Theatre Festival Welcomes 12, Honors Two From K

Two Kalamazoo College students were honored last week with new recognitions given at the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival (ACTF) Region 3 in Madison, Wisconsin. The festival is a chance for college students in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin to share their skills and learn from others through workshops; collaborate as actors, directors, designers, dramaturgs and playwrights; and celebrate a mutual interest in theatre and its importance in society.

Theatre Festival Attendees
Twelve from Kalamazoo College recently attended the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival (ACTF) Region 3 in Madison, Wisconsin. They were (from left) Rebecca Chan ’22, Sedona Coleman ’23, Sophie Hill ’20, Director of Theatre Arts Lanny Potts, Aly Homminga ’20, Mars Wilson ’20, Teyia Artis ’21, Angela Mammel ’22, Milan Levy ’23, Professor of Costume Design and Stage Makeup Lori Sands, Visiting Professor of Theatre History, Directing and Playwriting “C” Heaps and Festival Playhouse Company Manager Laura Livingstone-McNelis ’89.

Milan Levy ’23 earned the Golden Collaborator Award for her excellence in organization and collaboration through the festival’s devised theatre project. Devised theatre, for the sake of the festival, involved methods of theatre-making in which a script originates from collaborative and improvisatory work by attendees.

“The process was challenging, requiring a high level of patience and compromise and I am honored to be recognized for my creativity, hard work and collaboration skills,” Levy said.

Aly Homminga ’20 — a co-captain of K’s improv group, Monkapult — earned the Collaboration and Devised Theatre scholarship for her work in theatre festival improvisation. The program, which will take her to the California State University Summer Arts program in Fresno for two weeks, focuses on collaborative and devised theatre, helping students develop talents in acting, directing, designing and writing.

Theatre Festival 2
Angela Mammel ’22 (left) participates in Design Storm, a competition that puts together a group of students from different schools to conceptualize and design a show in 24 hours.

“I am excited about this scholarship because I’m going to be part of an intensive that is about creating theatre in every sense,” Homminga said. “In devised theatre, all people in the ensemble get to be actor, director, playwright and designer. I will be growing and sharpening my skills in all areas. It was such an honor to be awarded this scholarship and I am thrilled to be able to immerse myself in theatre.”

This recognition is significant for both students because more than 1,000 students attended the festival, including several from much larger schools such as the University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin and Ball State University.

Six other K students attended the festival with Levy and Homminga: Rebecca Chan ’22, Sedona Coleman ’23, Sophie Hill ’20, Mars Wilson ’20, Teyia Artis ’21 and Angela Mammel ’22. K faculty and staff who attended included Director of Theatre Arts Lanny Potts; Professor of Costume Design and Stage Makeup Lori Sands; Visiting Professor of Theatre History, Directing and Playwriting “C” Heaps; and Festival Playhouse Company Manager Laura Livingstone-McNelis ’89.

Kate Kreiss ’19, who works as a marketing coordinator for the Grand Theatre in Wausau, Wis., and Livingstone-McNelis, led a workshop on theatre arts administration and marketing.

“We’re very proud of our program here at K, and we welcome you all to attend our next production, Silent Sky, a real story about women astronomers, during Week 8 in the Festival Playhouse,” McNelis said.

Author’s Keynote Highlights Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events

Barbara Ransby Keynote on Martin Luther King
Historian, writer and longtime political activist Barbara Ransby will deliver the keynote address at Kalamazoo College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Convocation.

A historian, writer and longtime political activist will headline the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Convocation with a keynote speech at 11 a.m. Monday in Dalton Theater. The event is open to the public.

Barbara Ransby has published dozens of articles and essays in popular and scholarly venues, and is most notably the author of the award-winning books Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision, and Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson. Her newest book, Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-First Century will be available for purchase during the event, and a book-signing will take place immediately after the program.

Ransby is a distinguished professor in the departments of African American studies, gender and women’s studies, and history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she directs the campus-wide Social Justice Initiative, a project that promotes connections between academics and community organizers doing work on social justice.

Richard Brown ’21 will provide an opening address and introduction at the event.

