Monday, October 31

A Picturesque Campus

It's time to break out thick socks and leather gloves in Vermont, but the past couple of days have shown us that we still have some days of warm, sunny weather left before the snow sets in. Here are a few snapshots of a truly picturesque campus...

Saturday, October 29

Fall Foliage

The best thing about living in New England is the fall foliage - this is one of our trees in front of Bergeron, the journalism building. Beautiful, no?

Thursday, October 27

Vermont International Film Festival

A still of francophone Finnish film Le Havre, which was featured as the Vermont International Film Festival's first showcase film. Photo from The Guardian online. 

This month's biggest event in Vermont is none other than the Vermont International Film Festival, featuring films from 24 countries over the span of ten days. This year's themes are FoodBorders and DisplacementFreedom and Liberty and Egyptian Cinema.

I attended two screenings at Palace 9 Cinemas on the opening night: Le Havre and Tomboy. At $10/screening, the pricing is a bit steep but worth spending - especially to attend screenings during which the director will be present. There was no special event surrounding either of the films on the opening night, but Le Havre premiered in Burlington on the same night as the LA premier screening which is rather awesome considering that LA is one of the world's cinema capitals. Later on, I also watched Connected with two of my friends - one of which was Sarah Murray!

Here's the schedule for those of you who plan on attending! I highly recommend it; this festival brings much relief after being entrenched in a sea of blockbusters.

Wednesday, October 26

Field Trip: Vermont Public Radio

Two of the myriad reasons I love being a journalism major is that we are able to explore all the different fields of journalism and we go on awesome field trips.

Yesterday, I was able to visit the Vermont Public Radio station as part of my Media Revolutions class. The host of the Vermont Edition program, Jane Lindholm, gave us a tour of the building and answered any questions we had about radio journalism. We also met with Vermont Edition producer and reporter, Samantha Fields, who spoke to us about what her job entails and some of the challenges that come along with it.

Later, we were given the opportunity to write script for the Vermont Edition, which three of us later used to host a mock Vermont Edition program. I was able host one of the mock shows (on the topic of the Vermont International Film Festival) and found the experience to be incredibly fun but also hectic; I had to talk to my guest, check for listeners calling on the computer screen and keep track of time all at once!

Scroll down to see photos of our visit!

The audio collection (which is in the process of being digitised)

The desk of Vermont Edition host, Jane Lindholm

Calendar of topics being covered on the Vermont Edition 

Chatting with Vermont Edition producer and report Samantha Fields

A sound engineer's office

The live performance room

Alli trying out the role of a Vermont Edition host; her show's topic was the removal of ice cream machines at Saint Michael's College

Tuesday, October 25

Costume Mania

In preparation for Halloween, the Drama Club has provided students with a treasure trove of costumes in Alliot - there's piles upon piles of them!

Monday, October 24

Saturday, October 22

100 Tips for Life at Saint Mike's : 21 - 30

Here are numbers 1-10 and 11-20

21. You can schedule appointments with a research librarian or the study abroad advisor online.

22. The library makes three announcements before it closes one in the morning (one at midnight, another at half past midnight and the last at one in the morning) so don't worry about getting locked in!

23. Some profs will put everything (from extra credit to MLA guidelines and office hours) on eCollege while others will only link the syllabus. Find out which one your professor is so you don't miss out on an extra credit opportunity.

24. Just because somebody loves a professor doesn't mean you'll love them as well since everyone has a different learning style. Go chat with the professor before you register for their class.

25. For every hour of class, you're expected to do (more or less) 3 hours of work outside of class.

26. You'll be expected to attend some public lectures and events downtown as part of your coursework, and sometimes be able to attend them for extra credit.

27. The one of the bathrooms on the ground floor of the library is pristine. It has good lighting, sleek tiling and it's very, very clean - on a college campus, this is very much appreciated.

28. The gym hours change on the weekend; on Sunday it opens at half past noon. Remember this and don't walk to the gym at ten in the morning like I did!

