Women’s Basketball makes a great start

Michael Layer
Staff Writer

The Goucher Women’s Basketball team is off to one of the best starts in school history. Over the course of three games, the Goucher Women’s Basketball team has outscored its opponents 254-100. Not only has Goucher won every game so far this season, but they have also won each game by an average of over 50 points. This is the first time the women’s team has started off the season 3-0 since 1993. Briana Bull ’18 commented on their strong start to the season, “it feels really good to make history… it’s going to be a season like no other.”
Recently, the Gophers beat the University of Valley Forge comfortably, confidently, and completely. By half time, Goucher’s impressive defense allowed only 8 points and scored a whopping 56. In the process, the team went on an extraordinary 32-0 run. After the game was over, Goucher again made history by winning 97-25, the highest point output since 2003, and the highest margin of victory since 1993. “We really focus on the small things,” Bull said, regarding her fantastic individual and team performance, “it’s those small things that mean a lot.”
The team’s start has been largely due to the leadership from Captains Olivia Nono ’16 and India Perkins ’16 as well as head coach and alumna Didi Cotton ‘96. Through an evident team philosophy regarding discipline, commitment, attitude, and a great work ethic, the team has been able to accomplish impressive feats. To Bull, it is the confluence of the different sources of leadership that propels the Goucher team: “It’s a balance… [Coach Cotton and the captains] pull us together, but on the court we play as one.”
The team’s next home game is against Drew, on Saturday December 6. They look to continue their amazing success in the ultra-competitive Landmark conference. On December 17, and 18, the team will travel to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to compete in the Cruzin’ Classic Tournament.