The public is also invited Monday to a wreath-laying ceremony at MLK Park, 507 N. Rose St., at 4:45 p.m. A community celebration from 5 to 6:30 p.m. will follow at the Kalamazoo State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St. The program at the State will feature local speakers and performers such as Rootead and Kandace “DC” Lavender. Artwork from the top 15 finalists of the Social Justice Art Competition will also be on display. Transportation from campus is available to those who RSVP by Jan. 16 to

Anyone needing assistance or accommodations for these events should contact Director of Intercultural Student Life Natalia Carvalho-Pinto at by Jan. 16.

Martin Luther King Jr. Community Reflection

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Reflection is an opportunity for faculty, staff, students and the public to speak from their own experiences on this year’s theme, “Injustice for one is injustice for all.”

The event is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at Stetson Chapel and will be presented by the College’s Greer-Sanford Student-Scholars.

Celebrated Poet Visits, Inspires K

When an award-winning poet speaks on campus, you can bet Kalamazoo College students are eagerly listening and learning.

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
Poet Marcelo Hernandez Castillo reads to Kalamazoo College students from his book, Cenzontle, at the Intercultural Center.

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, a celebrated writer known for his early life experiences as an undocumented immigrant, was warmly welcomed last week to K. He conversed with students in classes taught by Assistant English Professor Shanna Salinas (Reading the World: Identities) and Assistant Sociology Professor Francisco Villegas (Race and Racism). He also provided a poetry reading in front of about 80 students in the Intercultural Center at Hicks Student Center.

“Intersections of language and home are on the hearts and minds of so many of our students,” said Assistant English Professor Oliver Baez Bendorf, who helped facilitate Castillo’s visit. “It’s important for them to know that they can do anything, and to see different models for that. Their stories matter and they can survive the telling of them and even make it beautiful. Reading is always a portal through which they can transport and grow. I know that Marcelo was likewise touched by the energy of our community and our students, their readiness to engage with his writing, their intellectual and creative curiosity, and all that they so impressively juggle.”

Castillo’s poetry collection, titled Cenzontle, addresses the fears he once faced of being deported. Castillo came to the United States with his family from Zacatecas, Mexico, at age 5 and was an early beneficiary of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Sacramento State University and was the first undocumented student to graduate from the Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan.

For Cenzontle, the poet received the New Writers Award this year from the Great Lakes Colleges Association — a 13-member consortium of higher-education institutions in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania — which includes K. The award, founded in 1970, honors writers who are in the early stages of their literary career. Along with Cenzontle, Castillo has a 2018 chapbook titled Dulce. His memoir, Children of the Land, is scheduled for release next year.

Beyond poetry, Castillo is an essayist, translator and immigration advocate and a founding member of the Undocupoets campaign, which successfully eliminated citizenship requirements from all major first-poetry-book prizes in the country. His work has been featured in The New York Times, People Magazine, Buzzfeed and New England Review, and he teaches in the Low-Res MFA program at Ashland University.

With focused eyes and open minds, Salinas’ students listened intently to Castillo and asked a range of questions: poem- and content-specific, craft and poetic technique, themes and broader open-ended considerations. “I appreciated how generous Marcelo was in sharing his personal experiences and talking about his writing process,” Salinas said. “He was invested in their questions and insights, and I could tell the students felt that they were being seen, heard and respected.”

Opportunities to hear from renowned, in-the-field experts are celebrated occasions at K regardless of their field of expertise, although hearing from Castillo was a notable treat for students, faculty and staff, especially the aspiring writers among them.

“So many things about reading and writing happen in solitude,” Baez Bendorf said. “When you’ve read words on a page and then the human behind them arrives in your midst, it can be almost magical. I saw that happen with Marcelo’s visit. It’s thrilling to have a visitor, and even better when they’ve come with stories and generosity. Our students extended great hospitality to Marcelo and welcomed him into their spaces.”

Family Weekend 2019 Begins Nov. 8

Family Weekend 2019
Family Weekend 2019 activities will include the Honors Day Convocation at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 8.