29. One of the dorm rooms on every floor has a temperature gage, so if you're in that room (it's usually in the centre of the hall) you can't open your windows during the winter or it'll mess up the "room temp" reading and overheat everyone's rooms on that floor.

30. If you leave your windows open too long during the winter, your pipes may burst. It's happened to an RA, who got murky water leaked all over their things from the pipe breakage. 

Tuesday, October 18

NH Field Trip Re-Cap

Since a few bloggers and quite a few news sources covered our Media and American Politics' field trip to New Hampshire, I thought it'd be useful to pool together all the links...

From the students...
On this blog
We made USA Today!
Exploring New Hampshire - Photos 
NH Field Trip: Mitt Romney
NH Field Trip: Online News at the Concord Monitor
NH Field Trip: Jon Huntsman
Journey to New Hampshire

On Gabbi's blog
Journalism Students in the News
Republican Economic Debate - Dartmouth College (Quick Reflection)
Media and American Politics

On Liz's blog
More Coverage from the Debates!
NH Debates: Up Close and Personal

On Lisa's blog
Media & American Politics Class Trip to NH: Day 1
Media & American Politics Class Trip to NH: Day 2
More photos from trip to NH

We also tweeted (our accounts are @rahtanakul @Hall_Gabbi @LittleLizzie33)
The hashtags we used on Twitter during the field trip were: #mediaandampo #NHprimaries #econdebate

In the news...
Concord Monitor: Economy is touchstone for Romney
Concord Monitor: Huntsman: Focus on America
Time: The Perils of the Town Meeting
Amherst Patch: 5 Things You Need to Know About Today: Oct. 11
C-SPAN: Romney Same-Sex Marriage
C-SPAN: Romney on AIDS policy
ABC News: Romney Badgered on Same-Sex Marriage Questions at N.H Town Hall
National Journal: Fiesty Romney Barnstorms Granite State
Dallas News: 'AP Photo - Huntsman'
USA Today: Election 2012: From the classroom to the campaign
The Daily Show: American Occupy
Yahoo! News: Huntsman tells New Hampshire crowd he's the real deal
CBS News: Huntsman: "I'm not gonna light my hair on fire" for attention
CBS News: Mitt Romney zings "Occupy Wall Street" and praises Hermain Cain in N.H
The Dartmouth: Watch party atmosphere proves subdued, controlled 
Lez Get Real: Romney Tries To Avoid Same-Sex Marriage Issue At NH Town Hall
Huffington Post: Mitt Romney Supports 'Partnership Agreements,' Not Marriage, For Gay Couples

Sunday, October 16

We made USA Today!

USA Today just released an article about our Media and American Politics / SGAC trip to New Hampshire to attend the Dartmouth Republican Presidential Debate as well as town hall meetings held by Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. Here's the link to the article, written by Jordan J. Frasier.

Election 2012: From the Classroom to the Campaign
Every four years the presidential campaign cycle converges with campaign operations and front-porch politicking.
The media, ranging from local newspapers to national television, goes along for the ride, highlighting the interdependent relationship between politics and journalists.
It’s the perfect atmosphere for college students studying political journalism and an opportunity to get out of their lecture chairs and take-in the process.
And that is exactly what is happening right now at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. Every four years the college offers Media and American Politics, a class that coincides with presidential elections. The highlight for students is a two-day trip to New Hampshire to see behind the headlines and sound bites and look at both the candidates and media with their own eyes.
As part of this year’s trip, the students made some of their own headlines.
Media outlets characterized the students visit to a Mitt Romney town hall event in Hopkinton, where they peppered the candidate with social-issue questions, by reporting headlines such as, “Romney badgered on same-sex marriage questions” and “Romney avoids reporters, but not tough questions.”
“I think we were really just asking the questions he didn’t want to answer,” Elizabeth Murray, a junior media studies, journalism and digital arts major at Saint Michael’s, said.
Murray said Romney told the audience the ideal climate for children is a home with one man and one woman. She said the students weren’t happy with some of those answers because they wanted to know more reasoning behind his thoughts, not just his positions.
“When you know why a candidate feels the way he does, it’s easier to get to know them,” Murray added.
In addition to the Romney event, students also attended a Jon Huntsman campaign stop in Tilton, where they also pitched social-issue questions.
The Media and American Politics students were not the only Saint Michael’s students on the trip. Their fellow travelers were students with the Student Global AIDS Campaign who went with the purpose of advancing their cause.
Junior media studies, journalism and digital arts major Gabrielle Hall said there was a clear division on the trip between the activist students wanting to bring attention to their cause and the media politics students looking to get first-hand experience with the election process.
As part of the trip, students also visited with reporters to discuss campaign coverage and spoke with an online editor of the Concord Monitor about how social media and online news impact election reporting.
On the second day of the trip, students attended a debate and had quick encounters with candidates Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Huntsman.
Hall said she was surprised when meeting Bachmann because she found the candidate short in height. She said in class they had discussed how taller candidates often have an advantage and she thought about that upon meeting them.
Furthermore, Hall said when Huntsman approached the group after the debate he referenced some of the students social-issue questions from the day before. She said it was interesting to see questions they asked stick with a candidate.
For Tarah Srethwatanakul, a foreign student with Thai and Swiss citizenship, the experience of observing her first American election was something quite memorable.
“I feel like this type of campaign is really unique to America,” she said of the United State’s emphasis on candidates as people, something she hasn’t seen in elections overseas. 
- Jordan J. Frasier 

