Hillel welcomes students to its renovated space

Victoria Russell

Chief Copy Editor

As students returned to Goucher College this fall, many noticed the beautiful new Hillel space located across from Stimson Dining Hall. The renovations were a few years in the making, but Hillel is very happy with how the space turned out. “It has been a process of two or three years,” says Rabbi Josh Snyder, Goucher Hillel Executive Director. “To be more specific, this particular renovation effort got started last summer in 2013. One particular donor helped with the Chai Campaign.” Chai directly translates to 18 in Hebrew; the number of years the Goucher Hillel has been around. The students agree that it was time for a change. “Hillel has evolved over the past few years and [this new space] seems like this is a testament to this transition,” says senior class representative Eli Kaufman.

Private donations from four donors helped to transform this space, including Frona Brown, class of 1964, “who made a transformative gift,” says Snyder. The lounge will be named and dedicated to Esther Ann Brown, her daughter. There were also three other alumnae/i who made this possible: Beth Goldsmith, class of 1972, Fern Karesh Hurst, class of 1968, and Earle and Joanne Linder, parents of the class of 2013.

The Hillel hired interior designers Tammy Heyman and Suzanne Levin-Lapides to help design the space. However, the Hillel wanted to make sure the students had input into the design and the elements of the new space. “We had a meeting for students to design furniture, colors, tables, etc. and to vote on it all,” says Snyder. Hillel also received a major upgrade in terms of technology. Students decided that they wanted a Smart TV, as well as a Deer Park water cooler, and a glass board, which will be installed soon, to display events.

Now that the new space is almost complete, the Hillel is going to be hosting a number of open house events. Student leaders are going to set up a welcome desk during lunch hours, inviting students into the space, as well as prospective families.

“Hillel wants to provide a new place for the Goucher community to come together for intercultural and inter religious community,” Snyder says. This semester, the Hillel is going to be hosting movie nights on Mondays and game nights on Wednesdays. During the second Tuesday of the month, the Hillel will also be sponsoring Hillel Happy Hour with different snacks and activities for students. Kaufman also stresses that anyone is welcome in the Hillel space. “You don’t have to be Jewish to participate in Hillel events or to enter and enjoy the space. Hillel has social justice programming. Hillel has educational programming. Hillel has social programming. There is so much for everyone to do.“ The space will also be available for other clubs on campus to reserve and use.

This spring, the Hillel is hoping to hold a formal dedication in the new space once all the work has been completed. The Hillel is also still collecting donations from alumnae/i. They are doing a “Sponsor a Chair” program, where young alumnae/i can help to sponsor a chair in the new space for a donation.

In addition to the new space, the Hillel has also undergone staffing changes. Karin Hassin is the full time Israel coordinator, connecting students to Israel. Rachel Plotkin is the new Jewish student life coordinator, working with the different student boards and leadership committees.

For a student who may know nothing about the Hillel, Snyder says, “Come visit. If you’re curious, if you’ve never walked in before, come do your homework.”

College responds to emails sent to members of grad department

Rachel Brustein

On August 31, Goucher president Jose Bowen sent out an email to the college community explaining that “three very disturbing email messages containing racist language” had been sent to students, staff, and faculty in the Graduate Programs in Education. The first two of the three emails referenced were sent on August 26, and the third was sent on August 29.

Both Public Safety and the Baltimore County Police Department (BCPD) were notified. Richard Puller, the Director of Public Safety, said that on the day the emails were received, “Goucher College officials…reached out to the parties involved to advise that we were aware of the emails.” Puller also added that no more of these emails have been sent since August 29, and the police are continuing to investigate.

Bowen made it clear that these emails had not come from a Goucher email address, but rather someone pretending to be from Goucher with the email goucherfaculty@gmail.com. He also stressed the importance of notifying Public Safety if one were to receive another email with offensive content. Additionally, Bowen encouraged students to attend last week’s “Listen in/Speak Out” discussion about race and the recent incidents in Ferguson, Missouri, and to use the discussion as an opportunity to further our campus discourse on race.

New orientation ensues for first-year and transfer students

Rachel Brustein


The orientation program for all first-year and transfer students experienced significant changes this year. The biggest change  was the choice to drop summer orientation, which usually was held in the beginning of June.  Another change was dropping the early immersion programs. Christine Krieger, Associate Director of the Office of Student Engagement (OSE) said that attendance at summer orientation had been low in recent previous years. Billy Daly ’16, one of two Orientation Committee (OC) co-chairs explained, “to offset that change, we had everyone come back a day early.”

Beginning orientation a day early gave students more time to get to know one another before classes started. Kiera McCarthy ’15, Chair of OC noted that this also gave students “extra time to settle into Goucher’s community…[and] help every student feel welcome.” Although early immersion had been a positive experience for students in previous years, it sometimes created a divide between students who had and who had not participated in early immersion once the actual orientation program started.

