Author Archives: Clare Lee ʼ16

Index Throwback: Williams Hall

Before Trowbridge and Hoben Halls, there was Williams Hall, an all-male dorm completed in 1849 and partially destroyed by fire in 1916.

Inside: Two Kalamazoo students study for exams in their dorm in the now defunct Williams Hall Dormitory.

By Katie Schmitz

In 1849, construction on a new men’s dormitory, named “Upper Hall,” was completed. The hall was located very close to where Hoben Hall stands today.  The hall was renovated and fit with electricity, steam heat, adjustable temperature water, and uniform furniture. Before this, coal stoves were still used to heat rooms.

Unfortunately for K, many of their renovations were ruined when the dormitory caught on fire in March of 1916 due to faulty wiring in the attic. Nobody was hurt, but the third and fourth floors of the hall were ruined, and many students lost all of their possessions.

Thankfully, insurance covered the damages, and the hall was rebuilt as a three-story building. Also, generous donations from the community helped the young men who lost their possessions. Shorty after the reconstructions were complete, the hall was renamed “Williams Hall,” after a man named Dean Clarke Benedict Williams who died in 1923 earthquake in Yokohama, Japan.

Although the Index did not put out an issue the month that the dorm caught fire, a few months later they reviewed the new renovations. “As one enters the large reception room on the first floor, his attention is at once drawn to the beautiful interior decorations, including new inverted electric lights and a magnificent open fire place.”

Again, however, the operation of the dormitory was fairly short lived, and all students were moved into the brand new Hoben Hall in 1937 and Williams Hall was completely demolished.

Williams Hall’s relatively short lifespan (compared to other K dorms) is not to say that it did not have an impact. According to a 1937 issue of the Index, Williams meant so much to one K alum, Van Tifflin K’1912, that he paid $10 for a brick of the demolished hall.

“He wishes the brick as a tangible evidence of the happy hours he spent there during the year 1908-09 and wishes the money to be used for the new Hoben Hall,” explained the article.

When Politics Fails: A Cambridge Professor Traces the Road to War

Dr.Christopher Clark spoke in the Olmstead Room April 8

By Graham Key

Kalamazoo College’s Department of History hosted the Moritz Lecture in History April 8 in the Olmsted Room.

Professor Christopher Clark of Cambridge University delivered the lecture, which focused on the outbreak of the First World War.

To Kalamazoo College Professor of History David Barclay, Clark’s latest work and the focus of Wednesday’s lecture, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, is the most important book on the Great War’s outbreak published in the last half-century.

By adding another book to the estimated 25,000 existing books and articles on the war, Clark hopes to challenge the conflict’s historically binary understanding.

“For a long while the study of the First World War was very much structured on guilt, who is the guilty state, but that’s not a very helpful way of thinking about things,” Clark said.

While researching the war’s origins Clark often found himself scouring the footnotes of his predecessors “looking for gold dust.”  Clark struck gold while digging through the works of Australian historian Mark Haines.  In Haines’ notes Clark found a helpful memoir by a French diplomat, which shed greater light on French diplomacy in the last months before the war.  Clark also traced trails of gold dust across Europe, mining archival records in Belgrade, Vienna, Berlin, Paris, Moscow, London, and Brussels.

Clark, a native of Australia, first found fascination in the war through stories from his Great-Uncle Jim, a World War One veteran.

“I said, ‘the men who fought in the war, were they keen to get into the fight, or were they scared?’ And he said that some were keen, some were scared.  So I said ‘which one were you? Were you keen, or scared?’ He said, ‘I was definitely scared.’ So I asked ‘did the keen ones fight better than the scared ones?’ And he said ‘no it was the keen ones who shat themselves first.’  Those first conversations really made me realize the size of the phenomenon,” he said.

As the centennial of the war’s outbreak in 1914 approaches, Clark believes the war is more relevant than ever before.  In a modern world that is less predictable, more opaque, less translatable, and more dangerous, “the world of 2014 looks more and more like the world a century ago, the world that made global calamity possible in the First World War.”

But don’t expect Clark’s book to be the blueprint for the next great conflict.

“History is an oracle.  She teaches in riddles, not lessons,” Clark said. “My work is intended to remind people how bad it can get when politics fails.”

Art Project Captures the Feel of Travel

Shelley Hu ‘14 is the creator of a new art installation in the Fine Arts Building.

