From Honors Music Major to Budding Concert Conductor

Author: Kristina Lazdauskas, junior

With support from the Honors Program, I participated in the Choral Institute at Oxford this summer. The ten-day program consisted of lectures on the philosophy of music-making, masterclasses in conducting technique and culminated with a final performance in which I conducted in concert for the first time. 

I applied for the Ambassadorial Grant to help me with this opportunity because I knew that it would prepare me to apply for a graduate degree in Choral Conducting in the future. My studies as a music major have focused primarily on music history and theory rather than performance. I knew that the practical experience I would gain at the Choral Institute at Oxford would complement the academic side of my major and help me put what I’ve learned in my classes at Fordham into practice. 

The immersive nature of this institute was invaluable. Though I arrived having had virtually no experience, conducting daily in the masterclasses and receiving real-time critiques from conductors Dr. James Jordan and Dr. James Whitbourn helped me to improve my technique and musicianship quickly. Daily lectures on conducting delivered by music faculty from Westminster Choir College and Oxford University also helped me to gain a deeper appreciation for the philosophy behind conducting. These talks encouraged me to think critically about the way in which the conductor’s performance is influenced by their self-perception, which aligned well with the ideas about the self which I had begun exploring in my Honors Early Modern Philosophy course and which I continue to explore in the Honors’ Religion in the Modern World course. Now, I am expanding on this question of the role of the artist’s self and its impact on conducting in an independent study, and it’s one that I hope to investigate further in my research as I progress through the major. 

Studying in Oxford also afforded me opportunities I couldn’t have had elsewhere. I was able to sing mass with the Cathedral Singers of Christ Church Cathedral, view original medieval manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, and observe featured conductors in rehearsals with the Institute’s choir-in-residence. Furthermore, the program opened up to me an amazing support network of fellow conductors and singers equally interested in fostering human connection through the collaborative art of choral singing. 

My experience at the Choral Institute at Oxford has been a shaping force in my studies. I’ve narrowed my research interests to the history and philosophy of conducting, and I am more confident now that I want to pursue choral conducting in graduate school. I am extremely grateful to the Honors Program for supporting me in this endeavor. 

Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Megan

Author: Megan Gilligan, senior

This is the fourth and final post in a series of four posts written by the Summer 2019 Honors Internship Fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.

Thanks to The Honors Program Summer Fellowship, I was able to work as a student intern for the Pace Women’s Justice Center.  PWJC is a nonprofit that advocates for and provides legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, and sexual assault.  It also conducts outreach and training sessions on how to interact with victims of abuse as well as how to escape abusive situations.

Megan (left) with the other PWJC summer interns.

As an intern, I was able to take part in many different aspects of PWJC’s work. I provided support to attorneys and staff and researched topics relating to individual cases as well as New York State law. I attended client interviews and court proceedings, created Excel spreadsheets for client financials and outreach events, and revised a 150-page resource guide for attorneys on the PWJC legal helpline. Additionally, I attended Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse training sessions and represented PWJC at Family Law, Women’s Advocacy, and Immigrant Advocacy committee meetings.  Most importantly, I witnessed the positive impact that PWJC has on so many victims’ lives by providing access to legal services. Many people in abuse situations are not fully aware of their legal rights or are afraid of taking their abusers to court. PWJC works with all of its clients to figure out the best plan for them and coordinates with other organizations to make sure the clients are receiving all the help they need.

As someone who hopes to become an attorney and is currently studying for the LSAT, my internship with the Pace Women’s Justice Center solidified my passion and determination to enter into the legal profession.  Through my history classes in the Honors Program, I learned a lot about how law can shape the course of a nation. This internship furthered that understanding by allowing me to see how law can directly affect individual people’s day-to-day lives.  It gave me the opportunity to learn from and interact with all sorts of legal professionals from attorneys to paralegals to law students. I was able to see firsthand the dedication of the PWJC staff to do the best they possibly could for their clients and the effect that has on their clients’ lives.  I am very grateful to the Honors Program for allowing me the opportunity to have this profound and rewarding summer internship experience; I could not have asked for a better way to spend my summer.

Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Jack

Author: Jack Andrews, senior

This is the third post in a series of four posts written by the Summer 2019 Honors Internship Fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.

Honors Senior, Jack Andrews, at his South Bronx United summer internship.

