An obvious observation: Alumni were students; students will be alumni. The distinction is one of time as much as anything.
At Reunion Weekend last year, alumni from the 50s and 60s grabbed incoming Student Government Association president Andrew Navolio to sing the UD fight song with them.
He didn’t know the words.
The alumni taught him.
“That’s the kind of thing that can tie us all together,” he told a room of alumni, students, faculty and staff over dinner in the Kennedy Union ballroom on Saturday. It was the first night of the first-ever Alumni Winter Weekend, an event dreamed up, petitioned for and then planned by students who wanted to bring alumni back to campus, have some fun together and maybe even learn a little more about the UD community.
They pulled off an entire weekend of events, including dinner, a basketball tournament, a post-game reception and a Sunday pancake breakfast. Despite promoting the event for just a month, they drew nearly 200 alumni and 80 students.
That night at dinner, and just about everywhere he spoke over the weekend, Navolio was already talking about next year.
Walking into class on Jan. 19, a table of plates, knives, water glasses and napkins awaited me. A social and business etiquette class was offered this semester for the first time at UD.
For six weeks, 20 students from varying majors will learn the proper way to set a table, how to interact with business professionals through written correspondence and conversation, and how to react to life-changing events such as weddings and funerals. Team-taught by Ricki Huff, the assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Arlene Camacho, head of Career Services, and Paula Braley, administrative assistant in the international studies department, the class offers basics in etiquette that could make or break an interview or dinner party.
“Taking this class was a decision I made for my future,” said senior public relations major Rachel Olszewski. “You never know the kinds of experiences you’re going to have or the people you’re going to meet. This class has been a preparation for me to deal with all kinds of potentially embarrassing social and business situations. I feel that I’ll be able to take all the skills I’m learning out into the ‘real world’ and apply them to everyday life.”
Braley’s collection of etiquette books dating back to 1884 shows the evolution of etiquette through the years. It is no longer necessary to learn the proper way to exit a carriage, but recent books, such as Emily Post on Etiquette, explains table manners, tipping and relationships. A “graduation” reception will be held for the students with guests from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the UD Mother’s Club — a testing ground to see just how much these students have learned.
As the University discusses what it means to live and learn in community, alumni have made one thing clear: Don’t loose the “stoop” culture.
When Deb Bickford first heard this a few years ago, she asked what they meant.
“It’s when you sit on the porch — or sit on the stoop — and talk with your roommates who have different interests from you and you learn things,” they told Bickford, associate provost for academic affairs and learning initiatives.
Bickford shared these and other thoughts as a way to start the integrated living and learning in community conversation today with members of the School of Business Administration during a Learning Teaching Forum in Kennedy Union.
The brainstorming session moved to a discussion on how to engage students early in their majors. Dean McFarlin, management and marketing department chair, suggested having first-year students apply business principles to the everyday challenges of this new, college life. Limited resources? Ambiguity? They live it.
Going one step further, Jay Janney, assistant professor of management, suggested using the business school’s buildings as more than just classroom space. What if students physically lived in a business setting, or at least spent more of their lives involved in activities in Miriam Hall and Anderson Center?
Sounds like there are opportunities to spread the stoop around.
On the centennial of Dayton poet Paul Laurence Dunbar’s death, school children and local dignitaries gathered at his grave at Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum this morning (click on photos to enlarge).
Since 1989, Dunbar fans have paid tribute to the poet’s legacy with music, song and poetry at his grave on Feb. 9. The event has grown from five people to about 500.
Today’s celebration brought to mind Dunbar’s poem “The Party”:
“Who was dah? Now who you askin’? How you ‘spect I gwine to know?
You mus’ think I stood an’ counted evahbody at de do’.”
Tim Beatty, director of the Dunbar High School band, played ”Taps.” The Dunbar High School Color Guard raised an”Oak and Ivy” flag.
Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin emceed. G. Edwin Zeiders, president of United Theological Seminary, offered remarks. The Rev. Ronald Glenn, pastor of Wayman Chapel A.M.E. Church, said a prayer. Mitchell Capel, interpreter of Dunbar’s works, read the poem ”To a Dead Friend.” Dayton City Commissioner Joey Williams placed by a wreath on Dunbar’s grave.
“Y’ought to been dah, fu’ I tell you evahthing was rich an’ prime,
An’ dey ain’t no use in talkin’ we jes’ had one scrumptious time!”
Boll Theatre filled with a rush of nature’s noises last night — the growl of an animal, the whistle of a bird, the whoosh of the wind.
All sounds simultaneously erupted from the throat of a single singer, a master of khoomei, throat singing from Tuva in southern Siberia. (Click for a QuickTime video.)
Four such masters, each wielding an array of stringed, woodwind and percussion instruments, formed Huun-Huur-Tu. As a group, they performed music historically practiced by a solitary reindeer herder imitating the sounds of nature. The concert was part of the World Rhythms Series, presented by the UD Arts Series and CITYFOLK.
The tunes were mesmerizing. On one song, the musicians created an orchestra of sound on instruments with only 10 strings among the four of them. On “Yellow Trotter,” Sayan Bapa played his square-bodied doshpuluur like a banjo to mimic the rhythmic galloping of a horse.
The sold-out crowd sat stunned for a second or two after each song, waiting for the last drone to completely die away before erupting in applause. As Huun-Huur-Tu made its exit for intermission, the crowd gave the performers a standing ovation.
“Wow, just like an old-time band,” commented a woman in the back row.