Students protest on campus and in Towson; campus converstion follows

Rachel Brustein

Editor-in-Chief

Issues of race and discomfort were prevalent on Goucher’s campus this past week in light of the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and students of color speaking out about racial issues on campus.
This past Monday, Dec. 1, over a hundred Goucher students marched around campus and into Towson to protest the Grand Jury’s decision to not indict Darren Wilson. The protest did not start out as such, though. It was originally intended to be a student-organized event where students were encouraged to walk out of their classes, jobs, dorm rooms, or wherever they were at 1pm and meet at the Chapel. This was part of a national walkout happening in communities across the country on Monday.
The event began with students, and also some faculty and staff members, gathered outside the chapel while students involved Umoja read a list of names of people of color who had been killed due to police brutality. While many of the students taking leadership roles in the event are involved in Umoja, the event was not organized by a specific group on campus; it was a product of students from various groups on campus coming together. There was a moment of silence that lasted four and a half minutes, as requested by Michael Brown’s family because it took the police four and a half hours to take his body after he was shot. Students who were moved to speak to the crowd had the opportunity to do so.
After about thirty minutes of standing outside the Chapel, Kevin Guzman ’16 encouraged students begin marching around campus. Students followed him, chanting things like, “hands up, don’t shoot,” “black lives matter,” and “no justice, no peace.” Jordan Leonard ’18 announced to everyone, “where is everyone else?” motivating the group to march and continue the protest into the academic buildings, encouraging students to leave classes and join in. Leonard later said, he didn’t feel support on campus from the students passing by the walkout, he wanted to take the protest “to the people who aren’t there, who aren’t listening.” Eventually the protest made its way into the Athenaeum, and off campus into Towson.
Abby Jones ’17, who was part of the group, explained that the protest marched through the Circle in Towson, past the circuit court and to Towson University. The protesters ended at the district court house, where they gathered around a fountain outside and continued chanting, had another moment of silence, said a few closing words. Jones found that the responses to the protest form the general public to be “fairly positive,” with a few negative instances. Throughout the protest off-campus, Dean of Students Brian Coker followed the group in his car to make sure that the students were safe.
Tuesday night, a follow-uconversation to the protest convened. Students, faculty members, staff, and president José Bowen were in attendance. Associate Provost LaJerne Cornish facilitated the conversation.
At the meeting, Monday’s protest and the voices of student of color on campus became pertinent. Anthony Perdue ’18, who said he came to Goucher to feel a sense of community, said that he did not feel supported after the protest, because other students on campus were devaluing the importance of the protest. “I don’t want to be made to feel that what black students do for empowerment are wrong,” he said. Robert Fletcher ’16, co-president of Umoja, said he has felt uncomfortable as a black student, hearing “flat out racist” remarks from white students, including use of the n-word. “There is a fundamental problem on this campus [of racism] and we need to address it,” Fletcher said.
In response to students feeling uncomfortable that classes had been disrupted during the protest, white student, Sammy Kaye ’17, who left class to join the protest, announced, “think about all those other people who feel so uncomfortable on a daily basis here. What kind of student fighting for equality would I be if I didn’t stand up and help?” Arthur Mutijima ’18, noted that as a student of color, “I’m not being catered to by the Goucher community,” and, “in order for that to happen we need to educate and have discourse about race.”
