Welcome Home Class of 2022!

You may be wondering why I am welcoming you home… after all you are just going to Siena, right? You’re only going to be here for four years, right? It’s just a place you’re going to get your degree, right? Wrong. You may not believe me now, but this place will become your home. One day you’ll go home on winter and summer breaks and you’ll begin saying you have to go back home and you’ll mean you have to go back to Siena. It happens in the blink of an eye.

While I may be graduating and leaving this amazing place, you guys are just beginning your journey here at Siena. You may already know your major, you may not. You may know a bunch of people already at Siena, you may not know a single soul. It’s completely normal not to know what you’re doing. Almost all of us didn’t when we were in your shoes!

Since I am now an established pro of all things Siena, I figured I would give you guys some tips on how to make the most of your Siena experience:

  1. Get to know the campus
    1. There are so many nice places on campus to eat, socialize, and study. Don’t limit yourself to your dorm (or if you’re a commuter, your house). Walk around campus and into the buildings (even if you don’t have classes there) and check them out. There are hidden gems on this campus that even I don’t know about!
  2. Join clubs and organizations
    1. An amazing way to get involved on campus is by joining a Siena club! We have over 80 clubs to choose from. Look out for the club fair in the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters to check out each club for yourself.
  3. Take fun classes
    1. Seriously, even if you end up loving your major (like I did, go English!) It’s really beneficial to take a class or two that isn’t in your field and that you will actually enjoy! While Siena makes you take core classes that are non-major related, try and take a class or two that you might really enjoy! Some examples include, Sign Language, Creative Writing, a travel course, an art class, etc. The possibilities are endless!
  4. Go to professor office hours
    1. I can’t tell you how many times I have felt 10x better after speaking to my professor in their office hours. Office hours are a set amount of time that your professors are in their office to meet with students one-on-one. Even if you aren’t struggling in the class, still consider going to talk about an upcoming project, paper, or assignment. I guarantee you will get a better grade after going and seeing them!
  5. Socialize…in all different ways!
    1. Obviously there are lots of different ways to socialize here at Siena. However, it’s not as crazy as you may think. People at Siena enjoy chilling out in their dorms and watching Netflix just as much as they enjoy going out at night. And each weekend there are fun events on campus that everyone goes to! Not only is there often free food at these events (Score!) but it’s also a way to meet new people who don’t live in your dorm or are in your classes!

Three Questions with CEPD’s Alumni of the Month, Alana Strassfield!

Each month, the Career Education and Professional Development office showcases an alumni of the month. In January, Alana Strassfield was chosen. Alana graduated from Siena in 2014 with a B.A. in Economics. I asked this former Liberal Arts student 3 questions about her time at Siena!

 

1) What made you decide to pursue the Bachelor of Arts in Economics? Why the Bachelor of Arts over the Bachelor of Science?
I decided to do the B.A. so that I could take a wider range of electives and theory based Econ classes, as opposed to the core business classes which I felt I could learn at a later time.  
2) What was your favorite non-major Liberal Arts class you took at Siena?
One of my favorite non-major classes was Literature of the Enlightenment with Dr. Thomas Akstens. 
3) How did your liberal arts education prepare you for the job you have now?
My liberal arts education was inextricably tied to my work with the Women’s Center and the Damietta Cross Cultural Center. Managing projects for both campus organizations and learning how to communicate across cultures through active listening have been some of the most valuable assets that I’ve brought to the organizations I’ve worked at. 

Here’s What You Missed: “Would He Bring Her Flowers and Candy? All The Creature Wants Is a Girlfriend.”

What did you do for Valentine’s Day this year? Were you out with your S.O. or did you sit around in your dorm wondering why you were single as a Pringle?

No matter what you did, you missed out on Professor Ray Boisvert’s special Frankenstein themed presentation, “Would He Bring Her Flowers and Candy? All The Creature Wants is a Girlfriend.”

Boisvert argued that the Creature in Frankenstein wasn’t a destructive being, all he wanted was love and affection. This idea is something that all living beings need. His two main arguments were, 1) Everybody needs to be loved, and 2) The lack of touch affects the Creature negatively in Frankenstein.