The Fordham Honors Program can, at any time, signify a variety of different things to different people. If you ask a rising sophomore, it might call to mind the chronological study of the different periods into which scholars have divided history; to a senior, it might be a large and looming paper upon which his or her graduation relies. However, along with the different demands of the academic syllabi of the Honors Program is the consistent expectation that Honors students will use the educational and professional opportunities they have received for the betterment of themselves and others. As such, the Honors Summer Internship Fellowship application demands from its potential recipients a cover letter describing their understanding of the common good and how their various internships further it. 

Jack with other South Bronx United interns.

I was graced with the Honors Summer Internship Fellowship, and, thus, with the ability to accept an internship with South Bronx United, a local youth organization combining soccer and academics with the hope of animating Bronx kids to excel in high school and pursue college educations. My role at South Bronx United, as an education intern, was to serve as a classroom aide and mentor to a cohort of rising ninth graders who all attended SBU’s Summer Soccer Scholars program—as well as to coach a recreational soccer team comprised of students of different age groups within the program.

Many of the students with whom I worked were from immigrant families from places like Mexico, Venezuela, and Ecuador—and many had complex immigration stories. As someone both pursuing a Spanish minor and with aspirations to become an immigration lawyer, working with a group of people I hope to serve in the future was a dream come true. My students were a daily reminder as to why I was passionate about my potential career; they were intelligent, driven, and compassionate individuals who, in addition to loving soccer, felt an obligation to achieve to their highest potential for the parents and guardians who gave them the chance to do so. They also taught me some new words in Spanish, although I might not rush to use them in a professional setting. I can’t wait to hear, a few years from now, where my students plan to attend college, and I am forever grateful to the Honors Program and Dr. Keller for making this summer possible.

Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Ellen

Author: Ellen Thome, senior

This is the second post in a series of four posts written by the Summer 2019 Honors Internship Fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.

Thanks to the Honors Summer Internship Fellowship, I was able to intern at Save the Children as a Supporter Experience & Retention intern this summer. Save the Children is a global nonprofit, working in 120 countries to protect the rights of every child. Save the Children achieves this by providing health and nutrition programs, increasing access to education, promoting gender equality, and protecting children in areas suffering from conflicts or disasters. Save the Children also advocates for policies that protect children at the local, national, and international level.

As a Supporter Experience & Retention intern, my job was to help communicate Save the Children’s latest efforts to donors. I did this by revising fundraising materials and selecting images and links for Save the Children’s calendars. I also helped Save the Children celebrate its Centennial anniversary by sending donors materials that highlight the long-term changes Save the Children has achieved since its establishment. Finally, I collected donor feedback by analyzing and creating surveys. The scope of these surveys ranged from small matters – photos for the annual calendar – to broader issues, such as what motivates donors to give. Overall, this internship introduced me to the administrative side of nonprofit work. Additionally, I met several experts in international nonprofit fieldwork, which also allows me to consider the possibility of overseas nonprofit work. 

This internship has reinforced the importance of written communication that is central to the Honors Program curriculum. Revising donor-facing materials showed me how small textual details can have profound, long-term impacts. Furthermore, Save the Children considers literacy foundational for children’s development and rights, and prioritizes children’s literacy with early childhood reading programs, supplemental school reading initiatives, and campaigns to keep girls in school. 

Additionally, Save the Children’s work around the world corresponds to the pillars of justice and diversity of the Honors Program mission. Save the Children protects children regardless of nationality, religion, or refugee status, and demonstrates a commitment to justice by focussing on children hit hardest by conflict, such as children in Syria and Rohingya children from Myanmar. Save the Children delivers justice to children experiencing conflict by establishing child-friendly spaces where children are protected from violence and work through trauma, and by addressing governments to end conflict. Save the Children’s job-training and livelihoods programs also ensure justice for the poorest children by breaking cycles of poverty.  

Finally, this internship has helped shape the focus of my Honors senior thesis, which I will be writing this fall on the topic of migrants. This summer, Save the Children established two centers along the US-Mexico border for migrant children transitioning out of ICE detention centers. Seeing  Save the Children’s work for migrant children both reinforces the importance of my topic and highlights how much more needs to be done to help detained migrants. 

I am incredibly grateful to Dr. Keller and the Honors Program for their support in allowing me to pursue this wonderful opportunity.

Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Abigail

This is the first post in a series of four posts written by the Summer 2019 Honors Internship Fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.

