An Opportunity to Express Gratitude

Gratitude Grateful for K
Students take advantage of “Grateful for K Day” to share their gratitude in handwritten thank-you notes to K donors

Kalamazoo College invites students, faculty, staff, alumni and others to celebrate “Grateful for K Day” on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

Sponsored by the Kalamazoo College Fund, and formerly called “Tuition Freedom Day,” the April 5 event educates students about the important role philanthropy plays in sustaining and enhancing Kalamazoo College and (hopefully) inspires them to express their gratitude for the alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends who generously support the College each year.

On Grateful for K Day students write hundreds of thank-you notes to express appreciation for the generosity shown through philanthropic support of Kalamazoo College. More than 98 percent of K students receive scholarships and/or some form of financial aid. This day acknowledges K donors and helps to educate students on the impact philanthropy has on their education and K experience.

What can you do on Wednesday to honor generosity and express gratitude? If you’re a student, please visit the Hicks Center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to write a thank-you note or two to our donors. After you’ve written your notes, grab a cookie and hot chocolate!

If your a donor, please share your “Why I Give” and “Why I am Grateful” stories on our website or Facebook page, where you can also learn more about Grateful for K Day.

Thanks for helping to put the K in thanKs!

Greening Away Violence

Green Dot-Trained Faculty and Staff at KThis spring Kalamazoo College is beginning to turn green from Green Dot, and that “greening” will create a campus where the likelihood of dating and domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault decreases significantly because everybody does their part.

Just last week some 29 K faculty, staff and administrators completed four days of Green Dot “College Curriculum” training.

Green Dot is a violence prevention program with origins in college and university settings. It is also being implemented across the entire U.S. Air Force, on installations across all other branches of the military, and in communities and organizations in all 50 states and internationally.

The program is designed to enlist entire communities in order to spread the work and the joy that comes with it. And it works! In a five-year longitudinal study, Green Dot was shown to reduce violence perpetration by up to 50 percent in Kentucky high schools. Other studies found a 17 percent reduction in colleges, and additional research is being funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the effect of Green Dot in communities and additional colleges.

The 29 trainers will contribute to the planning and implementation of bystander education sessions for students (the first is set for late April) and Green Dot overview sessions for faculty, staff, administrators and students. Bystanders are trained to safely use words and actions to address or prevent “red dots.” In the program’s iconography, a red dot is any person’s choice to harm another person with words or actions. In any environment, or map, enough red dots create a norm where violence is tolerated. Green dots are small actions to intervene when a red dot is occurring or to prevent the likelihood of red dots at all. Small as they may be, Green Dot words and actions draw their power from the large numbers of people who commit to speak or do them. Together, enough Green Dots can change “worlds,” small and large.

Small acts and everyone doing their part is the key to the program’s success. Last week’s faculty and staff training included an array of work lives and “spheres of influence” that nearly covers the campus map, so the Green Dot greening of K is off to a broad and excellent start.

Early participants and Green Dot educators included (l-r)–front row (seated): Ellen Lassiter Collier, Gender Equity; Liz Smith ’73, Library, Katie Miller, Athletics (Women’s Basketball); Leslie Burke, Library; Miasha Wilson, Business Office; Kenlana Ferguson, Counseling Center, Erika Driver, Counseling Center; Laura Livingstone-McNelis ’89, Theatre Arts; Brittany Liu, Psychology; back row (standing): Jessica Ward, Registrar’s Office, Morgan Mahdavi ’14, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership; Jeanne Hess, Physical Education (Volleyball); Josh Moon, Educational Technology; Narda McClendon, Center for International Programs; Andrew Grayson ’10, Admission; Elizabeth Manwell, Classics; Bryan Goyings ’04, Athletics (Women’s Soccer); Jax Gardner, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership; Heather Dannison, Counseling Center; Jason Lintjer, Athletics (Men’s and Women’s Swimming); Marcie Weathers, Facilities Management; Franki Hand, Media Services; Jay Daniels ’13, Athletics (Men’s and Women’s Swimming); Dan Kibby ’90, Computer Programming; Tim Young, Security, Karen Joshua Wathel, Student Development, Heather Garcia, Center for International Programs; Melissa Emmal, Green Dot, Washington, D.C.; Sirajah Raheem, Green Dot, Atlanta, Georgia. Not pictured are Stacy Nowicki, Library, and Jim VanSweden ’73, College Communication.

Funding for Kalamazoo College’s Green Dot efforts comes from the State of Michigan Campus Sexual Assault Grant Program.