Old, yes. Try sixth-century.
Approximately 20 students of various majors gathered at Kennedy Union last weekend for a two-day retreat, “Entrepreneurship: A new way of thinking.”
Alumni and business leaders came too. Al Sicard ’93 talked about running his own insurance business, and Wes Philpot ’77 shared his experiences in the nonprofit sector. Participants discussed credit, personal finances and family businesses during other presentations, roundtables and dinner.
The retreat, hosted by the office of diverse student populations, was part of U.P.L.I.F.T., a program serving male African-American students. “Entrepreneurship” helped address the two biggest reasons African-American students leave UD without graduating: finances and campus climate. Speakers not only offered financial advice and possible internships, they also “gave students a chance to partner with black alums who can show that UD thinks it’s important for them to be here as a valuable part of this community,” said Joel Buckner, coordinator of African-American student services.
Students lingered in the Barrett dining room long after the last speaker Saturday night. “I had to kick them out,” said Buckner, clearly pleased.
I’m not sure how anyone got anywhere without Mapquest to tell you to turn left or right in exactly 1.3 miles. But Mapquest doesn’t work on campus. It can’t tell me how to get to Gosiger or Chaminade.
I am not afraid to ask for directions, but it’s difficult for someone to reply when you have few common reference points. I asked my boss how to get to Gosiger (which, unknowingly, I pronounced as Go-seeger, making her laugh for quite a while). She tells me to go past Marianist Hall and I’ll find it before I get to VWK. I then ask, where’s Marianist again? My boss tells me where I can find a campus map and wishes me luck.
I bravely head for the map but my eyes glaze over as I look at all the colored boxes and numbers. That’s OK, because if you want to get directions on campus all you have to do is stand and look at a map. Without fail someone will stop to ask if you need help and then will gladly point you in the right direction. I know because it’s happened to me three times.
UD deserves its reputation for its friendly campus.
I was able to repay the favor when a student stopped me and my husband to ask how to get to the registrar’s office. My husband pointed him to St. Mary Hall. It was nice to be able to help, but as he walked away, I had a sinking feeling. I asked my husband if he was sure the registrar’s office was in St. Mary’s. “Isn’t it?” he asked. Well, at least we were friendly even if we weren’t exactly right.
One day recently about three dozen people here gave up their lunch hour to hear a Marianist brother read to them.
Brother Tom Wendorf, S.M., of the English department read from a story about a Bible salesman who called on a woman with a wooden leg and then stole it.
“If you’re looking for uplift,” Wendorf said, “you shouldn’t go to Flannery O’Connor.”
You could try Dante: “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.”
Maybe Muriel Spark. Wendorf read from her novel Memento Mori, in which old people receive phone calls telling them they will die.
But so do we all. Perhaps a lunch at which we are munching upon a piece of chocolate imprinted with the chapel logo is as good a time as any to contemplate the four last things: death, judgment, hell and heaven.
”Every week Johnson (Romero, a graduate assistant) gives the staff a Spanish lesson. If the phone rings, we can at least say, ‘Hola! Cómo estás?”’ Sister Angela Ann Zukowski told representatives from dioceses across the United States.
The room exploded with laughter at the realization that UD’s Institute for Pastoral Initiatives has launched online faith formation classes in Spanish without elementary knowledge of the language.
That’s the beauty of what Zukowski has dubbed the ”Virtual Learning for Faith Formation” program. It’s a collaborative program that employs online facilitators to provide faith formation classes to learners who span the globe. UD is currently teaming up with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to pilot four Spanish faith formation classes over the Internet in an effort to minister to Hispanics, the nation’s largest minority group. In Los Angeles, they make up nearly half the city’s population.
Zukowski gathered the diocesan partners together Jan. 19-20 to talk about VLFF’s explosive growth and future opportunities. From its first course in Scripture offered in 1999 to lay ecclesial ministers, catechists, Catholic school teachers and youth ministers in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the program has grown to include 28 diocesan partners and nearly 400 sections of courses per year, with plans to expand into Asia this year.
”We’re not out there really marketing this. It’s grown by word of mouth,” she said.
And by Zukowski’s energy and passion for expanding faith formation from the traditional classroom to cyberspace.
”Online learners can become lifelong learners,” she said. ”We’re always researching, we’re always dreaming, we’re always changing. The answer to the famous question, ‘Can you form a community of learners in cyberspace?’ is yes.”
On Friday, Jan. 13, after lecturing on the essential elements of a play to my Introduction to Literature class, I rushed off to Columbus, Ohio, to write a one-act play in less than 12 hours. For four years, BlueForms Theatre Group has been hosting “24 Hour Theater,” in which six short plays are written, cast, rehearsed and performed in a period of 24 hours. This year’s event, called “The Bride of 24 Hours,” kicked off at 8 p.m. on a Friday night.
The 20 participating actors arrived in silly costumes, equipped with even sillier props. As they joked and laughed, I sat off to the side, deciding that the event was torture disguised as art. Randomly paired with four actors, I wrote for a woman in a white lab coat, a “goth” girl, a stylish 20-something, and a woman cradling a log. At 9 p.m., I felt like passing out. At 10, I soothed a mounting panic attack with fast food. At midnight, I hit upon a simple but quirky family scene and ran with it.
Watching the show the next night, I caught myself laughing hysterically — not from lack of sleep but because I was having fun. I never thought I’d have fun, but I guess that’s another element of a play, even the 24-hour kind.