Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Adieu, For Now!

What a ride this has been.

With the semester wrapping up and finals looming, this blog is going to become quiet for awhile. I have two more posts due, which hopefully you'll see put up in the next week or so, but then I plan on relaxing for the break (like everyone else, I hope).

So the big question is, continue or not to continue? My obligations are finished, but this blog has grown on me. Without the deadlines I might be able to continue this blog and enjoy it more in that sense. 

After all, next semester is going to be my last. I plan on having some fun before I leave Moravian forever, so I'm sure somewhere along the way (between the German Club and whatever activities I throw myself into) I'll have something interesting to write about.

Deadlines aside, I did have fun with this blog. It taught me to get out a little more and to start paying attention to what's going on at Moravian. I've gotten to go on a fun trip, attend some events I normally wouldn't have gone to,  and fully grasp the sheer amount of activity and events that go on at Moravian. I'm really grateful for the experience.

Thanks for all the feedback and page views, everyone. I hope everyone has a good break, and good luck with finals!

Happy Holidays, and see you next time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Moravian "IMPACT" sponsors Baltimore trip

People tend to complain that there isn’t anything to do at Moravian College or in Bethlehem. If I’ve learned anything in keeping up with this blog, it’s this: that’s not the case.

You just have to know where to look and actually pay attention.

Case in point, IMPACT hosted a trip to the Baltimore aquarium on Saturday, Nov. 19. We had about 30 people, a lot more than I expected, considering the majority’s apathy to school-sponsored events. 

Now I’ve never been on a school sponsored trip outside what the German Club’s hosted, so I’m just as guilty as the majority. 

It was a long bus ride down. It took us about three hours both ways. We all passed the time with a movie, sleeping, and whatever we had brought along as entertainment.

Once we arrived at Baltimore’s inner harbor, right outside the aquarium, we stretched our legs and waited as Holly Nonnemacher (advisor to IMPACT) got our tickets. By the time we got in it was 11:15 am, and we had 15 minutes to spare before the dolphin show.

After a long bus ride and a 6:30 am start (we left Moravian at 8 that morning), nothing brightens your day more than seeing dolphins and watching them perform. I’ve seen them in shows before, but I’m still amazed every time I see them just how smart these animals are. 

Once the show was over, we had six hours to wander the aquarium and the inner harbor area. Inside the aquarium we saw marine life of all kinds, from crocodiles to seahorses to electric eels and sea anemones. Oh, and the sharks of course. I found them underwhelming; I was more excited about the stingrays and the giant sea turtle than the sharks.

 Actually, what I was excited the most about, aside from the dolphins, were the turtles. The Australia exhibit had at least six different kinds of turtles on display. I couldn’t have been happier. 

Most of us were done in the aquarium by 3 or 4 P.M., which left us extra time to wander around the area. There was plenty to do. There was a Barnes and Noble, a Best Buy, a Cheesecake Factory, a Hard Rock CafĂ©, and plenty of other shops and restaurants. There were also ships that you could tour. Most of them you had to pay, but my friend and I found one that was free. 

Overall it was a really tiring but great trip. It only cost us $20, too, plus whatever food or merchandise we bought. 

What does everyone think? Is that something they would like to go on if Moravian hosted it again?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Moravian Theatre Company Presents 'Book of Gig'

The Real Book of Gig is described as “a tragic jazz opera”.

I’m not so sure about the opera part, but “tragic” and “jazz” are certainly apt terms for the production.

The Moravian College Theatre Company, the college's theater club featured the world premiere of this play on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11 and 12 at Foy Hall. I saw the Saturday performance, and the hall was pretty full, so I figured that with this kind of turn out, it had to be good.

The chorus and the actors did a phenomenal job, balancing their singing with their acting parts. My only gripe is that it was difficult to hear what the chorus was singing, which unfortunately included key plot elements to the otherwise vague and at times confusing story. Part of it was the trouble in understanding 8-10 people singing at once, and part of it was in hearing them over the talented but very loud jazz band that served as the orchestra for the opera.

As for the production itself, when it wasn’t vague and when I could understand what was going on (this usually coincided with me being able to hear the chorus), it was definitely a very tragic, heartbreaking play. The opera follows the life of Gig, a musical prodigy who sets out to be a jazz singer. He becomes quite successful, at least for awhile. The same can’t be said for his love life.

He marries his first love, Chiara, and they have twin sons. But with Gig being out on the road so much, Chiara grows lonely and desperate as she tries to raise two sons alone. Unable to see any other way out, she commits suicide.

