Monday, July 19, 2010

In Washington, D.C.: Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference

Professor Irv Levy writes:

Greetings! Just wanted to share news from the 14th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in DC this past week. Our students were involved as participants, volunteers, and— most notably—as workshop leaders along with other Beyond Benign Fellows from Simmons College and Suffolk University.

Our students trained about 40 other undergraduates, graduate students and post-docs how to do green chemistry outreach. The workshop culminated with an actual outreach event that brought about 150 children from Washington, DC and metro area into the auditorium of the NEA, where our newly minted outreach students ran five different green chemistry hands-on activities for the children. It was a really great event for all involved.

Gordon College outreach fellows were Ben Stewart (Chemistry), Annie Hsieh (Mathematics), Lisa Schott (Kinesiology), and chemistry major Kristen Entwistle. All four students were supported by a grant from the NSF that covered all of their travel and registration expenses for the conference.


The Queen, William Blake and a Reunion in England

Gordon's faculty often spend their summers traveling to conferences or conducting research. Dr. Janis Flint-Ferguson, professor of education and English, did a little of both on her first time trip to England as a visiting professor with a sister college. Here's what she said about it:

"For ten glorious days this summer, I roamed the streets of London, England, with students in the British Romantics class from Wisconsin Lutheran College. We honored many of those romantics by visiting the Author’s Corner in Westminster Abbey and Trinity College in Cambridge. I gave a minilecture on William Blake in the rain at Bunhill Cemetery, his final resting place.

London is a big, bustling city that mixes history with the contemporary, the very British with the very international. And it is, of course, the home of Queen Elizabeth II. We had a great morning, standing in queue to see her as she celebrated the yearly 'trooping of the colours.' (Yes, I took this photo of her!) Crowds pushed forward to catch a glimpse as she and other family members took part in the event which marks the state celebration of her birthday.

I also was able to visit with 2007 Gordon graduate Jill Rogati who is studying at the London International School of the Performing Arts. It was fun to have coffee and hear about her studies there. Gordon students doing the summer theater trip will have a chance to see her perform during the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh this August."


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Hoop Fun at Gordon's Bennett Center

Over 70 girls ages 7-16 from across the North Shore are attending one of two weeklong basketball camps sponsored by Gordon Athletics and held in the Bennett Center. But this July marks the first time local girls will experience the leadership benefits of Gordon’s newest coach, Julie Brown, head women’s basketball coach, who started officially on July 1. Now a resident of Beverly, MA, Brown comes to Gordon from Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee where she served for four years as the director of special projects and recruiting coordinator for the FSU women’s basketball team. (Read more about Coach Brown here.)

Pictured here are the coaches for the girls basketball camps held July 12-23. Some even flew in from around the country to offer their b-ball skills: (from left) Josh Cannon of Birmingham, AL; Kayla Pacheco of Sutton, MA;  Sam Christopher of Manchester, MA; Becca Berman, an incoming first year student and player at Gordon from Thousand Oaks, CA; Gordon College Head Coach Julie Brown of Beverly, MA; Kristi Leach '11 of Naples, ME; Laura Cande of Bedford, NH; Kerry Chomic of Lakeview, MI.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Billows of Smoke

Heather Smith, individual visit coordinator in the Gordon College Admissions Office, helps share the story of Gordon with prospective students every day. She talks with families about our great faculty, diversity of study, the intellectual vitality of our campus community, and the opportunities for missions and study around the world. But she doesn't just talk about how Gordon is a community that actively engages in faith and social responsibility. She also actively believes it and lives out the Gordon mission through example.

Recently Heather went on a month-long mission trip to Nepal. She shares her story with Notes Along the Way.

CLIF bars and electrolyte packs—check.
Toilet paper—check.

These were just a few of the essentials on the packing list for my three-week vacation in May. Trust me, it was hard to part with the items demoted from “essential” to “leave behind” when the final packing began. Things like a second pair of pants or some flip-flops to wear in the 90-degree heat. But really, flip-flops wouldn’t have been the best choice of footwear for my trip, especially when swarms of biting flies started nibbling at my bare toes. They were better left on the “leave behind” list.

Armed with my sleeping bag, a 26-pound backpack and the book Three Cups of Tea, I joined a team of 14 others from Philadelphia, New York, North Carolina, Virginia and Switzerland on a series of flights that eventually would land us in the small city of Surket, Nepal. Next, I found myself piling into an old Russian helicopter. . . heading north to my final destination: the Himalayan Mountains.

It was a two-day trek from the helipad to the village of Nepka, the furthermost village in the northwestern (Humla) region of Nepal. As we climbed I could see the mountains separating China and Nepal—their jagged, snow-capped peaks penetrating the cloudy barrier above. Being so removed from villages in Nepal yet so close to the Tibetan region of China, Nepka is believed to actually be a Tibetan village that over time migrated across this daunting border.

Swarms of children greeted us when we reached this small mountainside village, all with folded hands shouting, “Namaste! Namaste!” We responded with the little Nepali we knew, “Namaste,” “Hello!” To people who have rarely (if ever) seen white people, we must have looked pretty goofy. Essentially transparent skin, curly hair, sunglasses. It may have felt as foreign to them as aliens invading earth would feel to us.

But they welcomed us wholeheartedly despite our appearances. I became excited for the few days we would spend in the village. Our work in Nepka, and later in another remote village called Mekala, was part of the efforts of Beyond Tears Worldwide (BTW), an evangelical humanitarian aid organization. Under the guidance of a few Nepali pastors and a BTW representative, several trekking trips are launched yearly into some of the most remote villages in the Himalayas. Each trip serves a unique purpose. . .But at the root, these trips serve to take the gospel into unreached territory.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Haiti: Up Close and Personal, "Merci Jesus"

Katie Thompson, a soccer player and communication arts junior at Gordon (pictured here with two new friends), recently returned with a team of students and faculty from a service trip to Haiti in June. Here's what she wrote in response:

"As the plane was getting ready to land, I looked out of my window and saw hundreds of blue squares. It took me a second to realize I was looking at the tops of tents and tarps—and that's when it first hit me that I was actually going to Haiti.

All in all we had a really successful week of work. We stayed on the grounds of Partners in Development (which was a pretty nice place to stay and we were fed really well!) and helped them with their housing program. The team would split into two groups each day and go to two different work sites. At one site the team was able to dig the entire foundation for a house and lay the cement; at the other site we were sifting sand, making cement, making cinderblocks, and then sending that finished product to the mason who put up the walls.

The way everything is made by hand was incredible to me. Here in the U.S. we have major factories to make cinderblocks, etc., but in Haiti we used an old machine that produced two cinderblocks at a time. One of the Haitians we worked with spends all day, every day, making cinderblocks by hand. For me that was just unbelievable. So the work was hard, but it was rewarding to see the progress we had made by the end of the week.

The poverty and destruction that I saw is hard to describe in words . . .