Nine Reasons Why Spring Quarter is the Best Quarter

Springtime means the academic year is almost over. The weather is warmer, flowers are blooming and at Kalamazoo College spring events are popping up all over campus. In the fall, all the student organizations are acquiring new members and making plans for the rest of the year. Then winter term hits and everyone retreats indoors to the comfort of a fireplace. But then, the frost melts, the sunshine peaks down, and students flood the quad for some much needed fresh air. Spring is an explosion of events, both on K’s campus and in the broader Kalamazoo Community. Check out some of the highlights!

  1. World Night

One of the annual spring events is hosted by the International Student Organization (ISO). World Night is an avenue for students to express their culture for the K community to celebrate. A mixture of song, dance, poetry, food, games, and much more, World Night is always a big event on campus and one that everyone looks forward to in the spring.

  1. Frelon

Frelon is a student-run dance company that is one of the largest and most popular spring events on K’s campus, and their annual show is in, you guessed it, spring quarter! Student choreographers and their selected dancers prepare for weeks during winter quarter to be able to perform for the campus community during spring quarter. There is a mixture of experience levels and anyone who wants to can be a part of a dance. Frelon is such a fun way to get involved with a student organization and try out dance in a supportive environment. As a veteran Frelon attendee, I can vouch that it is a terrific show every time!

  1. Monkapult

During winter quarter getting out of your pajamas and trudging through the cold to go to a campus event can sometimes feel like an insurmountable task (especially when the sun sets at five o’clock sharp). But in the springtime, going to late night campus events feels like a fun way to burn off some spring fever. And there’s nothing that burns spring fever (or calories) like going to Monkapult – the campus improv group. It’s always fun to see your friends (or strangers, for that matter) make fools of themselves for comedic purposes, and Monkapult always delivers on that front!

Fun fact: Steven Yeun K’05 (Actor on AMC’s horror drama television series The Walking Dead) and Jordan Klepper K’01 (correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) both got their acting start at K through Monkapult!

  1. SIP Symposiums

On a slightly more academic (but still fun!) note, the springtime means something a little different for seniors – it’s SIP Season, baby. The Senior Individualized Project (or SIP, as the kids call it) is a graduation requirement for every K student that can range from writing an original play or conducting your own lab experiment. Then, throughout spring quarter seniors present their final products at various departmental SIP Symposiums. This is an awesome way to see what kind of work your fellow students are doing and if you’re an underclassman, it’s a great way to get some inspiration for your own SIP. Plus, there are usually always snacks and who doesn’t love free food?!

  1. Burgers and Blues

Nothing says springtime like barbecued food, music, and sunshine. Every tenth week of spring quarter the Kalamazoo College Jazz Band plays some tunes out on the quad while students, faculty, and staff grab food off the grill. This event is a great place for everyone to enjoy the outdoors, some music, classic barbecue food, and of course, the quarter almost being over!

  1. Farmers Market

The Kalamazoo Farmers Market hosts dozens of farmers and local vendors at a weekly market starting in May and going through October. The market is a twenty-minute walk from campus, or a ten-minute bike ride, and boasts a lively scene with food trucks, live music, picnic tables, and of course, beautiful locally grown produce!

  1. Pride Ball

Every spring the Kaleidoscope student organization hosts Pride Ball, an event designed for attendees to dress and express themselves however they please! Kaleidoscope is one of the LGBTQIA+ groups on campus, and Pride Ball is their largest annual event. Complete with food, dancing, photo booths, contests, and performances, Pride Ball is always a fun time for all.

  1. DOGL

Every school has its traditions. Day of Gracious Living, or DOGL, is one of K’s oldest and most cherished. The night before DOGL an email is sent out by the president of the college announcing that classes will be canceled for the following day. What ensues is NOGL (Night of Gracious Living), a night of food and fun on the quad to kick off the festivities. The following day the school sends shuttles out to South Haven for K students to enjoy a day at the beach! The speculation leading up to DOGL about which day it will be is surely a pain in all professors’ necks but for students is practically half the fun.

  1. Cultural Awareness Troupe

The Black Student Organization (BSO) puts on one of its largest annual spring events, Cultural Awareness Troupe or CAT. This event gives students of color a stage (literally) to express themselves through poetry, song, dance, and even film. There’s also a dance competition and local food vendors during intermission! Some of the most stunning and powerful performances that I’ve witnessed during my time at K were during CAT performances – this is definitely a springtime favorite!

If this hasn’t convinced you that springtime at K is loaded with fun events, I don’t know what will! You can rest assured that every weekend will have at least one entertaining ongoing for you to attend. And with a few weeks left of the quarter, I’ll be sure to take advantage of all the fun!