Further tragedy unfolds throughout the rest of the play, almost to the point of being overwhelming, but from the tragedy comes hope. It's a reminder that even in the darkest times, there is always hope.

So, did anyone see the play? Any thoughts on it if you did?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

French, Spanish and German Clubs Come Together for Poetry

Today’s post is a triple header of sorts. This past Sunday, Nov. 6 was International Poetry Night. It was hosted not by one, but three clubs: the French, Spanish and German clubs. All the language clubs came together to host, provide poems to be read and supply food. 

International Poetry night is usually during International Week. For some reason International Week was held early this year and there wasn’t enough time for the clubs to host the Poetry Night. They had to get enough submissions, put together the Power Point for the poems and their translations, and pull funds together. So it’s understandable the Poetry Night was pushed off. 

Still, I for one was really concerned when this year’s International Week didn’t end with the International Poetry Night as par course. Luckily the clubs still hosted it, just later. I’ve always wanted to go, and since this is my senior year, it was my last chance to go.

I was impressed with the turnout. There was a little over two dozen people there, both students and professors. 

International Poetry Night was a pretty straightforward event. About fifteen students and two professors got up and recite selected poems. It provided students a chance to show off their linguistic skills as they read the poem in its native language, which was French, Spanish or German. Two of the poems were actually sung (they were French, of course). There was a Power Point they had on a screen showing us the poems, both in their original language and translated into English.

Most of the poems were written by professional poets. One French poem dated back six hundred years, while a few German poems read were from the last century. So it was a nice broad range of poems, with topics including love, beauty, sorrow, evil, and humor. There was something for everyone to enjoy, and it’s always fun to hear fellow students beautifully articulate (or completely flub) the language they’re reciting the poem in. 

My personal favorite was a German poem (surprise) called “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Part of the reason I love the poem is because of its ties to Disney. The poem was animated in the Disney classic Fantasia. You know, the scene where Mickey is the sorcery apprentice and he enchants all those brooms and makes a huge watery mess? Yeah, that’s taken straight from “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”. It was recited well and I thought it to be the most entertaining of all the poems read that night. 

So, did anyone get a chance to go to the Poetry Night? Any thoughts about it?

Moravian College Theater Company Presents "Good People"

I’m venturing out of the more academic side of Moravian to the creative. Moravian College's Theater Company, one of the best known of the many organized clubs on campus, has been doing a series of play readings on Friday nights. They had a play reading of “Good People” on Friday, Oct. 14. Going hand in hand with this year’s In Focus theme, Poverty and Inequality, the play took us to modern day Southside Boston and the plight of Margie. 

A “Southie” native, Margie is fired from her job at a dollar store due to her being constantly late. Her adult daughter, Joyce, is mentally retarded and cannot take care of herself, so she is constantly late because of her daughter’s fits. With no completed formal education, she has to struggle to find a job in a poor economy.

The play provides a look between the poor and those who are financially well off. It compares Margie to her old childhood friend Michael, who got out of Southside to become a doctor and now lives “comfortably”, as he calls it. 

For a two act play, it gives a really complex interaction between the characters, all who are struggling in their own way, and the lengths to which they’ll go to get by. Margie tries to trick Michael into thinking he is Joyce’s father so she could receive support. She also tries to manipulate her manager so she wouldn’t be fired. It’s essentially a play about survival, and raising questions about the lengths people will go to in order to survive.

It’s hard not to connect the play to the current “We are the 99 Percent” movement taking place right now, fueled by rising unemployment rates and a widening economic gap between the rich and poor. I think many in the audience, including myself, were reminded of someone as we watched the play, someone who was also desperate and struggling, like Margie.

My favorite part was at the end. After a failed confrontation with Michael, Margie is left with no job still and no money for rent. A check shows up containing enough money for one month’s rent. It turns out it came from the man who had to fire her. It wasn’t from Michael, who Margie always considered “good people” but from the man who had put her – however unwillingly – into her current situation, showing us just what really is “good people”. 

So, did anyone else see the play? What did you think?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Moravian's Safe Zone Training: Walking in Another's Shoes

You’ve probably seen the stickers around campus, either on someone’s dorm door or a professor’s office door. They’re the Safe Zone stickers, which indicate that the area they're posted on is a safe haven for homosexuals, and now I can say I’m a proud owner of one.

To get the sticker, you need to go to the Safe Zone Training. It’s run by the Office of Institutional Diversity but it’s closely linked to Spectrum, the resident Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual (LGBT for short) support club on campus. 

I’d been meaning to go to one of these training sessions since sophomore year, but schedule conflicts always arose. I finally got to go this year and I have to say, wow.