Author: Abigail Gillis, senior

This summer, I had the privilege of working as an Elementary School Intern at DREAM Charter School in East Harlem. Like other charter schools, DREAM’s goal is to provide a strong college preparatory education to disadvantaged students. DREAM is also focused on family involvement in children’s education; promoting social, emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing as well as academic achievement; and using baseball to promote holistic wellbeing and the skills required to achieve it.

As an intern with the elementary school, I was able to spend a couple of weeks at the beginning of the summer supporting teachers in their classrooms and on field trips before the school year ended. However, most of my responsibilities were oriented toward the upcoming school year(s) rather than on direct work with students. My fellow intern and I pursued two research projects, one on Inquiry-Based Learning and the other on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, and put together teaching resources based on our research. We also had a few projects which we chose to split up between us. I worked mainly on creating ELA pacing calendars for PreK-5th grade and on putting together the Staff and Family Handbooks for the 2019-2020 school year based on earlier years’ materials.

Abigail Gillis, Rose Hill Honors Program Class of 2020.

As a rising senior, I was very much hoping to find a position this summer that would allow me to work inside a school. I was looking for an education-based internship that would give me a different kind of experience than the tutoring I’ve done in the past (including work with the Rosedale Achievement Center through Honors). I was especially hoping to have the opportunity to work at a place like DREAM, whose mission and work support so many students with limited opportunities. The Honors Summer Internship Fellowship has allowed me to accept a position that not only helped prepare me for my future career in education but actually gave me a chance to do so in a way that benefits hundreds of lower-income students in NYC, and I am so grateful to the Honors Program for providing me with a way to spend my summer with DREAM.

Antigone in Ferguson, an Honors Alumnus Review

Author: John Murray, Class of 2016

It will be readily apparent to any graduate of the Honors Program that the themes of classical art and literature are, sometimes frighteningly, relevant to our contemporary society. Historians take this for granted; I still am amazed whenever it is revealed to me yet again. Twice this summer, it has been by the Theater of War’s production of Antigone in Ferguson at St. Ann & The Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn Heights.

It is important to note that Antigone in Ferguson is not, in fact, a modern restaging of the Greek play in present-day Missouri. The director’s note says it best: ­­­­­­”The production is not an adaptation set in Ferguson, Missouri, but rather a ritual of mourning and of hope that does not aim to fix a specific meaning to Sophocles’ play, but rather to inspire audience members to voice their truths and explore the infinite possibility of interpretation.”

The production had two parts: the performance itself, and a guided audience talkback afterwards. Impressive and moving as the performance was, the talkback was the real gem of the night. The creative team posed a number of questions about the show and its applicability to modern times, first to a curated panel, but then to the audience at large. Responses varied, as one might imagine, to the standard, “What about the show felt relevant today?” The theme of civil disobedience was a popular subject: Antigone’s actions were compared to disruptive protests or providing assistance to migrants from the southern border. The words of the creative team ring true: “At its core, Antigone is a play about what happens when personal conviction and state law clash, raising the question: When everyone is right (or feels justified), how do we avert the violence that will inevitably take place?”

For me, the most striking and awe-inspiring moments of the night occurred when someone voiced a thought that seemed to come from the deepest, most genuine parts of their soul. It would be a simple observation, or an interpretation of some passage, or a feeling that was inspired in them by a single line of the text. The speaker might be an elderly man, or an eight-year-old girl, or a high school boy. They might fumble with their words, but the message was clear: something in this production had moved them, to the extent that they wanted to speak it aloud in front of a hundred strangers. 

Discourse—not to score participation points in a classroom, but as raw, unfiltered expression that cannot be kept to oneself. That, to me, is a magical part of theater: the ability of a play and its actors to capture the human experience so well that the audience walks away changed, as if we ourselves had lived through all the emotions and the events that transpired before us. It is, in this production, also a testament to the timelessness of the themes Sophocles chose to put on display and how inextricably intertwined they are with that human experience. We will never be able to fully correct the blindness that our pride imposes upon us, and there will always be a struggle of the governed against their governors. Love will inevitably come into conflict with law so long as both exist. Failure to heed the warnings of our conscience and of the wise will end in tragedy.

It is a great privilege of living in this city that such an event can be made accessible to all. Concerned citizens, thoughtful scholars, inspired activists, and random passerby are strongly encouraged to avail themselves of the opportunity to be moved, educated, and challenged by the space that productions like Antigone in Ferguson build for us.

