Schaaf ’22 and Suwal ’22 Reflect on Research Associates Experience with New England Classics Journal

L-R: Anne-Catherine Schaaf ’22 and Smarika Suwal ’22

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Anne-Catherine Schaaf ’22 and Smarika Suwal ’22, who worked with Prof. Aaron Seider (Classics) as Research Associates.

In a world of quarantines and closures, who is venturing to the basement of Dinand Library to read bound copies of a journal? The answer, of course, is no one! Accessibility and inclusion were already guiding principles for our work on the New England Classical Journal (NECJ) before the COVID-19 pandemic, and they proved to be even more important in this new context. A regional Classics journal published by the Classical Association of New England (CANE), NECJ previously existed in only bound copies or behind a paywall. During our work as Research Associates, we were already in the process of transitioning the journal to Open Access on CrossWorks, and once the pandemic began the number of downloads and locations of our readers skyrocketed. As we think about the future, we know that accessibility and inclusion must remain our core principles, and we hope to build on the slow and meticulous work that helped us make the journal an Open Access publication this year. 

Our daily work consisted of independent tasks like proofreading and uploading past articles, as well as more collaborative work such as making key decisions on the journal’s formatting and layout. As the semester progressed, we also began to focus on NECJ’s outreach. We discussed potentially creating social media accounts and obtaining DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) to transition the journal to Open Access. Additionally, by creating new content like abstracts and keywords for older articles, we not only helped the journal reach new audiences but also improved our own writing and research skills, strengthening our ability to quickly absorb complex content and highlight the most important aspects people needed to find. Anne-Catherine created the journal’s first abstract and keywords list, establishing the outline for future abstracts and keyword lists. Smarika took on the major project of creating a spreadsheet to organize our archive of past NECJ issues.

All of these tasks tied into larger opportunities for learning, which we accomplished through regular readings and discussions about the historic exclusivity of Classics and the role classical journals, and NECJ in particular, have in dismantling existing structures of racism and other forms of bias within the field. Two particularly impactful pieces were this editorial from the American Journal of Philology and Dan-el Padilla Peralta’s talk on race, power, and inclusion in journals at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society for Classical Studies. We also discussed the racist events that occurred at that same annual meeting as well as Prof. Padilla Peralta’s and others’ responses to the meeting and those events. This knowledge has informed our own work outside of NECJ, as we were part of the team that created the Diversity and Inclusion Committee to support inclusion efforts in our own Classics department. 

Our work concluded for the year with a presentation at the virtual CANE Annual Meeting on the work we had accomplished, what we had learned, and our plans for the future. A key goal of our presentation was to get feedback on our inclusivity efforts, and ideas for how to improve. The presentation was well received, and a robust discussion followed, with participants from all levels of classical pedagogy emphasizing the importance of representation in the field and offering many helpful suggestions to expand upon our aims for NECJ. The journal has transformed over the past year, but even more exciting changes await in its future, and as we look back, we are incredibly grateful for this learning opportunity, and eager to see how our work continues to make an impact.

Fall Opportunities at the J.D. Power Center: AIP and NY Semester News

Dear Students,

As you read in Provost Freije’s email, the J.D. Power Center is offering distinctive opportunities for experiential learning this fall. Whether you plan to return to Holy Cross or to remain at home, we are confident that we can provide experiential learning opportunities for you wherever you are. Here’s what’s new, and what’s coming.
 
AIP is Growing
Fall 2020 might be the best time yet to enroll in the Academic Internship Program because you can intern anywhere in the world. This means you can find a site that works for you–or continue work that you’ve already been doing in your community. We’ve been working all summer with the Center for Career Development to gather contacts with sites offering remote internships, so we’re confident we can help you find an internship that works for you. And if you can’t, you can complete a capstone project instead. 
 
Also: for this semester only, we’re inviting sophomores to apply to AIP! 
 
