Watershed Moment

To defend Manhattan during the American Revolution, the Continental Army built forts on both sides of the Hudson River. Now, the river itself needs protection, as it continues to suffer from the effects of industrial pollution. On May 1, SLC announced the founding of The Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak. The name is a mouthful (it’s pronounced bee-zack), but the center’s mission is simple: help children and adults learn about the environment and how best to preserve this historic river. This is Sarah Lawrence’s first off-campus academic research facility, and starting this fall, students will help provide educational outreach in the Yonkers community, conduct fieldwork in soil and water analysis for SLC conference projects, research ecology and environmental science, and collect and analyze data about the Hudson River.

Don’t Fear the Reaper

Among the 290 items auctioned off at the annual Students for Students Scholarship Fund Auction on March 1—which included a one-hour knitting tutorial, a crash course on Southeast Asia, and a custom pair of pasties—was a wooden, 6-foot-tall Grim Reaper. Scott Calvin (physics) got into a minor bidding war for the creepy cutout, contributing to the $5,781 raised for scholarships. Death now lives in a corner of the physics lab, just as we always suspected. When students inquire about the ominous onlooker, Calvin stares at them quizzically and says, “What are you talking about? I don’t see anything.”

Card image Pub Wonderland

Pub Wonderland

Students indulged their appetite for whimsy and sweets at an Alice in Wonderland-themed tea party on April 12. Members of the Sarah Lawrence Activities Council festooned the middle room of the Pub with neon streamers, “eat me” cookies, a riot of colorful candy, and hand-painted decorations based on the trippy 1950s Disney movie. No flamingos were harmed in the making of this party.

Card image Fox Alert

Fox Alert

Small fox sets Sarah Lawrence College hearts aflutter after the furry creature is spotted on campus.

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Big Commitment

Board of Trustees Vice Chair Nancie Cooper MGA '04 and her husband Steve had made an additional $5 million commitment to the College.
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Everyone loves TED Talks, the series of Internet videos on “ideas worth spreading,” which have received about a billion views to date. And if there’s one thing Sarah Lawrence people have a lot of (other than books about feminist theory), it’s ideas about how to change the world. So why not put the two together? Cue TEDxSLC, an April event where seven students and faculty shared their own discoveries in TED-style talks. The popular event, which was organized by numerous members of the Sarah Lawrence community (mainly Sean McIntyre ’13 and Rob Winslow ’13) and licensed by the original organization, overfilled the Suzanne Werner Wright Theatre and forced dozens of audience members to watch via live video in Reisinger. Talks included “Thriving Girls Change the World: Sorting a New Slum School Model” by Ellie Roscher MFA ’13 and “Narrative Humility: Listening as Social Justice” by health advocacy faculty member Sayantani DasGupta. (Colons in titles were not required.)

Body Work

When choreographer Rashaun Mitchell ’00 returned to campus spring semester to teach a performance course, he didn’t have any music he was interested in using for the piece he was choreographing with his class. So he had his students write a letter to someone they missed and hadn’t spoken to in a long time, recorded them reading the letters aloud, and used a collage of their voices for the audio track. The dance, called “Conversation Piece,” was performed by his students at SLC and at the Claudia Boettcher Theater in Dobbs Ferry, New York, in May. Mitchell won a 2011 Bessie Award (the Oscars of the dance world) for Sustained Achievement in Performance for his mastery of Merce Cunningham’s work.

Tattoo Taboo

Can a good Jew have a tattoo? Rabbi Jeffrey Brown, of Scarsdale Synagogue Temples Tremont and Emanu-El, visited Sarah Lawrence on April 23 to discuss the modern implications of Leviticus 19:28: “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves, I am the Lord.”

A dozen students thoughtfully munched bagels provided by Hillel, the event’s sponsor, as they listened to Rabbi Brown interpret the historical context of Leviticus. At the time it was written, he explained, tattooing was mostly a pagan practice, done to mark slaves or to show devotion to a pharaoh. The rabbi concluded that Jews can have tattoos as long as they are obtained in a safe and respectful manner. “The students seemed to agree with him,” reported Hillel member Michael Feinberg ’15— “particularly ones who already have tattoos.”

Crime Time

On March 7, someone was murdered on campus. Who did it? And did they use a Bates fork or a poisoned Black Squirrel milkshake? Ten teams of students set out to solve the mystery as part of a Clue-themed scavenger hunt sponsored by SLAC, the student event-programming organization. Participants gathered clues at various locations on campus and then deduced the solution. The murderer: Esther Raushenbush. The weapon: a broken Hill House steam pipe. The location: Westlands. We trust that the Office of Admission was able to remove the blood stains before any prospective students got wind of the nefarious doings.

New Trustees

The Board of Trustees welcomed Michael J. Stutzman MFA ’09 and Peter van Dijk ’82 to their ranks in May. Stutzman works as a medical IT training designer, most recently for Yale-New Haven Hospital. In 2010 and 2011, he was an adjunct professor of composition at Southern Connecticut State University and Gateway Community College. Stutzman holds an MA in English education from Teachers College, Columbia University and an MFA in poetry from SLC.

A 30-year advertising industry veteran, van Dijk currently works as an independent writer and marketing consultant. He published five books, including The Clueless Groom’s Guide and Winchell Cuts the Cheese . Van Dijk lives in Rye, New York, with his wife Suki ’85 and their two children.