Category Archives: Diversity

You’ve Got to Have Nerve (HOMW 10)

Apr 20, 2015 | Author: Elaine Paravati

Hi, everyone! My highlight this week happened on Thursday and Friday, and once again relates to my awesome poetry workshop course, ENG 407.

HOMW 10: YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE NERVE

One of my favorite things about Utica College is that there are many excellent guest speakers who present at the college each semester. I have been to cyber security presentations, poetry readings, etiquette dinners, biology seminars, and musical recitals, just to name a few!

This past Thursday evening, I attended a poetry reading by Suzanne Cleary. She was awarded the 2014 Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize, and when she read excerpts from her book Beauty Mark, it was clear why she was chosen for this award! Cleary’s writing was hilariously entertaining, and her energetic delivery of her work added to its charm. Every person in the Carbone Auditorium (which was so full that extra chairs had to be brought in!) found themselves laughing out loud during the reading. Cleary was by far one of the most entertaining and fun speakers I have ever had the pleasure of listening to, and I was surprised by how quickly the hour presentation flew by.

After the reading, copies of Beauty Mark were available for purchase, and many people had their copies signed by Ms. Cleary herself. My friend Nicole, who is also in my poetry workshop class, loves her personalized copy of the book!

Nicole and her autographed book!

The beautiful Nicole showing off her autographed book!

 

As if this experience wasn’t awesome enough already, the next day, Suzanne Cleary was our guest poet in our advanced poetry workshop class. We read our poems to the class and discussed them with one another as usual, except this class, Cleary was there to add in her own feedback and help us with the creative process. I learned so much from her, and was really grateful to have a different perspective. One of the things Cleary said that really stuck with me involved a poem I had written that was humorous and had a surprise twist at the end- similar to many of Cleary’s own poems. She said, “In order to embrace the pure silliness of poetry, you’ve got to have nerve. And you definitely have it here in this poem!”  She was extremely supportive of every student in the class’ writing and made for a very fun class.

Another shot of Nicole's personalized copy of Beauty Mark.

Another shot of Nicole’s personalized copy of Beauty Mark.

 

ENG 407 is always a highlight of my week (in fact, I’ve chosen it as the HOMW twice- here and here), but the guest poet this week made the class exceptionally wonderful!

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One Last Roll Call (HOMW 8)

Mar 31, 2015 | Author: Elaine Paravati

This weekend was jam-packed with events, so it was tough to pick just one highlight for the week. By Sunday night, I had many happy thoughts running through my head, but the one that stood out to me the most was the Orientation Banquet that took place on Friday.

HOMW 8: ONE LAST ROLL CALL

The summer orientation program is one of the highlights of my entire experience here at Utica College. I am never shy about sharing my love for the orientation programs and my fellow mentors, as it was what really transformed my entire college experience. When I became an orientation mentor after my first year at UC, I was not very involved on campus and had made only a handful of friends from my classes. As a commuter, I often went to class and went back home without staying on campus to \check out things going on. However, orientation opened my eyes up to all of the things available on campus and allowed me to meet so many different current UC students, staff members, and incoming students.

Courtney, our orientation mom, me, Karita, and Laura at the Orientation Banquet!

Courtney, our orientation mom, me, Karita, and Laura at the Orientation Banquet!

 

After that first summer as an orientation mentor, I jumped into UC life head-first. I joined the Residence Hall Association, Psych Society, the Gay-Straight Alliance, and the Committee for Student Conduct; I went to more on-campus events; I branched out and introduced myself to people beyond my classes. I became much more involved on campus, which caused me to fall even more in love with Utica College and helped me have an even BETTER orientation experience during the summer after my sophomore year.

Karita, Elliot, and I! This picture makes me giggle.

Karita, Elliot, and I! This picture makes me giggle.

 

The summer after my junior year, I became a Student Orientation Coordinator and helped out with planning the orientation program. I also had the opportunity to write and direct the Transitions orientation play that the student mentors perform for the incoming students and their families. It was bittersweet to work my last summer orientation program, but I truly enjoyed each and every day, even when I was very hot (it’s mid-July, after all) and exhausted!

Laura, me, and Karita being dramatic as usual

Laura, me, and Karita being dramatic as usual

This past Friday, the first-ever Orientation Banquet was held. It included dinner, a beautiful presentation full of pictures from past orientations, awards, and some fun games. I had a blast spending time with my fellow mentors, and loved reminiscing on all of the crazy memories we had made together over the last few years!