It was made clear that students of color feel uncomfortable at Goucher. Educating white people who are uninformed and misinformed about race was a critical part of this discussion. “It’s not up to people of color to educate people who look like me,” said Ailish Hopper, chair of the peace studies department, meaning that white people need to be proactive and use their privilege to educate themselves, not rely on people of color to do it for them. “It’s not okay that we don’t know,” said Fletcher, education is crucial. Nyasha Mooney-McCoy ’16 feels it’s not her job to correct everyone who says the n-word or racist comments. She added that she’s uncomfortable because “as students of color, we don’t have the strength in numbers that white students do.” Fletcher mentioned when he hears the n-word he has to “pick myself back up and treat you like a human, even though you’ve shown yourself to be less than human.”
Alexa McCoy ’16 made a point about the incorrect assumption that all black students “come from the same place [and] I hear white people talk all the time, whether or not I want to or not,” but she wants to hear from people who look like her. Rae Walker ’17 expressed sentiment that racism gets “swept under the rug” whenever people try to talk about it, and that the campus finds it easy to ignore racial issues.
A reason why students of color feel uncomfortable at Goucher is because they feel they have to change themselves to fit in. Marissa Charlemange ’16 feels she has “put aside myself to be the correct black person for white people in the room” and is “hurt by the way I’ve had to change who I am because of this campus.” Guzman feels that he has to “erase my identity,” and hates being told to “act white.”
A place where race is not being addressed properly is in connections. Denia Carter ’16, a peer facilitator, transferred here because she didn’t feel her previous school had a sense of community, but still doesn’t feel that this school is diverse. She noted feeling discomfort doing the privilege walk with other connections leaders because she was the only black person. “I’m willing to make change,” said Carter. First-year students alluded to connections and other first-year experiences where they felt uncomfortable because of their race, and it made them want to leave Goucher in certain instances.
Students of color are regularly forced to confront negative stereotypes. Jordan Johnson ‘18, said “I feel like I am commodity, like I am a quota here” and feels disconnected as a person of color. She said she doesn’t say her economic background because she doesn’t want people to assume things about here, “if I leave here, I have no home,” she added.
Alexa McCoy ’16, a leader in Umoja, said Umoja seen as a party club and not an organization. “We do so much more than party…so much more than what is stereotypical,” she said. She feels Umoja needs more support, specifically from black faculty members.
Penelope Durand ’16 noted the concentration of these conversations goes to white guilt. She said, “I feel that my voice is invalid,” and, to white people, “you will never understand what it’s like to be a person of color.”
Cornish ‘83, who is a Goucher alumna, spoke about her experience as a student of color at Goucher. She said when she was a freshman, there were only 9 students of color in her class, and the only employees of color were the dining and cleaning staff. “They told me to keep working hard because I wasn’t alone; they were walking with me, and as I look around this room, I don’t want it lost on you how far we’ve come…we’re better than we were… we’re not where we want to be…and if we leave here, we won’t get better, we’ll only regress….many of us [faculty] could not have been prouder of you for the noise we raised yesterday…there are times when you have to make some noise, don’t you forget it…this is a powerful moment tonight…despite your pain, we hear you, my colleagues and I , we hear you…I’m proud of everyone in this room tonight…It is time you exercise your power.”
Hopper prompted the students with skin privilege “to create a community where all students of color feel safe…feel loved, where white students get race privilege…if any white students want to take me up on that, wear me out.”
President Bowen concluded and thanked everyone for coming and for listening. He acknowledged that as a new president, he is still learning on the job. “I thought I knew the campus…I was wrong,” said Bowen.

