Wednesday, January 14, 2015

SPEAK! Series: “Rethinking Israel-Palestine”

On Tuesday, November 4th, over one hundred students and community members joined Noura Erakat in the John B. Davis Lecture Hall for her discussion titled “Rethinking Israel-Palestine.” Noura Erakat is a Palestinian-American human rights attorney and activist. She is also an Assistant Professor at George Mason University and co-editor of Jadaliyya, an independent ezine produced by the Arab Studies Institute. Professor Juliana Hu Pegues of American Studies acted as the interviewer for the “Inside the Activist’s Studio” format for the SPEAK! Series. Noura began the discussion by sharing her personal experience growing up as a Palestinian-American woman with parents who did not want their children being involved with the conflict in Palestine. With wit and humor, she also discussed how disillusioned she was with law school where she fully realized that laws often failed to provide justice, as in the case with Palestine. Through her responses, Noura demonstrated her personal investment in the liberation of Palestine in a manner that was able to engage with opposing perspectives. She drew parallels between the settler-colonialism taking place in Israel and the United States in an attempt to educate Macalester students about how we benefit everyday from the ongoing colonization of Indigenous Peoples. Students took away from the conversation the ability to articulate the conflict in Palestine and Israel to others. Various departments and student organizations at Macalester co-sponsored this event to help make it a successful and memorable one.

Isabel Ruelas‘15, and Elissa Lee ‘15
Lealtad-Suzuki Center’s Program Assistants

Established in August 2002, the LSC is the programmatic arm of the Department of Multicultural Life (DML).   The LSC provides a range of services, including intentional multicultural education and campus programming; ongoing training and development opportunities for faculty, staff, and students; and personal consultations to discuss issues of identity exploration and cross-cultural communication.

LEARN MORE about the Department of Multicultural Life

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Favorite Class form the Fall Semester

I really enjoyed my GIS and Community Partnerships class this fall. We spent the entire semester working with a nonprofit organization to create maps and analyze data for them using GIS (a mapping and data analysis software). At the end of the semester, we presented our findings and offered recommendations to the organization. It was one of the most fulfilling classes I've taken so far!

Joe ‘16

This semester, my first at Mac, I took Intro to African American Studies with Professor Duchess Harris. Professor Harris edited her syllabus just a few weeks before classes started so that our final paper topic was "Is Ferguson a human rights issue?" She made sure we were able to connect the theories and approaches of great African American leaders, as well as American notions of blackness, to the events happening in Ferguson, MO and around the country--she sent us links to articles and other current information almost every day. I learned so much about the complexities of race in America, and because of that course, continue to learn every day.

M. L. ‘18

I really enjoyed my art course, 2D Design.  It took up a lot of time, but the professor was great at giving tips while letting everybody design for themselves.  It resulted in a lot of fantastic projects, each coming from very different sources and drawing on different ideas.

Ian '16

I really enjoyed my Screenwriting class. I thought it would be hard to balance reading and analyzing professional works with workshopping the work of my peers, but it worked out great. I read some really neat student-written screenplays that I hope to see turned into feature-length films one day!

Angela ‘15

The class that I enjoyed the most was my first-year course - CHEM 111 General Chemistry I. We not only had so much fun in lab, and had a wonderful professor who inspires us all and is always willing to give extra help, but also shared many great moments outside of the classroom together! I especially love the fact that my first-year-course classmates are also my floormates. While not discussing and working on chemistry problems, we go to Cafe Mac together, or just simply sit in Turck 3 Lounge, enjoying each other's company, and having a great talk about literally anything in life.

Hoang Anh '18

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Thanksgiving in the Minnesota

In my six years in the U.S. I have experienced many different Thanksgivings, from eating pizza to celebrating with a vegan meal. Coming from Spain, where we do not have Thanksgiving, I was excited to experience a “real” Thanksgiving with turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and lots of pecan and pumpkin pie. This year I got to have just such a Thanksgiving, as I celebrated this special day with a family in Northfield.
Although Erin, our host and master chef, had baked the cakes the day before and prepared all the ingredients and set the table, the cooking didn’t really begin until Thanksgiving Day, really early in the morning.

Erin woke up at 6 a.m. to put the turkey in the oven. We were planning to eat around noon, so she had to start cooking very early. Family members arrived at the house at 10 a.m. for a light breakfast before the big meal.
Eleanor, the youngest in the family, is always the queen of the party. She loves playing around, so we had some fun together. She wanted to take a “night-night nap” with her cousin Cristian, and she found a way to make it dark by hiding under the covers. While the food was being prepared, we also had time to paint her nails.

