A cappella is a pretty big thing at Haverford! We actually claim to have the most groups per capita out of any college in the country. That doesn’t mean that everyone bursts into song (even though sometimes I’m guilty of randomly singing or dancing), but if you want to get involved in a cappella on campus or just go to shows on weekends you will have no trouble with that here. Over spring break the a cappella group that I’m a member of, The Mainliners, went to Johns Hopkins to sing with a few of their on-campus groups. It was a blast to perform, hear other groups, and to be able to get to know some fellow students outside of the Tri-Co (Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Swarthmore).
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Quaker and non-Quaker students at Haverford’s Quaker Community retreat to Snipes Farm, Fall 2013. The retreat included fellowship, singing around a campfire, sustainable food, and community service.
Part of what drew me to Haverford when I was going through college applications was the school’s long-standing connection to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). A bit of history: Haverford, founded nearly 200 years ago in 1833, was the very first in a long line of colleges started by Quakers. Continue reading
Coming into my final year at Haverford, I anticipated feeling a bit of denial and overwhelming nostalgia. While not an untrue statement, the transition to this transitional year has been smooth and natural. Dare I say it? I’m relishing being a senior and the productive, exciting opportunities it affords.
My thesis proposal is in, approved, and awaiting remarks from my newly minted thesis adviser. I’m going to be working with Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger and exploring construction of character through geographic and mental spaces, as well as time and memory. This thesis topic draws on my established interests in perspectivalism and temporality, and allows me to reflect further on theories of identity in relationship to place, which I cultivated during my extensive travels during my semester abroad. The senior thesis experience is a space for culmination and reflection, as well looking forward within the discipline. Continue reading
This past weekend, Haverford’s women’s squash team packed up our squash rackets and headed up to New Haven, Connecticut for the college national tournament. After months and weeks of practice and games, we were excited to have the opportunity to play in this tournament.
We had qualified E Division and after winning all of our round-robin matches, we moved onto the championship match to compete for the big win. The night before the match, I could barely sleep. Come Sunday morning, when we won our division championships, all of the work that my teammates had put in paid off.
The squash team and athletics have been a big part of my life at Haverford; with practice everyday, we have all dedicated a lot of time to our sport and I’ve quickly become close with many of my teammates. Yet despite the time commitment required by sports, Haverford athletes have a way of balancing their time here so that their sport is not the only part of their life here. For example, many varsity athletes are involved in extracurricular activities like Honor Council, Student Council, and all of our student-led clubs on campus. In addition, there are no classes offered during practice times, 4:00pm and 7:00pm, to ensure that athletes aren’t excluded from taking certain classes. At Haverford, no one has to choose between being a student, an athlete, or a member of our student community.
All of the practice, workouts, and time spent preparing for the matches were rewarded by the title of E Division Champions. But coming back to Haverford, exhausted from the weekend, we were not alone in our excitement; we were welcomed back as squash players, as friends, and as members of the Haverford community.