Goucher cracks down on crime

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

Student safety is a concern for all colleges, and at Goucher things are no different. Like most colleges, Goucher’s biggest concerns seem to revolve around two things: alcohol and drugs. While alcohol violations are slightly down this semester; eleven violations have occurred this semester compared to about fourteen last fall, the number of alcohol transports have gone up. This fall there has been twenty-three cases where a student has been transported to the hospital because they were intoxicated. Last fall, there were only eight such cases. While some could take this to mean Goucher students are drinking more, Assistant Dean of Students Andrew Wu says otherwise. “I think we’re taking the approach of not taking a chance if a student is sick…It’s very much the decision of the student community living member on call…They’ve just been calling and EMTs are taking the same stance,” he said. Alcohol intoxication is also huge concern for the school, because of the consequences it can have. Earlier this semester, a freshman girl at Towson University died while under the influence.
Drug violations have also increased. This semester, there have been about twenty-four incidents, many involving multiple students where illegal substances have been found. Last fall, there were only ten.
Unsurprisingly, the drug of choice on campus appears to marijuana. Some of these violations may be due to confusion. In October, Maryland passed a law that decriminalized marijuana in small amounts. However, the law does not apply to Goucher’s campus. We are required as an institution that receives federal aid and financial aid…to enforce federal drug laws… We need to abide by federal laws.” Wu said. According to Goucher’s Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Policy, the possession of marijuana on campus is still prohibited by the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989. Therefore, students who are in possession of marijuana can still be punished.
Depending on the level of severity, a student may be given a judicial referral at their third offense for crimes such as having an open container of liquor or possessing a fake ID, while they might given one for their first offense if it is more severe such as driving while intoxicated or providing alcohol to underage students. Drug offenses are handled quite differently, and judicial referrals are given much sooner than if one is violating alcohol policies.
In Wu’s eyes, one of the biggest concerns on campus is an increase in the number of drug violations, particularly repeat offenders and drug dealers.This was not only because it would mean increased drug activity on campus, but that such people would often mean other unsavory figures may come to campus and that such dealings could lead to dangerous activities and safety concerns. Goucher’s on-campus police aren’t trained to handle such cases, and will often call the Baltimore County Police Department (BCPD) for help. It is also up to the BCPD to decide whether a student violator should be arrested or not.
Still compared to many other colleges, Goucher is very safe. Director of Public Safety Richard Puller said, “Here, at Goucher, property crimes account for most of our activity. The most common being a kind of vandalism in the form of sign damage, some graffiti, and the reported theft of unattended property such as book bags, purses and briefcases but frankly even these activities are surprisingly low. So, we are blessed when compared with other area colleges.”
However, many students have appeared to expressed concern about the number of police officers on campus and the increased role that campus security has appeared to be playing and are under the impression that Goucher has sprung up a new initiative without telling them. Dean of Students Bryan Coker, asked to dispel those rumors, “I want the community to know that we were alerted to these matters by other students. There was no initiative launched by the college to find and target dealers—we acted in response to student complaints.”
Wu was under the impression that some students believed that security’s role was to “regulate student behavior” and that Goucher “is a safe haven to do whatever they want.” He also said, “Anytime we make a decision to search, there are three people involved at least…Public Safety, Community Living and dean on call…so we don’t do searches willy-nilly and I think there’s a sort of perception that were doing that right now. We have some good information from a credible source to do the search whether that’s from a student on the outside…or a Public Safety officer.”
Puller on the other hand, is not so sure about students’ impressions of public safety, “I am not sure there is such an outcry. If there is it’s exaggerated. The only outcry I’ve heard of comes from those sanctioned or those sympathetic to those sanctioned. I think the majority of students are perfectly fine with public safety enforcement. They are just not as vocal.” The Radical Left Group was contacted to find out what they thought of the recent developments, but none responded.
Both Wu and Puller, however, have heard many more positive reactions than negative reactions from students. Wu especially thinks this, as he pointed out that many of the changes have been driven by students. Students who do not partake in drug or alcohol consumption may get ‘fed up’ with the impact that students who do partake have.
“Most of our actions have been a response to that,” he said.
Puller said, “I received an unexpected round of thanks from students in response to our recent enforcement efforts. Most importantly, I want the students to remember that Goucher is a very safe campus.”
Coker also said, “ I want to be clear that the college was appreciative of these concerned students coming forward with information, and we were glad to able to address such dangerous activities.”
But perhaps the most important thing to note are the punishments that students may face. As mentioned earlier, students who violate the policy could be given judicial referrals, but the main focus, particularly for first time offenders appears to be education. These punishments may vary from meeting with a student life staff member to writing an essay. While some of these punishments may not seem effective, others seem to think they can work in certain cases. Wu said, “I’m not naïve enough to think they…are never going to do drugs again.” But he believes that punishments vary according to the individual they are applied to. Puller has a similar view. He said, “I believe they can be very effective but this is a complex issue. And the X-factor is the individual student involved…their history, the extent of their use, and their willingness to help themselves.”
Still both of them realize that what is currently going on Goucher is a huge issue that will not change overnight, especially since it seems that the use of illegal substances have increased since last year and it is unclear what exactly the cause is. Goucher students should feel free to contact Andrew Wu, Brian Coker or Richard Puller if they have concerns about other student or public safety.