By Colin Smith

After the push of a button, the installation starts: footage of escalators repeat before scenes outside a subway with faces of people focusing in and out as they pass by. The sound of perpetual movement drowns out the intercom chortling out names while traffic sounds fill the room.

For returning juniors, it’s easy to imagine the feeling of traveling, and the isolation one feels despite surrounded by so many people. For an accurate simulation step inside the Fine Art Building’s art gallery to experience senior Shelley Hu’s art installation.

With three projectors and screens, Hu blurred both the visual and auditory experiences to give the installation a sense of suspension. With each projector facing on three separate walls of a square-shaped room, her Senior Individualized Project (SIP), titled “Lonely Planet,” is a panoramic representation of traveling.

As an artist in photography, the fine arts, and film, Hu has grown interested in engaging space with her art as well as interacting with her audiences for a long time. Her inspiration for this Senior Individualized Project sparked about a year ago when she arrived from her study abroad in Jerusalem, Israel. However, Hu noted, her obsession with traveling grew out of the past few years.

“Among all the feelings one has while traveling,” said Shelley Hu, “I am most intrigued by the loneliness.” She said in shooting her project she was influenced by the French film essayist Chris Marker, particularly La Jetée—a 1962 film made almost entirely with still photos.

Shelley Hu shot all the footage used in her installation. While she includes scenes from New York City, China, and Israel, most of it was filmed in Jerusalem while studying there. She said she was drawn to Jerusalem because “it is one of the most religious places in the world, but at the same time it has a large group of young secular people like myself.”

She has often filmed with her cellphone while waiting in a stationary car, recording passing scenes like a road trip. Lugging around a hefty video camera on a tripod in downtown Jerusalem, Hu said locals started to bring out their phones and filmed her behind the camera.

That said, Hu also used her cellphone extensively. Noting that the brand Burberry shot an entire season of television commercials with an iPhone 5S, Hu said “in another five years no one is going to need DSLR or other fancy cameras.”

While she filmed in Beijing, her hometown of Chengdu, and New York City, Hu said she had the most fun in The Big Apple. “I fell in love with the variety and energy of the city,” she shared. After graduating this summer she plans to move to Brooklyn.

 

Farms to K to Introduce On-Campus Market

The plan for an on-campus farmers’ market hopes to increase access to organic food.

By Olivia Nalugya

Farms to K, one of the student-led groups under the Center for Civic Engagement, plans to introduce a farmers’ market at Kalamazoo College, so that students can easily access organic foods grown by local farmers.

Civic engagement scholars and Farms to K leaders, Maddie MacWilliams ’16 and Nadia Torres ’16, revealed that members of the group suggested this in the middle of fall quarter as a possible project for their group this year.

MacWilliams and Torres initially realized that a farmers’ market would be a huge time commitment. However, they were propelled forward by the enthusiasm and dedication of the entire group.

“Because everybody is so committed to it, it’s become not a lot of work for one specific person, so that’s awesome,” Torres said.

The group immediately started drafting a mission statement to determine how they were going to implement the idea. MacWilliams revealed that the process forced them to think intensively about the implications of the idea as well as its feasibility.

“It took us three meetings to draft a mission statement. There were a lot of conversations about why we needed a farmers’ market on campus,” MacWilliams said.

They hope that a farmers’ market will connect students to the food they eat, as well as to the people who produce it.

“We want to establish a space where people can go, buy local food, and talk to farmers about their food and about why they are passionate about what they do,” MacWilliams said.

The market would also be a basis for building community and would serve as an avenue for connecting K College to the greater Kalamazoo community.

The market would include local musicians and artists. Students from neighboring colleges and universities would also be able to come to the market.

Kalamazoo College Dining Services is also willing to work with Farms to K to support the project by purchasing food from the market so that farmers can have the financial benefit to keep partaking in the market.

“We want to make it monetarily worth it for farmers to come to the market so it is important for us to establish a connection between the cafeteria and the farmers,” Torres said.

The market will also mainly take place during cold seasons when it is harder for students to go off campus to buy food. Farms to K is now drafting a proposal, which will be submitted to Administration for approval.

 

Upjohn gets a makeover

Renovations in the Library’s Second Floor to Accommodate More Study Room

Work in Progress: Michelle Choi, Mira Swearer, Ana Waxer, and Sarah Levett sit around waiting for a room to open up in Upjohn Library.

