co Conference, undergraduate students from across the country presented on a wide variety of topics.  I was able to attend the first presentation on Right-Node Wrapping, and it was an excellent display of high-quality scholarship produced by an undergraduate.

I also had time to see part of the outstanding keynote lecture from University of Texas at Austin Professor of Linguistics, Richard P. Meier on pointing in sign languages, a topic that encompasses, among other areas, syntax and phonology. Another fascinating area of his keynote was the discussion of psycholinguistics studies comparing pointing in Autistic deaf children of deaf parents to pointing in non-Autistic deaf children of deaf parents.

This gathering of so many undergraduates interested in pursuing projects in linguistics made for an exciting and erudite atmosphere at the conference. If you are interested in the Tri-Co’s thriving linguistics community, check out www.haverford.edu/linguistics

Science painting in the snow!

Katie
Hi everybody!
This semester, my biochemistry classmates and I are studying the biosynthesis of skyllamycin (an antibiotic) in the soil bacteria Streptomyces. Throughout the semester, we’ve been learning about site directed mutagenesis, protein purification, molecular modeling on the computer, and many other lab techniques. But TODAY we perfected the most important technique of all….snow painting!
Thanks to Fords Against Boredom (a.k.a. FAB) for supplying me an my friend Ali with “snow paint” so we could amuse ourselves by drawing skyllamycin in the snow during our short break between lunch and lab.
~~~~Katie (and Ali!)

Theater, Film, & Food!

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Philadelphia is close and so much fun! Read on for a sampling of what I’ve done in the city this semester.

Theater
My suitemate did a summer internship via Haverford’s Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities with the Pig Iron Theater Company. In September when we were both back on campus, she invited me to come along and see what the company had been working on (for free!). The result of the summer’s hard work was 99 Breakups, an experimental, movement-based play about relationships, romantic and otherwise, that just don’t work out. The play was staged in and around the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), so I got to see a lot of great art in addition to a play. Read The New York Times review of the show.

Film
This year was the 23rd Philadelphia Film Festival, so I headed downtown to watch Dietrich Brueggeman’s Stations of the Cross. Ever the film student, this was a movie I’d been wanting to see since I read the catalogue for the Berlinale (one of Europe’s most prestigious festivals) at my summer internship. Nothing like a depressing movie with heavy religious themes to kick off the weekend, am I right?

Alice's birthday dinner downtown.

Alice’s birthday dinner downtown.

Food
Finally, a subject near and dear to every college student’s heart: food. Philly’s got a lot of tasty restaurants. Last Friday I went to University City (the Philly neighborhood surrounding The University of Pennsylvania) to celebrate my friend Alice’s birthday at a trendy sushi restaurant. Alice and I met when I was a PAF in her freshmen apartment last year—proof that Customs isn’t just an orientation program, it’s a friendship-maker! Check out the cute photo of us!

Finals Week

Brandon_FinalsWeek

Brandon’s favorite study spot. Photo credit: Jessica Dixon ’16

Happy Finals Week! My favorite place to study at Haverford is this desk on the second tier of the Science Library. Today, I’m preparing to write a paper for my Philosophy of Mind course. In this course, taught by Professor Ian Blecher, we have studied Plato (Philebus and short selections from Phaedrus and Parmenides), Aristotle (De Anima 3, 4, and 5), Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologiae, Question 79), René Descartes (Meditations on First Philosophy 1, 2, and 3), Immanuel Kant (The Critique of Pure Reason), and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (Faith and Knowledge and the preface to The Phenomenology of Spirit).  

Community Service with Track and Field

Last month I had the chance to take part in some awesome community service activities with my track and field teammates. The Women’s Track and Field team volunteered at the Special Olympics. This year we were in charge of cheering for the athletes during their different races and walks. It was a beautiful yet surprisingly cold day, but despite the chilling winds the athletes were pumped and ready to go. We had a blast cheering on the participants of the 5k and 3k and it was clear that they were having so much fun.

Track_SpecialOlympics_11_8_14

Continue reading

My Top 5 Haverford Highlights

Here is a list of just a few of my favorite activities. I hope they give you a sense of some of the great things you can do on and off campus while living at Haverford.

This is where I tutor twice a week.

Southwark School where I tutor twice a week.

1. Volunteering as an after-school tutor in Philadelphia
As an education minor, I love working as a tutor! I spend two days a week volunteering at Southwark School in South Philadelphia helping 1st and 2nd graders with their homework. It’s nice to get off campus to volunteer in the city. Through my volunteer work, I’ve learned so much about Philadelphia and the neighborhood surrounding Southwark School.

My Chemistry "Superlab" reaction!

My “Superlab” reaction!

 

2. Working indepedently in Chemistry lab
Now that I’m a Junior chemistry major, I’m spending more and more hours working in the lab. I love running complex reactions on my own. I’m glad that undergraduates at Haverford have so much responsibility and independence.

 

 

 

Continue reading

The Nerd House Halloween Murder Mystery Party

A photo of our superb costumes: Teemo in his Fallout skin (Jesse Pazdera), a mummy (Harry Okun), Godric Gryffindor (ME!), Captain Hammer (Casey Falk), and the Eleventh Doctor (David Reilley).

A photo of our superb costumes: Teemo in his Fallout skin (Jesse Pazdera), a mummy (Harry Okun), Godric Gryffindor (ME!), Captain Hammer (Casey Falk), and the Eleventh Doctor (David Reilley).

The night was chill and dark. My companions and I gathered in our Halloween attire and set out for Nerd House. Upon our arrival, we encountered the eldritch scene: A mansion with ghoulish decorations, delicious snacks… and a sinister air. Continue reading

Speakers Committee Presents…An Evening with Laverne Cox