Senior Spotlight: Stephen

Author: Megan Schaffner, junior

The Student Spotlight Series is an opportunity for Rose Hill Honors students to interview their peers in the Program and share the conversations with the broader community.

For this article, Megan Schaffner, a current junior in the Program, interviewed graduating senior, Stephen Lebak. Stephen is majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Computer Science.  He has been a dedicated member of the Fordham Pep Band since his freshman year and will begin an exciting job with Boeing after graduation this May. Within the Honors community, Stephen has become well-known and loved for his incredible baking.

Megan: Was there something that drew you to your major and minor?

Stephen: I did come in as a math major, but just as a math major. I had little to no interest in computer science [originally.]  When Fordham made my first semester schedule, they put me in an introductory Computer Science course… I had a really good professor and she got me interested in the material. I felt like I understood it and enjoyed it, so I kept taking classes and tacked on the minor.  I nearly switched to the major, but a lot of what makes computers run is based on linear algebra and math in the first place, so it seemed more logical for me to follow the math major.

Megan: I hear you will be working with Boeing after graduation.  I am curious to hear more about that.

Stephen: [My interest in them] is something that’s come up over the past couple of years.  The team I’ll be working on specifically programs flight simulations, which are then used to train air-force pilots.  A lot of jobs in the contracting/defense industry are perhaps not as ethical as one might hope. So, especially after coming out of a Jesuit school [where there is an emphasis placed on ethics and justice], I was lucky to find [a job aligned with those values].

Megan: And where will you be?

Stephen:  The job is in St. Louis.

Megan: Are you from around here?  

Stephen: Yes, I’m originally from Queens; I went to high school in New York and lived with my grandparents then.  Before that, I was in Boston, where my parents still are.

Megan: So is the move to St. Louis a daunting task for you or is it not too big of a deal?

Stephen: It depends on the day.  I will certainly say that sometimes it’s really exciting—I get to go to a new city, start from scratch.  On other days, I’ll ask [myself], “What am I getting myself into?” It basically is a full overhaul. I do know one person there, but that’s really it, so it will be completely new.  It’s exciting though; it should be fun.

Megan:  I’ve also been told that you’re quite the popular baker, so I was wondering if you’d want to talk a bit about that?

Stephen: [laughs]  Who told you that? Okay, so this goes back to my late high school days.  Every now and then I would bake cookies, except I lived with my grandparents and my grandfather immediately would go on a diet and my grandmother wouldn’t eat them either! And then I’d have all of these cookies.  So I would bring them to school, feed my lunch table, all that kind of stuff. That carried over to Fordham, [especially] last year and this year, since I live in an apartment where I have my own kitchen. It’s the same logic: I’ll make a batch of cookies and I can’t eat all of them.  So I go around, distribute them to friends, many of whom I have met through Honors, one way or another. It’s also a great way to see people and catch up, talk—and then they get a cookie out of that.

Megan:   Do you have a signature baked item?

Stephen: Yes, chocolate chip cookies are my signature.  Not particularly fancy, but a classic.

Megan: And well-loved by all!  So, in terms of Honors, do you have either a favorite thing about the program, or a favorite memory, looking back now that you’re just about done?

Stephen:  There’s definitely a few!  I would say the fact that you’ve got 13 kids per class, really.  The fact that you can have really close discussions in basically every single class because of that [is really special].  Also, the nature of the class brings everyone together really fast. By the end of the first year, my [cohort] was very tight-knit.

Megan: Yeah, that’s really great!  Do you have a favorite Honors professor?

Stephen: I have different ones for different reasons.  First semester, I absolutely loved Dr. Harry Nasuti. He’s wonderful.  He would tell us about back in the day when he was the director [of the Honors Program].  He told our class the first day, “These are going to be your best friends” and I told him two years later, “Dr. Nasuti, you were 100% right.”   

All [of the Honors professors] have been good—we’re talking about the best of the best of the best.  I had Professor Nick Paul for Medieval History and no matter what the subject was, he was able to make it fascinating.  The way he talked about everything would make it seem so interesting and you would get just as invested as he was in the subject

Megan: What’s one thing you’ll miss most about Fordham?

Stephen: I have thought about that one a little bit because Pep Band season just wrapped up.  The [women’s basketball team] won the A10, so we went to the NCAA tournament in Syracuse and that was basically my last game.  Other than Honors, Pep Band was a really good group for me; I met a lot of my close friends there. I’ll also miss the Honors Program.  I’ll miss having a community around me of people of that caliber of intelligence and being able to hold discussions with them about virtually anything—that’s going to be something that I don’t think I’ll be able to find outside of Fordham or really anywhere.  So I’ll certainly miss that.