He discussed how just like the Creature needed touch, people in real life also need touch to feel good. He cited a study in which monkeys were tested with their real mother versus a terrycloth fake monkey mother. The monkeys who were given the fake monkey mother were content with it and enjoyed the comfort and touch from the cloth.

Boisvert believes that through this study we can learn something about how primates act. Since primates need touch to survive, we as humans also need touch to survive. Gestures are not trivial, touch is essential.

“Tattered Pieces: A Charleston Daughter Explores Loss, Faith and Forgiveness,”

Rev. Sharon Washington Risher began her speech last night citing some words from St. Francis. She said, “As I was trolling through your school’s website I ran across this and it has stuck with me […] We must never desire to be above others but instead we must be servants and subject to every human creature for God’s sake”

This idea of “not being above others,” and “loving one another” was what Rev. Risher believed to be most important to learn from her story.  

Risher describes herself as “a proud daughter of the American south, a true Geechee girl […] and a product of the civil rights era.” Since this speech was a part of MLK week, Risher shared her own experience with Dr. Martin Luther King.

Her mother took her to a rally that Dr. King was speaking at. While she was in the back of the room and couldn’t see Dr. King, she entails that she “could hear Dr. Martin Luther King’s voice and […]  thought he sounded like God to me”

Risher unfortunately lost many loved ones when Dylann Roof, a lone gunman, entered and killed nine worshippers at the Mother Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015 in Charleston, SC. Among the people she lost were her mother, Ethel Lee Lance, her two cousins, Tywanza Sanders and Suzie Jackson, and a childhood friend, Myra Thompson.

Because of everything she was forced to endure because of this tragedy, she considers herself to be an “accidental activist.” Risher was interviewed for TIME magazine and the New York Times. She has also become a national advocate for gun control.

Risher ended her speech last night with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King. She quoted that,  ‘nothing will be done until people of goodwill put their bodies and their souls in motion. And it will be the kind of soul force brought into being as a result of this confrontation that I believe will make the difference.”

Noises Off!

Each year, the Creative Arts department presents their fall production. This year they presented Noises Off!

If you enjoy plays within plays. You would love Noises Off! The play is broken up into three acts but within each act they are performing one act of the play within the play, Nothing On. The entire play is set in a living room of the Brent’s country home.

I’ve never seen a play within a play type of production and it was definitely interesting! I think it’s cool because the actors and actresses that are in plays know first hand what it is like to be in a production so because of this, I think it can make for a very interesting performance.

To make it believable, inside the program for Noises Off there was a program for the play within the play, Nothing On. Not only was their a playbill but they had an entire cast list with bios and everything! I thought that was very interesting and cool that they were able to make the performance even more authentic.

I also enjoyed the fact that there were many underclassmen involved in this play. Upon reading the program, I learned that a majority of the people involved with the  play are freshman and sophomores. It’s great to see new Siena students getting involved in Stage III and Creative Arts!

As always I would like to thank the Creative Arts department and Stage III for putting on these shows every year! If you didn’t attend this production be sure to attend the next one! Not only do they do a fall performance but they always do one in the spring too!

If you’re interested in a performance by Creative Arts coming up soon, be sure to attend the Siena Chamber Orchestra performance this Thursday November 30 at 7pm in Foy Hall!

 

 

Why a Liberal Arts Degree is Better to Have Than Ever

In a day and age where STEM fields are the most lucrative jobs to go into, Liberal Arts fields tend to be stigmatized for not having a lot of jobs. I’m here to dispel this myth and explain why it’s actually amazing to have a Liberal Arts degree!