Showing off our orientation awards!

Showing off our orientation awards!

At the end of the banquet, we recreated our “Roll Call” that usually occurs at the beginning of each of the orientation sessions. In the summer, we are introduced to the incoming students by being announced over the speakers as we run up the aisles where they are seated. It is a fun way to pump everyone up for the busy days ahead, and we all get hyped up and cheer when we hear one another being announced. At the banquet, we stood in the back of the Library Concourse and ran up to the front of the room as we announced one another and cheered. It was a sentimental moment for many of us seniors who wouldn’t be a part of orientation in exactly the same way again. However, orientation is something that changed us all and will be something we carry with us for the rest of our lives, long after that final roll call ended.

An Elaine/Alane sandwhich. Laura, Elaine, Alane, Karita. Awesome.

An Elaine/Alane sandwhich. Laura, Elaine, Alane, Karita. Awesome.

“Many Mountains to Climb” (HOMW 6)

Mar 7, 2015 | Author: Elaine Paravati

This week’s highlight was definitely a unique experience and one I will not forget any time soon!

HOMW 6: “MANY MOUNTAINS TO CLIMB”

Every other Wednesday from 3-5 PM in Bell Conference Center is the full body meeting of the Utica College Student Senate. I was given the opportunity to join Senate last year, and absolutely loved it! It is so interesting to see the backbone of our student organizations at work, and I really appreciate being able to represent students when decisions are being made. As a junior, I was a commuter representative, but this year, I am a North Hall representative. Usually, meetings are only attended by the students in Senate, plus any students who may be representing an organization requesting funds that week for an event. This week’s meeting was a bit different, because we had a special guest: UC President Todd Hutton!

President Hutton attended the meeting so that he could speak directly to us about his plans to retire. (For those of you who may not know, President Hutton announced his retirement earlier this week. To read WKTV’s report of his announcement, as well as President Hutton’s letter to the UC Community, you can click here.) President Hutton said that he had “many mountains to climb, both literally and figuratively,” as his retirement plans include hiking with his wife and spending time with his family. It meant a lot to me and the other students that President Hutton took the time to discuss his decision and the thought process behind it with us in person.  He gave us the opportunity to ask questions or make comments, and many students shared stories of special memories they had with him throughout their years at UC. Others asked him to share some of his own favorite moments during his time here. I was honored to have had the opportunity to not only hear more about President Hutton’s decision from the man of the hour himself, but also to have been able to hear so many wonderful memories he and my fellow students shared from their Utica College experiences.

After the meeting, my friend Karita and I shared with President Hutton our gratitude for his service to the College, as well as a special memory of our own. Karita and I met when we worked together during the summer after our freshman year; we were both summer orientation mentors and spent two weeks living and breathing every minute together. During summer orientation, President Hutton makes a speech to incoming students and their families about being mindful of what they do with all of the opportunities available to them at Utica College. He says, “Look next to you: that could be a lifelong friend.” Karita and I have always treasured hearing that speech when we worked orientation after both our sophomore and junior years, because we felt that his words were especially true for us, since we became friends at orientation just as he described! It was great to share that with President Hutton, and he said he was really grateful to hear that his words had such a positive impact on us.

Then, of course, we took a picture with him.

His smile says it all: we may very well be his favorite students of all time. I'm not saying that is true, but the proof is in the picture.

His smile says it all: we may very well be his favorite students of all time. I’m not saying that is true, but the proof is in the picture.

President Hutton’s guest appearance at the Student Senate meeting this week was a really wonderful experience. As a graduating senior, I felt a connection to his words, as I too will have “many mountains to climb” in the future when my time at Utica College comes to a close. I am grateful to President Hutton for all of the positive impacts he has had on UC, and wish him all of the best in his future endeavors.

The Spring Play!

Feb 28, 2015 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

Every semester Utica College puts on a play. This year the theater department and individuals involved decided to produce two one-act plays. I attended Friday night and was entertained the entire way through.

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The first play entitled, “Chamber Music” told the story of a diverse set of individuals plotting to attack others, and avoid being eaten by cannibals. The plot lines twists and storylines go off until the individuals forget what they were plotting in the first place. It is a wild ride from start to finish, with entertaining characters to keep you company.