Goucher students and faculty voice opinions on study abroad

Rachel Brustein

Editor-in-Chief

The mandatory study abroad requirement is a defining characteristic of Goucher. It was implemented in 2006 by immediate past president, Sanford Ungar, which made the class of 2010 the first class with obligatory study abroad. Since Goucher’s new president José Bowen has assumed his role this semester, students have been talking about whether or not the requirement will stay. As of now, the college has not made any formal statements about changing the requirement and the freshman class of 2018 is required to study abroad.
Some students find it challenging to fit study abroad into their course of study. Joel Michael-Schwartz ’15 is a music major, concentrating in mandolin performance. Michael-Schwartz explained that the Office of International Studies (OIS) hasn’t approved any music programs abroad, making it difficult for him to find a program that suits his needs. Additionally, Michael-Schwartz said that OIS was unhelpful when he tried to design his own, music-oriented study abroad not affiliated with Goucher. He said, as a dedicated musician, to take an entire semester off from his music would be “crippling to his studies.” Michael-Schwartz could do an Intensive Course Abroad (ICA), but finds them to be more like an expensive vacation rather than a study abroad. “I think it’s [study abroad] a good idea…the principle is sound, but it’s not a good idea if we don’t have the resources or infrastructure to do it well,” said Michael-Schwartz.
Another group of students for whom a mandatory study abroad is particularly challenging are those majoring in the physical and natural sciences, especially pre-med students. Birthe Kjellerup, assistant professor of biology believes a semester abroad is great if it goes with your major, and said it is “important to be a global citizen.” However, science majors could have an equally or more meaningful global experience studying in the United States under the guidance of an international scientist. Still some students, particularly those who are pre-med choose an ICA so their coursework isn’t disrupted. George Delahunty, Professor of Biology and the advisor to pre-med students, said thinks that it’s counterproductive for the college to mandate study abroad, and that Goucher needs “to be a college of opportunity, rather than a college of mandate.”
For other students, study abroad is key to their Goucher experience. Hannah Spiegelman ’15, a history major and art history minor, chose Goucher partially for its study abroad requirement. Spiegelman feels as though she benefitted from Goucher because everyone goes abroad, and it’s a normal part of the experience. Spiegelman added, study abroad “should be something that everyone does as part of their education” because it “shapes you so much as a person,” and nothing can compareto that experience abroad.
Katherine Mowrer ’15, a peace studies major and Africana studies minor, agrees that the study abroad requirement made Goucher stand out among other liberal arts colleges. Similarly, Mowrer believes it’s “important to me that every student would study abroad so that the classroom discussions would be framed in an international mindset.”
The reintegration process that occurs after returning is a challenge many students face. Mowrer spent her entire junior year abroad and believes that reentry process needs to be viewed in another way. There are many pieces of reentry, and the emotional aspect is just one of them. Mowrer also thinks that there is a gap between the students’ experiences abroad and their schoolwork. Emily Levine ‘15, another peace studies major, agrees with this view and feels as though there is not a place to discuss the topics and ideas she learned abroad.
In order to provide an opportunity for students to talk about what they learned abroad, Levine came up with an idea that evolved into the School for International Training (SIT) research presentations. The presentations occurred during Goucher’s International Education Week. She is currently working on other ways to integrate the study abroad experience into academic life, and hopes to give more students to the chance to give academic presentations next semester. Additionally, Levine is working with a local storyteller in hopes of enabling students to tell their stories from study abroad.
Florencia Cortés-Conde, chair of the Spanish department, is also an advocate for study abroad. Cortés-Conde believes it has to be studying abroad, rather than simply just traveling abroad. Studying abroad, she said, is “trying to gain a different understanding of the world that really changes you at a deeper level.” She named living with a host family, attending classes, and experiencing everyday life as key components to study abroad. Flo Martin, professor of French, said “if we’re going to be a global college, we need study abroad,” even if it is not required, the program needs to be strong.
Alumna Kathryn Walker ’14, a French major, finds study abroad to have been advantageous to her Goucher experience. Walker’s major required her to study abroad for a minimum of one semester. She spent her entire junior year abroad. Walker explained, “I never realized how invaluable this was until coming back from studying abroad- my first few weeks of senior year were spent catching up with friends…and really understanding how far we’d all come and how much we’d grown and learned.” She has also found that her time abroad has helped her with her current job, teaching English in France
Students who spend a semester, or year, or three weeks abroad have a variety of reasons for their choice. Katelyn Shiring ’17, an international relations major, thinks “Goucher needs to reevaluate why there are so many restrictions and arbitrary rules when it comes to study abroad. We’re a school that likes to think outside the box, but as soon as you slap rules and restrictions on something that’s meant to broaden a mind, it loses the magic.”
A lot of what is said about study abroad conflicts. Billy Daly ‘16 explained that the school tells students that this is something they must to in order to gain a cultural experience, however, “they care more about what happens in a classroom in another country than what happens not in a classroom in another country,” and the college focuses on “[trying] to fit the learning you did in a box for your major.”
There appears to be yet another disconnection with study abroad requirement: what students actually get and what the school says they will get.
“[Study abroad has] become so institutionalized that it’s seen as a graduation requirement rather than experience and an adventure,” Shiring said. In the near future, the school and the students will need to articulate the reasons and the value, both experiential and monetary, behind the study abroad requirement.

