Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Sport in America: Courage, Integrity, Fair Play"

Thomas Lake '01 is the youngest senior writer at Sports Illustrated--A weekly magazine with a circulation of three million. Last week's issue of Sports Illustrated featured a series of writer reflections, showing the personal side of sport and how many SI writers came to love following the game. The reflections made last week's cover story, "Sport in America: Courage, Integrity, Fair Play. How We Define Ourselves in Our Games," in an article spotlight called "In My Tribe."

Lake, a Sports Illustrated senior writer for six years, begins with memories of his youth--evenings clinging to a small radio listening to broadcasts of the Atlanta Braves, and a very personal moment of his first college basketball tryout when he became a student at Gordon College.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Skateboarding, Re-imagined

“We live amid surfaces, and the true art of life is to skate well on them.”

When Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote these words in the 19th century, he could have no idea that they would be so aptly repurposed by a family of skateboarders 160 years later. But communication arts major Thomas Mull ’13, English major Steve Mull ’15, and their two brothers Charlie ’07 and Dave have adopted the quote as their boardsport motto. It’s a far cry from the “skate and destroy” culture popularized through the eighties and nineties—and that’s the point. Their Vermont-based skateboarding collective, The Worble, represents “rural skateboarding.” It’s about more than releasing pent-up aggression on a slab of concrete. They seek ways to return to nature, to respect and honor the terrain with their sport—much in the same way that surfing has done with the ocean.

The brothers will be premiering their latest skateboarding video, The Wander Years, tomorrow night at the Barrington Center for the Arts cinema. Spanning several years of filming and editing, the video was shot and produced mainly by Thomas, and features the brothers skating cities, skate parks, rural roads and even downed trees in their native Vermont and at spots across the Northeast.


Monday, November 21, 2011

A Successful Year for the Admissions Caravan

For the second year in a row, the Gordon College Admissions Caravan filled every seat on a coach bus with high school juniors and seniors on their way to a unique campus weekend. Thursday, November 10th, 47 prospective students were picked up from three locations: Wayne, Pennsylvania; Hawthorne, New Jersey; and Trumbull, Connecticut, before heading to Wenham.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Serving within the American Immersion Process

Beverly resident Hanjing Lai graduated last May with a degree in business administration but wasn’t necessarily looking to work for a nonprofit organization. When an opportunity with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Inc. (BCNC) came her way, though, she couldn’t turn it down.

For the past four months, Lai has worked as a Parent Leadership Specialist for BCNC, an organization that serves as a vital link for the Asian immigrant and Asian American community to navigate U.S. society by providing essential services while preserving their culture.

“As someone who was born in China, and lived in Hungary before coming to the United States as an international student, I understand the difficulties involved in the American immersion process,” said Lai. “I feel that I am well-equipped to serve the Asian community in my knowledge of different languages and cultures.”

One of BCNC’s main goals is to help every low-income Asian child receive a quality education. As a part of this effort, Lai was chosen as the representative for BCNC to participate in a public education discussion meeting with Thomas M. Menino, Mayor of Boston this past August 31.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Reality of a Writer’s Life

Most young writers stare in awe when published authors visit their schools and local bookstores. But even deeper than the awe, there is also, I think, a strong connecting all writers to one another—a fundamental similarity. I look into their faces and I see a brightness, a curiosity, that I know well; there is a weariness that I understand. No matter that I’ve never published more than the occasional angsty poem. Peering into the faces of fellow writers, I can’t help but empathize.

So I sit in a college auditorium with a battered notebook, a cheap pen. At the front of the room, a man with tight graying curls and black-framed glasses bends over a creaking podium. Students shuffle in—the lit lovers, the ambitious, the dazed. We all clutch notebooks to our chests. We all perk up our ears. We all scramble for some scrap of success that may happen to flake off of the nobleman’s shoulders as he passes.

Sven Birkerts, celebrated author and editor of Boston University’s literary magazine, AGNI, spent an evening at Gordon College last Thursday to read selections from his various memoirs. All listened entranced, but particularly rapt were the English majors, myself included. I watched his posture, his gestures; I listened to his voice, the way he lifted his words up and down as he read them from the book in his hands. His book. Birkerts read his essays with smooth rapidity. I wrote this, I imagined him thinking as he turned the pages. But instead of arrogance, I sensed only a kind of weariness, a tired humility that years of success must bring. In my notebook I caught his most striking phrases. “Intense loaded echoes.” “Brittle fragility.” “Too redly.” “Levitating above the life of the street.” Birkerts painted the landscape of the writing life in all its gritty and colorful detail, all its annoyances and familiarities and loneliness.

Hearing the experiences of Birkerts’ life as a writer, who climbed rung by rung from the bottom of the food chain—that was encouraging, especially for a freshman English major. Birkerts did not smooth over his memories. Instead he dug into the overlooked details and raised them to humble poingnancy. We all knew what he meant to describe: the desperation of being a writer. It is something even we amateur writers at Gordon understand as we pore over texts and hand midnight poetry to our professors. We wrestle with words, both deciphering their meanings and forming them ourselves. Birkerts is a master of that wrestling match. Like us, though, he still fights to the death with every open page.