Saturday, October 15

Interviewing for Colleges

Since the interviewing season is rapidly approaching, I've dedicated this week's post to the often feared admissions interview. The best advice I can offer for this process is to research the school so that you can provide in-depth answers as to why you'd be a good fit and also come up with questions to ask the interviewer. 

Before my SMC interview, I had done extensive research on the school through their website by contacting current students and various departments, browsing through their activities list, reading through the school's online publications and reading faculty profiles. I think that it's important to do this so that you're really able to go into detail about why you want to attend the college (I want to take a class with Professor X and get involved with X activity. I like X about this college because...), but more importantly, so you know whether you actually want to spend 4 years at such a school in the first place. 

Here are some things you can do to research Saint Michael's:

Visit the school before the interview if you can! You really get a feel for the campus, you can sit down and talk to some of the students to get (usually) uncensored commentary on housing, activities, what stinks, what's great, what the social scene is like, etc. If you're too shy, you'll still get to know what at least one of the students is like through the tour guide, who will be happy to have a chat with you after the tour if you stick around for a couple of minutes. During my SMC visit, I was even able to arrange chats with five of the professors and sit in on some classes! That was actually the deciding factor in my decision to enroll, because on the top of my must-have list for college was passionate and accessible faculty.  

Be prepared to answer these questions:
1. Why do you want to come to our college?
2. What courses are you taking?
3. What activities are you involved in? 

I think that the interview is really an opportunity for both you and the interviewer to figure out if you're a good fit for the school, so remember that it's not a one-way process: you're encouraged to ask questions as well. During my interviews, I had a couple sheets of paper with me to jog my memory: my resume, (very short) bullet point reasons for why I like the college and my questions for the interviewer. It's really not necessary to have all this with you, but it can help you remember things you want to touch on during the interview! 

Friday, October 14


Hello! So, I know that college applications will be due in the coming weeks and I just want to let any prospective students know that I'm here to answer any questions! As a prospective student, I didn't think  that I would have the opportunity to come visit and relied a lot on checking out the student blogs, e-mailing various profiled professors and students and asking a ton of questions through Formspring. In the end, I did come visit but I was able to come up with a lot of good questions to ask during my stay from online research. There's a white and orange question box on the right sidebar of this blog - you can use this to send me all the questions you have!

Wednesday, October 12

Exploring New Hampshire - Photos

Out the bus window on the way to Tilton

Stopping at a Pauli's in Tilton for lunch

Caffeine refuel

Eggs benedict and Belgian waffles! Nom nom nom.

Lunch stop at a restaurant on the Dartmouth campus

Media goes crazy at Dartmouth
Start of the protests on the Dartmouth green

Huntsman signs were all over Tilton
In front of our (wi-fi equipped) bus!