A lot of it was sort of what I was expecting. In the latter half they talked about LGBT issues, like the rights homosexuals are restricted from having and what strides have been made to counteract homophobia and heterosexual privilege (which is what it sounds like: giving more rights and preference to heterosexual persons and couples over homosexuals).

It was the way the program started off, however, that surprised me.

We were each given a colored star. There were four colors: red, blue, green and yellow. Then Sharon Brown, Director of the Office of Institutional Diversity and the one running the training, had us write down something on each point of the star. We wrote down:

- Our best friend’s name
- The family member we're closest to
- Our dreams for the future
- Our career aspiration
- A group or community we’re associated with.

Then Brown read from a list of scenarios. For example, the first scenario was that each of us, pretending to have just come out of the closet as homosexuals, told our best friend about it. Some of us were lucky: if we had a blue or yellow star (I had blue), our best friend supported us. But the others’ weren’t so fortunate: their best friend rejected them, and they had to tear off that point of the star and let it fall to the floor.

It might have just been a piece of paper, but there was something excruciating about hearing that ripping sound and see the pieces fall. I was fortunate enough not to have to rip off any of my pieces, but someone people had all of theirs ripped off. 

The worst part? That’s what some people go through every day. There are people who are hated and turned against just because they have a different sexual preference. It was really an eye-opening experience.

If you want to go to one of these Safe Zone Training sessions, they’ll hold more next semester. Would anyone be interested in going?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Q&A: Meet a Moravian International Club Member

IMPACT might host a lot of activities and tout themselves to be multicultural, but if you really want to talk about a club that's diverse in the cultures department, it's International Club. Made up of students from Moravian and students from abroad, these guys focus on doing multicultural activities and celebrating cultures from outside the U.S. I got more involved with the club this year when I moved into the International Suite, and I'm glad I did. 

So I thought it was time I wrote about it, and I sat down and did a Q&A session with Rachel DeLucia, a sophomore and a member of the International Club. She lives in the International Suite and is the head of the suite (meaning she’s in charge of the suite, acting as a sort of RA and mediator). She’s been in International Club since her freshmen year, so she knows a thing or two about the club. Here’s what I found out from her:

Q: What is International Club?
A: International Club is a club on campus [whose] interest is based on students who...want to go abroad or who are studying abroad at Moravian. This year we have three French students, a German, two Chinese students, two Czech, one from Ghana and one from India. Some are here for a semester, some are here for a full year, and some are here for all four years.

Q: Who are the club officers and advisor(s)?
A: Our club officers are Will Brennan, Vineeth Maradana, Alana Persad, and Alex Irwin. Our advisors are Naomi Gal and Kerry Sethi. Will is the President, Vinnie is the VP, Alana is the Treasurer and Alex is the Secretary.

Q: What sort of events does the club host?
A: We host mixers for the college students to come interact with the international students as well as the club. They have great food [and] cultural experiences. Like tomorrow, a professor is coming to talk about Dia de la Muerte at the mixer. We had that international dinner [and] that welcome back mixer. We are celebrating Holi (an Indian festival of lights). We have invites to other events (like Holi) and co-host some. Lehigh sometimes hosts stuff and we’re invited. [There are also] cultural celebrations within the area we also try to get involved in. 

We do trips, too. We’ll do a sporting event, a Broadway play, and a little sight-seeing (like D.C, New York). 

Q: What do you have planned for this semester?
A: We have a mixer tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 25). We’re trying to get to some kind of sporting event. We usually go to NBA games but with the season [on strike] we’re going to have to cancel that. We might do soccer, football or something else. We’re definitely doing a Broadway play this fall as well as hosting one or two more mixers. And the Holi thing I mentioned before.

Q: What do you find the most appealing about the club?
A: I guess being able to be more culturally diverse. I like learning about other peoples’ cultures and experiencing why it’s so special to them. For me, it gives me insight for study abroad, because I’m working with a lot of people who’ve already gone abroad. 

Q: Is there anything else I missed?
A: We meet once a week, and they’re usually about a half hour to 45 minutes, just to keep in touch for upcoming events and planning other events and get interest in possible trips. We meet in PPHAC in the back room by the old lady portrait. Come check it out. It’s great to be in. 

We’re trying to make more cohesion with the other clubs like the Diversity Club. Spanish club is coming to the mixer tomorrow. IMPACT, USG, all have been really [helpful] with stuff, too. Like the trip to NYC, we want to co-sponsor it with IMPACT or someone like them to help get more money for the buses and more press. Stuff like that.