Redhawk Native American Arts Council Visits

images.jpgLocated in 337 of the Marist College Library, The Center for Multicultural Affairs acts as more than an office. Each day you will see a host of students entering and exiting the office as they speak with the administrative assistant, Pam, and counselors, Iris, Mary, Angel, Karen, and Terrance. But there’s more than that, there is coffee, snacks, and bonding that take places for the students which gives this place a home away from home feeling.

 

Marist CMA is more than an office but rather it is a resource. In addition to their direct support academic programs, they also provide programs and activities on campus that are open to anyone.

These events promote cultural awareness, leadership development, sustainability and even career exploration. Throughout every semester they host and co-host a series of events like the Hispanic Heritage Event, Vietnam Night, Indian Culture Awareness Night, The Global Fashion Show, and many others.

For 10 years, Marist CMA has been working to create an inclusive and welcoming community of which all students are welcome to join.

On Wednesday night, in collaboration with the Office for Accommodations and Accessibility, Student Affairs, Upward Bound, and the Diversity Council, and Human Resources, Marist CMA hosted the Red Hawk Native American Arts Council performance. The Red Hawk Native American Arts Council is a Grass-roots Not-For-Profit organization that was founded and is still maintained by natives from New York and New Jersey in 1994. Their purpose is to educate the general population about Native American heritage.

Iris Ruiz-Grech, the Director of Marist CMA said that she was excited that the event could have been rescheduled after it had to be postponed on November 15th because of the snow storm.

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Member of the Redhawk Native American Arts Council dances as Marist students and faculty watch.

Her greatest hope for this event was that students would learn about the Native American culture. The event was filled with dancing and singing as well as a wealth of information about the indigenous people.

 

 

 

“The hope is definitely awareness about the beauty and contributions of our Native Americans here in the United States,” said Ruiz-Grech. “I think it is amazing to be able to bring awareness to all of us about their importance since they were the first people in what is now called the United States.”

The council taught the attendees about the difference of tribes and also urged the audience to help their efforts by taking action.

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Cliff Matias (far right) and other members of The Redhawk Native American Arts Council

Cliff Matias is an artist, educator, photographer, hoop dancer, and actor for the Council. Matias is Kichwa and Taino. Throughout the performance, he sang, danced, and spoke to the audience.

 

When speaking about the importance of taking a stand he said that the use of Native Americans as mascots is highly offensive. He notes that universities have begun removing these mascots and so have some elementary schools although many remain resistant.

“In NYC, St. John’s University has changed their logo. So it is happening very slowly. It is only through conscious efforts and compassion and understanding of our young people, who are now moving into positions of change, we are seeing that these things are starting to take place,” said Mathias.

When pinpointing another specific change that he would like to see, he said that he believes that Columbus Day should be changed to Indigenous People’s Day.

Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and countless cities have changed. I would love to see more people of color joining in this struggle for indigenous people. In America, there were so many other atrocities that [Christopher Columbus] he committed,” said Mathias. “What about the fact that he introduced the Transatlantic Slave Trade, so how come not more of our African-American brothers and sisters aren’t joining us in that struggle. So we would love to see more. Also, American young people in general coming to stand with us.”

Students who attended this event were glad that they did. Caroline Kirsten, a Marist freshmen, said that she has gone to programs in the past where Native Americans spoke about their tribes. Despite this, she said that she never heard about their current situation.

“The greatest thing I took away was an understanding of the lack of resources and the lack of awareness. I feel like that is something that should be brought up much more,” said Kirsten. Now with this new knowledge, I want to help bring awareness. If there was any action to do so, I would love to be apart of it.”

On it’s special 10 year anniversary, Marist CMA continues to host a wealth of performances and events that expose Marist students to new ideas and cultures. Be sure to check out more of their events in the near future.

 

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Study Abroad: “Complex but Worth it”

Colleges and Universities across the globe offer numerous study abroad programs and even encourage this form of study.

“I think it is important for young adults to get out and see the world.  So many of us are stuck in a little bubble without even realizing it,” said Maya Guzman, Marist College Junior.