Savannah Kinchen ‘18

K Students take on the Civil Liberties & Public Policy (CLPP) Conference

This past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity of traveling with a group of students from K to the annual Civil Liberties and Public Policy (CLPP) Conference in Massachusetts. CLPP is a yearly event that is dedicated to creating a space for individuals to come together and discuss reproductive justice– its history, the work that has been done, the work currently being done, and what is yet to come. The conference lasted from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, and hosted a variety of workshops to attend with other events such as an opportunity to network and panels made up of activists explaining their work and organizations.

The schedule of the conference was as followed: checking in on Friday afternoon, attending a workshop, dinner, and then an abortion speak out (this is where anyone who has ever had an abortion is able to share as much or as little about their experience in a safe space). Following the speak out was the screening of the movie, Margaritas with a Straw, chosen for its representation of disabled folks and LGBTQ folks within the film. On Saturday there was an open plenary to start the day where activists from different organizations said a few words about their work or organization. This was followed by a quick lunch and then the opportunity to attend three workshops. Following the workshops was dinner with the opportunity to network with other individuals at the conference. Later that night there was an 80s themed dance party for everyone at the conference. On the last day, Sunday, we had the chance to attend one more workshop before attending the closing plenary, which was a panel consisting of four activists who talked about their work.

One of my favorite parts of the conference was the closing plenary because the theme of the panel was how one can (and why one should) keep joy, liberation, and self-care at the front of their activism. All the speakers on the panel discussed how important it is to find time for self-care and to participate in the activities that make you happy. Most activists are “burnt out” by their late 20s which can mostly be attributed to the fact that many individuals keep themselves so busy and immersed in their work that they can forget to take a break, or don’t take a break for fear that it can be seen as being “weak” or “lazy” or “not as involved” compared to other activists. However, the panelists on Sunday said that self-care has only made their activism stronger and has made them feel more proud of the work they do, whether it be working to help mothers end sustenance abuse or helping women of color gain better access to education.

As someone who participates in small steps of activism and who would like to keep activism as an aspect and activity within their lives, it’s comforting to know that that doesn’t mean I should ever stop taking care of myself in order to help others. There is time and space to make sure that you are being taken care of while also improving the lives of others. No one can reach full liberation if we, as the activists, are allowing ourselves to suffer under the restraints of ourselves.

-Karina Pantoja ’20

Make Your Way to K

Here’s the thing, at this point in the college process, you are deciding where you’re going to end up for the next four years of your life. The next four years – it sounds scary and almost like a decision too big for an seventeen or eighteen year old, but let me tell you this, you’re going to end up exactly where you need to. However, while you’re calculating the distance from home or trying to figure out what school colors you’d look better in, you should read this list of 10 reasons why you should make your way to K:

1. Our entire campus lies in (barely) a mile-long radius. It will literally, at most, take you five
minutes to walk from one end of the campus to another. Do you know how great that is in the winter?

2. We have free food at every. single. event. I’m serious, we have so much food to offer you!

3. Downtown Kalamazoo is only a short walk away. There’s everything from a movie theater to restaurants to a museum and stores just a few minutes away!

4. We have the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership (also known as the best building on campus). You have the ability to get involved and attend various events with topics that range from Native American representation throughout history to resistance through art.

5. Jorge Gonzalez is the most wonderful, caring, and genuine man you might ever meet and he is also the President of the College (this is a fact). Come for Jorge, he’d love you!

6. We’re on a trimester system (three 10-week terms), which means we start school later (mid-September) and you get a six-week winter break (end of November until the second week of January) – it’s what you need, trust me.

7. The average class size at K is 13. Our small class sizes mean you get to make valuable connections with your professors, which comes in handy for recommendations and networking in the future.

8. STUDY ABROAD. I mean, let’s be real here, what schools allows you to study abroad for a full academic year and still graduate on time? (Hint: Kalamazoo College does.)

9. By the time you’re a sophomore, you have the opportunity to hold various leadership positions within student organizations. Typically, you wouldn’t serve on an executive board of a club or organization at a bigger university until your junior or senior year, but here at K, you can start as early as the end of your first year so you can go into your sophomore year holding certain positions.

10. You will literally get more in your four years here at K – from career development to study abroad to independent research, your work throughout your time here at K will put you on track to obtain more in a lifetime.

Now there you have it, ten reasons (although there are so many more) on why YOU should make your way to K. We hope to see you soon!

Karina Pantoja ’20