After the reading I asked him what in writing was still difficult for him. He laughed and said, “Writing.” Getting past the blockages, he said: soldiering on even when no words flow. The most curious students peppered Birkerts with questions, and he answered smiling, waving his hands excitedly. The weariness of reading his work to an audience was gone—he was a writer like us. “Read like crazy,” he said, “And discover what moves you.” He promised us that “breaking in” to the writing world is extremely difficult. But he told us to keep writing, to never stop.

At the podium, Sven Birkerts was an austere and brilliant author. Standing among students, he became, himself, a student of the written word. He filled our open hands with reality and hope. In his voice I could hear his love for students, and in his eyes I could see his love for writing. What a gift Gordon students received in having Sven Birkerts here, an example of what we can become.

[Photo: Rebekah Connell]

Story by Gordon student Rebekah Connell ’15, an English major from New York and student writer for the Office of College Communications.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

A New Year (and a New Face) for the Vox Populi

Susanna Young '12 is the editor-in-chief for the
Vox Populi, a publication of the Gordon College Student Association that shares essays, fiction and poetry from members of the Gordon community—mainly students, but also faculty, staff and alumni. She shares her thoughts on the latest issue of the Vox, and a new phase in the publication's presence on campus.

"When I was offered the position of editor for the Vox Populi, I had no idea what kind of an undertaking it was. One summer and half a semester later, we—my team and I—were in full swing and straining for a steep learning curve. Thanks to the previous editors before me, the Vox was an established and professional operation of which we were the willing benefactors. Because of this groundwork, the Vox's presence on campus has been (and hopefully will continue to be) an outlet for expressing opinions and perspectives on various relevant topics as well as a venue for the creative voices of our community.

The challenge then, besides learning how to manage a publication, was to push the identity of the Vox Populi forward, to contribute to its actualization and get people’s attention. Plenty of nights were spent attempting to meet these tasks head on. We encountered what felt like a maze of possibilities surrounding elements of design, how to feature writing with specific segments, and how to remain flexible and open to being surprised by pieces we could not have anticipated. In the midst of all this wading though, a beacon emerged: we knew we wanted the Vox Populi to publish individual issues that stood on their own while fitting into the overall framework of the publication. So, we decided to organize each issue around a one-word theme.

For our fall issue, we decided on the word 'Contact,' which we liked for its dual noun and verb usage, and for its broad interpretive possibilities. While the decision to use a thematic shape for the Vox was a narrowing one, we wanted to invite all the voices we hoped to publish to speak it into existence and show us what it is that we meant. We’re thrilled with our first issue of the Vox Populi and are now in the midst of producing our second.

This next theme is 'Room' and it’s given us a promising point of departure for the issue, with pieces that imbibe both physical space and the conceptual realm of ideas in dialogue with one another. Thank you to those of you who wrote for us and thanks for reading!"

For more information on the Vox Populi, feel free to contact the publication staff at voxpop@gordon.edu.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Nick Fitzgerald '11 to Serve Teenagers in Ipswich, Mass.

by Jane Dooley, Wicked Local: Ipswich

"Hanging out with friends instead of an annoying sibling or even worse—mom and dad—is a rite of passage for kids in their early and mid teens.

But finding a safe place in Ipswich to hang with those friends has proven tough. Needing some independence, but too young to drive or have a job, and too old for daycare programs, Ipswich kids in their early and mid teens have often been left to fend for themselves.

Until now.

Nick Fitzgerald '11, new teen director at the Ipswich YMCA, is meeting with local groups, parents and teenagers to get input on what types of activities they would like to see offered to support teens in Ipswich."

Read more at Wicked Local: Ipswich.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day of Prayer

"Thy Kingdom come, on Earth as it is in Heaven."  

This was the plea that underscored yesterday's Day of Prayer events. In various ways all over campus, students, faculty and staff took a break from the normal pace of academic life to refocus on God's Kingdom—His reign, as well as our responsibility to further it.

Dr. Greg Carmer, dean of chapel, commented on that duality at the start of the morning's worship service. "We are utterly dependent on God, and yet we must be attentive to our call to be wise stewards." The morning prayer service drew from a range of traditions and prayer styles
from liturgical to small groups to a performance by Gordon's Dance Ministry team.

Elsewhere around campus, other groups sponsored prayer opportunities, including prayer for the persecuted church, prayer through art and writing, and liturgical prayer. Out on the chapel lawn, Gordon College's Men's Ministry stoked a wood fire and led prayer through the Psalms, without ceasing, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. An additional worship service that afternoon was hosted by Gordon's multicultural club, ALANA (individuals of African-American, Latino, Asian, and Native American descent), and featured music, prayer and Bible readings in multiple languages.