The second play was “The Actor’s Nightmare” and it tells the tale of a man thrust into a play which he has no recollection of even being a part of. This one was my personal favorite of the two, because it really did seem like a nightmare an actor would have. The plot follows the main character’s struggles to learn his lines and participate in the play. However, the twist is that once he finally starts to understand what is happening, the scenes of the play shift to a new plot. It was very funny.

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Both were thoroughly interesting plot lines, and I applaud the decision to perform two one-act productions. It was a nice change of pace to have a fresh story after intermission. The change of characters was also entertaining, because the actors had to create entirely new personas for these new characters they were portraying. Both pieces were executed well by the actors, and I loved both plays.

The hard work the performers (and all others involved) invested in the productions was obvious. If you didn’t get the chance to check out the plays this year, I recommend scoping out when the play is next year! It’s always so fun to see your peers perform, and produce work which they are proud of.

Things To Do: Utica Edition Part 1

Jan 31, 2015 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

I work as an Ambassador (Tour Guide) in the Admissions Office and one of the questions I field most frequently is, “What is there to do in Utica?” My answer to that is simple, there are LOADS of things to do. Not only are there events on campus all of the time, the city itself hosts numerous fun and interesting attractions. And, the best part is, most of the activities are not too far from campus! Throughout the semester I plan on revisiting this topic and adding attractions as the season changes, and as I, myself, discover new things as well!

This posting is going to focus on things to do during the Winter season, and are all basically places you can go to get a reprieve from the cold…which is not to say you couldn’t go to these places in other seasons! Most of the attractions are year round! (I also included an estimate for cost because I know the college student “low-fund” struggle.)

Catch a Comets Game!

The Utica Comets are Utica’s professional hockey team. They play in the AHL league, and their games generate quite a bit of buzz. The city is proud of the team, and it’s a must-see for anyone near the city to go to a game! I’m not a hockey fan, but its hard to not get caught up in all of the commotion that comes with a big game. The games tend to sell out quickly, so be sure to check out their website to see when they are playing!

(The Utica Memorial Auditorium is a familiar venue to any Pioneer Hockey Fan, both Men's and Women's ice hockey play there!)

(The Utica Memorial Auditorium is a familiar venue to any Pioneer Hockey Fan, both Men’s and Women’s ice hockey play there!)

The Comets home arena is the Utica Memorial Auditorium, which is where the Utica College Pioneers have their own home hockey games! (For those unaware, its 610 Oriskany St) so this excursion will take you only 5 minutes from campus! This activity is the most expensive out of all of the ones listed, but it’s worth the money! Seeing a game is something everyone has to do at least once!

(The Utica Comets! Props to my friend Caroline for the Comets pictures! She's an avid hockey fan.)

(The Utica Comets! Props to my friend Caroline for the Comets pictures! She’s an avid hockey fan.)

Grab a Cup of Coffee at Utica Roasting

Utica Roasting is a locally owned business which, according to their website is, “committed to offering the highest quality coffee available from around the world—right here in downtown Utica.” They source their beans from around the world, and then roast them right  in their shop in Downtown Utica. They pride themselves on fair trade coffee, and buy local products for everything else. Even if coffee isn’t your thing they have a wide variety of teas, and juice products.

(On this day I went with a friend and she had a traditional coffee and bagel, while I tried a frozen green tea. It was delicious, and I highly recommend it.)

(On this day I went with a friend and she had a traditional coffee and bagel, while I tried a frozen green tea. It was delicious, and I highly recommend it.)

Located right on 92 Genesee Street, not too far from the Utica Memorial Auditorium, it is central and not even 10 minutes from campus. The cost is definitely affordable for a cup of coffee, and even leaves you room to buy a muffin or bagel to go with your drink!

(My friend Adelle enjoying her coffee outside.)

(My friend Adelle enjoying her coffee outside.)

Oogle at Art at Munson Williams

Located right up the street from Utica Roasting is one of my favorite places in Utica, The Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute. It’s a museum dedicated to enriching the community by having various styles of art represented. The museum makes use of the space by having numerous styles and mediums represented, from sculpture to photography to water color to many other types. They also have various exhibits which come in and only stay for a brief period of time, so you can keep coming back to see new things! They also have a film series which shows movies which may not make it to mainstream cinemas; it’s my favorite way to catch a lesser known film. They also show various short and foreign films. Check out their website for more events, exhibit schedules, and films which are currently being shown.

