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.

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!

Follow the School of Liberal Arts on Twitter, Instagram, and like us on Facebook to stay updated on events on campus that are going on!

 

Will Kempe’s Twelfth Night or What You Will

 

Hello Everyone!

I hope everyone has had a great first week of classes and is getting into the swing of things! While the first week is a busy time for all of us, I hope you were able to make it to one of the two performances of Will Kempe’s Twelfth Night or What You Will this past weekend. If not, I will recap what you missed!

Long before the performances on Saturday and Sunday, the players hosted a workshop for all Siena students to participate in on Friday from 5pm-7pm. They offered workshops in clowning, stage combat, among other things.

On both Saturday and Sunday, the players came out to Roger Bacon from 2pm-4pm and performed as the audience sat on the steps. It was a really cool experience to watch the play in the outdoors just as Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be performed.

One thing I enjoyed about the play was that while they stayed as true to the original as possible, they also incorporated some fun additions to keep the audience entertained. One thing they added was a musical component. Before the play, the Jester came out and introduced the audience to what would be happening, things for us to know, etc. Then the rest of the cast joined him and they sang for us some of the songs they would be performing throughout the play. They encouraged us to sing along with them. At first the audience was a bit hesitant but by the end people enjoyed singing along.

Another thing that was really great about Twelfth Night was that there were multiple alumni who starred in the play. It was nice to see alumni back on campus and involved. The people involved in the play were very talented and clearly experienced. Not only were they excellent actors but they were all talented singers as well. The actors who played the Jester and Maria stole the show in my opinion.

I want to thank The Creative Arts Department’s Theatre Program for sponsoring this event. I also want to encourage others to go and see other performances this semester that are put on by Stage III and The Creative Arts department. Often you can get event credit for First Year Seminar or other classes you need event credit for. Either way they are a lot of fun to go to!

Have a great second week back!

– Victoria Andler (Student Intern)

A Letter to the Siena College Class of 2021- Welcome Home!

 

 

Hi everyone!

First of all, I want to say congratulations! You have worked so hard to get here and every single one of you should be very proud of yourselves. Second, you should know that the decision to come HERE, to Siena College, will be one of the best decisions you will ever make in your lifetime.  As a second semester senior, I am writing this letter with mere weeks until graduation and I can’t help thinking back to when I was in your shoes. It really is ok to be nervous, but it’s ok to be excited to! College is going to be a time to figure out who you are and what your dreams and aspirations are going to be for the future. You’re going to meet amazing people and learn so much that it may even feel a tiny bit overwhelming at first! I want to share with you guys some of the tips that my friends and I have learned over the years to have the absolute best college experience, tips that have truly made Siena my own home away home.

  1. Be friends with everyone: You’re ALL going to be in the same position of moving away from home and that can be wicked nerve-wracking, especially if you live a little bit further away! I’m originally from Boston, Massachusetts which is three hours away from Siena, and it definitely was a little strange to be moving to a state where I didn’t really know anyone.  However, the friends I have made over the past four years have literally become like my second family! When you move in for orientation weekend in the fall, make sure you are friendly and say hi to everyone! Strike up a conversation with your hall mate or with the person sitting next to you in your 8am and find out who they are.  I actually met my best friend in the third floor communal bathroom of Ryan Hall and we ended up living together during our junior and senior years!
  2. GET INVOLVED: People have probably been telling you this left and right, but it’s true! Joining teams or clubs or organizations here at Siena is soooooo important because it not only gives you fun things to do each week, but it also gets you involved with the rest of the community.  We have an enormous list of things to join and at the beginning of the fall, you’ll have the chance to attend the Club Fair to sign up for various organizations.  Over the past four years, I’ve been involved with the Siena College Mentoring Program, Her Campus Siena, the Siena College Irish Step Dance team and the Siena College English Society and I’ve been able to attend events held by other clubs that my friends are in! There truly is something here at Siena for everyone and you’ll be able to form relationships with other students AND faculty that will last a lifetime.
  3. Be willing to learn: Your professors and classes are going to be some of the most influential things in your life during the next four years and as you choose and declare your major (if you haven’t already), you’re going to be able to take classes that will make you excited for future endeavors to come! You’re also going to be required to take a series of CORE classes, which will open your mind to other areas of study, such as art, science, religion and math.  Be open to what these classes and professors are teaching you and don’t be afraid to be curious and to ask questions! Some of the best classes I’ve taken here at Siena have been part of the CORE list and I really have been able to take some of the skills learned in these classes to more professional settings.
  4. Step out of your comfort zone: I know how scary this can be, but it’s also incredibly important! You may find that you love something that you would have never tried before in high school or that you love a place you’ve never been to.  Before coming to Siena, I was a little bit more on the quiet side and had done sports my entire life.  Although I still have a love for fitness and being healthy, I have joined so many different clubs, which have allowed me to become so much more outgoing! The relationships I have formed here at Siena are some of the most special I have ever had and some of them have formed just from us stepping outside of our comfort zones!

Check out our social media pages for updates and information about what’s going on around campus!

Facebook: Siena College School of Liberal Arts

Twitter: @siena_lib_arts

Instagram: @sienalibarts

You all are going to do amazing here at Siena, and I’m not just saying that! You’ve worked so hard to get here and it also doesn’t hurt that you’re about to come to the BEST school in the world. 🙂 Be excited, be adventurous and most importantly, be a SAINT.

Julia Lowney, Communications/Social Media Intern at the School of Liberal Arts

English major; Marketing and Writing Communications Minors; VERY proud member of the Siena College Class of 2017