Goucher ‘PRIDE’-LGBTQIA group changes its name

Shaina Kanter

Staff Writer

This semester, Goucher’s LGTBTQIA group, changed its name to PRIDE
PRIDE stands for “people representing individual diversity and equality.” The name change was changed from PRISM due to low membership in the club and negative connotations regarding the group’s former name, PRISM.
“No one in the club actually knew what the old name meant. Equally big was that membership was dwindling. We figured that part of the reason was that people had a very negative stigma of the old name, and we wanted to show that this was a new club with new leadership, and new goals, and a new focus and new structure. And we felt a name change would be a good way to do that. It would be one of the ways to do that at least,” said President Eric Ascher ‘16.
PRIDE was coined by a Goucher group member. Ascher is a fan of the new name. “First of all it’s a great acronym, but moreover it represents being proud of who you are which is [important within] the LGBT community,” he said.
Ascher said that the inner workings of the club have already changed dramatically since last semester, and that the name change will most likely continue this transformation.
“Last semester there were lots of issues: lots of in fighting, lots of drama. But now it’s happier, more peaceful. Everyone gets along for the most part, and I think that if you come to a meeting you’ll see it.”
A former PRISM member, referred to as “they,” by their gender pronouns, has been studying abroad, and therefore wasn’t around for the vote. They aren’t convinced that a name change will remedy the clubs tensions or public image.
“I think the name change is a mistake. I have personally heard that there is stifling transphobia in the club currently, making trans students feel silenced or uncomfortable. Don’t attempt to change the club’s image if you can’t change the club’s attitude. It’s just adding a new coat of paint to a crumbling structure.”
They stated that they saw issues with biphobia, transphobia, and racism within the club, and their agenda as club president largely revolved around eradicating these attitudes. They believe they acted as an activist for queer students by campaigning for such initiatives as more gender neutral bathrooms on campus.
“I’m not gonna lie – it hurts. When I saw the proposal to change the name, I couldn’t help but feel like everything I fought to accomplish with PRISM – dialogues about race and queer identities, combating biphobia and transphobia, and many other things – was rendered inadequate. People don’t understand how damn difficult running and leading a club like PRISM is. It was unbelievably stressful. No matter what I did, somebody was upset. I was disrespected, harassed, reduced to tears on more than one occasion. I ended up dreading meetings. At one point, I was scared to leave my room because of harassment I received from certain individuals. I made some mistakes, and I lost my temper a few times. I wasn’t a perfect leader, hell, I probably wasn’t even liked much, but I tried my hardest and accomplished a lot. It’s easy to criticize leaders if you’re not one of them. It’s easy to sit back and complain without lifting a finger yourself. It’s not easy to lead a group like PRISM,” they said.
Although Ascher is unsure of the name-change’s success, he is optimistic.
“It’s still in the early stages. I would hope that it would change things. I mean that’s the only reason to do it, is if you actually think it would make a difference.”
They are also hopeful that the name change will allow for the club to succeed in social justice initiatives and ambitions.
“I hope that PRIDE can create positive change on campus for LGBTQ+ students. But if attitudes can’t change within the club, nothing can.”
PRIDE meets Thursdays from 6-6:45 pm in the Heubeck Lounge.

Movie Review: The ambition of “Interstellar”