(One of the free exhibits at Munson. It's fun to try to guess what the artist was feeling while constructing a work of art.)

(One of the free exhibits at Munson. It’s fun to try to guess what the artist was feeling while constructing a work of art.)

Located at 310 Genesee Street, it is literally right in the middle of the city. Once again, it is not even 10 minutes from campus. The cost is FREE to enter the general museum, the film series is very reasonable for students, and the additional exhibits have a small cost. (Be sure to ask for the student rate!)

(On the Genesee Level, right across from the main entrance, is a rather large work of art by Jackson Polluck. It's a beautiful piece, and people can spend ages staring at it. The museum also holds another one of his pieces, which is quite impressive because I've seen his work also displayed at the MOMA and MET.)

(On the Genesee Level, right across from the main entrance, is a rather large work of art by Jackson Polluck. It’s a beautiful piece, and people can spend ages staring at it. The museum also holds another one of his pieces, which is quite impressive because I’ve seen his work also displayed at the MOMA and MET.)

I hope you give all these activities a try some time soon! Since they are all located quite close to one another, you could make a day out of it and do all of them at once! But, be sure to check out my future blog posts for more fun things to do around Utica!

 

Take Back Your Prom 2014

Nov 18, 2014 | Author: Elaine Paravati

Last Friday, the Utica College Gay-Straight Alliance and the Utica College Programming Board teamed up to host “Take Back Your Prom.”

The very handsome Elliot and I at prom! Elliot is a member of both the UCGSA and UCPB, so while he was working for both of those orgs, he was also workin' a great bow tie.

The very handsome Elliot and I at prom! Elliot is a member of both the UCGSA and UCPB- while he was working at the event on behalf of those organizations, he was also workin’ a great bow tie.

The event was held at a local banquet hall named Valentino’s from 8 until midnight, and transportation was provided to and from the event. There was a photo booth, a candy bar, appetizers, a DJ and dance floor, and even an area where students could have cheesy staged prom pictures taken. Best of all, admission was totally free for UC students!

Three UC Bloggers (and WPNR DJs!) at prom- Laura, Karita, and I.

Three UC Bloggers (and WPNR DJs!) at prom- Laura, Karita, and I!

“Take Back Your Prom” is a pretty popular event on other campuses, so the UC GSA was really excited to host our own here. The idea is to allow students the opportunity to reclaim their prom how they wanted it to be the first time around. Often, students wear different outfits or take different people, since they now feel more comfortable, accepted, and safe than when they were in high school.

My best friend Sarah and I were really excited to have an occasion to wear fluffly, sparkly dresses!

My best friend Sarah and I were really excited to have an occasion to wear fluffly, glittery dresses!

The UC students who attended the event (over 240!) said it was “the prom they always wanted,” which really attests to what a strong, accepting community we have at Utica College. As the Vice President of the UCGSA, I felt so great to have been a part of the organization that threw such a successful event. It was an honor to have helped students make the prom memories they deserved – and a night of dancing and sparkles is always a great time!

Photos week

Nov 3, 2014 | Author: Juwan Wilson

Photos week was epic they through an amazing banquet that had great food, performances and great people it was nice to be apart of a great event and it was even more meaningful that I was able to be award sat with an award from one of the biggest leaders on this campus in every part of Utica College making it better and better every day. The award that I was given was the friendship award and it means a lot to me not just because it’s a great award but because of the people who gave me the ward so thank you so much to the brothers of Phi Iota Alpha fraternity, INC.

What an amazing weekend

Nov 3, 2014 | Author: Juwan Wilson

 

This week was great, it was our first and only weekend without a football game this year and it just so happened to be Halloween week. Last year around this time I didn’t have as much fun has I have done this year and I guess due to the fact that you got to learn I mean as a freshman, I was the type of person that was ready to have fun, but I was uptight still and this year was little better I let things just work themselves out and I just enjoyed every day at being at school. And this week made it great was just the best weekend I have ever had school so big ups to everyone who throw a great party and ups to the city of Utica on knowing how to have fun , party, and keep it all safe

What Did You Do This Weekend: Asa Gray Picnic 2014

Oct 6, 2014 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

The Asa Gray Biological Society is one of the oldest academic organizations on campus. It is  geared toward volunteering and planing activities that have to do with biology in some way, shape, or form. Basically, it is an organization that is open to all students on campus who have an interest in joining a club related to the natural world.