Goucher Connects, a daylong program during the Friday of orientation, gave students the opportunity to volunteer in Baltimore with their fellow classmates, the OC, and the Connections Peer Facilitators. Though the program did not intend to serve as a replacement for early immersion, Daly explained, “we [OC] wanted to give everyone a similar immersive experience and an opportunity to get hands-on…[and] take a break from orientation.” No other college in the Baltimore area does a program like this on such a large scale, which makes Goucher unique.

McCarthy added that Goucher Connects allowed for “peer facilitators and the new students an opportunity to get to know one another and the Baltimore community.” Annabeth Lucas ’16, another co-chair of OC, said that through Goucher Connects, the OC “hoped to create an experience that was much more fulfilling and memorable…than simply strolling the Inner Harbor.” This enabled students to see a specific aspect of the city, rather than just a tourist destination. Lindsay Johnson ’05, Associate Director of Community-Based Learning (CBL) articulated one of the goals: “connect first-year students to one another through collaborative work,” and that this was not just “a day of service.” Krieger, who coordinates the majority of the orientation program, said that Goucher Connects “made a huge impact on orientation,” and hopes to continue the program. Cass Freedland, Director of CBL, worked to create the partnerships with the organizations for Goucher Connects, and is planning to continue these partnerships throughout the academic year.

Saturday night, OC and Goucher Student Government (GSG) collaborated on a new social event, First Night in the Ath. Several clubs and organizations on campus sponsored interactive activities, giving first-year and transfer students a sampling of what opportunities there are at Goucher.  In the past, one of the only social events at orientation was a dance, which did not appeal to everyone. Lucas said that this event was able to “create an environment for first-years [and transfers] to mingle,” where dancing was still an option. Daly, who was a key player in developing the event, said that instead of Taste of Towson, a previous orientation event, the OC and GSG wanted to give students “a taste of Goucher, and that’s why we wanted to work with a bunch of different clubs.” In the past, students’ first exposure to clubs was at club rush, which doesn’t “give you a chance to see what they [the clubs] do before you commit to at least getting emails from them,” Daly added.

McCarthy, Daly, and Lucas stayed on campus throughout the summer to plan the program with Krieger. McCarthy said that this included serving as a “liaison between the committee and Christine…[and] planning the Orientation Committee’s trainings.”

While there can be an overwhelming amount of information presented to first-year and transfer students at orientation, Daly explained that what he believes are the most important takeaways are not necessarily remembering all of the information, but being able to recognize the resources available on campus and “to identify some key people in each of those departments that they know they can go to.” Lucas elaborated on how orientation can serve several purposes for different people. “For some it is simply a way to meet new people…[and] for others it is an academic godsend as they meet with advisors, various departments…and staff.”

Anna Bloomfield ’18, “really enjoyed Goucher Connects because we got to make new friends and bond over how gross the compost was.” Three first-year students agreed that the more relaxed events were more fun than the more structured events because it gave them the opportunity to have conversations with people without being pressured to move onto another activity.

Looking forward, Daly would “love to continue and expand First Night in the Ath” as an orientation event. Though it is too early to say whether or not all of the changes that were made this year will stick, McCarthy said that something wonderful about orientation is that “we [OC] can easily get feedback from students and make changes as necessary.” 

OIS announces new study abroad policies

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

On August 19th the Interim Associate Provost for International Studies, Eric Singer, sent out an email to all staff members regarding a change to the voucher system for study abroad programs. The changes will begin with this year’s freshmen, who, rather than receiving the standard $1200 voucher will need to apply for the Goucher Global Grant. This new grant will allow financially disadvantaged students to apply for up to $2500, which will be used to cover travel expenses.

The grant is the creation of Singer, Provost Marc Roy and President José Bowen. Roy said, “The vouchers had a built-in unfairness. The system should be a more fair system.” He explained that the original voucher system was designed to cover the price of travel, regardless of where a student was going or their economic status. The new system, in his words, is “a more equitable arrangement.”

Singer emphasized that Goucher was neither cutting the study abroad requirement, nor was it cutting any programs. He also said there were talks about changing the program last year, but “no specific policy” was actually discussed. When asked whether the changes had anything to do with current economic issues, Singer said, “Everything has to do with economic issues… It would be irresponsible not to notice. The college as a whole requires us to pay attention to the bottom line.”

Roy also bought up economic issues as one of the contributing factors to the change. He also said, “The college is always looking to make study abroad costs as low as possible.” However, there would not be huge difference between the amount of money Goucher currently spends on study abroad and the amount it will spend.  He added that it would be hard to tell how the new system will work out until this year’s current freshmen go abroad in their junior or senior year. “We can always change it,” he added, “We’ll figure out what went wrong and what needs to be adjusted.”