Colleges and Universities aren’t the only types of schools that offer overseas programs.  Many high schools offer the opportunity as well through a certain Rotary club.

“I was so young when I decided to leave my home for a year to study in Brazil.  I had barely just turned 16 years old and I walked onto a plane knowing I wouldn’t be home for a year; it was the most surreal moment of my life.” said Christina Schumchyk, Stony Brook University Junior.  “I just knew there was more to see. I come from such a small town and I felt so isolated, I knew I needed to get free and explore,” continued Schumchyk.

According to research conducted by NAFSA, roughly 325,339 U.S. students studied abroad for college credit in 2016.  The enrollment increased by 3.8 percent from the previous year.

https://www.nafsa.org/Policy_and_Advocacy/Policy_Resources/Policy_Trends_and_Data/Trends_in_U_S__Study_Abroad/

The Power of International Education organization conducted research that concludes more women than men study abroad each year with an approximate 70 to 30 ratio.  There is also a higher number of undergraduate students going abroad compared to graduate students with a rough 90 to 10 ratio.

https://www.iie.org/Research-and-Insights/Open-Doors/Data/US-Study-Abroad/Student-Profile

So where are these students going?  The U.S. Study Abroad Data from the 2017 Open Doors Report claims about 12% of students choose to study in the United Kingdom, nearly 11% in Italy, and 9% in Spain.

“Going to London was important to me because it seemed to be the most centralized destination.  I figured from there I had pretty easy access to every other country and city I wanted to visit, which is exactly what I did,” said Erin Greco, Siena College Graduate.  

“I would do it all over again and I am a huge advocate for current students going abroad.  There is nothing like it.” said Greco.

Rachel Thayer, a Junior at Marist College, described the process of going abroad “complicated but worth it.”  “There is just so much that goes into it and so much I didn’t fully understand. So many government documents are needed and you really have to take everything into consideration.  I mean you are leaving your home country for a full semester.” said Thayer.

Thayer expressed that the process shouldn’t discourage students from traveling and studying abroad.

“Once you are here, once you sit in a class, once you are eating your first meal, it all just falls into place.  You take a sigh of relief and just feel grateful for the opportunity.” continued Thayer.

Historic Graveyard Tour returns at St. James’ Church

It was 8 p.m. on a Friday evening and the weather was chilly at 40 degrees. The 200-year old graveyard at St. James’ filled up with an eager crowd holding lanterns. People of all ages attended, dressed in their winter gear. The tour was about to begin.

St. James’ Church in Hyde Park kicked off their 9th season with their annual Historic Graveyard Tour. Originally a run up for the bi-centennial church celebration in 2011, the tour has remained a popular event for many years. In fact, 200 people turned out for the first tour that the crowd had to be split into three groups. “My family and I look forward to the tour every year. I’m always amazed by the production. It’s definitely one of the biggest highlights for the church,” said parishioner Stephanie Carson.

The tour consisted of approximately eight actors stationed in different parts of the cemetery. Each of the actors played characters who were buried at St. James’ Church. Around half of the actors are parishioners, and half are not. Every year has non-coincidentally turned into a different theme for the tour. One year the theme was slavery, while another year the tour concentrated on disabilities. This year, the focus was on those who were connected to the First World War. The script is written by a committee of parish volunteers who plan months in advance for the momentous parish event.

The crowd followed the dark path of the graveyard, led by a host for the hour. Each actor described their character’s background and major roles they took on in life. Dressed in costume of the era, characters ranged from Red Cross personnel, soldiers, lieutenants and even chefs to President Roosevelt.

The host for the evening, Russell Urban-Mead led the crowd in an animated voice and took the group to each stationed actor. A family affair–Urban Mead’s wife, Wendy was the director of the tour this year. Smiling, he sat in a church pew before the start of the 8:00 p.m. tour, enthusiastic for the evening. “It’s an exciting time for our parish where everyone comes together to work on the tour. There is a lot of history that many people do not even know about, just in front of our eyes in the 200-year old cemetery,” Urban-Mead admits.