By Kamalaldin M. Kamalaldin

Built in 2006, Upjohn Library Commons was designed to accommodate the increasing student capacity at Kalamazoo College. However, since the former library that Upjohn replaced was not as popular among students, K did not have insight as to how future students would use the newly built library. New plans are accordingly being set-in-place now that the success of the library has been established.

One of those plans is the renovation of the library’s second floor, planned for initiation and completion within the coming summer. The renovation will replace the two plant-holding, carrel tables behind the Reading Room with four new study rooms.

These plans come to address the unpredicted usage of library space by students. Now, the library staff members “know that there isn’t enough study space in (the library) for people who want to study together or in rooms,” said Stacy Nowicki, Upjohn Library Director. Many students are forced to wait for the study rooms to be available for use, which can take hours. With the addition of the new study rooms, Nowicki hopes to reduce the waiting-time for study rooms, or at best, even eliminate it.

Each of the four study rooms will be able to occupy eight to ten people, and will come equipt with a projector and (potentially) a full-wall whiteboard—an experiment hoping to offer students an improved study capability and more convenience. Like other study rooms, they will be available for students to checkout at times when they are not being used for a class.

The existence of such study rooms on the second floor broadens classroom-planning options. Nowicki said, “[The study rooms] are big enough that they may be able to be used as classrooms.” This will not conflict with the study rooms’ purpose, since students mostly begin checking out study rooms after 5:00 p.m., due to current library policies.

However, to construct the new classrooms, part of the library must be sacrificed. The choice to eliminate the carrel tables was easy, according to Nowicki, as the tables (and their outdated equipment), were not really used by students. “We thought when we built this building eight years ago that those were going to be very popular, but everyone hated them,” she added.

The equipment that previously occupied the carrel tables will be placed on mobile carts and will be available in classrooms within the library.

The construction will be made through the placement of internal walls within the already-existing structure of the library, a procedure similar to the one used to build the new bio-chem resource center.

Nowicki expressed her happiness with the students’ organization of the library floors into a social first floor, a professional second floor, and a quiet third floor. Some adjustments were made to encourage better habits within students, she mentioned, and she trusts that the students will responsibly use the library, while it continues to cater for their needs.

 

Men’s Tennis Aims To Keep Streak Alive

By Daniel Herrick

The Men’s Tennis team’s four-game winning streak came to an end when they lost 7-2 at home to the University of Chicago last Sunday. The Hornets were defeated in all three double’s matches before dropping four of the six singles matches. Brandon Metzler was victorious at one singles (6-2, 6-2), and junior David DeSimone secured a point at four singles (6-4, 6-2).

The match was a brief break in the team’s conference schedule before they will travel to Hope on Tuesday (April 8). Kalamazoo will enter the match with a perfect 4-0 record in the MIAA and will be looking to put a stamp on history for this year’s team. A win would guarantee the Hornets a share of the MIAA championship, extending their infamous championship streak to 76 years.

“We know that this match can continue the streak and that Hope, like the rest of the MIAA, will give us their best match,” said senior Skippy Faber. “We know not to take anything lightly. The first goal of our season is always to secure a conference championship.”

Following the matchup at Hope, the team will play host to our much larger neighbor in a cross-division competition with Division I Western Michigan. The matchup with Western is a yearly event that allows the team to compete against the highest level of competition in college tennis. This is a common event for Division III competitors and is seen by other Kalamazoo College sports, including Men’s Soccer and Basketball.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to test ourselves against a big Division-one program,” said Faber. “However, we treat it like any other match. We go in with a mindset that if we play our game, and play our best tennis, do the little things right, then we feel that we can challenge the best.”

The Hornets will finish out the week with another home matchup against Gustavus Adolphus. The Golden Gusties were ranked number 18 in the ITA national ranking released on March 27. Their number one singles player, Mya Smith-Dennis, was ranked number eight in the region in the same release of rankings. In order to qualify for the national single’s or double’s tournament, a player must be ranked in the top eight of their region.

Kalamazoo number one Brandon Metzler, ranked number 11 in the region, is currently trending up toward that number eight spot for a chance to compete at nationals. Against Chicago, Metzler was able to secure a solid win by defeating number 16 in the region Deepak Sebada. A reported turf-toe injury denied Metzler the opportunity to match up with number-four Sven Kranz.