Click here for more photos from the Day of Prayer.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Forging a Christian Conscience

Every year, the Jerusalem and Athens Forum assembles curious minds from across campus for a year-long honors program devoted to delving into the history of Christian thought and literature, seeking to better understand the relationship between faith and intellect. But the influence of JAF at Gordon extends beyond the twenty-some students enrolled in the program each year: through lectures, debates and open faculty/student discussions, the Jerusalem and Athens Forum has become a staple of the intellectual life of the College.

Oftentimes, these events will ask expert scholars a divisive or difficult question, such as the one posed at this past Monday's JAF event, "What is Conscience?"


Monday, November 7, 2011

The Lazarus at Your Gate

Scot McKnight, professor of religious studies at North Park University in Chicago and author of The Jesus Creed, spoke during this morning's convocation program as part of the Faith Seeking Understanding lecture series. An expert on the New Testament, early Christianity and the historical Jesus, Dr. McKnight focused his talk on the divergent perspectives on afterlife held by various Christians. His aim was to recast the debate, shifting its focus to the teachings of Jesus in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31).


Day of Prayer

One of the greatest gifts of the Christian life is the privilege of expressing our gratitude to God and making our needs known to Him. Gordon College was founded on prayer and has maintained a posture of gratitude to and dependance on God over its 122 year history. One expression of that commitment to prayer is the annual day of prayer. Tuesday, November 8, all classes will be cancelled while students, faculty and staff devote a full day to come together in various expressions of prayer.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Interfaith Relations: Remembering the Night of Broken Glass

This weekend, the Jewish Culture Club at Gordon College will host a program presented by Comfort My People (CMP), a North Shore group of Christians and Jews dedicated to improving interfaith relations and supporting the people of Israel.

CMP produces creative educational programs that draw lessons from the history of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. Its goal is to raise global awareness on current and renewed signs of hatred, injustice and violence directed toward Israel.

This Sunday, November 6, at 6:30 p.m. in the A. J. Gordon Chapel, CMP will host a program recalling the anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass in Germany.


Women's Soccer: Scavo, Nedde and Coker Honored by CCC

As announced by Commissioner Gregg Kaye and the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), Karina Scavo '13 (Mount Sinai, N.Y.), Caitlin Nedde '13 (Colchester, Vt.), and Hala Coker '12 (East Falmouth, Mass.) have been named to All-CCC teams for their efforts during the 2011 season.

Earning a First Team All-Conference nod, Scavo (pictured) has been the director of Gordon's midfield all season long, tallying 17 points on seven goals, three assists as the Scots' second-leading scorer. The honor marks her third CCC All-Conference distinction, having been named to the First Team in 2010 and Honorable Mention in 2009.


Princemere Writers Series Sven Birkerts

This past Wednesday, Gordon's reading and writing community was privileged to welcome essayist, editor and critic Sven Birkerts to campus as part of the Princemere Writers Series. He read selected essays from his most recent collection, The Other Walk, which was released this past September. Mark Stevick, associate professor of English and director of Gordon's creative writing concentration, organized the event. "I've been wanting to bring Sven to Gordon for many years," he remarked in his introduction.

The editor of Boston University's AGNI and director or the creative writing MFA at Bennington College, as well as the award-wining author of nine books, Birkerts is a mainstay in the local and national literary community. His most widely read book - and the most influential among Gordon's scholars - is The Gutenberg Elegies, which explores the rise of computer technology as it supplants the dominance of physical books. Dr. John Skillen, professor of English and associate dean of European programs at Gordon, explains that the "spirit [of The Gutenberg Elegies] is implicit in the Gordon IN Orvieto program."

"His was one of the first books - at the beginning of that wild fifteen years that has brought us to the Kindle/iPad consumer wars - that looked closely at the differences between reading a digitalized book on a screen and holding a bound book in your hands," says Skillen. "For me, Birkerts was preaching to the choir. I, too (a literature professor in those days), feared the loss of bodily presence in the act of reading."

Birkerts' literary voice is unmistakable: colloquially elevated language, surefooted even as it is exploratory. The crowd gathered in Jenks 237 Wednesday evening listened as the author read several pieces from The Other Walk. His latest ruminations, which he referred to as "epiphanic pieces," chart resonances between the present and memory - "loaded echoes of past experience." Birkerts shared reflections ranging from dissolved friendships, to the drudgeries of speaking engagements, to a crippling fear of heights he unfortunately discovered at the top of the tallest ladder he had ever climbed. In each piece, his sharp insights found their light in the concrete details - a gust of wind up the shirt-sleeves, the blemish at the base of an orange cup, a handsome old man with fake teeth.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

48 Hour Creative Blitz

Over the weekend, a team from the Return Design Internship Program at Gordon College flew to Virginia for a 48-hour creative consult with Free for Life International.

Free for Life International requested the help of three organizations around the country to help with their marketing materials--including the help of Gordon's graphic design internship program--known for its branding and identity work with nonprofit and humanitarian organizations.

Free for Life is a not-for-profit that seeks to restore and rescue victims of sexual trafficking, the second most prevalent crime in the world.