  • The concepts, ideas, and skills you learn in your Liberal Arts classes are what employers are looking for and not finding with other majors!
    • Analytical thinking is a skill that Liberal Arts majors know how to do so well. A New York Times article stated that, “the competencies that liberal arts majors emphasize — writing, synthesis, problem solving — are sought after by employers. A 2017 study by David J. Deming, an associate professor of education and economics at Harvard, found jobs requiring both the so-called soft skills and thinking skills have seen the largest growth in employment and pay in the last three decades.” This is great news!
  • Maybe in the past the salaries of Liberal Arts majors were low, but now they are increasing tremendously!
    • Andy Anderegg graduated with an English degree and went on to get her Master’s in Fine Arts. Her first job was at Groupon where she started off making $33,000 in 2010. However, she ended up rising up the ranks and now she makes well over $100,000 in 2016 (Wall Street Journal).
    • A LinkedIn study showed that over HALF of the top twenty highest paying fields were Liberal Arts majors. Some of these majors included, Visual Art, Sociology, Journalism, and History!
  • There are MANY jobs for Liberal Arts majors because our field is so diverse and we can do SO much with what we learned in school.
    • Many companies are seeking out Liberal Arts majors like English and History. For History, a Forbes article cited that “career options for history majors include intelligence analyst, management consultant, research analyst, and patient services rep.” Meanwhile, “The top positions for English majors include writer/editor, communication specialist, marketing coordinator, and sales manager.”
    • These jobs aren’t just your run of the mill office jobs. Companies that are currently hiring English and History majors include, United Healthcare, Oracle, Amazon, and the National Parks Service (Forbes).

So before your parents or your friends tell you that your useless English, History, Religion, Sociology, etc, degree isn’t going to get you a job, show them my article! Better yet, don’t feed into stigma and do your own research on a major that may have a bad rep. You may be pleasantly surprised in what you find out!

Greyfriar Writer-In-Residence Rachel Hall!

 

Last Wednesday, the Greyfriar Living Literature Series hosted Rachel Hall, an award winning author of the story collection Heirlooms. I attended her Craft Talk which was held during free period. Rachel Hall teaches at SUNY Geneseo.

The topic for her Craft Talk was “The Rite Stuff: Using Ritual, Repetition and Return to Shape Stories.” She discussed how ritual is and can be an important part in shaping a story.

After the Craft Talk I sat down with Rachel and asked her two questions I had, the first question I asked was, “When did you realize you wanted to write for a living?”

Like many writers, Rachel explained that it all started in a creative writing course she took in college. She noted that, “I ended up taking this fiction writing class because my roommate signed up and I just fell in love.” I also asked her what college she went to. She went to Knox College which is a small Liberal arts college in Galesburg, IL. She explained that being at Siena that day reminded her a lot of her time in college.

The next question I asked her was, “Is there a ritual you witnessed that kickstarted your fascination with ritual that made you want to write about them?”

Rachel says that the ritual that made her interested in the idea was when her and her mother and brother went to this ceremony for her deceased grandfather. They were in a cemetery in France and they placed a stone on his grave as an act of remembrance. She learned this Jewish ritual while she was there and it stuck with her. It was after this, that she became fascinated with how rituals can shape stories and how important they can be in telling stories.

Thank you so much to Rachel for coming to Siena! Check out a few of the pictures above of the amazing event!

 

 

 

2017 Clare Center Lecture

Last Thursday, October 5th, was the 2017 Clare Center Lecture. The lecture is hosted annually with a different topic and speaker. This year the Clare Center was able to get Sister Ilia Delio to come to campus. Sr. Delio is a Franciscan sister and is based in Washington D.C.. She is also currently holds the Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair in Theology at Villanova University.

Ilia’s lecture was entitled, “Being at Home in the Universe: Lessons from Saint Francis.” She began her presentation with some introduction on global warming and the major problem this is and has been for some time. While Ilia was giving us an overview of some of the things that are happening that are destroying our planet she explained “this is not news.” She knows that we know that these problems have been present for some time now and while some things are being done to reverse the damage, a lot of people are simply ignoring the problems.