A New “Lost” Adventure

Kalamazoo College Alumna Laura Livingston-McNellisOne great outcome of the K-Plan is an aptitude for adventure–one that lasts a lifetime, with a concomitant fearlessness of failure. Take Laura Livingstone-McNelis, class of 1989. The English major, theatre arts minor, LandSea participant (who studied abroad in the United Kingdom) has taught in the public schools, owned and administered a bed & breakfast business and, for the past four years, served as the company manager for the College’s Department of Theatre Arts and Festival Playhouse Productions. Next month you can add to that résumé the title: Playwright.

Laura’s one-act play, “Lost in the Shuffle,” has been accepted by and will be performed during the Seventh Annual New Play Festival at the Epic Center in downtown Kalamazoo. Her play will stage on Saturday, February 4, at 2 p.m.

Laura cites three reasons for her adventure into playwrighting.

“I was intrigued by the New Play Festival’s call for plays and thought, ‘Why not try?'” she says. Actually, the genesis of “Lost” dates back several months before that call. As a member of the Lake Effect Writers Guild, Laura remembers a particular meeting the previous winter. “The assignment was to write something with a ‘bit of dialogue.’ I thought, ‘Here’s my chance,’ and began the first draft of ‘Lost’ in January 2016.” So the metamorphosis of “Here’s my chance!” to “Why not try?” constitutes one of three motives driving our nascent playwright.

The second had to do with the seminal event that inspired the play. Laura explains: “The play is about Alzheimer’s disease and its effect on the patient and the family, especially family caregivers. My stepfather eventually died of the disease. I recall during a visit to my mom and stepfather’s house finding in a desk a box with a harmonica. I was familiar with the harmonica because years earlier my kids had given it to my mom and inscribed on the box ‘Grandma.’ But when I saw the box that day the word ‘Grandma’ had been carefully crossed out, and in the painstaking handwriting of my stepfather was  written instead the word ‘harmonica.’

“Often you cannot see the devastation of Alzheimer’s until its late stages. Those early effects can be hidden. And yet already the disease had stolen from his mind–at least intermittently–the concept of possession. In his mind, the box did not contain a grandma; it contained a harmonica, so he fixed it.”

The hiddenness and drama of that discovery in the desk relates to the third reason Laura wrote her play. “Theatre is a community of inclusion, able to inspire empathy and be an agent for change,” she says. “Theatre brings light to issues hidden beneath our inattentiveness, and the effects of Alzheimer’s disease require more light,” she adds.

Her script development continues through the rehearsal process and in collaboration with the play’s director and actors. “I’ve done five rewrites during rehearsals,” says Laura, “and learned a great deal in the revisions.” In her play, Laura is writing movement as much as dialogue. For example, her staging of “shuffling” acquires multiple layers of meaning in this poignant work, as much poem as performance. Launching an adventure takes teamwork, and Laura is deeply grateful to the producers of the New Play Festival, Kevin Dodd and Steve Feffer, for providing the opportunity for playwrights like her to develop their work. Ed Menta has served as her mentor since her college days. “And my family and friends have enthusiastically encouraged my writing,” she adds.

“Lost” may be just the beginning of her writing career. “I have things to say,” she smiles, “and I’m no longer too intimidated to try.” She’s at work on a family book about the power of love. “It’s meant to be read by parents to children, and it focuses on the extraordinary relationship between my mom and my daughter.” The working title is “A Kiss Across the Miles.”

Who knows, though, its genre may morph to a play. As might her second work-in-progress, a memoir based on a nightly diary Laura has kept for 41 years (seriously!)…every night, with no more than a couple dozen exceptions, since she was NINE YEARS OLD.

“I don’t have a working title for the memoir,” says Laura. “It’s shaping into the arc of a young woman growing up with a set of expectations and then having to manage a life direction that diverges quite radically from those expectations.”

Add to this oeuvre a second version of “Lost.” February’s performance (version one) takes about 12 minutes. Laura will expand that to a one-act play of standard length (40 to 45 minutes). Who knows, maybe one day she’ll make it a full-length play.

In the meantime, Rave on, Laura. And thank you for the courage.

Flat Iron at the Ledyard

Russell Cooper's 2015 ArtPrize entryMore than 1,500 works of art at 160+ venues across three square miles. Yep, we’re talking ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, and one of those works was created by Russell Cooper ’89, Help Desk administrator at Kalamazoo College.