In terms of what I’m excited about, I’m moving out to St. Louis and I’m starting from scratch.  I’m excited to start over and build up a great group around me, or try to! I think it’s something that certainly daunting as a task, but it’s one of the most rewarding things.  I’ve done it twice now—once in high school and once at Fordham—and it really is just so rewarding. And I think Fordham prepares you well to do that by teaching you to care for the whole person, teaching you how to think and connect, and giving you the knowledge base to be able to connect with other people.  It all prepares you well, and I think it’s prepared me well to do that [in St. Louis].

Honors at La Morada

Author: Jack McKernan, first-year student

Honors students at La Morada.

This past Wednesday, a group of Honors students and staff made the hike down from the Rose Hill campus to the Mott Haven neighborhood of the South Bronx to have some challenging discussions about the issues of gentrification and immigrant rights, as well as learn about how locals are fighting back. In the process, we got to enjoy a delicious meal at “La Morada,” where one can find New York’s best Oaxacan food, and some have said, the best Mexican food north of the border.

When you step off the Bx15 bus that takes Fordham students right from the Plaza to the doorstep of the restaurant, the first thing you notice is the message painted in bright red on the door: REFUGEES WELCOME. The folks at La Morada are not shy about their activism; rather, it is a core part of their identity. As legendary Fordham professor Dr. Mark Naison said, La Morada is “the center of immigration and anti-gentrification activism in the South Bronx.” In addition to serving food to the community, they hold workshops, fundraisers, and rallies to support their neighbors. When you enter the restaurant you’re immediately drawn to the various banners calling for an end to deportations and other criticisms of US foreign policy.

Some of the many flyers at La Morada’s entrance.

Their activism hasn’t gained them many fans in law enforcement, however. It came to a head on January 11, when Yajaira Saavedra, whose family owns and operates the restaurant, was arrested without warrant or stating probable cause by undercover NYPD as they attempted to carry out a sting operation against the restaurant. Saavedra was eventually released as community members crowded the 40th Precinct, but her upcoming court date means her status is still unstable. That hasn’t stopped her activism or her incredible spirit, as she took the moment to tell her story and the story of the restaurant to the Honors group, as well as indulge us in a selfie outside the restaurant.

Dark Chocolate Mole and Chicken, one of the five different mole dishes La Morada shared with us.

In addition to their activism, La Morada’s Oaxacan roots mean that they have a solid indigenous identity, and that was reflected in the fantastic meal served. Our main course featured five (!) different Moles, which doesn’t even comprise the entire selection offered on their menu. These were the capstone to a meal which already had us salivating with Guacamole, Rice and Beans, and Sopes, not to mention the various fresh juices and teas that were passed around. As she spoke at the end of our meal, Yajaira was sure to be clear that the delicious food  we had just enjoyed is culture that will be erased if the gentrification of “SoBro” or “The Piano District” (as it is somewhat ridiculously marketed by developers) is to continue.

Yajaira poses with Honors students waiting for the bus.

The main lesson learned from the experience– aside from where to take someone in dire need of good Mexican food– is that as Fordham students, we should be conscious of the impact we have on the communities and neighborhoods we interact with. We should step off our home neighborhood of Arthur Avenue to explore the rich diversity the Bronx has to offer and help to break down the psychological barrier between Fordham University and the community we are within.

Gathering with Honors Students Across the Country, United by Jesuit Mission

Authors: Megan Farr, first-year; Hannah Teligades, first-year; Andrew Souther, sophomore; Rachel Daso, sophomore

Often, when we think of Fordham’s Honors Program, we get so caught up in our specific program, curriculum, and community that we forget that we, as a Jesuit university, belong to a much larger network of other honors programs. A few weekends ago, we had the opportunity to travel to the American Jesuit Colleges and Universities Honors Conference at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Andrew, Rachel, Hannah and Megan at John Carroll University.

We spent the weekend being reminded of our interconnectedness and dependence on not only other Fordham Honors students, but also on other honors programs across the country. At the conference, various schools volunteered to lead discussions on their favorite aspects of their respective programs, so we could all learn from each other’s strengths.