Each fall, Kalamazoo College is excited to invite families to visit their students and experience a taste of life at the College. Family Weekend 2019 begins Friday, Nov. 8, and includes opportunities to take in a theatre performance, learn about study abroad, catch an athletic event and more. Below you will find a list of activities along with links to the campus map in our virtual tour, providing the locations of each facility. Questions about Family Weekend 2019 may be directed to Dana Jansma, associate dean of students in the Student Development Office, at 269.337.7209 or

Where to Eat with Your Family

Campus dining will be available from 7:30 to 10 a.m. (breakfast), 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (lunch) and 5:15 to 7:45 p.m. (dinner); 9:30 to 11 a.m. (continental breakfast), 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. (brunch) and 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday (dinner); and from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. (brunch) and 5 to 7 p.m. (dinner) on Sunday at Welles Dining Hall. Family members pay $5.60 per person for breakfast, $7.50 per person for lunch and $10.50 per person for dinner.

Hot chocolate, tea or specialty espresso along with grab-and-go foods will be available from the Book Club Café from 7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Grab-and-go foods including sandwiches, salads, yogurt parfaits, fruit, snacks and beverages will be available at the Richardson Room from 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Friday, Nov. 8

8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hicks Student Center atrium
Stop by anytime to access a variety of information about the campus and the wider Kalamazoo community. Pick up schedules, information sheets, things to do in Kalamazoo, maps, a local restaurant guide, and more.

8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Attend a K class. An online list of classes will be available by Monday, Nov. 4, or find a printed list when you arrive on campus at the information table at Hicks Student Center atrium.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m., lower level, Hicks Student Center
The Kalamazoo College Bookstore will feature 20 percent off all K-imprinted items.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m., A.M. Todd Rare Book Room, Upjohn Library Commons
Kalamazoo College and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Early Science of Alchemists, Astronomers and Apothecaries: Visit the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room to see mysterious books about alchemists who tried to turn lesser metals into gold, astronomers who charted the constellations, and apothecaries who cataloged plants and the components of medicines and elixirs.

11 to 11:50 a.m., Stetson Chapel
Kalamazoo College observes Honors Day in the fall term of each year, recognizing those who earned special recognition during the previous academic year.

3 to 5 p.m., Intercultural Center, Hicks Student Center
Pick up flyers to learn more about the programs available through the Intercultural Center, relax, read or leave your student a note on our chalk wall.

4 to 5 p.m., Dewing Hall, First Floor
Why Critical Civic Engagement Matters: Associate Director Teresa Denton and Assistant Director Moises Hernandez talk about the Center for Civic Engagement. A student panel of civic-engagement scholars will discuss their experiences working through local community partnerships.

Evening, Hicks Student Center
Pick up a list of shopping, walking and dining suggestions at the information table and explore Kalamazoo.

7:30 p.m., Nelda K. Balch Playhouse
See Kalamazoo College students perform in The Spitfire Grill. Based on the 1996 movie of the same name, the musical follows the story of a young woman trying to fit back into society after being released from jail. Ticket reservations are available online.

9:30 p.m., Dewing Hall, Room 103
K’s weekly film series, Zoo Flicks, features Blinded by the Light. Free admission, popcorn and soda. Show up early to ensure a seat.

Saturday, Nov. 9

8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hicks Student Center atrium
Stop by anytime to access a variety of information about the campus and the wider Kalamazoo community. Pick up schedules, information sheets, things to do in Kalamazoo, maps, a local restaurant guide, and more.

8:30 to 10 a.m., Hornets Suite, Athletics Fieldhouse
Legacy families will receive an invitation to this breakfast.

9 to 9:50 a.m., Hicks Student Center banquet room
Find out what first- and second-year students and parents need to know about study abroad.

10 to 10:50 a.m., Hicks Student Center banquet room
Learn about the College’s commitment to integrating career exploration and development throughout a student’s four years at K, including how parents and others can get involved.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., A.M. Todd Rare Book Room, Upjohn Library Commons
Kalamazoo College and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Early Science of Alchemists, Astronomers and Apothecaries: Visit the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room to see mysterious books about alchemists who tried to turn lesser metals into gold, astronomers who charted the constellations, and apothecaries who cataloged plants and the components of medicines and elixirs.

