A Letter from President Judd on Community Partnerships

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Dear Members of the Sarah Lawrence Community,

As you know, I write to the SLC community from time to time with updates. Sadly, these are often in response to national issues or tragedies that affect our College community. Today, as we move into the final weeks of the fall semester, I write to share with you a gracious e-mail I received this weekend from one of our community partners. It speaks tellingly of the work in which so many members of our community take part, and I share it here with permission:

Dear President Judd,

I am the Director of Volunteers at the Wartburg, a senior living facility located in Mount Vernon. In this season of Thanksgiving I thought it was only right to thank you and Sarah Lawrence College for all the support you and your team have provided our residents through the past few years. The other night at our Volunteer Recognition Dinner we honored Mara Gross, the Director of Community Affairs. Mara and I have been working together for the last 8 years, bringing students here to work on a variety of programs.

When the Dance/Movement Therapy program started we were the first site to welcome the graduate students to do their internships and since then our Dance Therapy program has become the highlight and cornerstone of our Creative Arts program. We have worked with Linwood Lewis’ class the last few years, having students here work on our iPod program and assist with other programs here as well. We have worked with Adam Brown’s classes and this semester Meghan Jablonski’s class is working on a tablet program where they are testing to see the reaction of different music apps and how the residents respond to them. They are working with the Director of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function, which is housed here at Wartburg.

Alan Lang has sent students here to work on poetry classes and a group helped the residents of the assisted living start their own newsletter, which they have continued since. The Adaptive Design group received a grant and purchased Raspberry Pis and Arduinos to come up with innovative technology for the residents to participate in. One of the best to come from SLC was a graduate student who did a puppet program with our dementia residents. We loved it so much that we have continued to have him come to teach the class throughout our campus. We also have the Harts for Hope group that comes weekly to paint with the clients in our Adult Day program.

We love having students from Sarah Lawrence because they are so engaged and ready to try new things. I think they too enjoy their time here because it is such a different environment than what they have ever encountered, working with residents as well as with the staff.

Best regards,
Ann Frey

Wartburg is but one of the many institutions with whom Sarah Lawrence partners and you can read more about the work of our students, staff, and faculty with our surrounding community at sarahlawrence.edu/communitypartnerships. The stories from these institutions, as well as the many institutions in which our students are undertaking internships and externships, speak volumes for the experiential learning that is a fundamental aspect of our Sarah Lawrence education.

In addition to our many partnerships with local organizations, this semester we have opened our series “Difference in Dialogue” to our neighbors as well. (Watch each of the events held this fall online.) Next semester we will continue the series with events that focus on topics including issues in genetics, the role of advocacy in the classroom, and religious pluralism, among others. We hope that you’ll join us.

Next week, we will enjoy the first residency in a new series funded by the Wentworth family to honor beloved Sarah Lawrence faculty member Jean Wentworth. The Ying Quartet will be on campus visiting many classes (both music and non-music) and giving public performances on December 4th and 5th that are open not only to our campus but to our neighbors (and of course, local alumni and families).

And as we watch the daily progress on the Barbara Walters Campus Center and the open-air amphitheater we are excited about the opportunities these new venues will offer for intersection and interaction among the campus community and with our neighbors, for whom we hope SLC serves as a cultural and intellectual hub. At a time when connection can seem ever more difficult, I am grateful for the role our campus can play as a civic space that brings people together.

As I am constantly reminded in my travels on behalf of Sarah Lawrence, we are a small college with a big footprint that extends around the globe. I am delighted to have a chance to share an appreciation of that work with you.

Yours,

Cristle Collins Judd
president@sarahlawrence.edu