Hello, prospective students! My name is Sophia Gant, Class of 2016, and I’m psyched to join the other fabulous bloggers in the Admission Office this year!

We talk a lot about Haverford’s amazing array of clubs in the Admission Office and on our tours. With over 120 clubs, there are tons of ways to get involved with campus life. But something that deserves a little more attention are our 33 committees.

Committees are a great way to get involved directly with some of the behind-the-scenes work that goes on at Haverford. They range in everything from tackling sustainability on campus to representing the student body to the Board of Managers to planning Haverfest. Since my freshman year, I have been tremendously fortunate to serve on Speakers Committee, which selects two major speakers each year and coordinates their visits to campus. As one senior explained to me when I joined the committee, “It’s basically having dinner with famous people and listening to them say smart stuff.” Not a bad deal, right?

Continue reading

Customs: It’s so much more than an orientation program

Autumn has begun to fall onto Haverford’s campus, and October has brought with it chilly breezes, crisp apples, and the beginning of the arboretum’s colorful transformation from green to orange, yellow, and red.

Seniors are digging into their thesis topics and juniors are largely abroad or getting adjusted to upper-classmen levels of work.  Sophomores are starting to feel comfortable in their shoes as experienced members of the community, and first-years are starting to settle in and truly call this place home.

And, for many, Haverford does quickly begin to feel like home.  Whenever I speak with my family about traveling to and from the campus, I often say that traveling to Haverford is going home, and I mean it.  Haverford does an exceptional job of making the circumstances right for new students to feel comfortable in their own skin and get excited about engaging with the community they’ve become a part of.

The program that does the most to engage students right from the get-go is undoubtedly Customs.  Customs is Haverford’s version of new student orientation, but it’s so much more than orientation week.  Each freshmen hall gets eight returning students to help guide them through both their first week of college and the entirety of their first year.  On this team of eight, there are Customs People, who live with the freshmen and act as always-accessible support people; Upper-Classmen Advisors, who also live with the freshmen and help them navigate their academic decisions; Peer Awareness Facilitators, who host open-ended discussions about social issues and campus life with the freshmen; Honor Code Orienteers, who help freshmen get adjusted to life under Haverford’s unique Honor Code; and an Ambassador of Multicultural Awareness, whose job it is to connect freshmen with the resources they need to hold on to and celebrate their unique cultural identities as they transition into adult life.

Group bonding during Customs Week 2014

Group bonding during Customs Week 2014

This entails a whole lot more than just a smattering of enthusiastic orientation leaders who lead orientation week and then disappear after the semester begins.  The Customs Team sticks with freshmen throughout their first year at Haverford to help them get the most out of their first year of college life.  It’s also more robust than having resident assistants who are paid to act as disciplinarians: instead, all Customs Team members are volunteers, and their job is never to punish first-years, but help them to thrive, succeed, and get back on their feet if they falter.

Last year, I was a Customs Person (CP) for a group of first-years in Gummere Hall.  This year, I am a Peer Awareness Facilitator (PAF) for a group in Barclay Hall.  Customs Week this year was an exciting and fast-paced orientation week, filled with all sorts of fun activities such as the campus-wide scavenger hunt and the Fords Against Boredom Block Party.  There were also opportunities for freshmen to learn about the school’s traditions, such as a trust walk to illustrate living under the Honor Code, and a cultural timeline event to learn more about each other’s cultural backgrounds. The majority of the events that happen during Customs Week are intended to help first-years get to know one another and build meaningful friendships right away.

During the campus-wide scavenger hunt, one of the tasks to to photograph first-years in a laundry machine. Left to right in machines: Jess, Amanda, Emily, and Anna. Left to right on top: Max and myself (Damon).

During the campus-wide scavenger hunt, one of the tasks to to photograph first-years in a laundry machine. Left to right in machines: Jess, Amanda, Emily, and Anna. Left to right on top: Max and myself (Damon).

Now that the year is under way, it’s time to get down to business with my Peer Awareness Facilitator partner, Ellie Greenler ’17.  She and I are planning discussions on a wide variety of topics, including race & ethnicity, religion, gender & sexuality, disability, and more.  More frequently, Ellie and I (along with the rest of our Customs Team) spend a large portion of our free time just hanging out with the freshmen that we have been assigned to.  We may have explicitly defined roles, but one of the best parts of Customs is simply that it sets the stage for first years to make new friends with each other and their Customs Team.  In many cases, these bonds last for many years beyond freshman year and beyond our time at Haverford.  One of my Customs Persons from my freshman year, Dan Fries ’15, is now one of my best friends and roommates.

Me with my Peer Awareness Facilitator (PAF) partner, Ellie Greenler '17. On top of being a chance to get to know one another and get oriented to campus life, Customs is a ton of fun.

Me with my Peer Awareness Facilitator (PAF) partner, Ellie Greenler ’17. On top of being a chance to get to know one another and get oriented to campus life, Customs is a ton of fun.

Customs was named as such because it offers freshmen the opportunity to learn the customs of Haverford College.  One of the most important customs that Haverford holds in high esteem is our tight-knit, caring community.  Thus, friendship and fellowship are some of the most important customs that we have to show each incoming class of students.  So, as the Class of 2018 settles in to life at Haverford, they can be rest assured that a friend is never too far away.