A.J. Rose

Staff Writer

Disclaimer: This article will contain no spoilers for “Interstellar.”
Every movie has a goal that it sets out to accomplish, both narratively and as a piece of art. The bigger the movie, the more it usually tries to pull off. With “Interstellar,”director Christopher Nolan has given audiences his most ambitious movie yet (which, after “Memento,” “The Prestige,” “The Dark Knight” trilogy, and “Inception,” is really saying something). The film shows humanity struggling to stay in existence as they slowly run out of food and resources. Matthew McConaughey, still riding the wave of the McConaissance, stars as Joseph Cooper, a farmer who is tasked with saving mankind by traveling through a wormhole and finding a planet capable of sustaining human life. Nolan, as he always does, takes his time letting the movie reach its climax. At two hours and forty-nine minutes, it’s as gargantuan in length as it is in scope. Nolan drives home the vast, infinite blackness of space, and it carries over into the depictions of Earth and the foreign planets the crew travels to; the worlds feel endless.
Unfortunately, the development of Interstellar’s characters can’t keep up with the visuals, nor can it give the considerable acting talent any room to work with. McConaughey is joined by Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, and an unbilled A-list actor, who gives the movie a refreshing dose of humanity and vulnerability. Wes Bentley (American Beauty, The Hunger Games) and Topher Grace (That 70s Show, Traffic) have bit parts that feel over casted. The theme of family hangs over the entire movie and is the sole source of motivation for the space crew (other than, you know, saving mankind). It grows stale over nearly three hours, even though the acting makes up for the generic themes.
But ultimately, the sheer experience of seeing the movie in the theater was enough to make it worth the price of admission. Seeing Nolan movies at home on a television never does them justice. Seeing the crew in their ship, Endurance, as a tiny dot moving along the rings of Saturn, or traveling through a wormhole (which apparently is depicted accurately, and is one of the highlights of the film) is exhilarating and humbling. Whether or not Nolan believes that humanity will reach the level of desperation he shows in the movie, it’s a scary thought. Almost as scary as being marooned on a planet in another galaxy.
As someone who has a difficult sitting still for long periods of time, I was compelled from start to finish. Watching Nolan attempt to cover so much ground (or dare I say…so much space) is more entertaining than the majority of movies I’ve seen in the theater in recent years, even if he bit off more than he could chew.
Grade: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Abroad Profile: Update from County Cork

Andrew Krupa

Contributor

Before I came to Ireland, whenever I pictured it, I would imagine misty rolling hills, medieval battles, and traditional Irish music. This same image is what many Americans call to mind when picturing Hibernia. If Carl Jung is correct, then our collective memory is about three hundred years old. Ireland has changed immensely since the time when that image was accurate.
For starters, Ireland is its own country. Or rather, three quarters is. Things used to be very bad in Northern Ireland. Today, we refer to the widespread killing in County Ulster, which is still part of the United Kingdom. While things in Northern Ireland have clamed down in recent years, my Irish friends have been telling me that tensions might rise again 2016 when the Republic of Ireland celebrates one hundred years of independence.
Today, Ireland uses the Euro, and the Emerald Isle was the first place in Europe to ban smoking in the pubs. They also consume more wine than France. Religiosity is falling. The sexual abuse scandals, which racked my hometown of Boston, were mirrored in Ireland over the past several decades. I had the privilege of meeting the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, a very kind man by the name of Father Charles Brown. His office is diplomatic, though he entered the Church as an abuse investigator. He worked closely with the current Pope, and was hand picked for this position because of his experience, which denotes serious change in how abuse is considered by the Church that has become characteristic of the new Pope. Needless to say, the times they are a-changing.
Some things remain the same though. Not to say that is good. Ireland’s economic boom, called the Celtic Tiger, perished with the rest of the world economy in 2008. Put simply, both the private sector and the Irish state did not save as they perhaps should have, and now money for the publicized schools and universities is lean. Things are now back to the way they were before the Tiger. But even sadder is that for so long, everyone could make a real living in Ireland. People were always leaving to make their fortunes in other lands, which left its mark on the people who stayed behind. Then with the Tiger, suddenly Ireland was a place of wealth for the first time. There were eighteen years of feast, and famine (though recovering) since 2008.
Ireland is also in the midst of resurrecting its native language—Irish Gaelic. There are Irish immersion schools now, and signage always lists Irish first. There are still some places in Ireland that speak Irish natively. One such people are the natives of Inis Óirr, Inis Meaín, and Inis Mór—the three Aran Islands, three green rocks off the coast of Galway, which have captured my heart forever. Bury my soul on banks of Inis Meaín.
In spite of everything, the Irish people remain the same: kind, frank, and honest. I have met amazing people during my time here, and they are as sad to see me go, as I am to leave. Now, whenever I come back, to this city nestled on the banks of the River Lee, I will feel like I am coming home.
Erin go Brah,
Andrew Krupa,
Cork City, County Cork