Tuesday, October 11

NH Field Trip: Mitt Romney

The most heated event of our first day was definitely the Hopkinton Town Hall meeting with Mitt Romney. Though we had encountered an arguably more conservative Jon Huntsman earlier, our meeting with him was much more subdued because of the way he expressed his opinions. Mitt Romney seemed to be more strategic about his answers; he didn't seem to care much about pleasing students since he knew that we weren't part of this specific voting district (or supportive of the GOP for that matter) and tried to appeal much more to the older folks, who you can see sitting in the front rows.

Of the 60-ish students on the trip, most of us shared liberal views and some of us were deeply frustrated or even offended by his strong opinions on women's choice and same-sex relationships. It was also clear from the largely conservative crowd at the meeting that some of our 'liberal' questions were not welcome. However, SGAC was able to get a bit of limelight by asking Romney so many questions on AIDS funding that they eventually were able to read him their proposition on how to fund AIDS prevention. We also had quite a few of our students ask him multiple questions on gay rights - but since the media covered the sparring between St. Michael's students and Mitt Romney, you can read all about it in the news:

The town hall three hours before the event

NH Field Trip: Online News at the Concord Monitor

This post is part of the NH Field Trip series. 

One of the places we visited on the first day of the trip was the Concord Monitor in order to chat with online editor Meg Heckman. We mostly discussed the how online news and social media changes the way people take in the US political scene. She explained that one of the challenges with web content is source verification, citing the ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ case. Another example she used for this issue is the authenticity of politician’s tweets ; there is a general idea that social media democratizes opinions but the person behind a politician’s tweets may in fact just be their publicist. This made me question whether in addition to speech writers, we will establish positions for writers who specifically provide content for shorter announcements through tweets and Facebook status updates.  

Monday, October 10

NH Field Trip: Jon Huntsman

After a two and a half hour bus ride (during which we played Clinton campaign documentary The War Room), we finally arrived in Tilton, NH to attend a Jon Huntsman townhall event. I was surprised to find that our students actually made up about 70% of the attendance! Other attendees included older locals, media crews and a smaller group of students from Harvard. The presence of many young people also played into Huntsman’s speech, in which he made some references about the previous administrations passing along unresolved issues to our generation. During the Q&A session, several SMC students were able to get their questions answered by Governer Huntsman – especially SGAC who were able to ask four questions about American foreign aid towards eradicating HIV-AIDS in Africa. Other questions addressed a pipeline in Texas that crossed Native American territory, immigration security issues, policies involving climate change and civil unions. 

And here's a Dallas News article on St. Michael's College students taking a photo with Huntsman! 

SGAC leader Nick talks to Huntsman about funding for AIDS prevention in Africa

Mary-Kaye Huntsman, Jon Huntsman's wife, chats with SMC students

Journey to New Hampshire

Rise and shine! This morning I'll be leaving for New Hampshire with my Media and American Politics and class and SMC's Student Global Aids Campaign to catch the Dartmouth Republican Presidential Debate and its surrounding campaign events. We're hoping to meet Huntsman, Romney, Bachmann and Santorum either today or tomorrow. Keep your eyes peeled for tweets from Gabbi, Liz and I during the trip.

Saturday, October 8

The Global Studies Minor

I recently received a few Formspring questions about my experience with the Global Studies (GL) minor so this post will be dedicated to answering those. The reason I chose to minor in Global Studies is because it combines my interests in languages, linguistics, anthropology and politics while exposing me to disciplines that I hadn't explored before like economics and geography. It's also a good way to keep up with current events since examples of ongoing issues are taken from the news in every class. 

"How do you like it?"
I really appreciate the flexibility of the Global Studies minor in being able to essentially shape the minor around your regional or thematic interest. The only required courses are Foundations of Global Studies and Global Studies Senior Seminar so students are given a lot of freedom to pursue their interests in terms of choosing what language to learn, what type of study abroad experience they want as well as which regionally focused course to take. 