The Rev. Chuck Kramer has been at St. James’ Church for 21 years. He made his debut appearance as an actor in this year’s tour. Kramer played Ogden Livingston Mills, U.S Secretary of the Treasury during Herbert Hoover’s presidency. Kramer was the first actor for the evening, and passionately depicted the spirit of Mills with his gestures and keen storytelling.

Recounting the intention of the tour, Kramer sat in his office, filled with books, sacred embellishments and bright colors. “There are three goals of the tour. One is to entertain. One is to inform and one is to inspire,” Kramer said.

Partakers of the St. James’ Historic Graveyard Tour can expect to be educated on major roles individuals played during World War I. It is a night to learn about the lives of the souls who rest in the church’s cemetery.

Kramer is proud of the impact the tour has left on people for the past eight years as well as the light it sheds on history. “The tour makes people come alive in a way that tugs at   the heart and has people thinking ‘wow.’ It engages both the funny bone and the heart,” Kramer said.

The tour runs for three weeks in October on Friday and Saturday night’s starting at 7:00, 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 and proceeds go to the on-going ministry and outreach of the church.

(from left to right) Pete Bedrossian, playing the role of (William) Gerald Morgan.

Andrew William Gordineer, 21, playing the role of William T. White.

Reverend Chuck Kramer in his parish office at St. James’ Church.

 

 

“Frankenstein” Revived Through Storytelling and Visual Art

Despite the otherwise light atmosphere of the Marist College Art Gallery, its graphic contents can only be described as bleak, eerie, and haunting. Directly opposite the display’s unique mixture or grays and blacks are 10 chairs on which visitors can sit and contemplate the work; no matter which chair is sat in, however, the painting’s phantom acrylic eyes always seem to follow.

These paintings make up only one part of Professor Tommy Zurhellen’s “Frankenstein: Könfidential” exhibition, a project that combines traditional storytelling and visual art to recreate Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

“My first impression walking into the gallery was that of feeling tremendously cold,” Professor Zurhellen’s student Kevin Hudson, a senior, said. “The room was spacious, and the cool/monochrome color scheme of each of the paintings created this feeling. I believe Professor Zurhellen was creating a strong introduction through intense feelings of discomfort.”

Professor Zurhellen’s decision to pursue a recreation of the original Frankenstein was prompted by the 200th anniversary of its publication this year. Despite its age, the professor believes its central themes of creation and ethics are as timely as ever.

“[Frankenstein] is 200 years old yet the writing is still fresh and new,” he said. “It’s creepy and spooky and dark and weird, and it could have been written yesterday.”

Professor Zurhellen’s narrative is told in serial form and split into 24 episodes, mirroring the number of chapters found in the original work. Each week one installment is released, accompanied by a visual art graphic that pertains to the story’s timeline. The artwork was created by Hyeseung Marriage-Song, a New York-based artist the professor collaborated with for the project.

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The painting that accompanies Chapter 1: In the Cemetery

“Once people understand that it’s a celebration and recreation of the original story in a collaborative way, they get it,” Professor Zurhellen explained. “It takes a little bit of imagination to get the whole project, but once [people] do, they love it.”

Like the original work, Professor Zurhellen’s project centers around Victor Frankenstein and his vicious creation, but the similarities stop there. In “Frankenstein: Könfidential,” the doctor is a Jew living in Nazi-Germany during the final months of WWII.

The new narrative opens much like the original version, with American Capt. Robert Walton’s cryptic letter to his younger sister Margaret, which is provided as part of the exhibition, complete with rips, creases, coffee cup stains, and a US Army Examiner Stamp.

“The inclusion of this letter in the exhibit was really cool to see as it brought Zurhellen’s story to life among the accompanying artwork,” senior Sarah Howard said. “It looked like a real artifact that you would see in a historical exhibit in a museum.”

Many of the characters within “Frankenstein: Konfidential” are taken from Shelley’s original work, like Dr. Frankenstein’s childhood friend Henry Clerval, but are infused with Professor Zurhellen’s personal twists. Others, however, are entirely based on actual historical figures. One painting depicts the character “Lilo,” who was involved in the resistance movement against the Nazis during the war, and the story’s antagonist is based on real-life Gestapo agent Robert Mohr.

