Hi everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying this (relatively mild) February! We did have one snow “afternoon,” as campus-sponsored events after 3PM were cancelled this past Tuesday for the safety of the community. Luckily, for many professors (and perhaps unluckily, for many students), most classes, at least, went on as planned. These past weeks also saw a visit from Denis McDonough, President Obama’s former Chief of Staff, an eight-show run of Little Women from the Theater Department, and more!
On February 6, the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics, and Culture brought Denis McDonough to campus to speak to students, faculty, staff, and members of the community on the ongoing refugee crisis. Rehm Library was at capacity, and students (including myself) stood in the doorway, peered through the glass windows, or stood on the adjacent staircase to hear his meaningful talk. McDonough served as President Obama’s Chief of Staff from 2013-2017 and has been a trusted advisor close to the Obamas. A Minnesota native, McDonough spoke about his own family’s experience sponsoring refugees into the United States, as well as a recent trip to Jordan visiting a refugee camp there. His comments were both disheartening, at the state of the crisis, but overwhelmingly promising as he inspired listeners of all ages to engage and continue to be men and women for and with refugees specifically.
The past two weeks, the Theater Department offered an outstanding adaptation of Little Women–it was so good I attended shows both weekends! Student-actors had been preparing since September, and many arrived on campus early in January in order to make final touches to the show. All actors were well-suited to their parts and performed wonderfully; Catherine Zachary performed a particularly outstanding Jo. Most astounding was the costuming, as each dress and suit was beautifully sewn and stayed true to the time period. It was certainly an astonishing show–congrats to all!
Additionally, this past week I took my first science exam in college for my Biology of Addiction class. It is certainly different than writing papers and learning music, but I am learning a lot! Check back in soon to hear about a contemporary music concert and final preparations for Spring Break Immersion!