"How are the professors?"
So far, I've only experienced having Katherine Kirby as a GL instructor for Foundations of Global Studies. She's originally a Philosophy professor so sometimes she will link the material with a philosopher's theory which is pretty interesting and because there is no real ideal 'global studies' professor, she acknowledges that she's not an expert in certain fields like economics or geography and will actually bring in guest speakers to elaborate on these topics. A few weeks ago, Joanne Scott, who is a professor in the Business department gave us a presentation on stocks and the global economy, which allowed us to make more sense of our assigned readings. A couple other professors I've encountered are Tara Natarajan in the economics department who I met at the 'Faith and Food' panel discussion and Kimberly Sultze who is my first year seminar professor and academic advisor. I can honestly say that these professors truly care about their students and their work - I've continued discussions with all of these professors outside of class, especially Prof Sultze who I visit during office hours at least twice a month. So from my experience, they're very accessible and will give you copious notes on how to improve on your assignments. Finally, your greatest ally during your study abroad application process and re-integration experience is Peggy Imai. I've had three appointments with her and she's really knowledgable about the different types of programs available as well as what types of students they might appeal to. 

"How are the classes?"
I think how the classes are depends on which departments you choose to study with, but the two required GL courses are discussion-based. 

"What is interesting about it?"
This minor is what you make it, so what's interesting about it is what's interesting to you. 

Friday, October 7

Saint Michael's Speakers

Author of Soul of a Citizen, Paul Loeb
One of my favorite aspects of student life here is the breadth of speakers that we get. So far I've been able to attend a panel on U.S foreign policy following 9/11 (which you can watch here), a talk by social activism speaker Paul Loeb, a panel on the U.S and Eurozone debt crisis, a workshop by diversity education specialist Maura Cullen, a "Faith and Food" panel that explained how Buddhism, Judaism and Hinduism affect the eating habits of practitioners and a presentation on the Vermont Migrant Farmworker Solidarity Project.

Burlington mayoral candidate Jason Lorber shaking hands with an SMC student

There have also been some in-class opportunities for me to be challenged and inspired by working professionals. For my American Politics and Media class with David Mindich, I was able to go to a Labor Day speech by Bernie Sanders and then chat with Seven Days columnist Shay Totten, Burlington Free Press reporter Matt Ryan and Burlington mayoral candidate Jason Lorber.  Then in my my Media Revolutions class (which is mainly about media history and different mediums of communication), SMC alumnus Jonah Kessel came to talk to us about his post-grad experiences as an international photo and video journalist. It was inspiring and invigorating to see how much an SMC grad had accomplished and useful to hear the perspective of someone who had been through what we, as students, are currently experiencing.

Speaker representing a Vermont worker's union 
at Bernie Sander's Labor Day event

Monday, October 3

Formspring Q: Campus Ministry

Q. Tarah, i'm interested in move and campus ministry as a prospective student, is there anyone who i should get in touch with to learn more how i can get involved? thanks (=

A. Hey! Sure, I know that Alex and Derek have both gotten involved with VITA, which is the campus ministry at SMC. Here's an answer Alex wrote last year about how to get involved with VITA and you can also check out the ministry's page on the SMC website here and VITA's Twitter page here

Saturday, October 1

Downtown Burlington, its Eccentric Street Performers and Vibrant Nightlife

When my friend declared that Saint Michael's is "truly in the middle of nowhere", he was not entirely wrong but Church Street proves that the campus is only situated a bus ride away from one of America's liveliest towns with offerings such as the South End Art Hop, Fashion's Night Out, jazz nights at the Flynn and movie festivals at the Roxy. The streets of Burlington are throbbing with life; they're lined with crazy acrobatic shows, specialty boutiques, live musical performances and funky caf├ęs. One of my most thrilling concert experiences was actually in Burlington; I attended the Alfredo Rodriguez Trio jazz cabaret night at the Flynn last Saturday and was blown away - the musicians were passionate and having so much fun, the audience gave lively responses and the intimate atmosphere made for a perfect night. If you're interested in reading more about the SMC Cultural Pass and the jazz night, you can click here to read Ben's post. And for your enjoyment - I present you with Burlington's very own street performers: