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.
I’m sitting in Professor Alison Fletcher’s Women in Africa History class and suddenly I know it’s time for lunch. I know this because my stomach is growling as loud as it can. What would my day be like if everyone in my history class couldn’t hear my lion of a stomach?
When you are walking to Baker (the main dining hall,) there are several things everyone and yourself should be doing.
One: Texting your friends to make sure they are going to Baker.
Two: Find your friends; nobody wants to awkwardly eat alone in that crazy
Three: Find a table, claim it, then get in line and be prepared to wait for your food.
All of these requirements have been a constant silent tradition at Juniata, but recently there is one new difficulty when eating in Baker. Ever since the new renovations of Baker have occurred, the dinning hall has reached a new level of CRAZY! The once giant tables that could fit at least ten people are now replaced with tiny tables that (when tightly squeezing everyone around you) can fit seven.
But with the inconvenience comes some great changes. My favorite is the new Mongolian Grill, and holy Mongolia it is so DELICIOUS! Not only are there giant pieces of fresh meat (if you’re a meat lover like me, you’ll appreciate the steak), but you get to choose what you put in it! Having this option has made Baker a much more willing place to go. Several of my friends, including myself, can eat from the Mongolian Grill for several days straight. We keep waiting for the day when the Mongolian Grill chefs tell us to get another dish.
Another one of my favorite parts about Baker is the Sedexo workers. One of my favorites is the ever so lovely, Wanda. Wanda is the woman behind the deli line making the best subs ever. Wanda and I started recognizing each other when I was constantly getting subs. Ever since then, we always ask each other about how our days are going, and that its always almost Friday. We get to have these conversations because she always knows what I want on my sub, awesome, right? This is why I love Juniata. Everyone is like family and it creates this beautiful environment.
“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
This was the catchphrase for the 2013 Special Olympics that were held at Juniata this past weekend. Last year was my first year working with the Special Olympics and I honestly had so much fun, I could not wait for this year’s Special Olympics. These were the state-wide competitions between the best teams from Pennsylvania. Each team represents a county or borough within PA, and they all flock to Juniata College, one Sunday a year, to give it their best competing with others and, most of all, just having fun. The Special Olympics contain certain events that are a little different than the regular Olympics. The event list includes long distance running (5K), indoor volleyball, volleyball skills, soccer, and bocce ball. Juniata students were able to volunteer to help with everything from security, directing traffic, helping score and judge the events, providing lunch, and running the Olympic Village, where the athletes and their families could have their pictures taken, work on arts and crafts, as well as check up on other sports. The athletes ranged in age from 7 to 55.
This year I was able to help out with the volleyball competition. This involved shagging balls for a game, keeping score, and being a line judge for some games. The different levels of competition were decided based on a team’s overall ability to serve, react to the ball, and based on the overall level of motor capabilities. So the top division had two teams that were extremely good at volleyball (much better than me anyway) and the lower level would mostly focus on getting their serves in bounds. However, one thing was constant throughout all the levels; all the athletes demonstrated good sportsmanship. There were very heated moments in some of the upper level matches, but if anyone ever fell down or was hit with a ball, players from both sides would try to make sure they were ok.
One match I was helping with between the lower skill levels, had an older man named Bruce, who really seemed to struggle with his serve. He would get the first one in, but could never get the second one in. Instead of becoming frustrated by this (as anyone could have easily become) he would always shrug it off and say that it wasn’t a big deal, he would get another try later. His attitude on serving was so insightful and really made me think about the things that I consider to be a “big deal” in my life. There were many more examples of athletes and volunteers with positive attitudes throughout the day. The Special Olympics this year were truly a very humbling and exciting experience.