11 to 11:45 a.m., Hicks Student Center banquet room
Hear from Provost Danette Ifert Johnson and Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students Sarah Westfall regarding College updates.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., lower level, Hicks Student Center
The Kalamazoo College Bookstore will feature 20 percent off all K-imprinted items.

1 p.m., Gabel Natatorium, Western Michigan University
The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will compete against Illinois Tech.

1 p.m., Angell Field, Athletics Complex
Take your family to see the K football team face Hope College on Senior Day.

7:30 p.m., Nelda K. Balch Playhouse
See Kalamazoo College students perform in The Spitfire Grill. Based on the 1996 movie of the same name, the musical follows the story of a young woman trying to fit back into society after being released from jail. Ticket reservations are available online.

9:30 p.m. to midnight, Hicks Student Center
Join K Baile, a student organization committed to providing an inclusive dance environment, for a night of Bachata and other dances at Zoo After Dark. Enjoy tamales and champurrado as you dance the night away. Activities such as Loteria, a game of chance similar to bingo that uses cards instead of ping-pong balls, and dominoes will also be available.

Sunday, Nov. 10

8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Hicks Student Center atrium
Stop by anytime to access a variety of information about the campus and the wider Kalamazoo community. Pick up schedules, information sheets, things to do in Kalamazoo, maps, a local restaurant guide, and more.

All day, Hicks Student Center
Pick up a list of shopping, walking and dining suggestions at the information table and explore Kalamazoo.

1 to 3 p.m., Lillian Anderson Arboretum
Meet for a two-hour guided nature hike. The arboretum features 140 acres of marsh, meadow, pine plantation and deciduous forest in Oshtemo Township. Please park at the Oshtemo Township Park, 7275 W. Main St. Your guides will meet you there to begin the hike. Please wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather and bring water.

2 p.m., Nelda K. Balch Playhouse
See Kalamazoo College students perform in The Spitfire Grill. Based on the 1996 movie of the same name, the musical follows the story of a young woman trying to fit back into society after being released from jail. Ticket reservations are available online.

Registration is not required to attend Family Weekend 2019 activities. Come when you are able, stay as long as you can, and enjoy a fall weekend with your student.

Change Ringing Award Honors K Alumnus, Student

One Kalamazoo College alumnus and one student have ensured K’s reputation as a home for change ringing will continue by earning a national award named after a former K professor.

Change Ringing Award Recipient Ian McKnight
Ian McKnight ’19 is one of two with Kalamazoo College ties to receive the first Jeff Smith Memorial Young Ringer Award.

Ian McKnight ’19 and Sam Ratliff ’21 are among ringers from towers in Kalamazoo; Kent, Connecticut; Shreveport, Louisiana; Northampton, Massachusetts; Marietta, Georgia; and Sewanee, Tennessee, to earn the first Jeff Smith Memorial Young Ringer Award from the North American Guild of Change Ringers. The award recognizes bell-ringing achievement and a commitment to local change ringing communities.

Change Ringing Award Recipient Sam Ratliff
Sam Ratliff is studying mathematics and computer science on study abroad in Aberdeen, Scotland, this fall and rings regularly with the band at St. Machar’s Church there.

The award is named after the late Jeff Smith, a longtime and beloved professor at Kalamazoo College. In addition to teaching mathematics, Smith taught hundreds of students to ring changes and inspired the College to install change ringing bells at Stetson Chapel on campus.

Change ringing developed in England and is traditionally heard after royal weddings as well as before and after most English church services. It requires a group of ringers working in tight coordination to ring the bells in changing permutations. Because each tower bell takes more than a second to complete its full 360-degree rotation, the bells can’t ring traditional music or melodies. That constraint led to an intricate system of generating unique permutations known as change ringing.

In addition to strengthening the abilities of the Kalamazoo band of change ringers, McKnight and Ratliff have both rung quarter peals. A quarter peal contains a series of at least 1,250 permutations rung in rapid succession according to rules that ensure no permutations are repeated. A quarter peal takes about 45 minutes of concentration and cooperation among the band of ringers, creating beautiful sounds.

McKnight graduated with a degree in political science in June after earning a senior leadership award. He once wrote about his experience with change ringing in K’s student blog. He now works for State Rep. Darrin Camilleri in Detroit.

