Abroad Profile: Learning to love country music

Jordan Javelet

Contributing Editor

have been in England for three weeks now, and one thing I have realized is British people do not understand the appeal of country music. In their defense, many Americans do not understand it either—including, until recently, me. Since leaving the States, however, country music is all I want to listen to, whether I’m studying or reading or hanging out in my room or eating dinner. When I first felt the urge to listen to country music, I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but after a few days, I realized that my desire for the twangy sounds of Luke Bryan and Keith Urban stemmed from my desire to feel closer to home. There is something about country music that is quintessentially American.

Country music tells the same stories over and over: girls and boys falling in love, getting drunk at a tailgate party, parking the truck on a back road and listening to music (maybe even stealing a kiss), hanging around campfires eating greasy home-cooked foods. Hardly a complete picture of American values; more like a small microcosm. And I’ll admit that this experience of life has not been my experience by a long shot. But being familiar with the musical stories of such experiences makes me feel it has been. I can see America by listening to the songs. And it makes me feel closer to home.

Country music talks literally about American soil in its every verse, describing the people and their relationship to the vast, open land that exists in much of America. In America, we can drive for hours upon hours and still be in the same state. We can find places out in the woods to hang out with our friends and build bonds with each other and with nature. We can swim in lakes and run around in fields and climb mountains. America is a nation unified by the concept of freedom, and that sense of freedom comes in part from the wide open spaces the land itself provides, and with those wide open spaces come the freedom to go.

Because England is a small country located near a lot of other small countries, British life lacks the sense of vastness and freedom that exists in America. My British friends don’t see any appeal in the idea of a summer spent swimming in a lake and sneaking whiskey out to a cornfield and blasting “Sweet Home Alabama” on the Fourth of July, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that many Americans understand that, even if they’ve never lived it and never will. And that is what country music denotes.

My life in America was not like a country song, but now that I’m in another country, it feels more like it than where I am now. So while I’ll admit that there’s something a little strange about my intense desire to listen to country music when I’m studying abroad in England, I’m thankful for the reminders of the Americana lifestyle that country artists such as Billy Currington in his song “We Are Tonight” provide: “Summer pouring through a rolled down window / Tearing down all those two-lane back roads / Freedom and fireflies in the air.”

Tilling it like it is: Ag Co-op- anything grows!

Todd Troester

Staff Writer

Over the past few years, Goucher College’s Agricultural Cooperative (Ag Co-op) has grown in leaps and bounds. The first changes included a large and costly renovation of the garden, expanding it from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet. This expansion was complete with 7 dump truck loads of topsoil and a new wooden fence. The group also expanded their operations in the greenhouse to include a new hydroponic system and rebuilt several greenhouse beds.

Naturally, with all the expansion and growth, the costs of keeping up with what has been built have increased. The cost also became more immediate. Maren Stunes ’15, President of Ag Co-op, expressed, “If a hydroponic pump breaks, we can’t wait to fix it. It needs to be done immediately.” This was the main motivation Ag Co-op leaders had for separating from Goucher’s Student Government. Stunes indicated that Ag Co-op will have access to their ac

counts and funds through a newly formed Board of Faculty and Staff.

The Board of Faculty and Staff is a new feature of the revamped Ag Co-op leadership structure. The group of faculty and staff will provide a “range of long term supporters that can represent Ag Co-op in other areas of Goucher College,” indicated Stunes. The Board will consist of 3-5 faculty or staff members, serving three year terms. This long term commitment of the Board members will ensure smooth transitions of student leadership. The faculty members also give academic legitimacy to Ag Co-op, as seen in the summer research project with the hydroponic system. Ag Co-op’s Board of Faculty and Staff also serve the purpose of holding the four Executive Board leaders accountable for their responsibilities.

Yet another feature of the restructured Ag Co-op is the addition of three Vice President positions. Erin Snyder ’15 is the VP of the Greenhouse, Katrina Kniss ’15 is the VP of Finances, and Max Heller ’15 serves as the VP of Facilities. The purpose of these positions is to “spread out the responsibilities and hold each other accountable,” according to Stunes. Stunes also made the point that four people can make more connections than just one. Spreading out the responsibilities also allows for more people to accomplish things.