We presented on our Student Activity Committee (SAC), which organizes student-led, Honors-specific activities and events throughout the school year. Several other honors programs shared that they struggled to create an honors community within their larger universities, and we felt like SAC offered a unique way to build community within Honors, but in a more social, rather than academic, setting. We focused on a few specific committees within SAC: Wellness, Alumni Relations, Recruiting, Alpha House Upkeep, and Bronx Exploration. Other schools were interested in how flexible and fluid our SAC committees are, and how easily students of all experiences, grade levels, and fields of interest get can involved. We learned from other programs’ presentations and brainstormed what we might like to incorporate into our own program in the future.

We also had a great time building community and getting to know each program through its students and their unique personalities. Besides the obvious common ground of being honors students at Jesuit schools, we found that many of us had taken similar classes and read similar materials, which gave us a starting point for conversations. Being in this conference environment gave us an opportunity to talk about serious topics, but also to have fun learning about different parts of the country and different schools. Not only did we learn about other programs, but we were able to build friendships with honors students from across the US.

Overall, our experience at AJCU gave us an opportunity to learn about other honors programs, brainstorm possible additions to Fordham’s Program, and further build our Jesuit community.

The Honors Student Fighting for a Sustainable Fordham

Author: Stephanie Albert, junior

Honors sophomore Gabby Perez is an Environmental Studies major and the United Student Government’s Sustainability Committee Chair. I sat down with her during the February 12th snowstorm to chat about Fordham and the Sustainability Committee’s efforts to make Fordham more sustainable.

Installation of the solar panels on the roof of Fordham’s parking garage.

As reported on the Fordham Changemaker’s blog “20% of Fordham’s energy is offset by a solar farm in Staten Island.” The University also runs partly on renewable energy from solar panels on top of the parking garage. Though the University has expressed concerns about the cost of solar panel installation in the past, the Climate Action Plan: 2018 Annual Executive Update released in July states that the University will annually save about $190,000 from solar panels installed on top of the parking garage, as well as the Staten Island Project. Both initiatives demonstrate that the University could save money in the long term despite the initial costs of switching to renewable energy.

The University has also made small steps towards becoming more sustainable all around campus. Gabby commented that tech recycling bins, which can be used to recycle electronic devices that were recently installed on campus are a very good measure to move towards being more sustainable. Some other examples include changing all of the light bulbs to LEDs, having water bottle refilling stations in a few locations on campus, and using paper bags in dining locations. Both New York City and universities at large are taking steps to minimize their environmental footprint; Fordham is joining them by continuing to make environmentally sustainable enhancements to the campuses. Though, there is more work to be done.

USG’s Sustainability Committee currently has a petition for Fordham to commit to 100% renewable energy by 2040. Two members of the Committee are working specifically on this campaign with Environment America, an organization that helps university groups press their administrations to move towards renewable energy. This partnership followed Environment America reaching out to the Sustainability Committee to expand their impact through connecting with more college campuses.This semester, the Committee is hoping to stage demonstrations and showcases on Eddie’s [the main green space on the Rose Hill campus] to inform the community about the dangers of fossil fuels and to try to persuade the University to move towards renewable energy. Gabby also shared that although they have a long way to go, the Sustainability Committee is looking to have the University divest from fossil fuels. This would mean that the University no longer invests money in the stock of fossil fuel companies. This is an aspect of the Transparency Initiative that aims to get the University to bring clarity about where the money from student tuition goes and be more specific in the breakdown of where money is spent when they release their financial report. Gabby cited an article from The Ram, the main Rose Hill newspaper, stating that $10,000 is spent on plastic utensils and plates per week each time the conveyer belt in the Marketplace, the major dining location on the Rose Hill campus, breaks down. The University could prevent this expense and be more environmentally friendly by finding a way around this solution to a recurring problem.

As for what students can do to be more environmentally friendly in their daily lives, Gabby says, “Buy less and take care of what you have. Overconsumption, especially in wealthier nations like the United States, is what fuels the environmentally-destructive and exploitative corporations that dominate today’s global capitalist system. Be a conscious consumer. Think about your connection to the people who make your products. Think about where your products will end up when you’re done with them. Your dollar is your vote; know that you as a consumer have so much power! The most sustainable thing to do in any situation is to use what you have. If you can’t do that, see what you can borrow. Only after you find you have no other options, buy something — but try to make the choice that will mean you won’t have to buy it again any time soon.”

Let’s hope that we can all can continue to look for ways to be more sustainable and to lessen our environmental footprint.