“Our hope is that it won’t have a negative effect,” Singer said. “There will be less of a hardship for families that have financial need issues.

The application process will not be difficult. A student will need to simply check off a box when filling out their study abroad forms and the Financial Aid Office will help determine if they qualify and if so, how much. Students who choose to study abroad in non-traditional countries will have a better chance of receiving grant money. Non-traditional countries are any countries outside of Europe. Students in the U.S. and at Goucher tend to gravitate towards programs in countries like England, Spain and France.

Singer said, “These countries are closest to America, culturally and academically. We are trying to highlight other countries.” Students who choose to study in Europe, however, will not be penalized.

Goucher remains the only school the United States that requires all students to study abroad. The school offers over sixty programs in thirty-two countries and six continents. Some of the countries are: England, France, Spain, Italy, Norway, Argentina, China, Serbia, Ghana and Russia. Besides semester-long programs, Goucher also offers Intensive Courses Abroad, (ICA) which last around three weeks, and which change from year to year depending on the cost and the number of students interested. This year, Goucher added two new ICAs: one in Amsterdam and another that goes to Japan and Taiwan.

The era of Bowen begins

Sarah Callander

Features Co-Editor

It’s hard to overlook President José Bowen’s presence around campus. Students may see him playing on the “Gouchester United” intramural team, walking his dogs, attending sports events, participating in Goucher Pilates, or commuting from the President’s House to the President’s Office. While many Goucher students have questions for Dr. Bowen, he has responded with just as many questions for the community. “A college is a very complicated organism,” he stated in an interview earlier this week. “The details are more complicated than what appears to happen. The same is true for public safety or for the people who clean the bathrooms. What are their interests? What matters most? Sometimes the answer is easy and sometimes it’s not – but my job is to hear as much as possible and to listen carefully and try to figure out where we can find common ground and make easy changes.”

As students see changes in admissions, orientation, study abroad, financial aid, and technology—questions of Goucher’s identity and purpose come to mind. Bowen notes that many of these differences don’t call for easy changes and will need committees to look at the larger issues at hand.

One of these easier changes was the Internet. Bowen wrote in an email regarding the Internet that the upgrade was the number one request from students so they invested in a new upgrade this summer. The Internet outage that affected students on September 7 was not an issue with Goucher’s Internet or equipment but the outside internet service provider. Students have seen the wireless units being installed in their dorms but it hasn’t been clear what the benefits of that upgrade have been yet. Bowen says that the major Wi-Fi upgrade will be ready for a few weeks and that it will significantly increase the speed and reliability of the Internet. Concerning the changes in the library’s information commons and computers, the President wrote “The priority was put on Wi-Fi for everyone and a strategy to move to a more connected and more mobile campus. We clearly have much to do in upgrading spaces and technology.”

On the path of upgrading the campus, Goucher has launched a task force led by Dean of Students, Bryan Coker, along with an architectural firm, to look into replacing the Stimson dining and residential halls. Bowen said “I do know that housing and Stimson are a priority. That didn’t take very long [to figure out].” At this point, the college is asking many questions again about what Goucher requires of a new dorm: What would the building look like? Should there be singles, doubles or suite style living? What kind of communal spaces should be on each floor and should they include recreational facilities, ping pong tables, a lap pool, or separate study rooms? How many students should live there and should it be a freshman only dorm or open to all students? “I think we have to do it fairly quickly because the building needs work and I don’t want to have to do work and tear it down. The not knowing is always the hardest thing.”

One of the most pressing issues is low enrollment. Bowen admits that the college needs to return its enrollment levels where it was a few years ago, which would fulfill Goucher’s master plan. The plan calls for 1,600 undergraduate students because the college has the room to house, feed, and teach that number of students. Goucher is not alone in seeing a slight decrease in enrollment. There is a demographic shift in the nation: there are fewer 18-year-olds and consequently fewer students applying to college. Additionally, Bowen cites that Baltimore, and the East Coast in general, is being depopulated largely because of residents relocating to the South and to the West.

Bowen sees that we can correct Goucher’s unsustainable track by increasing enrollment. “We wanted to do something innovative in higher education and if you don’t do something innovative, you don’t get attention in the media,” says Bowen of the new Goucher Video Application. Bowen further explains the positives and negatives of such an original plan, “the minute you get attention in the media, everybody who doesn’t read past the headline has 30 opinions. The good news is we got a lot of great coverage coast to coast and every high school counselor and admissions dean has heard of Goucher.” The President also explains some of the personal positive feedback that he has received since the rollout of the application. He gives examples like high school teachers, or those who teach students with learning disabilities, or someone who just went through a divorce and their child had a rough semester at high school, have all been relieved that a college offered this alternative. Goucher’s Video Application (GVA) has received widespread media coverage and presidents from colleges around the country have been writing to Bowen to say that they have been asking the same questions of the college admissions process.

