News for the Smith College Community // October 15, 1998
In attempting to describe what a residence coordinator (RC) is, some of the college's 12 new ones begin by describing what they are not. First of all, they're not house mothers, they say. Nor are they clueless about Smith, says Ziskind RC Joanna Durso '98. She adds that Smith RCs are also not male, not "old" and "not here as a last-ditch attempt to avoid leaving college."
Ann Shaffer '98, RC in Chapin House, agrees: "We're not here because we didn't know what to do with ourselves after graduation. We're here to give something back to the Smith residential community."
Finally, not all Smith RCs are Smith graduates, points out Park House RC Nina Feldman '98.
But they are all college graduates, mostly recent ones and mostly from Smith. They're employees of the college who supervise their respective houses much like a head resident (HR). Many of them as undergraduates were HRs or house presidents, says Associate Dean of Student Affairs Nancy Asai, who hires the RCs. But unlike HRs, RCs are paid employees and have a list of responsibilities outside their houses. Those include working with the Office of Student Affairs/Residence Life and Office of the Dean of the College in establishing and teaching courses for first-years in the Smith Life and Learning program; scheduling discussions and speakers on topics such as lesbian-bisexual issues and religious diversity; coordinating in-house educational workshops; and promoting diversity programs and other educational opportunities on campus and in the community.
Perhaps most importantly, what the college's new RCs are-or try to be-is accessible, understanding, knowledgeable about Smith and ready to listen to students in need.
"I think it's mostly listening skills," says Durso of the job's required skills. "The RC is really the person in charge. It's really a 24-hour-a-day job" because RCs are on call around the clock.
Tyler House RC Nickawanna Shaw, a 1996 graduate of Mount Holyoke College, thinks one of her main responsibilities as an RC is to be always available to students in her house. "Being visible is the modus operandi of this job," she says. To that end, Shaw leaves her suite door open as often as possible. "And I hang out with [Tyler residents] and do stuff with them," she adds. "But there are a lot of other things attached to the job."
Until last year all Smith houses were supervised by HRs. But the job has become so demanding that the college, like many across the country with house-residence systems, has implemented the RC program.
"It's hard to balance your senior rigor with the responsibilities of running a house," says Asai. "Something inevitably has to take a backseat." The RC program is also intended to maximize opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom through cultural events structured around their residence, says Asai.
Shaw is a graduate student pursuing a master's degree in exercise and sport studies at Smith. "I expected to be challenged," Shaw says of her work at Tyler. "I have a lot to learn about people. But this is a good situation for me. I feel the rest of my life is going to be spent working with people this age."
Asked to name the trickiest aspect the job, Shaw says: "It's a difficult thing to be an unbiased resource for your peers. Imagine trying to advise 60 people and be their friend at the same time."
Of all the responsibilities required of RCs-from counseling students with personal problems to resolving roommate conflicts to calling someone to fix the shower-Durso says her favorite is getting acquainted with her charges. "For me, it was 80 new people to get to know," she says. "That's what I like-getting to know all the different people."
The RC program, which grew out of the college's 1996 self-study, is expected to expand next year and, if assessment warrants it, eventually place an RC in all 35 houses. Asai encourages anyone interested in the program or in becoming an RC to call her at extension 4927.
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Harr to Set Off Lecture Series
Jonathan Harr, local writer and author of A Civil Action, winner of the 1995 National Book Critics Circle Award, will present the inaugural lecture in the new "Sundays at Two" series being sponsored by the Friends of Forbes Library and Smith College. His talk will be presented Sunday, October 25, at 2 p.m. at Forbes Library.
Harr's book, the basis for a film starring John Travolta to be released on Christmas Day, tells the story of Jan Schlichtmann, a young lawyer who spent nine years representing eight families from Woburn, Massachusetts, who claimed that their children got leukemia from drinking water poisoned with toxic chemicals dumped by local companies.
One of the companies, Beatrice Foods, ultimately was cleared. Schlichtmann, whose firm fell into financial ruin as a result of the lengthy suit and his own lavish spending, was forced to settle with the other company, W.R. Grace & Co., for $8 million, of which the Woburn families saw less than half. The rest-$2.6 million in expenses and $2.2 million in legal fees-went to Schlichtmann and his partners.
Harr spent eight years writing A Civil Action, which after a slow start became a nonfiction blockbuster that has sold a million copies since 1995. Described recently in a New York Times story as "a meticulous reporter with a novelist's gift for narrative [who] fashioned a legal thriller out of an enormously complex case," Harr's fortunes have been enhanced both by the book's sales and the sale of the film rights to Robert Redford and the Walt Disney Company for $1.25 million.