“It’s a real honor to receive an award named for Jeff Smith, without whom I would probably never have discovered ringing,” McKnight said. “I first went to the tower after hearing the bells that he brought to Kalamazoo College and was hooked after just one practice. For four years since, ringing has been a great joy and a source for friends on both sides of the Atlantic. I know that will continue to be the case for many years to come.”

Ratliff is studying mathematics and computer science on study abroad in Aberdeen, Scotland, this fall and rings regularly with the band at St. Machar’s Church there.

“I heard that ringing was a cooperative musical, physical and mental exercise, all of which interested me, so I dropped into the tower the first week of my first year at K,” Ratliff said. “The algorithmic methods that we use to make music held my attention and I’ve been ringing ever since.”

The Kalamazoo College ringers welcome visitors and would be pleased to show anyone how the bells are rung. The ringers can be contacted at

Excitement Builds for Move-In Day

Move-in day is an exciting time at Kalamazoo College and we’re eager to welcome the Class of 2023. Orientation-related events will continue throughout the week, but here’s what students and families can expect Tuesday, Sept. 10, when they arrive.

When You Arrive

Move-In Day cMUMMA KZ. MATRICULATION 2017 7850
Peer leaders will be available to check in new students from 9 a.m.—3 p.m. on move-in day, which is Tuesday, Sept. 10. Harmon, Hoben and Trowbridge residents should report to their halls. DeWaters residents should report to Trowbridge.

Student move-in day will run from 9 a.m.—3 p.m. on Sept. 10.

The morning is traditionally the busiest time for moving in, and families are encouraged to move in and pick up their orientation packets at times throughout the day to avoid crowds. Peer leaders will be available at check-in tables at Harmon, Hoben and Trowbridge halls. DeWaters residents should check in at Trowbridge Hall. Residential Life staff also will be on hand to give students their College IDs and room keys.

Students and families who expect to be delayed until after 3 p.m. should contact Student Development at or 269.337.7210 as soon as possible.

Residential Life requires that health verification forms be complete before students move in. Students with incomplete health information will be directed to the Health Center at Hicks Student Center. Health Center staff will be available from 9 a.m.—4 p.m.

Questions Answered

College representatives will staff an information table from 9 a.m.—5 p.m. at Hicks Student Center. Stop by for schedules, maps, directions and answers to any questions you might have. K’s bookstore will be open during the same hours in Hicks, offering 20 percent off Kalamazoo College imprinted items.

Connect to the Network

Students who have questions about connecting to K’s wireless network can meet Information Services staff from 1—4 p.m. in the main lounges at Harmon, Hoben and Trowbridge halls.

Observe Athletics Practices, Games

Eight intercollegiate fall athletics teams including football, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s golf, women’s golf, men’s cross country and women’s cross country will hold practices and competitions from 3—6 p.m. Visit the Athletics website for each team’s schedule.

Enjoy Dinner

Families are welcome to have dinner between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on campus at Welles Dining Hall or go off campus to local restaurants. New students may use their student ID, which also serves as a meal card, to access the dining hall. Families may pay $10.50 per person at the dining hall entrance.

First-Year Seminars

Meet your first-year seminar group and peer leaders from 7—7:45 p.m. in the first-year seminar rooms to talk about the orientation schedule.

Feel Welcome

President Jorge G. Gonzalez, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students Sarah Westfall, Provost Danette Ifert Johnson and Associate Dean of Students Dana Jansma will greet parents and families from 3:30—4:45 p.m. at Stetson Chapel.

Later, Gonzalez, Westfall, First-Year Class Dean Jennifer Einspahr, College Chaplain Liz Candido, peer leaders and the Office of Student Involvement will conduct the Hornet Student Welcome from 8—8:45 p.m. at Stetson Chapel. Students should sit with their seminar groups. The event concludes with seminar groups connecting with their peer leaders.

Connect with Your Community

Meet Residential Life staff, your RAs and student peers at 8:45 p.m. Harmon Hall residents will meet at Dalton Theatre in the Light Fine Arts Building. Hoben Hall residents will meet in the Hoben lounge. Trowbridge Hall residents will meet at Stetson Chapel. DeWaters Hall residents will meet in the hall’s second-floor lounge. Learn about residence hall life while relaxing, enjoying snacks and getting to know neighbors.