Available seminars include:
  • Social Justice and the Law (Explore the legal aspects of important social justice issues, such as immigration policy, policing, and sexual assault. Great for students interested in the law, students interested in social justice issues, students engaged in activist work in the community, students interested in public policy.)
  • Health Care Management (This course digs into some of the macro issues around the US health infrastructure. Great for students interested in the health professions, management, public health, economics, or the politics of health care.)
  • Professional Ethics (This course examines practical ethical questions that arise in a number of work settings. Great for pre-business students, philosophy students, religious studies students.)
  • Presidential Campaigns (Driven by the events of the presidential campaign, this course gives students insight into the strategies and tactics of national campaigns. Great for political science students, students engaged in activist work in the community, students interested in media and communications, political junkies of all stripes). 
  • Non-profits and Government Agencies (Learn about how non-profit organizations provide essential services to the community, and how government agencies translate public demands into public goods. Great for pre-business students, students who love CBL, students engaged in activist work, students interested in management, political science majors, sociology majors, economics majors)
  • We’re also offering a brand-new course: Sports Marketing and SponsorshipsThis course will give students an opportunity to learn about the power of marketing and sponsorship in the multi-billion-dollar sports industry. Fascinated by the Washington football team’s decision to change their name (and the corporate pressure that pushed the decision)? This course is for you. It is also great for athletes looking to leverage their athletic career into an internship, students interested in sports generally, students interested in marketing, and pre-business students.
You can find the simple application here.  Applications are due July 22. (NOTE: students who are already enrolled in an AIP course need not re-apply.)
 
New York–Make it There Your Way
The New York Semester is going fully remote to become the J.D. Power Leadership Institute. Get a full semester’s worth of credit while completing a 32 hour/week internship; an online seminar on Leadership, Human Agency, and Organizational Structure; and a capstone project of your own design, mentored by an expert in your field of interest. And you can participate from anywhere in the world! We’ll help you land the remote internship that you want, and allow you to explore the issues you care about in the capstone. Or, if you’re already interning this summer, or engaged in volunteer work in your own community, you can continue that work for credit during the semester.
 
You can find the simple application here. Applications are due July 22. (NOTE: students who are already enrolled in the New York Semester need not re-apply.)
 
It is going to be an unusual semester, but it doesn’t have to be a semester without opportunity. Embrace the moment, and learn from experience!
 
Sincerely,
Daniel Klinghard
Director, J. D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World

CBL and Spanish: The Real Life Lesson – Katie Kelsh ’20

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally featured on the Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning blog on May 18, 2020. You can find the original at https://communitybasedlearning.me.holycross.edu/2020/05/18/cbl-and-spanish-the-real-life-lesson-katie-kelsh-20/.

On Friday, May 15, 2020, 20 senior Spanish majors were inducted into the Spanish Honor Society, Sigma Delta Pi. All 20 students participated in at least one CBL course, with 90% of them first encountering CBL in Spanish 301: “Spanish Composition and Conversation.” Senior CBL Intern, Katie Kelsh was among the inductees. Katie takes to the blog to reflect on how CBL has been so important to her Spanish major experience. Congratulations Katie and to all the senior Spanish majors on this achievement! The Donelan Office thanks the Spanish Department for all that they do to encourage Spanish students to take part in community-based learning. View a video montage celebrating all of the senior inductees, created by Professor Bridget Franco of the Spanish Department.

Lately, I have frequently found myself helping my brother with his Spanish homework. As I sit with him at the dining room table, repeating vocabulary words and attempting to explain to him the difference between the preterit and imperfect tenses, I keep thinking about my own journey with Spanish. During my first year at Holy Cross, after five years of Spanish classes, I signed up to work with the Worcester Public School Transition Program when they came to Holy Cross where I would spend time with them and also be able to practice my Spanish. However, during the first day that I spent with Worcester Transition Program, when they asked me what my favorite meal at Crossroads was, I became nervous and struggled to answer the question. Thinking about that moment, I have realized how important the CBL component of my Spanish major has been. It has given me the opportunity to gain confidence in actually using my Spanish to effectively communicate with others. The simple act of weekly conversation had helped me grow incredibly as a Spanish student. Spending time with my community partners, I was learning new vocabulary, the ways to distinguish between a Puerto Rican and an Argentine accent, and why they call the tasty Cuban dish ropa vieja. These moments were critical to my understanding of Hispanic language and cultures.

My time spent with my Worcester community partners prepared me for my semester spent abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While not technically a CBL experience, living in Buenos Aires for a semester was definitely the embodiment of experiential learning. Having experience conversing with others in a second language helped prepare me for this new adventure. I was experiencing a new culture, speaking a second language, and living in a foreign city. It was truly the quintessential CBL experience. The lessons that I learned from my community partners such as being open to having conversations with strangers, making mistakes, and learning from others helped me through a challenging but rewarding semester. Taking my language learning out of the classroom and into real life meant daily lessons such as the importance difference between llevarand traer when ordering take out and how after many years of Spanish classes I finally started to understand how and when to use the subjunctive. Whether it was through CBL or in Buenos Aires, it has been these moments, outside of the classroom, when ordering coffee or chatting with the doorman as I waited for the elevator, that I finally understood why I enjoyed learning Spanish. It wasn’t knowing exactly when to use the preterit or imperfect tense, rather it was how learning a new language allowed me to communicate, have conversations, and simply connect with many new people. These real-life experiences, many offered by CBL, take language learning to the next level in allowing students to carry their classroom learning into real life, enabling students to learn culture and connect with people in their global and local community.