During his Forbes Library talk Harr will describe the personal odyssey that resulted in the book and discuss "what people see in the book-what they take away from it."
Harr, a Northampton resident since 1981, came here to be editor of the Valley Advocate. He later worked for New England Monthly and the Boston Globe before becoming a freelance writer. His wife is an art teacher at the Smith Campus School.
Harr's lecture is the first of three in the "Sundays at Two" series. The second will be presented February 28 by Linda Shaughnessy, author of children's books about young athletes. The final lecture will be presented April 25 by Martin Antonetti, curator of rare books at Smith. All of the lectures are open free to the public.
Klüger to Look Back on Life as an Immigrant
Ruth Klüger, William Allan Neilson Professor in German studies this semester, arrived in New York in 1947 after having survived several Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz, during World War II. As a Jewish immigrant she endured culture shock, poverty and monumental emotional shifts while settling into her new home and preparing to attend Hunter College.
Klüger's acclaimed autobiography, weiter leben: Eine Jugend, published in German in 1992, recounts her experiences as a child deported by the Nazis from her native Austria and imprisoned in concentration camps for three years with her mother (her father and other family members were killed in the camps) and her subsequent life as one of a huge wave of postwar immigrants in New York. The book has sold 200,000 copies in six languages and last year won the prestigious Heinrich Heine Prize. Klüger is now translating it into English for Feminist Press publication as Still Alive.
On Monday, October 19, at 4:30 p.m. in Seelye 106, Klüger will discuss her experience as a Jewish immigrant in a lecture titled "An Immigrant Remembers New York in the Late Forties."
"I have a very strong sense of New York," Klüger says. "There were these huge waves of immigrants then. You were quite poor as an immigrant. There was a sense of isolation on one hand and a sense of need for friendships."
After Klüger's wartime experience in Europe, life in New York was a welcome change. "I had only bad memories of Europe," she says. "Germany was like a cemetery. I feel [New York] is one of my hometowns. It exudes something that's important to me."
After graduating from Hunter College (then a women's college) in 1950, Klüger attended graduate school in California and has been a professor of German studies, specializing in the 18th and 19th centuries, for more than 30 years at the University of Virginia, Princeton University, the University of California/Irvine and the University of Göttingen, Germany. Her Neilson Professorship is her first appointment at Smith.
Klüger will deliver two more lectures, "The Rosenkavalier-An Oedipal Comedy?" on November 16 and "Facts and Fiction," about the relationship between history and literature, on December 7. She is also teaching a course, "Stories of Good and Evil," in the comparative literature department.
Alum to Tell of Leadership in Social Policy
Julia Erickson '80, executive director of City Harvest, which each day distributes 26,000 pounds of food to hungry people in New York City, will be the keynote speaker at "Women Breaking Boundaries," the first Smith student leadership conference, Saturday at 7 p.m. in Wright auditorium. The presentation is open free to members of the Smith community.
Before joining City Harvest in 1994 Erickson was associate commissioner for public/private initiatives at New York City's department of employment. She also served as a key staff member for Mayor David Dinkins' Workforce Development Commission. Earlier she worked at the Community Service Society of New York and the Bronx Frontier Development Corporation. Her projects over the years have included creating and directing the first technical assistance program for community-based HIV/AIDS organizations; establishing links between publicly funded job-training programs and private-sector employment needs; and building an award-winning teen pregnancy program.
Erickson is chair of Foodchain, a network of over 130 prepared- and perishable-food rescue programs across the country. Her own organization collected and distributed more than 9.6 million pounds of food last year, helping to feed 90,000 people every week.
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Smith faculty authors have been especially prolific lately, having published-either as books or CD-ROMs-works on Betty Friedan, environmental crusaders, the crisis of American cities and the constitution of Japan.
Randall Bartlett, professor of economics, has written The Crisis of America's Cities, "a thoughtful exercise in American urban history," according to Publishers Weekly, which added: "Presenting a colorful overview of the spatial organization of major U.S. metropolitan areas spanning the past 200 years, Bartlett predicts that cities will continue to lose jobs, population and economic activity to suburbs and to 'edge cities' on their periphery, creating multinodal metropolitan webs that will be increasingly dependent on automobiles." Bartlett rejects the idea that central cities can ever again be rejuvenated as economic hubs. The book is published by M.E. Sharpe.