Little by little, the dishes started to come out, and everybody was getting really excited. All the food looked delicious. 

Cranberry sauce!

Fresh rolls!

Aunt Laura’s whipped cream salad (apple bites, snickers and whipped cream)!!

Chef Erin also prepared the sweet potatoes!

Finally, after six hours in the oven, the turkey was almost ready—19 pounds of it! Grandma Susie was in charge of making the gravy, while Uncle John was asked to carve the turkey.

When all the food was ready, we took a picture of Chef Erin. Everything was so good that we all ate too much, and some of us—like Jay—had to take naps.

Given that we had all gathered for the holiday, we decided to take some time to put up the Christmas tree, too.

I had such an amazing time spending Thanksgiving with this wonderful family.
Thank you, Casey and Erin, for being the best hosts. I am so thankful for this family.

Happy Holidays! - Sara '15

2014 Macalester Winter Ball

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lealtad-Suzuki Center: Xpressions: Self Image Gallery Project

The Self Image Gallery Project by the Department of Multicultural Life’s Xpressions program was intended to emphasize the importance of recognizing the beauty of all identities and capturing the art of self expression in the community.

The images, photographs, and videos were submitted by people around campus, with the option of remaining anonymous. We were hoping to allow students and the community to share their expressive art pieces in a variety of forms. We received several exceptional art mediums such as a self portrait collage and a self shot/self expression video. Since we got fewer submissions that intended, we also gave the community a different opportunity to express how they see themselves and how they want others to see them.  

As part of the display in the atrium space on the second floor of the Campus Center, we put up a blank canvas where people can draw or write their responses to the prompts, “how do you see yourself?” And “how do you want others to see you?” The display ran until the 31st of October. 

By Grace Zhu ‘16, Amy McMeeking ’16 , and Errol Phalo ‘17
Lealtad-Suzuki Center’s Program Assistants

Established in August 2002, the LSC is the programmatic arm of the Department of Multicultural Life (DML).   The LSC provides a range of services, including intentional multicultural education and campus programming; ongoing training and development opportunities for faculty, staff, and students; and personal consultations to discuss issues of identity exploration and cross-cultural communication.
LEARN MORE about the Department of Multicultural Life

Monday, November 10, 2014

Language Lessons Abroad

A few weeks ago, I told my coworker that I like wearing my horse on top of my head because of the heat in Santiago. 

She just looked at me blankly. With an uncertain smile, I pointed at my head, where my hair was piled up in the style I was trying to describe. Realization hit her and she burst out laughing and explained my mistake with a grin. Unfortunately for me, the Spanish words for hair and horse are very similar (cabello and caballo, respectively). I couldn’t help but chuckle as I hid my blushing cheeks in my hands.
Even after two years of Spanish classes, it still takes me a few tries to accurately convey my thoughts. As evidenced above, I frequently confuse words and meanings. Understanding what people are saying to me is not much easier than speaking to them. But I’m still trying my best to absorb everything that’s said to me throughout the day. After about three months here in la República Dominicana, I would say I understand about 68.3 percent of what I hear.

La bandera waving proudly in the nation’s capital, Santo Domingo
However, this still leaves at least a 31.7 percent margin of error (not allowing for distractions caused by the sweltering heat, the constant sunburn, or frequent bug bites). Sometimes it feels as if my time as an exchange student has been largely defined by moments of linguistic confusion.

The view of Santiago’s iconic El Monumento from my bedroom window.
Since August I have been living and breathing (and tripping all over) la cultura dominicana in my host city, Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic. As a student in the CIEE-Service Learning program, I spend my mornings in classes at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, located in the heart of Santiago. On the weekends—at least when I’m not doing homework—I explore the island of Hispaniola.

I’ve stopped by the capital, Santo Domingo:

Apparently, you have to specifically ask the street vendors not to put corn in your hair when you buy a bag of corn to feed the pigeons.

A few beautiful beaches:

The Caribbean sun is NOT messing around. Blancas like me MUST wear sunscreen at all times.

 And national parks on the coast and in the mountains:

Bug spray has become this girl’s best friend. No matter where I go the mosquitos find me! 
However, the best parts of my semester are every weekday afternoon. When classes are over for the day I head off to work with the local community organization Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano (Dominican Childcare Foundation, FCID). There I meet up with a community healthcare worker (called a promotora) and we make our way to the poorest neighborhoods in the province of Santiago.

Walking through the neighborhood Parada Siete, named for a nearby bus stop, with my promotoras.

In these neighborhoods, we provide affordable rehabilitation services to children with disabilities and teach their families how to best support and care for these children. The program adapts its services to each child within a broad spectrum of disabilities that manifest physically or cognitively.

