As you may know, this past weekend was Juniata College’s Family / Homecoming Weekend! So many events were happening on campus: sporting events like football, volleyball, field hockey, and alumni rugby games; a performance of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels by Juniata’s theatre department on Friday and a performance by the Asphalt Orchestra on Saturday; activities like a market place, Club VLB, a class competition, and a book sale to celebrate Beeghly Library’s 50th anniversary; and alumni events like reunions, panels, and more.
On Friday, I attended the English Alumni Career Panel. The four alumni who sat on the panel were great. They were both insightful and friendly and I really enjoyed the hour-long panel and everything else that they had to say after it had formally ended. Later that night, the Juniata Activities Board did a great job of turning the lobby of the von Liebig Center for Science into a club. As an English POE, I usually just go into VLB to get coffee from Jitter’s, but I’m pretty sure that those strobe lights were not always there.
Saturday was a very nice day for a football game. It was a great game, even though we lost. Thanks to the book sale in Beeghly Library, I finally have a copy of The Scarlet Letter and also a third version of The Iliad. Having all the families on campus meant that a lot of parents were able to meet many of their student’s friends.
Prior to coming to Juniata, I noticed that everyone whom I talked to described the Juniata College community by saying “it’s like a family.” One notices that this holds true after a few weeks on campus. However, seeing alumni walk around Juniata, laughing, having a good time, and reminiscing about their time at Juniata is just further testament to the fact.
At Juniata College there are many different types of out of the classroom opportunities that students can take advantage of. A majority of the departments use a “hands-on” approach to learning, trying to give students real world experience before graduation. For example, students in the Accounting, Business, and Economics department just returned from a finance case competition at McDaniel College. In this competition, seven different colleges and universities were given a company’s financial information and students from each college were to present analysis and a recommendation if the company should invest in a particular international project.
While in a conference room at McDaniel, the case was treated like a real world experience. Teams were judged based on their relevance of analysis and content. In fact, the case that the students worked on actually happened in 2006 and one of the judges was a financial executive from the company highlighted in the case. After the presentations were over, the students were able to interact with the judges and students from other schools, providing a great networking opportunity for Juniata students. The departments were judged, in which Juniata placed third out of seven.
The opportunity was brought to them by the professors in business department. For a month the five students prepared a presentation and financial analysis and delivered their final product to ten judges on October 23.
Opportunities like this are available for students in many of the departments across campus. The professors at Juniata understand that real world experience as an undergraduate not only looks good on a transcript for graduate and Ph.D. programs, but is more beneficial than reading from any textbook. In my opinion, this adds a new dimension to the educational experience provided at Juniata College.
Despite the most noticeable demographics, Juniata College is pretty diverse. There are people from different ethnic backgrounds, countries and cultures, socioeconomic classes, religions, hometowns (cities versus small towns), and personalities. This type of diversity presents a variety of issues because of what I have personally pinpointed as lack of exposure. Just as some people ask “stupid questions” about my hair or look at me weird for walking around most days in outfits that to some of my peers seem too dressy, I ask “stupid questions” about animals I had never seen or the deer hunting culture that is so prevalent in Huntingdon.
Juniata has an entire office, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Campus Ministry, that is housed in the Unity House, dedicated to helping with culture shock, understanding our unique community, and is a great resource for support.
There are always discussion panels that various clubs and offices hold during the school year that is essentially an open forum to discuss specific topics of differences. I love the fact that at Juniata, there is a yearning for growth and knowledge, and it is displayed by the good turnouts to such events. One of my favorite series that Juniata has is the Beyond Tolerance series. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion brings in guest speakers and performers to do workshops with students, staff, and faculty. This year, some of the programs include African American Historical Trauma, an alumni panel discussing various forms of diversity and how their time at Juniata has positively effected their current careers, women’s rights and advancements, and urban activism and its toxic effects.
By attending such events, you can be eligible to receive a P.E.A.C.E Certificate. It is a nice acknowledgment of your desire to be a more well-rounded citizen and the certificate is even signed by the President of the school. I was so excited to receive my Bronze level last year, after attending six events and I hope to work my way up to Gold before I graduate.
There are many perks of being a senior in college, such as getting to take some “just for fun” classes and getting to see all your friends who have returned from being abroad. However, the best bonus of being a senior is getting to live off-campus. While I loved my three years in the dorm and wouldn’t trade it for anything, there is something so refreshing about being able to come to a house.
And what a house, I get to live in! My housemates and I rent out a lovely old three-story house just a few blocks away from campus. My house is sponsored by the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO), so we have a “house leader,” who works for campus ministry and then there are four senior girls. Also, because of our CCO connection, we host events about twice a semester for anyone on campus. We already had a Back to School BBQ and we plan on having a Murder Mystery Dinner for Halloween.
While it does take some adjusting to living in a house – such as splitting up chores and cooking for yourself – I still am loving my house and the people that I am living with. For I know that being able to invite people to have a cook-out in the backyard, having family dinners, and chilling on the couch with my housemates watching Netflix are all things that are going to make my senior extra special!
Just when the semester is in full force, and you feel like your Physical Chemistry book is about to consume what is left of your will power, a glimmer of salvation appears. That light comes in the form of fall break. While students have the option to stay on campus, most choose to go home, or go home with a friend. This year my friend Bernard and I decided to split time between his house and mine. We both live in suburban Philadelphia and are only separated by a 40-minute drive. So on Wednesday evening Bernard and I were off to the races, more then excited to see our families. The first couple of days were spent at Bernard’s house, and I may have left ten pounds heavier. His mother’s cooking is second to none. After eating, sleeping, hanging out with his friends, and eating some more, it was time to go to my hometown. Over the next two weeks the Hindu holiday Nawratri is celebrated. It is a festival that includes eating, singing, and dancing, so on Saturday night Bernard, my family, and I went out to celebrate. In no time Bernard quickly picked up on the cultural dance and we had a blast. That night when we were settling in for bed I started thinking about how I had made such amazing friends at Juniata. Ones that I’ll have not just for a semester, or 4 years but for a lifetime. I think that speaks to the type of kid that comes to Juniata. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds but they share a common sense of what I can only describe as compassion and kindness. As cheesy as this might sound, we care for each other here, we watch each others back, and we come out friends for life, and I think that common trait is what makes someone a Juniatian, and makes JC, JC.