Dear members of the Sarah Lawrence community,
As March draws to a close, signs of spring are appearing on our beautiful campus. The next six weeks will no doubt pass as classes, conference work, performances, events, and co-curricular and co-curricular activities ramp up. In other words, in many ways it feels like a typical post-Spring Break at Sarah Lawrence, even though reminders abound that this is our first taste of “typical” in over two years. We know the pandemic is by no means over; I am grateful that our community continues to use common sense and care for each other as we adapt and adjust the policies necessary to protect our collective well-being.
We are also painfully aware of the many pressing issues facing our world. The experiences, big and small, of life on a very flowery university campus coexist on a daily basis with the realities of a world in great crisis.
How to address these dichotomies? Above all, we remember the purpose of a college education and, more specifically, our promise to Sarah Lawrence to prepare students to tackle the problems of a complex and rapidly changing world and to flourish there.
Last week member of the German/Literature faculty Roland Dollinger and Associate Dean and Russian/Literature Faculty Member Melissa Frazier organized a Zoom call with professors and students from a university in Dnipro, Ukraine. Dozens of students, faculty and staff filled the library’s pillow room, eager to connect and show their support for their counterparts in a beleaguered country. Hearing firsthand from those living the realities we too often see secondhand on the news was heartbreaking, but priceless. Roland and Melissa hope to continue this new relationship and keep this dialogue open to the future.
Our efforts to educate our students and the community at large about the current crisis in Ukraine will continue on April 5, when Dr Donald Jensen, Director for Russia and Europe at American Institute of Peace, will deliver this year’s Bozeman Lecture – named in honor of the late Adda Bozeman, renowned specialist in international relations and member of our faculty for 30 years. Dr. Jensen’s lecture on “Putin’s War in Ukraine” will draw on his diplomatic experience in Russia and his work at the Institute of Peace. It will be a hybrid event, with our guest and in-person audience, and the opportunity for those unable to attend on campus to join via Zoom.
Among its many complexities, the war in Ukraine brings to the fore our continued global reliance on fossil fuels and the ongoing climate crisis. This week, students, faculty and staff, led by our colleagues from SLICE (Sarah Lawrence Interdisciplinary Collaborative on the Environment), will participate in the Worldwide Teach-In on Climate and Justice. At Sarah Lawrence, this will include a lecture on Mapping Climate Justice, a reading featuring work by students in Ecopoetry lesson by Marie Howe and guest David Rothenberg, and a panel discussion titled “From Climate Anxiety to Climate Action”. The “theme” for all of SLICE’s work this year is to move from a place of anxiety to a place of action, helping to empower our students, through their education, to understand challenges and opportunities. that await us, and how to create change.
Finally, as you know, March is Women’s History Month, an annual celebration that has its roots in Sarah Lawrence; in 1979, Gerda Lerner, co-founder of our graduate program in women’s history, chaired a summer institute that brought together influential women from across the country, which led to the creation of National Women’s History Week. history, which eventually became Women’s History Month. The institute was also a precursor to SLC’s annual Women’s History Conference, created by longtime Women’s History Program Director Priscilla Murolo. Last weekend, the 24th annual conference was held on the theme Gender and the Covid crisis. Dr. C. Nicole Mason, President and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, delivered the opening speech.
This is just a glimpse of this very atypical but typical walk on campus. On the lighter side, as we continue to enjoy being together again and building community on campus, we had a bit of our own “March Madness” with a basketball game between students and members of our campus security personnel. Players and spectators had a great time – a win-win for all!
I hope you will join us, in person or online, for the many and varied events expected in the coming weeks as we harness the power of a Sarah Lawrence education together.
Cristle Collins Judd
In our galleries
Tomorrow, March 29, we will mark the opening of Song of Songs: The Great Love Poems of the Bible in Calligraphyan exhibition of Margaret Shepherd ’69 which will run in the Barbara Walters Gallery until June 12. Margaret will be in conversation with Professor of Religion Ron Afzal at 4:00 p.m., followed by an opening reception at 5:30 p.m. All are invited!
Last week saw the opening of a new exhibition in the gallery of the Heimbold Visual Arts Center. Yevgeniya Baras and Pete Schulte — a joint effort between two artists that encapsulates the power of communication through art alone — will run through June 5.
Climate Change with Bernice Rosenzweig
Earlier this month, environmental science faculty member Bernice Rosenzweig gave an excellent speech to a local community group titled “Cities, Showers and Climate Change.” It’s an instructive discussion, and I encourage you to Look at this.
March featured four events in our Belonging series, and April promises to be just as busy, with three final events in the works. If you’ve missed any of the membership events so far, you can watch them on our website.
This month marked a milestone at our Center for the Urban River in Beczak (CURB): a team of staff, students and community volunteers counted the 10,000th eel as part of its work with the state’s American Eel Migration Project, which plays an important role in monitoring the health of the Hudson River.