Stunes mentioned several hefty goals she hopes to accomplish within Ag Co-op this year. “I want to leave a strong sense of community,” stated Stunes. She also indicated the importance of following through with the ideas and traditions laid out by Ag Co-op’s previous leaders. These presidencies include keeping the majority of the garden a malleable space where each generation can grow and plant what they want to while also including permanent areas that will “thrive for a long time.” Stunes also hopes to finish big projects like the garden shed mosaic and construction of several new arbors.

Ag Co-op Green Tip: Save water by showering with a buddy!

Goucher Eats: The descent of pumpkin mania

Jessica Gude

Features Co-Editor

can say that, without a doubt, fall is here. What tipped me off? It wasn’t the dropping temperatures, the red and orange beginning to speckle treetops and sidewalks, or the pop-up Halloween stores. No, I was alerted to fall’s presence by the annual descent of pumpkin mania. Spiced and hot beverages are advertised by every major coffee chain and accompanied by any imaginable pastry of the same flavor. Even several weeks ago, a trip to Trader Joe’s revealed an entire display of pumpkin related products, everything from oatmeal and cereal bars, to corn bread and pancake mix, all featuring fall’s favorite orange squash. As someone who keeps a fair amount of Libby’s Pure Pumpkin on hand throughout the year, I’m not complaining. That day I ended up leaving TJ’s with pumpkin flavored coffee, rooibos tea, and something called pumpkin butter that I’ve been smearing liberally on just about anything. While I don’t restrict my consumption of pumpkin-themed products to the fall months, I must say that it’s exciting when the rest of the world joins in. Why do we fall so hard for pumpkin every time the temperature starts to drop? Sure, the canned stuff takes center stage in grocery stores at this time, but it can usually be found in the baking aisle year round (trust me, I’ve been known to make up pumpkin soup in the middle of July).  Part of it, I’m sure, comes from the idea of it being “seasonal” both agriculturally and socially in the way that we’ve assigned certain symbols, activities, and even feelings to specific times of year. And in this social construct, fall looks like piles of leaves, it feels like sweaters and high school football games, it smells like bonfires, and it tastes like pumpkin spice.

Here on campus most of us don’t have a lot of cooking supplies or feel like walking all the way to the end of the hallway to use the communal kitchen. If this is you, but you’d like to make yourself a little piece of the seasonal spirit, I have you covered. This recipe is super simple and pretty delicious if I do say so myself. Canned pumpkin is easy to find and pretty inexpensive. The liquid egg whites (or “egg substitute”) are a mini-fridge staple for me, simply because they’re really versatile and are a lot less messy than their shelled counterparts, but if you have real eggs on hand they should work just fine too. Use 1 whole egg for every ¼ cup of substitute and it should turn out, so without further ado I give you: Microwave Pumpkin Pie Soufflé

Equipment:

A microwave safe bowl or large mug

A fork

A microwave

Ingredients:

1 cup of pumpkin puree

½ Cup of liquid egg whites

Pinch of Salt

Cinnamon to Taste

~Teaspoon Sugar/Sweetener

Instructions:

*Place egg whites in bowl and whisk gently a few times with the fork.

*Add pumpkin and mix until the two are well incorporated with one another.

*Add in spices and mix in well.

*After everything is homogenous, place in the microwave for two minutes.

*Continue to microwave in two-minute increments until completely cooked. It should be “solid,” be sure to check the bottom, where uncooked egg likes to hide. The entire cook time is usually about ten to twelve minutes.

*Once cooked through, remove from microwave and let cool (it will be very hot).

*Once cool enough to eat grab a fork and enjoy!

The state of ebola

Jessica Gude

Features Co-Editor

Ebola. A word that I’ve probably heard more in the last twenty-four hours than in all of my life excluding the last month or so. Ebola is a viral infection that causes fever like symptoms and is often fatal. A virus is not a bacterium; it is in no way similar to bacteria. It is small yes, but it cannot reproduce by itself. It must attach to a host cell and essentially spit its genetic information inside; it can then reproduce inside the cell and will eventually cause its host to lyse. The new viruses can then spread out and infect other cells. A viral infection cannot be treated with antibiotics, it is not a bacteria. So please, stop hosing your kids off with Purell, it’s not helping. Furthermore, it is not at this time believed to be airborne, but is transferred through direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids of those already infected.