What to Bring to Campus: Alumna Offers Tips for First-Year Students

Excitement is building across the country for first-year students who are anticipating their college experiences and planning what to bring to campus this fall. It’s a time Ximena Davis ’19 fondly remembers even though she attended college close to home after growing up in Kalamazoo.

What to Bring to Campus cMUMMA MATRICULATION 2017 7904
Student employees help first-year students with moving in to the residence halls. Read what one alumna offers for advice regarding what to bring to campus on move-in day.

“It was still a different place to stay and I was very excited,” Davis said. “I was ready to explore being an independent person. I also got to see a different side to the city than the one I saw while living at home.”

Davis’ experiences—beyond majoring in English, minoring in sociology and anthropology, and declaring concentrations in film and media studies and American studies—included regularly attending Art Hop, a fun evening of art exhibits and events in and around Kalamazoo; writing for K’s student blog and establishing the Kalamazoo College Filmmakers’ Society, one of more than 70 organizations available to students.

Residential Life has its suggestions regarding what to bring to campus this fall. However, it helps to get some perspective from someone like Davis who has lived in the residence halls while attending K. Based on her experiences, here are her suggestions after living in Hoben Hall, DeWaters Hall and a Living Learning House in her years at K.

Avoid overpacking

Even if you’re arriving from several states away, it’s better to leave yourself more space than to overpack.

“It’s good to have pictures of friends, but you don’t want to be overwhelmed in your space,” Davis said. “I brought trinkets and keepsakes to occupy my desk space my first year. But throughout that year, I found it was too much. I was constantly getting stuff I wanted to decorate with, and I ended up packing away what I originally brought. I found myself wishing I would’ve given myself more of a blank slate by leaving more at home.”

Davis said that includes the cold-weather clothes she brought too soon.

“After moving in, I was going through my clothes and realized I brought five different jackets for various levels of warmth, along with my winter jacket and snow boots,” Davis said. “I must have thought, ‘What if it snows in October?’ as it has in many years. But even if it does snow early, it probably won’t be enough to justify boots.”

There could be exceptions to this rule of thumb if students can’t return home between fall and winter terms or if students don’t have both fall and winter coats available to them, although additional space in a residence hall room is valuable.

Buy local

If it makes it easier to pack less, remember most items can be purchased in Kalamazoo stores and thrift shops after you take a visual assessment of your space. The shopping experience can also be beneficial.

“Because Kalamazoo College is located in a city, it’s not difficult to go to a store to find things you might need,” Davis said. “Even if you’re worried about not having a car on campus, there is public transportation, and carpooling is a good way to make friends. I think going with a roommate can be a bonding experience.”

Record your experiences

Bring to campus simple tools and decorations that will enable you to better remember your first year at K. Davis, for example, decorated with strings of lights that used clips for attaching photos, and she kept an assignment notebook that doubled as a journal.

“I first had a couple of pictures from prom or an amusement park, but it helped to keep adding to it,” said Davis, regarding her string of lights. “I brought it every year and added to it every year.”

Within the journal, “I kept all of my thoughts in one place,” Davis said. “It was nice to have during that time of change and then look back on those memories. I think it helped me grow into a more confident person and helped me be better organized.”

Talk to your roommate in advance

Before Davis moved to campus, she feared the worst regarding her roommate.

“I knew Residential Life tries to match like-minded students, but I was worried they would make a mistake somewhere along the line and they would give me a roommate I wouldn’t get along with as well as they’d hoped,” Davis said.

Talking with that roommate in advance through social media, though, helped alleviate that fear. Plus, just as importantly, it helped the two determine who would bring what to campus.

“Communication is very important,” Davis said. “It helps you feel better about this new experience, and it will prevent you from doubling up on big items such as microwaves that can take a lot of space.”

More information

Kalamazoo College’s new-student move-in day is scheduled for Sept. 10. If you have questions before, during or after that time, more information is available. Find Residential Life at its website or contact its offices at or 269.337.7210.