Myron Peretz Glazer, professor of sociology, and Penina Migdal Glazer, professor of history at Hampshire, are co-authors of The Environmental Crusaders: Confronting Disaster, Mobilizing Community. A panoramic survey of grassroots environmentalism in Israel, the former Czechoslovakia and the United States, the book features profiles of key activists who have confronted significant ecological problems and demanded a safe environment and an accountable society. These citizens confronted the threats of nuclear contamination, chemical waste and pollution as well as exposure to garbage and industrial refuse, untreated sewage and other serious dangers. Their participation transformed them from uninvolved residents to political activists working collectively to improve the quality of community life. The book is published by Penn State University Press.
In Betty Friedan and the Making of "The Feminine Mystique": The American Left, the Cold War and Modern Feminism, Daniel Horowitz, Sylvia Dlugasch Bauman Professor of American Studies, persuasively demonstrates that the roots of Friedan's feminism run much deeper than she led us to believe. In her landmark book, The Feminine Mystique, Friedan insisted that her commitment to women's rights grew out of her experiences as an alienated suburban housewife. Through his research, however, Horowitz traces Friedan's odyssey through Smith and the University of California at Berkeley and her years as a writer for two of the period's most radical labor journals and on behalf of a wide range of progressive social causes. "An engaging and often arresting narrative ... [which] will certainly change common assumptions about the origins of The Feminine Mystique," said one critic. The book is published by the University of Massachusetts Press.
The Constitution of Japan, a Documentary History of its Framing and Adoption, 1945-1947 is a CD-ROM co-edited by Donald L. Robinson, Charles N. Clark Professor of Government and American Studies, and Ray A. Moore, professor of history and Asian studies at Amherst College. The Japanese constitution was framed, adopted and promulgated in 1946 and took effect six months later; it remains in force and unamended to this day. This collection presents over 500 documents, the electronic equivalent of 8,000 pages of material, including transcripts of debates in both houses of the Japanese Diet, annotations, cross-references, portions of diaries and memoirs as well as a chronology and introductory essays by the editors. The CD-ROM is distributed by Princeton University Press.
People News will return next week.
Please welcome families and friends to Family Weekend, October 23-25. Complete schedules of events will be put in each student's mailbox and also will be available in the registration area in Seelye Hall first-floor foyer, the mailroom and the Office of Student Affairs (College Hall 24) as well as on the Smith home page under "What's New." They will also be distributed to department chairs, program directors and department offices. Students with or without visiting families or guests are welcome at the weekend's events.
Family registration will be held October 23, noon-5 p.m., and Saturday, October 24, 8:30 a.m.-noon. Parking information, name tags, event tickets, Sunday brunch information, sign-ups, updated weekend information and refreshments will be available. All families are asked to register upon arrival.
The annual Family Weekend Silent Auction will take place Saturday, October 24, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m., in Davis ballroom. All winning bids must be paid for and picked up at 3 p.m. Everyone is welcome to browse and bid on items. Proceeds will benefit the Smith Students' Aid Society (SSAS), now celebrating over 100 years of providing Smith students with assistance beyond the scope of college financial aid. The auction raised $6,950 last year for the SSAS.
Members of the college community are invited to donate to and attend the auction. Use your imagination when donating-some of our best items have been creatively and inexpensively put together. Consider your talents and interests: donate lessons, a signed copy of a book you wrote, handcrafted items, snack baskets, gift certificates, tickets, Halloween items, a home-cooked meal, antiques, your condo or vacation home, a time-share exchange or even your home or a room in your home for a future Commencement or Family Weekend. Donations will be accepted through October 22 in College Hall 24 and at Davis ballroom on Friday, October 23, 3-7 p.m., and Saturday, October 24, 8-9 a.m. (Merry Farnum, ext. 4904.)
Tickets for the Family Weekend Pops! concert may be purchased in advance in the mailroom foyer Wednesday and Thursday, October 21 and 22, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; from members of the Chamber Singers at family registration in Seelye Hall first-floor foyer on Friday, October 23, noon-5 p.m.; and at the door before the performance. Advance tickets are $3 for students and children and $5 for adults; tickets at the door are $4 and $6, respectively. The concert is a benefit for the Smith College Chamber Singers' tour of England and France in May 1999.
Sign-ups are now going on for the S.O.S.-sponsored Red Cross biannual blood drive being held in Davis Center November 4-5, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (S.O.S., ext. 2756; Sloane, ext. 6074.)