Ilia believes that climate change is a “religious problem.” By this she means that we must think of the earth as a sacred space just as we would consider a church to be a sacred space. She stated during her lecture that, “we must rethink and refeel our nature and our destiny in order to remedy the problems.” She suggested thinking about life as an encyclopedia. In this context, human beings belong in volume 30 in the encyclopedia of life, but not only are we in volume 30, but we are also on the last page and in the last sentence of that volume. By explaining human beings’ place in life, she was trying to show how little we matter in the large scheme of things.

Towards the end of her lecture she brought St. Francis into the mix. She explained how we still have time to change our mindsets just as St. Francis did with the leper. As most of us know, St. Francis despised the leper but once he came to know himself as a creature of God, he was able to embrace the leper and love again. In this context, Sr. Illia believes we as people can also change our mindsets and begin to love our earth again and save it from our destruction of it.

Ilia ended her lecture on this note: “We are part of something larger than ourselves.” This was very inspiring and left me and the audience with some words of wisdom to take with us.

What I love about the department we have at Siena is that they always are inclusive of all beliefs and ideas. Even if you’re not a religious person, I highly recommend you attend another lecture put on by the Religious Studies department.

FRANKENSTEIN IS HERE AT SIENA

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Frankenstein is beginning to take over at Siena. Wanna know why? Because this coming year is the 200th anniversary of when Mary Shelley published Frankenstein!

If you’re a freshman, you’ve read or are going to read Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein in your First Year Seminar class. Maybe you’re even in the FYS class about Frankenstein? If you’re in an English class or another Liberal Arts class, chances are you may be reading Frankenstein this semester! Otherwise, maybe you have begun to see some of the changes on campus that are celebrating the anniversary. If you haven’t seen them yet, let me tell you about them!

  1. Check out the display case of Frankenstein related books as you walk into the library! (On the left side)
  2. If you’re on the third floor of Siena Hall, check out the electronic banner that features Frankenstein!
  3. Mark your calendars for October 30th and 31st. The 1931 film, Frankenstein will be shown on the 30th and the 1935 film, Bride of Frankenstein will be shown on the 31st
  4. Check out this link of ALL of the events that will be happening on campus over the next year on campus! – https://www.siena.edu/news-events/article/frankenstein-200-years-of-fear-and-thinking

There are lots of speakers, film presentations, and even a play to look forward to. Check back on the blog for updates on these events!

 

Victoria Andler

Social Media Intern

Siena College School of Liberal Arts

Constitution Day

Hey guys!

This past Tuesday we had a really awesome event on campus! This event was Constitution Day, an event that is hosted annually. The theme of this Constitution Day was New York State’s 2017 Referendum regarding the Constitutional Convention. If you aren’t aware of what this means, let me explain it a bit:

According to Section 2 of Article XIX of the state constitution, every twenty years there has to be a ballot question asking if there should be a convention to revise the constitution. If the voters vote for it, a convention is held, if they do not vote for it, nothing is held.

The speakers who debated this issue of whether or not to hold a convention were Gerald Benjamin and Jerry Kremer. Gerald is for holding a convention whereas Jerry is opposed to it.

Gerald believes that the constitution was born out of the concept of popular sovereignty. This means that government is created and subject to the people that it serves. Under these pretenses, Gerald believes that not only do the people of the state of New York have the right to a constitutional convention but that they should because that is why the constitution was created.

He understands that it is difficult that the proposal is on the back of the ballot and that people don’t like to vote on propositions, but he believes it is important that there is some democratic accountability.

On the flip side, Jerry Kremer believes that having a convention is too costly and unnecessary. He explains that anywhere from 75-100 million dollars would be spent on a referendum. He also believes that if the voters voted on having a convention,  he fears that a lot of important things that are in the constitution would possibly get taken out.

Another thing that frustrated Jerry was the fact that people who are pro-referendum have had twenty years to fight for voting yes on having one but have only recently been advocating the idea. Now that there is 45 days until the vote he feels as if people want a referendum just to have one, not because they actually have changes in mind.

All in all, the debate was very interesting and it opened my eyes to something I didn’t even know about. I think it’s important to attend events on campus that don’t necessarily interest you right off the bat because you may find out that after going to the event that it is actually interesting after all!

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