Nature Center Nurtures Student’s Love of Writing

A nature center and biological field station in Hastings, Michigan, is home for a Kalamazoo College student this summer.

Paige Chung and Oliver Baez Bendorf at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute Nature Center
Paige Chung ’20 is at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute this summer, serving as the nature center’s Nature in Words Fellow. Assistant Professor of English Oliver Baez Bendorf, who leads poetry classes at K, is serving Chung as a consultant.

Paige Chung ’20, an English and critical ethnic studies (CES) major, is at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, which is dedicated to environmental education and stewardship. She is serving the center as a Nature in Words Fellow by developing a collection of soundscape poetry and creative non-fiction based on her on-site explorations.

Soundscapes capture a sound or a combination of sounds that arise from an immersive environment, making Pierce Cedar Creek Institute an ideal atmosphere. The opportunity allows Chung to explore 742 acres of land, including lakes, forests and hiking trails, as she nurtures a hobby she hopes to one day parlay into a career: writing.

Bill and Jessie Pierce developed the Willard G. Pierce and Jessie M. Pierce Foundation to benefit Hastings and West Michigan in 1988. Just before they died in 1998, they had an idea to build an environmental education and nature center that became the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute.

Paige Chung Presenting at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute Nature Center
Paige Chung presents to other fellows at the Pierce Cedar Creek Nature Institute.

Now, 14 students from Michigan colleges and universities are on the property as they study animals from box turtles to rattlesnakes or pursue creative opportunities such as painting. Chung, however, is the only writer, and she feels fortunate to be there.

“I remember getting an email from the English Department about it right before bed one night in February or March,” Chung said. “At that point, I was trying to decide if I should go back home to do some community work for the summer or if I would find somewhere to stay in Michigan, so I applied. It’s phenomenal because it provides me with an abundant number of opportunities to write without the pressures of paying the rent or bills, and it fuels my ability to create my art. It shows me that writing is possible as a career.”

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute fellowship students have consultants of their choosing serving them as advisers during the summer. Chung’s consultant is Assistant Professor of English Oliver Baez Bendorf, who leads poetry classes at K.

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute Nature Center Bridge
Pierce Cedar Creek Institute covers 742 acres of land, including lakes, forests and hiking trails.

“He’s been phenomenal so far with how he pushes me to write,” said Chung, who also credits Intercultural Student Life Director Natalia Carvalho-Pinto, Assistant Professor of Critical Ethnic Studies Reid Gomez and Assistant Professor of English Shanna Salinas for inspiring her at K. Bendorf “encourages me to write and not worry about creating a perfect product. He asks questions and supports me every step of the way. He’s someone I’ll check in with throughout the writing process.”

That process for Chung includes immersing herself at the nature center, both in solitude and in the company of other students, observing and sampling sounds that end up in her poetry. “Poetry for me captures a moment,” Chung said. “There’s less pressure to have an entire plot and story line with poetry. It’s a playground for language. I also like to write plays, but those are longer-term projects for me. With poetry, I can write in one day and be done with it. I don’t necessarily need anything more than time, a piece of paper and a pen.”

At K, Chung works as a Writing Center assistant director and Intercultural Center-Arcus Center liaison, and she co-founded Resist, Magic Mastermind, a zine publication uplifting the stories of queer students, trans students and students of color. As a Los Angeles native, Chung’s inspirations have traditionally been city based, which means Pierce Cedar Creek Institute expands her writing horizons.

Chung said, “In CES, we learn from Chinua Achebe—who speaks English as a non-native speaker, allowing for something new and interesting to happen with language—that stories are stories even with a non-native tongue. We learn from the book Almanac of the Dead that stories are power. Through the power of language and stories, I am constantly asking what can be done with writing.”

This fellowship gives Chung the opportunity to explore this question in new ways.

“Through this fellowship, I ask what can be translated from the sounds of nature to sounds from hip-hop, jazz, Spanglish, Vietnamese and Los Angeles. This will help me push the boundaries of my poetry and writing to new landscapes.”

2019 Commencement Slated for Sunday

Kalamazoo College’s 2019 Commencement will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 16, on the campus Quad. A total of 300 members of the class of 2019 are expected to participate in the ceremony with biology, psychology and business representing the most popular majors.

