Tidbits

Card image Say My Name

Say My Name

The gryphon, SLC’s favorite fuzzy cheerleader, finally has a proper moniker, thanks to a “Name the Gryphon” contest held by the athletics program in the fall. Students and faculty submitted 148 names, which a committee pared down to nine finalists, including “Dewey” (for educational philosopher John Dewey, whose ideas underpin SLC’s teaching methods), “Don” (in honor of our faculty), and “Rumi” (for the 13th-century Persian poet). But the campus community voted for “Godric,” for Godric Gryffindor, the Hogwarts founder in the Harry Potter series. Godric Gryffindor embodied courage, determination, and strength of heart above all else—sounds like Sarah Lawrence to us!

Card image Black, Brown, White

Black, Brown, White

On November 25, Sandra Robinson (religion) hosted “Ebonics Goes Global,” a multimedia poetry reading, in the Cannon Theatre. Robinson read from her debut collection of poems, Ebonics (2013)—a collection of prose poems that addresses the truth of race in the American landscape and engages themes of interracial family life. Robinson has been collaborating for years with renowned dancer and writer Mary Moore Easter ’62, who read her own narrative poems. Filmmaker Annette Danto projected images on a large screen to provoke meditation on the visual rhetoric of black, brown, and white identities.

Card image Hostages

Hostages

Well, sort of. The new CBS drama Hostages spent some time filming at SLC in November. The show centers around Dr. Ellen Sanders (Toni Collette), whose family is taken hostage the night before she’s scheduled to perform surgery on the President (of the United States, not Sarah Lawrence). The kidnappers inform her that the only way to save her family is to covertly assassinate the President during the operation. Heavy stuff.

On a lighter note, SLC asks visiting production teams to hire student interns whenever possible, so four students—Eleyna Haroun ’16, Gaia Liotta ’14, Martha Elsa Levytsky ’14, and Sophia Odegaard ’16—got the chance to work as production assistants. Levytsky was particularly jubilant about her time on set, saying it was “surreal” and “quite possibly one of my greatest experiences at Sarah Lawrence.”

SLC makes its appearance in Season 1, Episode 12: “The Cost of Living.” (We bet they’re not talking about real estate prices.) Be on the lookout for the Campbell Sports Center: the lobby was transformed into a police station, and the conference room poses as an interrogation room.

Card image Smashing Pumpkins, Revisited

Smashing Pumpkins, Revisited

Smashing a pumpkin is weirdly satisfying. Egg tosses are a wholesome

feature of many a field day. Why not combine the two to make a fun pumpkin-tossing event to celebrate autumn?

Plenty of reasons, actually, as the students planning the Homegrown series, which specializes in events organized by and for students, realized as they were designing this fall activity. After considering the likelihood of pulled muscles, the danger of bruising from mis-thrown squash, and the difficulty of removing splattered pumpkin guts from the lawn, the group wisely decided to host a water-balloon toss instead. “Punkin’ Chunkin’,” the October 4 event sponsored by the Sarah Lawrence Activities Council, featured orange water balloons as stand-ins for the original pumpkins. Not as seasonally appropriate, perhaps, but much easier to clean up.

Card image Speak ā€™nā€™ Spell

Speak ā€™nā€™ Spell

At the Fifth Annual Spelling Bee on October 10, the newly christened Marjorie Leff Miller ’53 Lecture Hall was packed. In the back row, family members held signs encouraging a student named Benjy. Daisy Hill ’14 sat with a recorder on her lap, taking notes for her linguistic anthropology field research.

Participants sweated through words like “subsistence,” “ferocious,” and “vaporize.” “The words were not as difficult as I expected them to
be,” said Nia Itoh ’14. “Most of the words were familiar.” But she fell victim to “succumb” and placed third, despite the enthusiastic screams of her roommates (whom she referred to as “the loudest surrogate moms in the room”).

The final round came down to the spelling of “caravan.” Reuben Cohen ’17 succeeded, and then nailed “sufficiently” for the win. The judges, who had been checking the answers on dictionary.com, announced the “fantastic” prizes: Amazon gift cards. The event was sponsored by the Sarah Lawrence Activities Council’s Tradition Series.

Card image A Warm Welcome

A Warm Welcome

About once a week, President Karen Lawrence hosts dinner for a small group of first-year students. Every first-year student is invited, over the course of the academic year, and those who accept share good food and lively conversation with the president. Lawrence also held a Thanksgiving dinner for 35 international students this year. These meals are a great way to get to know students, Lawrence says—and more proof that round tables aren’t just for class discussions around here.

Card image Titsworth, Transformed

Titsworth, Transformed

The room formerly known as Titsworth Lecture Hall, now with new seats, better lighting, more technology, and wheelchair access. All thanks to a donation from Marjorie Leff Miller ’53, whose name now graces the wall.

Trans Talk

Sarah Lawrence folks might be accepting and supportive of the T part of LGBT, but take a glance at the wider world and you’ll quickly see that jokes about people who don’t conform to gender norms still abound.

In September, Elijah Nealy of Columbia University presented a workshop on how to treat transgender people with compassion and respect. Sponsored by SLC’s Diversity and Activism Programming Subcommittee, “Becoming a More Effective Transgender Ally: What Do I Need to Know?” explained how cisgender folks (whose gender identities match their appearance) can support people who fall outside the dominant categories of gender expression.

Some of Nealy’s practical advice: Use the pronoun appropriate to the person’s presented gender.

If you’re not sure, ask what they prefer. Don’t make assumptions about a transgender person’s sexual orientation. It’s generally inappropriate to ask a transgender person if they have had “the surgery” or are pre- or post-operation—what’s in their pants is none of your business. Trust that a person’s decision to present as something other than their birth gender is not made lightly. And remember that it takes a lot of courage to defy gender norms. Onward, friends!