Since the release of the rankings, Smith-Dennis has gone 1-3, all while playing at two singles. It’s unclear whether he will be the matchup for Metzler at one singles come Sunday. Playing one singles for the Gusties over that stretch has been regionally ranked number-25 John Luis Chu.

While the rest of us look forward, the team is still focused on the current moment. Hope College is next up and a chance the secure the conference championship is on the line. Following the match against Hope, if the weather continues to cooperate, the Hornets will host Western Michigan at Stowe Stadium on Thursday evening at 6:00 pm.

Lacrosse Team Opens MIAA Play with Win

The Women’s Lacrosse team huddles up before the game against Saint Mary’s last Wednesday.

By Spencer MacDonald

The Kalamazoo College Women’s Lacrosse team won their conference opener against St. Mary’s on Wednesday 16-9, however, dropped their second contest on Saturday at Alma by a score of 12-8.

Coach Ward and the Hornets handily dispatched the first-year program of St. Mary’s, breaking a 4-4 deadlock with a three-goal run to end the half. Kalamazoo outscored the Belles 9-5 in the second half en route to the program’s first win in the MIAA. Seven different Hornets found the back of the net including first-year midfielders Anika Sproull and Nicole Huff, who combined for 10 of the 16 goals.  The Hornet defense came up with another strong performance, forcing 21 St. Mary’s turnovers to Kalamazoo’s 10.  Sproull was once again a key-player for the Hornets, tacking-on 8 goals in the contest to add to her second best in the conference goals-per-game average of 3.5.

“It was a huge first game to win,” said Sproull.  “We’ve been practicing for months now and went on a spring break training trip before this game, which has really helped us play together as a team.”

Kalamazoo followed up Wednesday’s win with a close loss at Alma College on Saturday.  The Scots, who were projected to finish second in the MIAA, outshot the Hornets on a close margin of 21-19, but held a steady lead throughout the second half after a close opening period.  Huff led the scoring for Kalamazoo with 2 goals and Sproull, Marissa Dawson, Clare Jensen, and Alivia DuQuet all beat the Alma keeper for one goal apiece.  While the two teams were relatively even in shots, Alma had 16 ground ball pickups to the Hornets eight and 11 draw controls to eight. The Scots were able to answer almost every Kalamazoo goal with a goal of their own, stemming any potential runs quickly.

Although the season is still young, the Hornets are positioned well in the hunt for a top-four finish and MIAA playoff spot.  They currently sit tied for fourth with both Alma and the Knights of Calvin College.  Even with the loss to Alma, the team remains extremely optimistic about their chances in conference play and the opportunity for a postseason run.

“We’re still in a good spot,” said Sproull following the defeat.  “Coach Ward told us that we’re only allowed to lose to Alma and Adrian in conference so we’re on pace there.  I think we might surprise some people against Adrian.”

The Hornets will get their opportunity when they return to action to take on first-place Adrian College on the road on Tuesday, March 18.

This Week in Kalamazoo History

Photo courtesy of Kalamazoo College Art Collection

By Katie Schmitz

Everyone has, no doubt, noticed the large mural in the cafeteria that takes up the whole wall above the entrances. Most people seem to just think of this mural as creepy, often times pointing out the strange and, in some cases, pained looks on the subjects’ faces. Not many stop to appreciate the history of this mural, and still, more question its relevance today.

The mural was painted by artist Philip Evergood. Evergood was appointed in 1940 by K to paint the mural in the current Cafeteria and to be the “Resident Artist” for the College. Evergood started work on the mural in 1941 and completed it in 1942.

Entitled the “Bridge of Life,” the mural is intended to show “scenes typical to Kalamazoo.” Evergood told the Index in 1940 that mural would be “an expression of people in this part of he country.” Prior to starting work on the mural, Evergood even traveled all over southwestern Michigan looking for inspiration.

Work on the mural was paused in 1942, however, when Evergood became ill and had to stay in the hospital for 12 weeks and undergo several surgical procedures. He was able to return to K and finish for the unveiling in May of 1942.

Philip Evergood was a very well known artist during his time, and has had his work displayed in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Evergood was born in 1901 and passed away in 1973 when his home in Connecticut caught on fire.