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The 2019 Commencement ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 16.

Kalamazoo College President Jorge G. Gonzalez will welcome graduates along with about 2,000 family members and friends, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and community members. A livestream of the ceremony will be available.

This year’s class includes:

  • 174 Michiganders;
  • students from 26 states including Illinois and California;
  • students from eight countries including China and India; and
  • 117 double majors and one triple major.

Rain Location

If inclement weather forces the ceremony indoors, it will take place at Anderson Athletic Center, where tickets will be required for entry. Each senior will receive six tickets that will be distributed at the mandatory senior rehearsal at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 13. Some additional tickets will be available at the rehearsal if students need more. If events are forced indoors, graduating students will receive an email Sunday with that information. Such an announcement would also be made at K’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

2019 Commencement Parking

All faculty, staff and student parking lots will be available to families and guests. Click the link with the title of each lot below to see its location on our interactive map.

Vehicles must be parked in marked stalls. Permits are only required for handicapped spaces. If you choose to park in a surrounding neighborhood, please note all posted regulations, which are maintained by the City of Kalamazoo.

Handicapped Guests and Parking

Limited handicapped parking spaces are clearly marked and available throughout campus, both on streets near campus buildings and in campus lots. Handicapped spaces are reserved for vehicles with a state permit.

Due to limited handicapped parking, a designated drop-off area will be available on Campus Drive in front of Hoben Hall, accessible from Academy Street. Families may drop off guests for barrier-free access to the Quad before finding parking elsewhere on campus.

A designated seating area will be available for guests in wheelchairs on the northeast side of the Hicks Center. Families with guests in wheelchairs who would like to reserve seating in this area should contact Kerri Barker at 269.337.7289 or Guests in wheelchairs who wish to sit with their entire party elsewhere on the Quad may do so.

Barrier-free restrooms are available at Olds Upton Hall at the south side of the building, near the main entrance at the Hicks Center, and in Stetson Chapel at the south side of the building.

Keynote Speaker

Kenneth G. Elzinga, Ph.D. ’63 will serve as the Commencement keynote speaker. Elzinga is the Robert C. Taylor Professor of Economics at the University of Virginia and a leading authority on antitrust policy, writing for numerous journals, including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Law and Economics, and the Harvard Law Review. He has served as a special economic advisor to the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and has testified in several precedent-setting cases including three U.S. Supreme Court cases.

Elzinga has co-authored murder mysteries under the pen name Marshall Jevons. His books feature a sleuth who solves crimes using economic theory. The books Murder at the Margin, The Fatal Equilibrium, A Deadly Indifference and The Mystery of the Invisible Hand were written with the late Trinity University professor William Breit.

K awarded Elzinga with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2000.

Honorary Doctorate

Author Leslie Jamison will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Jamison wrote the 2014 book The Empathy Exams, which the graduating class read as first-year students for the summer common-reading program. The book involves a collection of essays that ask how people should care about each other as she reflects on her own experiences of illness and injury.

Jamison — a Washington, D.C., native raised in Los Angeles — also wrote a novel titled The Gin Closet (2010) and a nonfiction book titled The Recovering: Intoxication and its Aftermath (2018). She is a 2004 graduate of Harvard College and currently serves Columbia University as an assistant professor and the head of its nonfiction concentration. Her next book of essays, titled Make it Scream, Make it Burn, is due out in September.

Student Speaker

The 2019 Commencement student speaker is Angelica Rodriguez, who is graduating with majors in biology and critical ethnic studies. She studied abroad in Budapest, Hungary, and her Senior Individualized Project focused on using critical ethnic studies theories and frameworks to analyze biomedical research practices and explore both her majors. While at K, Angelica was involved in many activities, including the West African Percussion Ensemble and working at the Writing Center.

Senior Awards Ceremony

The Senior Awards Ceremony will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Stetson Chapel. The awards include honors in all academic divisions, prestigious scholarships and special non-departmental awards.


Baccalaureate, a non-denominational service with student and faculty speakers and musical performances, will be at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at Stetson Chapel. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.