ArtPrize is a radically open international art competition decided by public vote and expert jury that takes place each fall in Grand Rapids. The 2015 competition began September 23 and continues through October 11.

Russell’s entry is titled “Flat Iron at the Ledyard” and features a singular location made to look like a collage of viewpoints (just the opposite of 2014’s ArtPrize piece “For Your Amusement”, a collage of multiple locations made to look like one imaginary and fantastical place). It is an old-school method of cutting and pasting real prints, with little or no Photoshop involved. The subject location is at Ottawa and Monroe Center in the heart of Grand Rapids, site of the Flat Iron Building on the Ledyard Block. Originally constructed in 1860, it’s one of three of the oldest historical buildings in downtown GR, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. “Flat Iron at the Ledyard” is photographed over several months, with many times of day, many kinds of weather, and many types of pedestrian and automobile traffic patterns. If a picture is worth a “thousand” words, how about one made up of a “thousand” pictures? You can see Russell’s piece at Palatte Coffee & Art (150 Fulton Street East), and you can vote for it online.

Some Dust and Then a Pony!

Enlarged graphic shows Campus Drive behind the Hicks Student Center
Effective August 24, Campus Drive behind Hicks Center will be one-way west, allowing a gain of 20 new angle parking spaces.

A stall full of horse manure is a litmus test for optimism. One person may see only a thankless chore; but a second rejoices in the likelihood of a pony.

Well, pardon our dust,and then get ready for a metaphorical pony.

From midnight on Thursday, August 20, until midnight on Sunday, August 23, two parking lots (Crissey-Severn and Upper Fine Arts) and Campus Drive behind the Hicks Student Center will be closed for resealing and striping. we apologize for that inconvenience. Here comes the pony part.

When Campus Drive reopens (August 24), the street will be one way (west only) from the east end of the Hicks Center to Lovell Street. Drivers will no longer be able to enter Campus Drive from Lovell Street. Campus Drive will continue to be accessed from Academy Street and will remain two-way from Academy Street to the east end of the Hicks Center. The new configuration will provide space for at least 20 new parking places, six of which will be reserved for alternative fuel vehicles. And the one-way traffic flow behind Hicks Center will also increase safety for pedestrians and ease congestion.

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience the repaving and striping may cause, and we sure look forward to additional parking spaces on campus. This project takes its place among others–the library and Hicks Center renovations, the athletic fields complex, the social justice center building, the fitness and wellness center–wherein a temporary inconvenience is followed by a permanent improvement.

I Can Garden and You Can Too!

Master Gardener Jane Hoinville at the Jolly Garden
Master Gardener Jane Hoinville

Turns out I can weed a garden just as well as the next person! Who would have thought! Jolly Garden is located at 1324 Academy Street and needs volunteers just like you!

The College offers garden classes in the fall and spring and is maintained in the summer by Kalamazoo College students, faculty, staff members, and friends. Leading the efforts is Master Gardener Jane Hoinville, who “by day” works as a prospect research analyst in the College’s development unit. The garden first began in 2010 and is named after Seema Jolly ’07, the first instructor of the gardening course and a strong force behind the garden’s success.

Jane is also presenting master gardener information on vegetable gardening on July 30th at noon. Mark it on your calendar and see you at the Jolly Garden, where Jane can also answer any questions you may have about your own garden!

The garden is open for volunteer work on Tuesdays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. throughout the summer.

Text and photos by Mallory Zink ’15


Research Award Winner

The Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA)has awarded Kalamazoo College’s Lindsay O’Donohue, director of prospect development and donor relations, with the 2015 Margaret Fuhry Grant. The award is given to a prospect development practitioner based on her leadership, mentorship, volunteerism, and dedication to the profession. At K, Lindsay leads a team responsible for implementing a robust prospect development program designed to inform and strengthen fundraising activity. She is a member of the Advancement office’s senior management team and has played a key support role in The Campaign for Kalamazoo College, which is closing in on its $125 million goal. Before she came to K, Lindsay spent six years in political fundraising, four of those years as the compliance director for former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm. Lindsay is an active member of APRA-Michigan and served on the chapter’s Board of Directors from 2012-2014. She is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a degree in political science. In July she will attend the APRA Annual International Conference in New Orleans to accept the award.

Adding Voice to VISIONS

Six faculty and staff members representing the VISIONS + Voices Planning Committee
The VISIONS + Voices Planning Committee includes (l-r)—Eric Wimbley, director of security; Mia Henry, executive director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership; Jacob Lemon, area coordinator for residence life; Kyle Schultz, circulation supervisor for Upjohn Library; Laura Wilson, associate director for the Kalamazoo College Fund; and Jane Hoinville, prospect research analyst for College advancement.