Faculty/staff tennis begins November 1, with tennis play and clinics being offered throughout the winter. Courts are currently reserved Mondays for beginners and intermediate players and Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. for intermediate and advanced players. (Chris Davis, ext. 2716.)
Head of the Charles
On October 17 and 18 Smith will race in the Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge. Smith is racing in club four at 1:54 p.m. and club eight at 2:48 p.m. on Saturday and in the championship eight at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday. Varsity crew coach Karen Klinger is racing in the 1980 Boat Club entry at 12:14 p.m. on Sunday. The Boston Smith Club will have a tent next to the Radcliffe boathouse both days.
Health Services has flu vaccine for students, employees and emeriti faculty. It costs $10 per dose for employees and emeriti and $5 for students and must be paid for at the time of the visit. The vaccine is recommended for healthy persons 65 years or older, persons with chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes, asthma, chronic lung disease, renal dysfunction, hemoglobinopathies or immunosuppression), persons receiving long-term aspirin therapy and persons living in close community settings such as dormitory housing. Anyone wishing to receive the vaccine should call extension 2823 Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. for an appointment. The vaccine is given by appointment only and is available only while supplies last.
Faculty & Staff
The next faculty meeting will be Wednesday, October 28, at 4:10 p.m. in the Alumnae House conference room. Tea will be served at 3:45 p.m. Agenda items must be received by Secretary of the Faculty Rosetta Cohen no later than October 21. Material to be included in the mailing with the agenda must be submitted in camera-ready form to College Hall 27 by Monday, October 19.
Résumés and cover letters are due October 19 for American Management Systems, Andersen Consulting, Microstrategy and Morgan Stanley Corporate Treasury and October 21 for Legacy Technology. Material should be submitted on the second floor of the CDO.
A paid local intern is needed to work about eight hours a week with a Smith alumna at Pioneer Valley Sierra Club on the issue of global overpopulation. The intern will educate high school students and participants in workshops and discussion groups on overpopulation's effect on the environment and on human health and life quality. (Anita King, 268-9212.)
Seniors interested in on-campus recruiting should come to CDO for a Senior Guide to Employment Opportunities and to get a list of fall recruiters. Many deadlines are coming up. You can also find this information on the CDO home page, but you must register on-line to have access to job listings. (To register, go to www.smith.edu/cdo/ and click the Ultimate Access button; once you enter your student number, you'll be taken to the registration page. It's quick, easy and free.) Once registered, you will have access to listings within 24 hours. If you registered prior to August 1, 1998, please update your registration as soon as possible; if you don't, your registration will be deactivated at the end of the semester.
Five College Hillel is sponsoring a retreat November 6-8 at Sargent Camp in New Hampshire. The topic for the weekend will be "Alternative Views of God." The cost is $35 for the weekend. Transportation will be provided. (Hillel office, ext. 2754.)
The Counseling Service is offering a number of groups and workshops for Smith students:
All groups are free. (Ext. 2840.)
Rally Day Plans
Although Rally Day (February 17) seems a long way off, planning for it needs to begin now. Participation in the Rally Day Show does not require talent or previous experience (but it helps). It is a time for Smith students to get up on stage, poke fun at themselves and the college and have a good time. A longstanding tradition, the show began as a student production in 1881. The current tradition of class-sponsored shows to benefit a charity began in 1918; last year $1,846 was donated to the local Literacy Project. Want to take part in a class show or skit? Contact your class president. Each class will select a Rally Day class chair (or co-chairs) who will form a class planning committee and produce a class show or skit.
Needed immediately to begin Rally Day Show planning are people with some experience, a keen interest and some spare time to be members of the general committee. They include a general show chair (or co-chairs), a publicity chair, an advertising chair and a stage manager. The general show chair(s) will be selected through the SGA appointment process. Sign-ups take place October 26-30 in the SGA office; interviews will be held November 2-6. Job descriptions are posted on the bulletin board outside College Hall 22 and in the SGA office, Clark Hall.
A new Chili Peppers dance/yoga/meditation class called Chill!, oriented toward stress reduction and taught by Donna DeLuca, is coming to your house soon on a Tuesday evening from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Look for a location schedule on your Peer Health bulletin board or elsewhere throughout campus. Sponsors: Exercise and Sport Studies and Health Services.
S.O.S. is seeking volunteers to lead children on an expedition to the Enchanted Forest at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment, Amherst, the afternoon and evening of October 23 and 24. Activities will include walking on nature trails and helping with craft activities and games. (Ruth Wilson, ext. 7918; Christina Davis, ext. 6216.)
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