Recently, I attended the Spanish Honors Society Induction where I listened to my fellow students describe what their time as a Spanish major had brought to their life. Listening to each student speak made it was obvious that the Spanish major was so much more than just a set of classes we had taken. Student after student spoke about not only learning a new language, but the endless opportunity and experiences that came along with that language, such as finding out they could learn and live in a completely different country or getting to know their host mother. This was what we all loved as Spanish majors, the gift of language that gives us the ability to converse and connect with people across the world, people we might have never met otherwise. However, it did take a while to get to that point. The experiences we had and people we met through CBL helped us gain the confidence and knowledge to begin using our gift and I could not be more grateful for that.

“Leadership in Dispersion”- Isabelle Jenkins, Associate Director, Donelan Office

Group of college students posing for photo in front of wall
The 2019-2020 CBL interns

Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: This post was originally featured on the Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning blog on May 22, 2020. You can read the original post on the Donelan CBL blog.

On March 11th, the Holy Cross community received the news that, because of the global pandemic of COVID-19, the College would be moving all learning online, in-person events and activities would be canceled, and that essentially everyone had to vacate campus as quickly as possible. This decision was made so as to minimize physical contact between people in order to slow the spread of coronavirus. For the Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning, this decision had particular implications, as contact is at the core of every single thing we do: contact with community partners and a variety of Worcester community members, contact with faculty and their courses, and contact with a variety of other community engagement programs on campus.

Our leadership program, the Community-Based Learning Intern Program, also felt the drastic impact of the College’s decision. This is because, again, a highlight of the CBL Intern program is the contact the Interns have with our community partners, with our courses, with our office space, and with each other. An example of this is how the 16 Interns utilize the Donelan Office space itself. If you have ever passed by the Donelan Office when walking along the hallway of Smith 3, you likely glanced into the Donelan Office and saw two, three, four, or five people in there at a time, eating cookies, getting work done, and laughing so much that at least one person had tears in their eyes. The Interns would fill the office to the brim, not only with themselves and their stuff, but with their hearts and minds, with their ideas and emotions, with their leadership. This contact, certainly, has not been possible in the past ten weeks as we have been in dispersion, away from campus.

Despite losing the physical space of the office and the ability to be in physical contact with so many, the CBL Interns have persisted in their leadership, helping to continue the work of community-based learning. Their leadership has proven that the work that we do is really about connection more so than about contact. Sure, the physical contact can help with making connections, but connection can be made in dispersion, too.

When we moved online, the Interns hardly missed a beat. They helped to move the CBL Intern selection process online, interviewing Intern candidates on Zoom and meeting as a group for several hours to make the very difficult decision about who would be selected for the 2020-2021 CBL Intern cohort. They held virtual in-class reflection sessions, assisting many CBL students with reflecting on how the move to remote learning was impacting their CBL experience. They wrote blog after blog sharing their thoughts about how they were continuing to be in communication with their community partners, what they missed about in-person CBL and being on campus, how their learnings from CBL have assisted them during this time of dispersion, how saying goodbye was difficult, and reflections on CBL after four years in CBL courses and about their time as CBL Interns. They put on a virtual dialogue session featuring four Holy Cross alumni who shared about living a life of service and justice beyond the Hill; this dialogue session was our highest-attended dialogue session ever! The younger Interns helped to celebrate our Senior Interns with a virtual send-off featuring a TikTok-style video, messages from faculty, community partners, and the CBL Intern community, and highlights of their numerous achievements. The Interns contributed to a social media gratitude campaign for our community partners during the last week of classes, recording videos of speeches they would have made in person and sharing messages they would have shared during their final days at their sites. The list goes on.

While these virtual times are no replacement for the in-person times we have had in CBL and that we hope to have in CBL as soon as it’s possible to safely gather again, these virtual times have been fulfilling and meaningful in their own unique ways. They would not be as fulfilling and meaningful without acts of great leadership. The CBL Interns’ work over the past two months has proven that when you put your mind and heart to it, connection is absolutely possible even when contact is not. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” These times that we’ve experienced while physically distanced from each other most definitely have been challenging and controversial times. The CBL Interns, though, have faced these challenges and controversies head-on and shone brightly because of their leadership in dispersion. This leadership has inspired us and so many to persist in making and maintaining connections.

Thank you, CBL Interns!