Ebola was first documented in 1976, when it infected 284 people, killing 151, in Sudan. It was then seen in the same year in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, (DRC) resulting in a quarantine of the area, and ultimately 318 infections and 280 deaths. A second major outbreak stuck the DRC in 1995 and two more in 2007 and 2012. Uganda faced major outbreaks in 2000 and 2007 and two smaller ones in 2012, and the Republic of Congo saw one in 2003. A major outbreak occurred in March of 2014 in the country of Guinea in Western Africa; it quickly spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia and later to Nigeria and Senegal.

On September 19, Eric Duncan of Liberia flew to Texas. He visited a hospital after feeling ill, but was sent home. On September 30, he was diagnosed with Ebola, and on October 8th he was dead. On October 12, Nina Pham a health care provider in Texas was diagnosed with the virus and a second nurse, Amber Vinson, was diagnosed on the 15. In total, the World Health Organization estimates that of 9,216 documented cases, 4,555 deaths have been reported, although they admit that both of these numbers are likely low. Furthermore, they estimate that 216 of the deaths were those of health care workers.

Let’s put this into perspective. Of the 4,555 people who have died, one of those deaths happened on US soil. Of the 9,216 diagnoses, three have occurred in the US, two being US citizens (not taking into account possible US health care workers abroad). Is this a huge percentage? No, it is tiny. Is it a prob

lem? Well yes, certainly the spread of any disease is concerning. However, we need to keep in mind that medical practices here are much different than in areas affected in Africa, where there are often not enough beds to meet their needs, as well as much less medical supplies and personnel. We also need to remember that, while the disease poses a threat to the US, that threat is very small compared to the threat it continues to pose to Sub-Saharan and Western Africa. So should we be searching for better treatment and possibly preventative measures? Absolutely, but such efforts should have been made long before the disease reached the US. The issue of containment is also touchy. Is it wrong to send someone with Ebola into the US (or across the US) if that will provide him or her with the best possible medical treatment and therefore the best chance at survival? Does the risk of infecting someone else justify not putting in every effort to save someone who is already infected? These are not easy questions, but questions that the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control are faced with and will need to answer sooner, rather than later.

Reel Talk with Annie: “Finding Vivian Maier”

Annie Schwartz

Staff Writer

“Finding Vivian Maier” is a fantastic documentary about the mystery behind a complex woman and her profound works of photography. After purchasing roughly 30,000 negatives at an auction, director John Maloof is determined to uncover the history behind these works. Piecing together the puzzle that is Maier’s past, Maloof travels across the world, revealing the strange life of a self-taught photographer.

Meeting with those connected to Maier, Maloof reveals a woman who was dedicated to documenting the world around her, but who strove to keep her own life a secret. Maier did so quite successfully. Conflicting interviews leave many questions unanswered as the viewer is left to determine Maier’s true character. Who was this strange woman and why did she choose to hide her past?

What makes this film fantastic is not so much the work of Maloof and co-director Charlie Siskel as it is the content provided by Maier herself. Compared to photographers such as Berenice Abbott and Weegee, Maier’s photographs are captivating. Her unique eye provides a fascinating outlook on the world. She sees what the average eye does not and is not afraid to explore what is deep and dark about our world.

Not only will this film introduce you to one of America’s hidden talents, but will also leave you guessing. In “Finding Vivian Maier,” Maloof establishes an unfinished caricature and invites you to provide its final details. It is the unknown of this reclusive artist that is most intriguing. No longer around to confirm her feelings and beliefs, pieces of Maier’s life will always remain in shadows.

Like Maloof in his journey to understanding this multifaceted personality, the audience is left with feelings of obsession, determined and yet struggling to comprehend this strange woman and her peculiar habits. While opinions on Maier herself may vary, I can promise that you will fall in love with her work. If there is one thing to get out of this film, it is the discovery of an American master and an abundant archive of marvelous photographs.