“We wanted to make it easier to apply, not easier to get in,” remarked Bowen. He said that although much of the feedback, both on the positive and negative side, has been extremely personal, the idea for GVA was based in data. Goucher wanted to get in a conversation with students who don’t apply to liberal arts colleges or have never really heard of them. “Lots of high schools send nobody to college. Nobody. But you probably don’t know any of them because you went to college. But it can’t mean that nobody at that school is capable [of attending college].” By maximizing Goucher’s publicity and offering an appealing alternative, Goucher admissions wanted to encourage a different group of students to apply. Bowen cites a study that reports that, “There are tens of thousands of students a year who have the grades and have the SAT scores to go to any great school; they could go to Princeton or Harvard.” These students end up applying to zero selective liberal arts colleges because they have never heard of these schools, or the options weren’t shown to them, or they thought their family couldn’t afford it.

Bowen often tells students a personal story about his college application process that begins with the high school counselor handing him two applications. At his high school of 650 students (where AP courses were not offered), the two options presented to students were: an open enrollment two-year city college or an open enrollment four-year state college. “The assumption was that nobody from this high school is going to go anywhere else,” recalled Bowen. Finally Bowen’s mother got frustrated with this system and went to talk to the counselor. “My mother didn’t speak much English and she’s about four-feet tall.” Bowen’s mother yelled at the high school counselor in Spanish and decided to take one of the many college forms the counselor had on his desk. She brought it home, put Bowen’s name on the top of it, made him fill out the rest of it and stood over him while he completed the application. “I’d never heard of the school, I’d never seen it, and I only sent in the application because she told me to…And I went to Stanford, I got in.”

Bowen views the GVA as he does many other parts of Goucher. It is essential to ask the right questions and determine how these factors apply to the whole picture of the well being of the institution. There will be an open forum to discuss the GVA with Bowen in the upcoming weeks. “We’ll see how it goes and make changes as needed but we introduced a new idea into higher education,” concludes Bowen. “I think it fits with Goucher’s mission of inclusion and social justice.”

While Goucher can expect many more changes to come in the near future, Bowen is embarking on a “Listening Tour” of campus to learn first-hand about all the faculty and staff departments and try to visit many of student organizations as well. Students are quickly learning about Bowen and Goucher’s new changes, but Bowen admits that he is still the new guy on campus. “I am only nine, ten weeks in so we’re still learning.”

Alumnae/i Weekend: Goucher says goodbye to Sandy Ungar

Rachel Brustein
Co-Features Editor

During this year’s annual Alumnae/i Weekend, which took place from April 25-27,

Members Goucher community gather in the Hyman Forum for a gala in honor of Sanford Ungar (Photo: Rachel Brustein)

Members Goucher community gather in the Hyman Forum for a gala in honor of Sanford Ungar (Photo: Rachel Brustein)

over 1,000 guests were welcomed for 65 events, both on and off campus. There were special events for the reunion classes, which were for alumnae/i who graduated in years ending in 4 and 9. Cori Tyner ’82, director of alumnae/i affairs said there was a “great turnout.”
A major part of the weekend is the Alumnae and Alumni of Goucher College (AAGC) Annual Meeting. The AAGC is the governing body of the alumnae/i association. The annual meeting brings classes together, recognizes donors, and presents awards. The Jenifer Mitchell Reed ’86 Young Alumnae/i Award went to Kate Howell Bullard ’04 and John Olszewski ’04. This award always goes to an alumna or alumnus who is five to ten years out of college, recognizing him or her for volunteer service. The Ethel Cockey ’23 Award went to Judith Brigstocke Hundertmark ’54. This award is also for volunteer service, but goes to a senior alumna or alumnus. Hundertmark’s mother was also a Goucher alumna and received the same award many years ago. The Dorothy Lamberton Clapp ’39 Award, for those who have donated generously to the college, went to Jean Daniels Hawley ’59 and Mary Cole Dickerman ’59. The most prestigious award the college can give to an alumnae/i, the Award for Excellence in Public Service, went to Sherry Bebitch Jeffe ’64, a political analyst, journalist, and scholar, for the service she has done for her community.
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Take Back the Night returns to Goucher, raises awareness

Samantha Cooper
News Editor

On Thursday, April 24 a group of students gathered in the Pearlstone Atrium for Goucher’s annual Take Back the Night event, where victims of sexual assault spoke about their experiences to others. Events like the one at Goucher take place all over the country, many at college campuses, and each does the event differently. The event typically includes a march and an opportunity for victims to speak out.
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