Reflections from the Senior CBL Interns

Collage of photos of CBL Intern seniors

Editor’s Note: This post was originally featured on the Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning blog on May 4, 2020. You can read the original post at https://communitybasedlearning.me.holycross.edu/2020/05/04/reflections-from-our-senior-interns/.

Upon  the end of their time as Interns in the Donelan Office and their graduation from Holy Cross in May, our seven senior CBL Interns were asked to reflect on one or more of the following questions: (1) What is my greatest learning from being a CBL Intern? (2) How have I grown in my time as a CBL Intern? (3) What will I take with me from the CBL Intern experience into my next step? They each share thoughtful remarks about how their time as Interns has shaped and molded their Holy Cross experiences. 

Hannah Benson ’20: My greatest lesson from being a CBL Intern will always be the lesson of collaboration. I have learned that there is so much power in starting new ideas with others. As a group, we inspire each other, and because of this, the outcome can reach its full potential. Not only is this true for the CBL interns but for partnerships with community partners, other CBL Holy Cross students, professors, SPUD leaders, and more. Some of my best ideas come from conversations with others.

 It can be difficult to consider my own growth as an Intern, but I know it’s there because I surround myself with people who let me know. I started in the CBL office as a sophomore, went abroad in my junior year, and came back as a senior and it still feels like yesterday that I was given the opportunity to start working closely with the office. I think of examples like taking Professor Sterk Barrett my sophomore and senior years and facilitating discussions in Professor Lipsitz’s “Science of Happiness” Montserrat course for those years as well. These mentors and many more have seen my growth and given me the space to learn.

For me, the most incredible thing that CBL has given me is the fearless ability to take on any project. The world we live in is not perfect, but it is not permanently broken either. There is always room for improvement and what the world needs is people who have the ideas and the willingness to work hard and make it happen.

Jack Chaffee ’20: I would say that my greatest learning from being a CBL Intern is the importance of building relationships that are founded in mutuality and reciprocity when fostering community within Worcester and Holy Cross. CBL provided me with some of the most informative and transformative experiences of my four years here at Holy Cross, and I am incredibly grateful for the lessons I learned along the way, especially about how we engage with one another. During my time as a CBL intern I grew more confident in my abilities to be a leader and peer, while also gaining a much deeper understanding of systematic issues we face as a society. After being an intern for three years, I feel much more confident in advocating for ideas or concepts I believe in, many of which have been formed by experiential learning opportunities such as CBL. Being a member of the intern cohort, and receiving mentorship from the Directors of the Donelan Office, have strongly encouraged me to pursue what I am passionate about. The support I have felt from the CBL Office was important in my discernment of post graduate plans, and I will take this lesson of unwaveringly pursuing my passions with me as I prepare to leave Holy Cross and become an assistant in L’Arche Jacksonville.

Katie Kelsh ’20: The time I have been fortunate enough to spend within the Community-Based Learning community at Holy Cross has taught me many lessons. I have learned how to make delicious empanadas with the Worcester Public School Transition Program and the best strategies to painting French nails from Wanda at Training Resources of America. However, above all, this time has revealed to me the true value of asking a question. I have learned that it is from a simple question, such as “How was your weekend?” that meaningful and lasting relationships can begin. I could not be more grateful for these relationships I have been able to form on and off the Hill through CBL, as they have greatly enriched my Holy Cross experience. Ending my time with the CBL office is one of the hardest parts of leaving Holy Cross, but as I move to my next steps beyond HC, I will carry with me all those I have met through CBL and hope to continue building community, one question at a time. 

Will McAvoy ’20: From my time as a CBL Intern, I had the opportunity to learn from my peers and realize that we all have different interpretations of the world around us. I realized this during countless reflection sessions, at dialogue sessions, during the NPCC, during intern meetings, etc. From tutoring children to sitting with the elderly, students would have different experiences between sites. Students also interpreted their experiences differently at the same site. I quickly realized in my first year Montserrat with Professor Ginny Ryan that there was no “typical experience” with CBL. Throughout the years, hearing different students explain their experiences made me grasp the course material in a different way. It was a paradigm shift. To me, that is what makes CBL so powerful; it allows all of us to view our experience in and out of the classroom in a different way, thus allowing us to have a greater learning experience that leaves a meaningful impact on each of us.

I have also learned to embrace silence. This has happened in two places. The first is bedside at the St. Mary Center. I have learned from professors that sometimes the power of being present is simply enough for a resident. Maybe the resident is tired and would rather rest by watching a show with you instead of conversing. Similarly, in small group reflections, I have learned that silence can be a powerful moment for reflection that can allow not only you, but those around you, to reflect on their experiences. From this, I have learned that moments of silence do not need to be filled. Rather, they should be embraced.

