Debate Team Wins Northeast Regional Championships

April 3, 2008

The Saint Anselm College Thomas More Debate Society won the Northeast Regional Championship Tournament Saturday, March 15 at Suffolk University, for the third year in a row. Saint Anselm received the first place Team Sweepstakes for Lincoln-Douglas debate and edged out Emerson College, Ithaca College, and Bristol Community College for the award.

Ryan Ollis ’08, politics major, went 4-0 in the preliminary rounds and defeated an Emerson student in the final round to take first place. Fellow teammates placed third, fourth, and sixth.

The debate team also received four Speaker Awards, based on speaker points. Nicole Thorspecken ’09 and Ryan Ollis ’08 placed first and second respectively.

Next up for the debate team is Nationals, which they have been preparing for all year. The whole debate season is based around this National Tournament. While the team attends 8 Invitational Tournaments throughout the year, the real teamwork and focus is aimed at the national competition, which will pit Saint Anselm against every school in the league, not just those in the local geographical area.

To prepare, students write both affirmative and negative briefs on their issue, which can easily add up to the length and work of a thesis. The team will hold practice nights in the upcoming weeks in which alumni debaters will return to campus to help the team before they head off to Tennessee State University in Nashville for the competition April 18-21. The team has had a history of success at nationals and hopes to continue that streak this year.

EuroChoir Sings Its Way Across the Continent

April 2, 2008

The Saint Anselm College EuroChoir, consisting of 34 students, spent the week of spring break performing in three European cities: Budapest, Salzburg, and Zurich.  The students, along with choir director, Fr. Bede and four chaperones, left February 29 for a whirlwind week around the continent.

The group touched down in Budapest and spent time exploring the historic city. They gave three performances at various churches, often becoming a tourist attraction themselves while posing for pictures in their formal concert attire prior to performances.

The group experienced some familiar weather while in Salzburg, where a snowstorm covered the city streets. Many students cite watching The Sound of Music while driving through the Alps after seeing the movie setting as one of the highlights of the trip. While in Austria, the EuroChoir sang in Salzburg Cathedral where Mozart was baptized. They also visited smaller venues where they used their voices to raise money in a benefit concert to support local music programs.

Then it was another six hour bus ride to Zurich where they gave two performances and attended a memorable farewell dinner on their last night in Europe–filled with reminiscing about the past and looking forward to future choir trips.

The trip was full of reconnecting with familiar faces, chance encounters, and happy surprises. Matt St. John, a junior Politics major, said that there were instances of people meeting relatives whom they had never had the chance to meet before. The group was also surprised by Saint Anselm students currently studying abroad in Europe—and for one student, by parents who surprised their daughter by showing up for a concert in Zurich.

Despite motion sickness, canceled flights, and sprained ankles, the trip was one to remember by all who attended.  St, John called the week a “phenomenal experience” and said that he came home with a deeper appreciation for both Europe and America.

Rickie Solinger, Kicks Off “Interrupted Life” Exhibit

January 28, 2008

Solinger blog3 1 The Alva de Mars Megan Chapel Art Center’s new exhibit launched Thurs. Jan. 24 to record attendance. The standing- room only crowd was gathered to celebrate the opening of “Interrupted Life: Incarcerated Mothers in the United States” with the guest speaker and exhibit’s curator, Rickie Solinger, a historian, and prize-winning author.

Solinger’s exhibit, Interrupted Life, explores the issues related to motherhood, incarceration, reproductive and welfare policy, and politics in the United States. Her talk, “Making Incarceration Visible: Art, Exhibition, Social Justice, and Mothers in U.S. Prisons” touched upon what it is like being a legitimate mother in this country, how this issue intersects with incarceration, and the high cost of incarcerating women in the criminal justice system.

Upon observing the exhibit, which contained art from incarcerated mothers, their children, and professional artists, one found blended sentiments of pain and adages of hope. The artwork ranged from collages to cartoon-like pieces and emphasized communication between the incarcerated and free world. Some pieces suggested defeat, and others held a formidable measure of faith. One piece contained the words “lost but not alone.” Solinger, in her continuing efforts to raise awareness of incarceration problems, aims to let those words ring true.

Solinger’s talk was the kick-off for the Incarceration Epidemic series, happening this month at the college. The series includes eight installations of guest speakers, panel discussions, and presentations discussing incarceration, imprisonment, punishment, mercy, and public policy. The exhibit will be on display until February 21. For more information on the exhibit and related programming, please visit www.anselm.edu/interruptedlife.

In the podcast below, we feature selected clips of the reception’s speakers: Dr. Elaine Rizzo of the criminal justice department and Rickie Solinger.

 
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The Power of a Dream

January 25, 2008

Rev. HamiltonRev. Hurmond Hamilton was just a small boy sitting in a little, red rocking chair when the image of a man flashed across the television screen. The man was giving a speech and sharing his dream. Hamilton didn’t know it then, but the image he was watching was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. giving his famous “I have a dream” speech. Young Hamilton was also unaware that this man and his vision would be the backdrop to his entire life.

Rev. Hamilton gave a moving speech to members of the Saint Anselm College community on Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 21, in which he shared his own personal “Reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” Rev. Hamilton’s inspirational life story was heavily influenced by Dr. King and the power of integration which he experienced as a boy growing up in Louisiana.

Hamilton struggled as a child, both physically with his scarred face, and socially, by acting out in school. He soon combined the inspirational power of Dr. King with that of faith, and since that moment, his life has been on an “upward dreaming track.”

Hamilton’s inspirational story includes a remarkable turn-around from a kid always in trouble to a person with real potential and the power to affect change. He won national essay contests and a trip to China. He went to college where he became student body president. He attended seminary and became the pastor of a Roxbury, Mass. parish.

His small parish combined their dreaming power and raised enough money to complete major renovations on the building. He is also the president of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, which works across race and class to bring people together to fight for the good of the community.

And the inspiration for it all? That’s easy. Hamilton says, “With the backdrop of Martin Luther King, Jr., miracles can happen.” Dr. King’s actions as a backdrop fundamentally changed Hamilton’s life for the better. His parallel vision to that of Dr, King allowed him to achieve beyond what he thought possible.

Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Win Big

January 23, 2008

sife at bc The Saint Anselm College Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Chapter won third place at the Boston College Duel on the Heights Competition on January 19. Read more

The Connections Between Hip-Hop and Social Justice

January 18, 2008

Hip-Hop music’s pounding beats and pumping lyrics have become highly regarded by nearly every student in the county. On a chilly January afternoon, Saint Anselm College students, staff, and faculty filled the Cushing Center to hear Dr. Erika Dalya Muhammad present a new spin on this popular topic.

Dr. Muhammad gave a lecture entitled “No Borders: Social Justice, Hip Hop, and Pop” in which she described the strong and enduring connections between hip hop and youth culture. She also discussed how the powerful relationship between them can translate into social activism among today’s youth. She credits her efforts to those who came before her, especially Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who himself often used contemporary cultural references in order to create change.

Calling herself a “cultural worker” and a “creative hybrid,” Muhammad has worked in the Mount Vernon, New York area for years. The town, located just north of the Bronx, has close ties to the hip-hop community; it saw the beginnings of hip-hop and pop culture legends such as Diddy, Mary J. Blige, and Denzel Washington. Therefore, it was the perfect location to “employ the arts as a catalyst for economic development in the area.” And so, the Mount Vernon Hip-Hop Arts Center was born.

Muhammad described her work at the center and her desire to use hip-hop as a medium to encourage more participation in the arts along with civic engagement. She stated that one of her goals is to show young people today that “the world is bigger than they can even imagine.”

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