At times, my novice-level Spanish catches up with me. The horse/hair/head debacle is just one example of my daily blunders in the world of language immersion. Many visits with FCID put my fledgling Spanish skills to the test as I talk with children who have speech impediments or cognitive disabilities. The ensuing conversations usually end up being a test of vocabulary (for me) and patience (for the kid).

Giving homework help to Luis Eddy.

In these conversations, I’ve added some really useful words, such as oso, cordillas, and pinzas (bear, shoelaces, and tweezers) to my mental dictionary. I’ve also frantically searched my brain for a particular word that is always right on the tip of my tongue. Most importantly, I’ve learned the best coping mechanism for a language barrier is a smile.

When Spanish words fail me (which is more often than not), a smile can suffice as an hola, a gracias, a felicidades, an adiós, or an invitation to play.

I have a means of communication, even if I am sunburnt to a crisp,covered in bug bites, and my hair smells like pigeons and corn. A smile will almost always take the place of a sentence (especially when I can’t remember the difference between cabello and caballo).

- Hannah Currens '17

Friday, October 31, 2014

Coffee around Macalester

There are few things I love more than coffee. The taste, the smell, the energy boost it gives me: I don’t know how I would be able to function without it. Thankfully, I don’t seem to be alone in that front at Macalester. It’s not uncommon to see scores of people walking to their morning class with a tumbler or cup of coffee, and there are plenty of places right around campus where I can get a cup of coffee (or tea, if I’m in the mood.) The coffee shops around campus are amazing places to study, chat with a professor about a paper, or take a study break and catch up with a friend. And as I’ve slowly branched out and explored the Twin Cities beyond Macalester’s campus, I’ve found more and more places that have great cups of coffee. If you’re ever up visiting Macalester, walk around the neighborhood and pop into one of the se shops - you won’t be disappointed! 

Dunn Bros: This is my favorite place to grab a quick coffee on the way to class. Even though Dunn Bros is a Minnesota chain, this is the original location so it still has the feel of an independent coffee house. They roast all their beans in-house (which makes it smell amazing inside) and their coffee is very strong. It’s cheap, too — a 16-ounce cup only costs $2! I’ve had quite few meetings with professors here, and Garrison Keillor is known to frequent Dunn Bros. It’s also open until 10:00, and they have live music almost every night of the week. When it comes to coffee shops, Dunn Bros is hard to beat.

Caribou: Caribou is my go-to place if I know I need to hunker down and spend a few hours writing a paper or studying. Even though it is a chain, Caribou has a really cozy feel inside of it that makes it a great place to spend a few hours in. Their chairs are super cozy, the tables have plenty of room for spreading out, and there are plenty of power outlets which are great for plugging in your laptop. There’s plenty of chalkboards for you to scribble on, and they have a daily trivia question which, if you answer correctly, gives you 10 cents off. I tend to treat myself when I go there and get a specialty drink — check out the Mint Condition Mocha! It’s also located right across from campus, making it super easy to get to and they have pretty generous hours.

Grand Central: This coffee shop/restaurant is one of the newer additions to the neighborhood; it opened about a year and a half ago and has quickly become one of my favorite places on Grand. Everything feels very sleek and polished inside, and they recently started showing different professional photography collections on the walls. I love their coffee (their lattes are huge!) but they really stand apart from these other coffee shops because of their great menu. Try one of their crepes--they have plenty of different kinds and they’re all equally as filling. Throw a cup of coffee in there and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better lunch near campus.

Cahoots: By far my favorite coffee shop in St. Paul. It’s about a ten minute walk away, but if you’re willing to make the trek, it’s so worth it. It’s the coziest coffee shop I’ve been to here, and they have a beautiful patio that feels like it was plucked right out of Europe. This is the one coffee shop on the list where I refuse to do homework — I use this space solely to catch up with friends or get away and read for a few hours. My favorite drink here, by far, is the lavender mocha.

The Grille: Right in the Campus Center, it’s the only place I’m talking about that’s actually on campus. While I love the experience of hunkering down at a cozy coffee shop for a few hours, sometimes you just need that bare-bones cup of coffee to keep you going. That’s where the Grille comes in. If I’m working upstairs in the CC (my favorite place to study on campus), I’ll often pop downstairs and buy a quick coffee to fuel my studying for a few more hours. They also take flex and aux points, so paying for your coffee is incredibly easy here. Plus, for the true night owls out there, it’s open until midnight during the week!

-Joe Klein '15

Read more posts from Joe:
The Chuck Green Fellowship
Halfway to Graduation