A committee of six faculty and staff members is offering a three-part multicultural training titled “VISIONS + Voices,” which is open to all Kalamazoo College employees.

The sessions build upon diversity training offered in previous years to faculty and staff through the “VISIONS” program. According to members of the planning committee, attendees felt that program provided helpful resources but lacked a platform for sharing personal experiences. “VISIONS + Voices” augments the original training.

“We felt we could extend some of the conversations we had. We wanted to explore these conversations in more depth,” said Jacob Lemon, residential life area coordinator and member of the “VISIONS + Voices” planning committee.

A Diversity and Inclusion Mini-Grant made the planning committee’s vision a reality.

“We felt it [the grant] was a good fit for the follow-up work we were doing,” said Mia Henry, committee member and executive director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership.

Three supplemental sessions are offered: “Microaggressions,” “Monoculture, Pluralism, and Multiculturalism,” and “Marginalization on Campus.”

The first session (microaggressions) took place on April 8. About 40 staff and faculty members attended, just short of the 50 person cap.

The major take-away from the first session was attendees’ openness and willing to develop support groups, according to committee member Kyle Schulz, circulation supervisor for Upjohn Library.

“It’s clear that there is a thirst for faculty and staff to connect with one another and learn,” said Henry.

Two more opportunities remain for interested community members to attend. The session on “Monoculture, Pluralism, and Multiculturalism” will be offered on Thursday, May 7, and the session regarding “Marginalization on Campus” will take place Friday, June 19. Both sessions occur from 8:15- a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership.

Interested faculty and staff may register online.

Text and photo by Matthew Muñoz ’14

Un-COMMONS Learning

Six K colleagues work in the Learning Commons
The Learning Commons is all about collaboration. Among its champions are (l-r): Candace Bailey Combs, Hilary Wagner, Paul Sotherland, Robin Rank, Liz Smith, and Amy Newday.

Kalamazoo College’s ‘Learning Commons’ had its grand opening on Thursday, April 9. The Learning Commons is located on the first floor of Upjohn Library and is all about students helping other students raise their academic achievement.

Amy Newday, director of the Writing Center and one of several collaborators in the development of the Learning Commons said, “We are trying to move away from ‘cubicle’ style studying. Students actually learn and perform much better when they study in pairs or groups. With the Learning Commons, the end goal is to create a mobile physical space for intellectual collaboration.”

The Learning Commons offers peer assistance in math, physics, writing, science, and library research. Its five centers include the Writing Center, English as a Second Language, the Biology & Chemistry Center, the Math-Physics Center, and the Research Consultant Center. Learn more at the Learning Commons website.

Text by Mallory Zink ’15, Photo by Susan Andress

The R in K’s DNA

Rob Townsend standing at recycling receptacles
The work of Rob Townsend has been key to the recycling culture on K’s campus.

RecycleMania 2015 is over, and if you didn’t know that (or if you weren’t aware the contest had even begun) that’s because for the second consecutive year the College has competed without promoting the contest–sort of a test to see the degree to which R (for recycling or Rob, as in Rob Townsend) has become part of K’s DNA. The results are good.

Kalamazoo College recycles far more than half of the solid waste it produces, according to Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Paul Manstrom. “We placed very high in many of the categories despite the fact we did not promote the contest at all on campus–unlike most other schools that competed,” said Manstrom. “Our performance is a testimony to the recycling culture that Rob Townsend has built at K over the years. While some schools need the publicity of a contest to up their recycling statistics, it just comes naturally at K.” This year the College had three top-ten finishes out of eight categories. K’s ranking (and number of participating institutions) by category follow: Grand Champion–32nd (233); Per Capita Classic–10th (334); Gorilla–201st (334); Waste Minimization–116th (148); Paper–20th (141); Corrugated Cardboard–4th (163); Bottles & Cans–3rd (142); and Food Service Organics–129th (175).

RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. During an eight-week period, colleges across the United States and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week and are in turn ranked in various categories based on who recycles the most on a per capita basis, as well as which schools have the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste and which schools generate the least amount of combined trash and recycling.

Kalamazoo College earned silver-level recognition for its 11 years of RecycleMania participation, and it’s unlikely to rest on the excellence of its tradition. Said Townsend: “The data shows our numbers slipped a bit from the previous year. We won’t get complacent.”