Currently, a new project is in the works to be placed in the cafeteria after concerns were raised about how the Evergood mural does not reflect Kalamazoo College’s growing diversity. The project titled “Kolors of K” was funded by Student Commission’s Innovation Fund last quarter and will be completed over the next year.

 

Innagural Poetry Festival Held on Campus

Kalamazoo’s first poetry festival ran from Aprial 4-5, including a craft talk in the College’s Olmsted Room

Pictured: Aracelis Girmay (Left) and Ilya Kaminsky (Right) both spoke at the poetry talk, which took place April 4 and 5.

By Colin Smith

Though a mid-sized city sitting between Chicago and Detroit, the Detroit Free Press declared Kalamazoo as a literary hotspot two weeks ago. With thriving writing programs at Kalamazoo College, Western Michigan University, and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, various poetry associations founded Kalamazoo’s first poetry festival, which ran last Friday to Saturday evening.

On Saturday afternoon, however, the festival found its way into Kalamazoo College’s Olmsted room. As Zinta Aistars—Editor of The Smoking Poet—moderated a craft talk with Aracelis Girmay and Ilya Kaminsky, the latter part of the session was given to the audience to interact with the featured poets.

The event aimed to bridge the city’s emerging writing community with its established poets. Aistars emphasized that “poetry is for everybody, but poetry requires a lot of craft.”

Girmay shares Eritrean, Puerto Rican, and African American roots, and won the Isabella Gardner award for her poetry collection Kingdom Animalia. Kaminsky, on the other hand, was born in Odessa during the later years of the USSR in 1977 until the American government granted his family asylum in 1993.

The session did embrace an open forum, and both the guest poets and Aistars talked about breaking down the “artificial barrier” of intimidation that separates potential writers from poetry.

Whether it was students or professors or guests engaged in the local community, the majority of the audience opened their notebooks during the talks. The audience followed attentively, for instance, when Girmay shared her thoughts on street artists who perform on the spot (like on street corners), without any motives of money. Or when Kaminsky shared his experiences from living near-deaf since the age of 4 to living during the oppressive regime of the USSR.

The two guest poets would close the festival later in the evening by reciting their selected poems. The afternoon craft talk was designed to give the poets in the room—young or old—perspective on how to write, and why they choose to write at all.

Banjos, a Giant Dog, and Pale Ales: A Rupert’s Brew House Review

Happy Hour: The interior of Rupert’s Brew House on a friday night is buzzing with lively conversation.

By Colin Smith

A Great Dane weighing at 197 lbs. greeted patrons at the door while a banjo-trombone-duo captivated their audience with a cover of Modest Mouse’s “Third Planet.” Celebrating its 100th batch of beer, Rupert’s Brew House released its newest brew, the “Batch #100” wheat beer, this past week.

Nearly 90 years ago, this corner across campus opened as Oakland Pharmacy. During the ‘70s and ‘80s it became the nationally renowned Boogie Records—which once welcomed Robert Plant into their stacks of rare blues vinyls. Though branded with a new name, the brewery is keeping the space’s vibrant history alive by booking singer-songwriters, comedians, and bands every weekend.

Opening last October, Rupert’s maintains a communal atmosphere. The beers are meant to be enjoyed inside the brewery, whether it’s in front of a live band, on a barstool, or around the fireplace.

While the previous music venue that inhabited the space, The Strutt, moved out two years ago, the venue still shares a rustic feel. Most tables are refurbished doors from local historic sites like WMU’s East Campus, and Rupert’s uses the narrow wing of the V-shaped building to house brewing equipment.

Of their total of 8 beers on-tap, their most distinct and flavorful beer is the “Double hIghPA.” Citrusy and not too bitter at 8.1 ABV, it’s the pub’s smoothest hop-based brew. The Peanut Butter Porter, a thick malt-based beer, runs at a close second, though it was also the most filling.

Save for the Britani’s Cream Ale, the beers lower in alcohol content were also less bold in flavor. From its selection of stouts, porters, and pale ales, the brewery specializes for people who prefer dark, heavier beers.

Drop by to see Rupert’s on a weekend for a full experience, or even on weekdays during open-mic sets. Between Rupert’s consistent music and meticulous brewing, the historic building resumes its place as Kalamazoo’s “campus corner” once again.