Club Profile: GOP Club

Michael Layer

Staff Writer

Republicans often have been characterized as being uncharitable with an over-emphasis on self-interests and a stubborn unwillingness to compromise. However, George El-Khoury ’16, an organizing force for the Goucher College GOP Club, was able to confidently dispel these unfair accusations. The Goucher College GOP Club is a collective, governed by harried republican beliefs regarding politics at the federal and local level.

“We are starting this club to help the community and to have fun with it,” El-Khoury said, speaking on behalf of his fellow club members. Already, he and the club have been able to do both, raising over $200.00 for the Michael Lynch 9/11 Foundation. The club has been excelling in bettering its community and has no plans on stopping: “We plan to host events, raise money for charities, [and] get involved… Our goal is to help Goucher and the greater communities.”

After a brief hiatus and a change in club management, the Goucher College GOP Club seems to be back and better than ever. The club has yet to elect officers to set positions, but the structure of the club has been formed around Mark McDonald ’16, Stefan Shultz’16, Michael Brennan ’16, and also El-Khoury. “We believe a diverse campus like Goucher’s needs [a Republican club].” However, a diverse campus, like Goucher, must include all sides of the political spectrum. El-Khoury spoke regarding the unbalanced distribution of political affiliations: “Although we are vastly outnumbered, we respect the opinions and viewpoints of our fellow students… our goal is not to convert people from liberal to conservative, but to express ourselves in a respectful manner.”The club’s design is dedicated to bettering the local community, whether that is through fundraising and community service, expressing their opinions and introducing different ways of thinking, or simply through setting an example on campus. “We are passionate about what we believe in… but we will have open doors for anyone who is interested, whether you are a Republican or not. We want to make a positive impact on our community.”

Abroad Profile: Filling the empty spaces

Jordan Javelet

Contributing Editor

I have never been particularly good with change. Up until now, the biggest change I had ever experienced was moving from my home in Denver to attend Goucher, and let me assure you—the transition was terrifying to me. Suddenly, I was on the other side of the country with no friends, no familiar spaces or comfort zones, no support other than what my parents could offer me over the phone. I spent nearly two weeks going through the motions of life and falling into bed at night, completely disheartened by my paralyzing fear of change.

But after two weeks, I began opening up. I made new friends. I became familiar with Goucher’s campus. I formed a support group of faculty members and fellow students. I no longer felt empty, and I was proud of my accomplishment. I actually grew to like the change from my hometown.

It was then that I realized that change was not really the thing that scared me: I was afraid of the transition that must take place for change to occur. I picture it like coming to the end of the chapter in the book and then turning the page to start the next chapter—the end of one chapter might be sad, but there is hope when the new chapter begins. The scary part is the blank space in between the last line of one chapter and the first line of the next, where all the doubt and uncertainty waits to seize you. What if you turn the page and hate follows? What if it’s nothing like you anticipated or imagined it would be?

All change comes with this empty space between what has been and what will be. It is the transition period between starting a new job, the settling in when you move to a new house. It is the tenuous limbo between here and there, the uncertain helplessness between now and then.

The blank space in my journey abroad has not been easy. I arrived in England a day before my program started, which meant I had one night completely alone in a hotel room across the world from anything I knew. I was trapped in the white space between chapters, waiting for the page to turn.

I spent the first two days in London craving some sort of permanence in my life. I was living out of two suitcases in a hotel room, I had no friends, and I certainly didn’t feel anything familiar. Looking around London was difficult because it felt almost like New York City, but there was this strange foreignness—something I couldn’t even fully describe—that kept me from feeling at home. I was scared that the blank space would never end, that I would never turn the page, never start my next chapter.

But then I remembered something: when I went to Goucher, I was unhappy until I took the initiative to make friends and familiarize myself with Goucher’s campus and the surrounding area. So on my third night in London, I decided to forego staying in the cocoon of my hotel room watching House of Cards on Netflix and, instead, venture out with my orientation group at ten o’clock at night in Central London. As we walked through the city, we began a lively discussion about free will and morality, quoting reputable sources, excitedly interjecting our insights, and I began to feel comfortable again. My knowledge became my comfort zone, confirming that I have something valuable to share, and suddenly I felt connected to ten new friends. And just like that, the blank space finally ended.

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