Having the experience of CBL has shown me that everyone around me has their own personal experiences that they bring to the table. What I feel in a certain time is rarely the same as someone around me, and that is something that we all need to take into account. Sitting bedside at the St. Mary Center reminds me of my grandmother who passed at a hospice center several years ago. Another student at HC may not have had that experience and would benefit from hearing my story. Similarly, hearing perspectives from others that I personally have not experienced will allow me to learn. I also learned that everyone has their own internal and external struggles that are rarely visible. Having these different lived experiences allows us to be a stronger group. These different personal experiences need to be welcomed and cherished as they will allow us all to learn more from one another. 

Fatima Oseida ’20: Being a CBL intern was one of my favorite roles on campus. When I first came to Holy Cross, I did not know much about social justice or what it actually meant. While I was still finding myself, the opportunity of becoming an intern came across, so I applied and gratefully got the position. Ever since then, every day has been a learning experience. Not only did I learn more about social justice, but I also learned about its importance in our community, not only at Holy Cross, but in Worcester. More importantly, being a CBL intern gave me a new perspective on the Jesuit principle “men and women for and with others”, because being an intern is not just volunteering at a local organization and getting some work done. To me, it means to immerse myself in the community and to learn from my own experiences. Now that I am graduating, I came to realize that, through the program, I learned what my true passions are, and that is something that I will be forever grateful for.

Christian Realbuto ’20: The person I am now is completely different from who I was when I first entered Holy Cross – and a significant part of that is because of my experience with CBL and the Donelan Office. CBL introduced me to the strong, vibrant communities that make up the city of Worcester, and allowed me to meet incredible public servants who are committed to their nonprofit agencies that add to the city’s strength and history. CBL has also given me stories of love, along with tremendous sadness. Pain, along with tremendous growth. At the core of this learning has been the incredible power of presence. That’s what we do every week at CBL. We show up. We show up to our sites and share in that vulnerable space, that, by the end of the semester, is no longer just your “CBL site,” but the place where your new friends are, and the place that’s taken a piece of your heart. This learning would be incomplete without cultivating my sense of gratitude. Gratitude for the CBL students who came before me, and paved the way for me to participate in the power of presence. Gratitude for the Worcester Public Schools Transition Program for welcoming me into their community for the past 4 years. And also, gratitude for Isabelle and Michelle – whose commitment to the Donelan Office strengthens our relationship and partnership with Worcester each year.

Being a CBL intern has expanded my understanding of empathy to include different perspectives and contexts. As I learned through CBL, communities — and the people that make them up — do not have “a single story.” In this fashion, service demands that we look beyond “a single story,” and develop intentional relationships that expand upon a person’s whole self.

As I look to make my next steps after Holy Cross, I keep coming back to David Brooks’ opinion piece, “A Nation of Weavers.” “Weavers,” according to Mr. Brooks, “share an ethos that puts relationship over self” and exhibit “radical mutuality” in their relationships to one another. I believe this sentiment encompasses CBL and our community partners. CBL cultivates Weavers – people who recognize the importance of reciprocity and mutually in relationships with one another. CBL teaches that there is no “us” and “them” – there is only us.

Thank you, to the Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning any my fellow CBL interns for all the wonderful memories and experiences I was lucky enough to share in.

Delaney Wells ’20: As I reflect back on my various involvements and endeavors throughout my four years at Holy Cross, I can say wholeheartedly that Community-Based Learning has had the greatest influence on the journey of finding who I am at my core, deeply shaping my mind and heart. The relationships I have built at the Worcester Public Schools Transition Program, among other community partners, within the intern community, and in reflection sessions have prompted me to develop a more critical consciousness about our world, our structures, and the way that I exist within them. I am leaving Holy Cross with a personal responsibility to those forgotten and disadvantaged by normative economic and political structures on local and global levels. Through involvement in the Donelan Office I have come to recognize the importance of the touch of the heart in relationships formed through CBL. This significant touch allows us to form meaningful and deep connections with one another which illuminate truths about ourselves and the world around us. I now value the touch of the heart in all relationships and actions I partake in, motivating me to work for justice and equality. I am leaving Holy Cross with the lessons, conversations, and moments through my involvement with community-based learning at the center of who I am, fueling my drive to continue to seek justice.

When “The Breakdown” Broke Down: Hip-Hop with the Woo Crew Goes Virtual – Prof. Megan Ross

By Megan Ross ’11, Visiting Lecturer, Music Department

Editor’s Note: The below post was originally featured on the Dolenan Office of Community-Based Learning Blog on April 28, 2020. You can find the original post at https://communitybasedlearning.me.holycross.edu/2020/04/28/when-the-breakdown-broke-down-hip-hop-with-the-woo-crew-goes-virtual-prof-megan-ross/.

The Hip-Hop Community in Worcester is legit; there are graffiti artists who paint downtown, MC and DJs who hail from the area and work with members of the Wu Tang Clan, and b-boys and b-girls who teach their craft to local youth after school. Learning about hip-hop, a continually evolving global phenomenon from the Bronx, NY c. 1970, requires one to engage with the here and now. When I arrived back to Worcester as an alum and a Visiting Lecturer in Music this fall, I knew I wanted my hip-hop class to be “in the community.” After many months of planning with the Donelan Office, applying for grants, and meeting with members of the local government and school district, “The Breakdown: Hip-Hop With the Woo Crew” was created—a 2-day long event with hands on learning through a graffiti mural project at North High School led by a local artist (Lamour Supreme) and a public forum on the significance of hip-hop in Worcester with members of the college community (Francis Lubega ’20), local government (Che Anderson ’11) and hip-hop scene (7L and Esoteric).

Leading up to the event, which was to take place April 16-17, my students were involved in a series of activities to help them learn more about the local community and prepare for the event. These activities included a tour of Pow! Wow! Worcester public art and group interview projects with local hip-hop artists. We were well underway with advertisements and curriculum designed to help students at North High School prepare for the event when Covid-19 shut down the college and all CBL activities. Needless to say, my students and I were deeply disappointed that our event would be cancelled.

During the week that faculty had to plan for their classes to go online, I was concerned with how to create community in a virtual way that would offer similar benefits to the students and the community at large. I decided to design a website showcasing the members of the “Woo Crew” alongside a student-run blog. Discussions ranged from the impact of Covid-19 on the Hip-Hop community, to reflections on their role as Ethnomusicologists learning more about the local community through their artist interviews. These last few weeks have been filled with discussions, presentations, and personal work related to the website. In lieu of the hands-on learning programed into our CBL event, students were asked to either conduct an interview with a classmate on their relationship with hip-hop or work on a music or art project. The results were astonishing; projects ranged from talk shows with special guest HC student and rapper Jonathan Abrahams (“Don Jon”) to hip-hop inspired beats, mixes, and fashion. We plan to make the website public on the last day of class and hope that it will serve as a platform for members of the community at large to discuss the significance of hip-hop in Worcester. The bonds made between members of the Woo Crew will hopefully build in the coming months, as well as next spring when I hope to revamp this project with my Montserrat class. Although “The Breakdown” broke down, Covid-19 did not stop our foray into community-based learning.

https://hiphopwiththewoocrew.wordpress.com/

Sindurakar ’20 Recounts Winter Break Trip to Nepal

Four people standing in front of religious monument in Nepal
L to R: Professor Naresh Bajracharya, Trishala Manandhar, Princy Sindurakar, and Maire White

By Princy Sindurakar ’20

Editor’s Note: Princy Sindurakar ’20 is a senior Biology major with minors in Asian Studies and Neuroscience. With funding from the Ignite Fund, Princy had the chance to travel to Nepal over winter break to study the complex use of sacred art in various rituals related to one’s well-being and spread of peace in Newar Buddhism. She took some time to write about her trip.

During our trip to Kathmandu, Nepal, I visited prominent and local historical sites, mainly built during the Golden age of the Kathmandu Valley, specifically due to the growth of culture, art, and architecture. Most of the visits were alongside two other students from Holy Cross and from part of the seminar, Buddhism in the Nepal Himalayas with Professor Todd Lewis and Professor Naresh Bajracharya. These sites were primarily Buddhist temples, stupas, and worship sites, all part of Newar Buddhism, a school in Buddhism.

From beautiful cities, such as Bhaktapur and Patan, to archives and tours within the city, I was able to experience the extensive beauty of the valley and perform field study, connecting with both scholars and locals around the area. For instance, I had the opportunity to observe the bathing ritual of a prominent figure in Vajrayana Buddhism, part of the Mahayana Buddhism, known as Seto Machindranath, in order to prepare for the upcoming festival. This rare sighting would occur every year thus it was fascinating to observe this complex bathing ritual of the figure at one of the local Buddhist sites, known as bahas. Most of these sites, including monuments, had been built by Newars, the historical inhabitants of Kathmandu Valley, and they played a significant role in practicing Buddhism through detailed rituals and discipline, passed down through generations.

Street in city with temples along street

I was able to further my studies in Newar Buddhism and apply my academic knowledge from my previous courses and seminars within the Asian Studies department. We had the chance to analyze the use of different art pieces, such as wood carvings, metal repousse figures, paintings, scrolls, clay moldings, and more, in the context of ritualism and worship. After our first week of visits and field studies at all these sites, I was able to focus on my project’s goals, particularly to understand the traditional practices and the role of diverse artwork on the practice of Newar Buddhism. In addition to my field study in observing the practice of rituals at different historical sites and meeting with scholars, including Theravada Buddhist monks, I studied the use of traditional medicine and its roots to Buddhism, specifically developed within the Newar community, also passed down through generations throughout decades.

I had the opportunity to visit an Ayurvedic factory which involved the making of many forms of medicine through a series of procedures to produce pure traditional medicine with the use of herbs, plants, and minerals found all over Nepal and the world. As a Newari American, this trip was truly a dream, and especially being able to perform field study during my final year, I gained an immeasurable experience beyond courses and seminars through closely connecting with the locals and observing the daily ritualistic practices at the historical vihars and bahas.

“Continuing with CBL Remotely” – Will McAvoy ’20

Raised garden planters with white fence and American bunting behind on sunny day

Editor’s Note: The below post was originally featured on the Dolenan Office of Community-Based Learning Blog on April 16, 2020. You can find the original post at https://communitybasedlearning.me.holycross.edu/2020/04/16/continuing-with-cbl-remotely-will-mcavoy-20/.

I have been offered the opportunity to stay in touch with my resident at St. Mary, Vicky, over the past few weeks.  The Activities Coordinator at St. Mary, Sandy Geller, has graciously offered her phone as a means to conduct Facebook videocalls.  Every week at our scheduled time to visit, Vicky and I have had either a video call or a phone call.  It has been great to stay in touch, and I am thankful for Sandy in making this happen!

One thing that I definitely am missing is the garden at St. Mary.  Last spring, another Holy Cross student (Megan Treanor ’20) and I applied for a Marshall Grant to establish a garden at St. Mary.  We were awarded nearly a thousand dollars to implement a wheelchair-accessible garden where all residents would be able to grow their own fruits and veggies as well as get their hands dirty if they wanted.  Vicky was one of the residents who led the charge on this activity, offering her guidance from decades of managing her own garden at her home.

Last year was our first year, so there definitely were some challenges to overcome.  However, the garden was a huge success with many residents, Holy Cross students, and families of residents, participating in cultivating the garden.  Several residents told Sandy that they now had a purpose in life.  Megan and I were proud to have made such a big impact and are thankful for all that helped make the garden such a success.

I was excited for this spring to really grow a fantastic garden.  With the current situation, it doesn’t look as if that is going to occur.  But one thing is certain: I know for a fact though that once this time of social distancing comes to an end, Sandy, Vicky, and many of the other residents will be outside at the garden.  In the meantime, I look forward to staying in touch with Vicky via phone.

To the current CBL students reading this, I would recommend that you reach out to your community partner.  Maybe a phone call is something that could be facilitated for your site.  You never know until you ask!

 

“Learning How to Dance in the Rain”- Julianne Esteves ’22

Julianne Esteves
Julianne Esteves ’22

Editor’s Note: The below post was originally featured on the Dolenan Office of Community-Based Learning Blog on April 6, 2020. You can find the original post at https://communitybasedlearning.me.holycross.edu/2020/04/06/learning-how-to-dance-in-the-rain-julianne-esteves-22/.

The famous quote by Vivian Greene, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain,” has been circulating social media recently to lift spirits amidst our current global crisis. Each time I have come across it, I have been confronted with wondering how I really can learn to “dance in the rain” while reflecting on what my responsibility to others and the larger society is during this painful time. Although I do not have answers to these questions at this point, my optimism and involvement with the Community-Based Learning (CBL) community has helped to carry me through so far and has prompted me to reflect on these questions.

As a student of a Jesuit institution, I have been reminded countless times of my call to be a woman “for and with others.” Empathy and mutuality have inspired me throughout many of my Holy Cross experiences and continue to be influential forces even as I am learning remotely, physically removed from campus. While early findings suggested that those who were young and healthy were at low-risk for becoming ill, even if they had contracted the virus, I realized that this did not leave my peers and me “off the hook.” I quickly learned of the severity of the spread of the infection as I came home to New York City, the epicenter of the virus. While I would propose that our immediate call to be “for others” is to stay home in order to reduce the risk of transmission, I believe that our responsibility to be “with others” is just as immediately necessary. In these times, I have been reminded of ways to show empathy and to consider the unique struggles and powers of marginalized populations. Through my involvement with CBL, I have gained a widened perspective on various systemic issues that cause certain populations to become vulnerable. Now, I can’t help but imagine how an added global health crisis deepens existing vulnerability and causes major financial and emotional strains on those populations.

One way I am harnessing my lessons from CBL is through unbound presence. In between Zoom classes and meetings, I have found more free time in my daily routine. While I may be tempted to jump right into tackling a “master checklist,” I have tried to embrace these quiet moments. I have realized that the coronavirus does not have a master checklist nor a set end date. As an organized and thoughtful planner, I have become very anxious that the only things that I can truly plan in advance are the meals I am going to eat for the week. Even though meal prep does bring me a lot of joy, it does not provide the level of structure to which I am accustomed. This pandemic has caused countless cancellations for the months ahead, including three summer opportunities I had been anxiously awaiting to participate in. In the absence of planning, I have been approaching each day with minimal expectations. This practice is one rooted in my engagement with those in Worcester. Most of the time at my CBL site I do not have a clear agenda or any expectation of what I am going to do. I find beauty in being present with the students with whom I work. Our responsibility to others, especially those we are living with right now, includes being more present with their needs – whether that means unloading the dishwasher before your family member gets to it or reaching out to an old friend.

As a Catholic, something that I have been reflecting upon is how the Lenten season prompts Christians to “give up” something as a sacrifice to God. I now believe that “giving up” has taken on a new perspective for Christians amidst the coronavirus. The tangible and intangible items individuals must give up during this time has been difficult to witness. My hope is that we, as a society, do not just “give up” completely. Rather, I believe that our responsibility to others is to instead “give in,” to show mercy, and to find ways to be in community with others from afar. Greg Boyle, S.J. beautifully summarized this idea by calling people, in the meantime, “to create fires that keep each other warm. In other words, in these times of physical distance, how can we “keep each other warm” through social connection?

Many people may be stuck in the mindset of viewing their days in relation to the number of days “stuck at home.” Instead, I propose to channel the hope of the message of Greg Boyle, S.J. to live out this time of social distancing as “one day closer to normal.” Even as we move forward in hope, viewing each day as one “closer to normal,” these times in which we are living are a “storm,” particularly for individuals and communities who are marginalized. Tragically, this “storm” has yet “to pass.” And yet, can living in the present and acting upon our roles and obligations to one another be our way to “dance in the rain”?

“Abruptly Saying Goodbye” – Kathryn Hauver ’22

Editor’s Note: The below post was originally featured on the Dolenan Office of Community-Based Learning Blog on April 6, 2020. You can find the original post at https://communitybasedlearning.me.holycross.edu/2020/04/06/abruptly-saying-goodbye-kathryn-hauver-22/.

By Kathryn Hauver ’22

The last few days we had on campus were filled with abrupt goodbyes, a range of  emotions, and the harsh reality that we would all have to leave Holy Cross. CBL students were informed of the cancellations, and suddenly, something that was once so integral to our learning was gone. For my CBL, I volunteer at Rose Monahan Hospice Home on Friday afternoons. During my visit on February 28th, I informed the staff that the next week I would not be in for my shift because of spring break. The nurse told me that the resident I had been meeting with may not still be there when I returned, so I should say goodbye. That day, my resident and I had a lovely time together watching cooking shows. At the end of the visit, I expressed my gratitude for the time we had shared, and her smile warmed my heart. I took a long time saying  goodbye, as I knew it would most likely be the last time I saw her. When I was leaving my shift that day, I said my normal goodbyes to the healthcare team, not thinking much of it.

Fast forward to our first week back from spring break. A new panic about COVID-19 permeated campus as everyone eagerly awaited the email regarding Holy Cross’ plan. When I read the email about CBL cancellations, I was very shaken up. I was concerned for Rose Monahan because the home operates by relying on volunteers, and it is a high risk community of COVID-19 infection. At that moment, I was very thankful I was able to say goodbye to my resident, and hoped that other residents would also be able to spend their final moments with their loved ones. I also felt guilty because I didn’t give the Rose Monahan staff a proper goodbye, for I didn’t know my last visit would be my last visit.

I reflected on how I could still express my appreciation for the home and say a more heartfelt goodbye without actually visiting. I decided to make cards for all the residents and send a letter to the staff thanking them for all of their hard work. While it was not how I would have chosen to say goodbye, it was still a way to communicate with my community partner. In terms of saying goodbye in this new environment, I  would recommend reaching out to your community partner and spreading some words of support. Kind words can go a long way in times of crisis and may offer the reassurance they need.