I, personally, have been a member since my first year here at Utica, and even have the privilege of being an eboard member for this year.

This past Sunday, the club held one of its annual events, The Asa Gray Picnic. This is an event that is open to all club members, and all first-year biology students. Professors and students get to interact in a more relaxed setting. Every year, there is guaranteed to be free food, games, and a fun atmosphere for everyone to partake in.

Typically the event is held at a bio professor’s house, and this year, it was held at the home of two professors: Dr. Wise and Dr. Buchanan in Trenton Falls. Their house is something you would expect to see in a magazine about beautiful country homes. It was completely secluded and had a large yard which, was ideal for yard games.

People took advantage of the sunny yet brisk day, by sitting around a fire, playing frisbee, and enjoying the free food. The students were all encouraged to sit and chat with their professors, and fellow students. Funny stories of test stresses, long labs, and general classes were shared by everyone. Even topics not related to school were discussed. The picnic was a time where people could just come and relax.

If this annual event sounds fun to you, feel free to check out an Asa Gray meeting sometime soon. There are numerous other events they put on, and new members are always more than welcome!

 

Leadership Weekend 2014

Oct 1, 2014 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to attend Student Senate’s annual Leadership Weekend. The purpose of the event was for student leaders to develop leadership skills within themselves and when working with other people. The weekend was held up on Raquette Lake at Camp Huntington, which is a secluded property owned by SUNY Cortland. We left from Strebel at 2 p.m. on Friday and returned at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

    (Camp Huntington is so secluded that you have to take a pontoon boat to get there!)

(Camp Huntington is so secluded that you have to take a pontoon to get there!)

The biggest attraction of the weekend were the high and low ropes courses, which were done Saturday afternoon. Individuals were split into two groups, and then went through a series of obstacles designed to test a multitude of skills associated with leadership ability. On the low course, the main take back was that of teamwork; people had to help out their team, and had to be encouraging if someone was having difficulties. The high ropes course was more about challenging yourself, and overcoming any personal hesitations you might have had.

(One of the low ropes course obstacles was being led around while wearing a blindfold...while your teammates also had on blindfolds.)

(One of the low ropes course obstacles was being led around while wearing a blindfold…while your teammates also had on blindfolds.)

 

(I was terrified of going up on the ropes, but I was proud of myself that I did it.)

(I was terrified of going up on the ropes, but I was proud of myself that I did it.)

Throughout the weekend there was also free time to kayak, canoe, swim, and even paddle board. The weather was beautiful (not a rain cloud in sight!!), so everyone took full advantage.

(My friend, Elaine, and I loved kayaking with everyone else.)

(My friend, Elaine, and I loved kayaking with everyone else.)

The other main focus of leadership weekend is for the students to think of ideas which may better the school, prepare presentations on them, and then present their proposals to various Utica College dignitaries who were invited up to the camp on Sunday afternoon. Several ideas were thrown around, but eventually three ideas became the prevalent ones, and were presented by the groups on Sunday afternoon. The proposals were:

1.) Better Handicap accessibility on campus. (Including shoveling snow more thoroughly in the winter, fixing the elevators in the academic and residential buildings so they break down less often, and allowing for better handicap seating in classrooms.)

2.) Updating IITS issues. (Printers placed in every residential hall, schedules put up outside of computer labs when they are in use, and the Strebel computer lab getting a bit of a “face-lift.”)

3.) Helping to integrate commuter students more easily. (More programming for commuters, and a lounge which contains lockers, a refrigerator, seating areas, etc. so they have somewhere to go on campus.)

(A group presenting their proposal on how to improve Utica College.)

(A group presenting their proposal on how to improve Utica College.)

The ideas were all good ideas, and presented very thoroughly. The various Utica College officials took notes, and will try to implement some of the students’ suggestions.

 

(I love love love loved Leadership Weekend 2014.)

(I love love love loved Leadership Weekend 2014.)

Leadership weekend was probably one of my favorite things to have done on campus, and to quote my friend Elaine, “I’ve done a lot.” It is a beautiful place to go and spend a weekend, and I highly encourage it. Even if the ropes course freaks you out (like it did me!) think to yourself, “When am I ever going to get this opportunity again?” A completely free weekend spent in the Adriondacks challenging yourself, and thinking of ways to make your school better – I can’t think of anything better.