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From left to right: “Lilo,” “Ode to CDF,” (Below) Capt. Walton’s letters to his sister, “Henry Clerval”

“Adding that kind of historical flare [to the characters] helps make the story feel more authentic,” Professor Zurhellen explained.

“I think that Zurhellen is trying to reinvent the Frankenstein story in a new light and give it a newer and more current life,” Howard explained. “I got the sense from the exhibit that he wanted onlookers to question everything they previously knew about the original Frankenstein story, as well as dispel their concept of reality to really transport themselves into the world he has created.”

Since its grand opening on Sept. 27, the exhibit has garnered positive reviews from The ChronogramHudson Valley Magazine, and The Poughkeepsie Journal, among others. Much of the project’s success, Professor Zurhellen said, is owed to his collaboration with Marriage-Song.

“Trust in the power of collaboration [because] you’ll get something that normally by yourself you’d never get,” the professor said. “You get more than just your own work. It’s almost easy, because someone else is working just as hard [as you] and you create something no one else would ever think of. [This project] wouldn’t have happened unless these two powers came together and did something unique.”

In November the exhibit will appear at the Gowanus Industrial Arts Complex in Brooklyn, in front of a much larger audience. Once all 24 installments of “Frankenstein: Könfidential” are released, Professor Zurhellen plans on grouping the chapters together into a printable version.

 

 

 

 

Marist’s Ethical Fashion Initiative Club, Changing the World One Garment at a Time.

As of 2017 The Business of Fashion has ranked Marist Fashion Program as 38th globally in their annual ranking of fashion schools, but how much are these students learning about the ethical aspect of fashion.  In 2016, alumni Rebekkah Coclasure started her senior year of college with one goal in mind, to startup the Ethical Fashion Initiative Club.  By the end of her senior year she had succeeded, but has anyone stopped to wonder where are they now?  With that stood other looming questions, what have they done for ethical fashion and where are they headed for the future? Continue reading

“Night on Broadway” Unites the Community

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The Marist Singers gather and sing a medley from Rent for the finale.

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — On November 4 and 5, Marist Singers held their 15th Annual “Night on Broadway” benefit concert for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BCEFA). As usual, this highly anticipated event was a success: tickets were sold out, over $6,000 in donations were made and performers received a standing ovation. Continue reading

A Song, A Dance, but No Show Plan?

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.—Two months into the fall semester, the Marist College Theater Program continues to have a murky future regarding their spring musical. They have changed their musical of choice twice, from West Side Story to The King and I.  The original choice for the Spring Musical 2018 slot had been Fiddler on the Roof, but had to be changed on account of losing the rights with the show currently touring.  From there the program went in the West Side Story direction, a decision that was later changed to the current show The King and I, and an update as of October 17, 2017 at 10:00 am it was announced that the musical is will not be

Director of the Theater Program, as well as Director of the Spring Musical, Matt Andrews, was available for commentary on the previous show choice for the spring, the main focus being the Golden Era musical.

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The hidden life of a design student

A lot of people think fashion design is easy, but little do people know the amount of sleepless nights these students have. Jenna Dickinson, senior design student, said “I slept in my car in McCann one-time last year because I was scared to drive home without having slept for almost 6 days.” The commitment these students make often interferes with their college social life, but the outcome they are getting with the Fashion Design Program at Marist is preparing them well for their future as designers.

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Honoring veterans around campus

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On Friday, November 12 people around the country and more specifically the community at Marist College recognized and celebrated all those who have served us in the armed forces.

“What makes America great is the people and the good they can do when they come together,” said Captain Paul Rinn class of 1968 at Marist College.

Captain Paul X. Rinn, USN, was the first commanding officer of the USS Samuel B. Roberts and was in command when the ship struck a mine in the Persian Gulf on April 14, 1988. According to some of the other Veterans at the ceremony, Rinn is responsible for avoiding the sinking of the ship when it hit the mine. Continue reading