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"For those of us who believe in the liberal ideal—that anyone, regardless of the circumstances of his or her birth, can flourish—the social cost of mass incarceration is deeply troubling," writes Emily Chamlee-Wright. We can find hope for the long-term future in recent proposals to reduce the scope of what’s considered criminal activity and change financial incentives that lead to overcriminalization and excessive punishment. But in the shorter term, how should we address the social cost of having 2.3 million people in prison? "Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s powerful new PBS miniseries College Behind Bars suggests we might find hope in the transformative effect of higher education," writes Chamlee-Wright. "The miniseries follows New York prison inmates who are pursuing liberal arts degrees through the Bard Prison Initiative, a program of Bard College."
The Andrew Goodman Foundation (AGF) is pleased to announce it has accepted three emerging civic leaders to the second cohort of Andrew Goodman Puffin Democracy Fellows. The 2020-2021 Fellows will focus on promoting AGF’s mission to make young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy by increasing access for young voters. The Andrew Goodman Puffin Democracy Fellows program is a multiyear fellowship generously funded by the Puffin Foundation and available to alumni of The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s programs.
Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins featured College Behind Bars and the Bard Prison Initiative for My Cause My Cleats on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown on December 9. On November 12, BPI was honored to have Jenkins host a special screening of the documentary at the Apollo Theater in New York City.
“As I walked across the stage this year to graduate with my MSW at Hunter College, I thought about the incarcerated people I’ve left behind—especially those who grew up in any of the seven communities where over 70 percent of New York’s prison population come from. I was one of them, ” writes Mack. “If we are serious about criminal justice reform, then restoring Pell Grants for incarcerated students is an essential way forward.” Mack, an alumnus of the Bard Prison Initiative who earned his MSW from Hunter College earlier this year, is director of community engagement and advocacy at JustLeadership, an organization dedicated to ending mass incarceration.
A letter of condolence for the president of Saint Petersburg State University.
Bard CCE senior fellow Jonathan Cristol ’00 considers the Trump administration’s reported request that South Korea increase its contributions to the maintenance of U.S. forces in Korea by 400 percent. “The reported cost increase itself is a non-starter that sends an extraordinarily damaging signal to American allies around the world—and it is a gift to America's adversaries.”
Parts 3 and 4 of College Behind Bars will air on Tuesday, November 26, at 9/8c on PBS stations and stream on PBS.org.College Behind Bars, the PBS documentary series following students in the Bard Prison Initiative, premiered this week, earning widespread praise. The series release is amplifying a national conversation about criminal justice reform and higher education in prison. Parts 1 and 2 of the series aired for the first time on Monday, November 25. Parts 3 and 4 will air on Tuesday, November 26, at 9/8c. The entire series will be available for streaming on PBS for 60 days.
College Behind Bars, a four-part documentary film series directed by award-winning filmmaker Lynn Novick, produced by Sarah Botstein, and executive produced by Ken Burns, tells the story of a small group of incarcerated men and women struggling to earn college degrees and turn their lives around in one of the most rigorous and effective prison education programs in the United States—the Bard Prison Initiative.
Shot over four years in maximum and medium security prisons in New York State, the four-hour film takes viewers on a stark and intimate journey into one of the most pressing issues of our time—our failure to provide meaningful rehabilitation for the over two million Americans living behind bars. Through the personal stories of the students and their families, the film reveals the transformative power of higher education and puts a human face on America’s criminal justice crisis. It raises questions we urgently need to address: What is prison for? Who has access to educational opportunity? Who among us is capable of academic excellence? How can we have justice without redemption?
BPI alumni and staff have been traveling around the country with the filmmakers engaging in conversations about College Behind Bars and their experiences at BPI and beyond.
Mariel Fiori, managing editor of La Voz, and Martha Tepepa of the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College will speak as part of “Immigration Advocacy in the Hudson Valley,” a Chronogram Conversation presented in partnership with Radio Kingston and The River Newsroom. The public is invited to hear from community members who have organized to counteract what they view as unjust federal policies targeting immigrants. Wednesday, December 4, at 6:00 p.m., Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Episcopal Church in Kingston.
A letter of condolence for the president of Saint Petersburg State University.
By Danielle A. Martin ‘20
For some Americans, a college education is a realistic expectation. For others, it remains an inaccessible dream. The Bard Prison Initiative, founded in 1999 by Bard student Max Kenner, challenges the idea of whom higher education serves. What started as a humble Trustee-Leader Scholar project initiated after the elimination of Pell Grants for prisoners in 1994, has blossomed into a wildly successful non-profit organization now featured in its own Ken Burns documentary, College Behind Bars.
The film follows BPI students as they navigate not just the world of academia, but the American prison system as well. It asks the questions that BPI has been asking since the organization was founded: Whom is education for? How does education form and reform students? How do we as Americans shift our understanding of higher education from a privileged rite of passage to a human right? Although BPI does not focus on why its students have been incarcerated, College Behind Bars explores some of the forces that confront them. Often, BPI students are men of color who began their prison terms as teenagers.
I remember that when I was in high school applying to colleges, some adults pulled me aside to tell me that a liberal arts education was a waste of money, that employers would prefer a more ‘focused’ educational track. College Behind Bars and the Bard Prison Initiative demonstrate that a liberal arts education is not only meaningful but also transformative—perhaps even redemptive. The students featured in the film do not leave the classroom merely ‘educated’; they leave their classrooms with a better understanding of themselves, the world they inhabit, and the options they have to overcome the obstacles in front of them.
In an article for Reasons to Be Happy titled “I’m Not That Guy Anymore,” BPI Alumnus Alexander Hall writes that the state university he attended “had developed its pedagogical approaches from the same manuals my public schools had: isolated and inapplicable to the life I lived outside. It seemed pointless to me to memorize formulas that I thought had no relationship to the real world.” After finding himself incarcerated, and later applying to BPI’s program, he discovered the world of academia had transformed into a system that “seemed to put words to so many things I had experienced, especially in my adolescence.” With a recidivism rate of less than 3%, it’s fair to say that BPI students feel similarly fulfilled by a liberal arts education.
College Behind Bars airs on PBS, November 25th and 26th. Directed by Ken Burns and produced by Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, the four-part documentary will bring national attention to both the American higher education system and the American justice system and how they intersect. More information on how to stream the program and how to support college in prison can be found on the Bard Prison Initiative website.
By Najwa Jamal '21
The impending 2020 Presidential election has seemingly consumed all of our attention. While the contest will be a spectacle of high priced campaign ads and national-level issues, this year's local elections, held on November 5th, recalibrated time and energy towards local matters. With initiatives and policies directly affecting the surrounding municipalities and the Bard campus community, students stepped up to the plate when it came to their civic duty to vote.
Bard students were eager to take “a seat at the table,” said Ava Mazzye ‘20. Mazzye is the director of [email protected], a student-led initiative sponsored by the CCE and the Andrew Goodman Foundation that works to increase voter turnout on Bard’s Annandale campus and the surrounding communities. Mazzye and a team of dedicated undergrads hand out information on candidates, polling locations, and assist with voter registration. They also arrange for shuttles to take students to the Bard College polling station in nearby Barrytown with regular runs from noon to 9pm on Election Day.
Many of the candidates, some of whom are Bard Alumni/ae, visited campus and tabled at Kline to make their case for election. Jacob Testa, Bill Hamel, and Robert George were among them. They distributed campaign materials and answered student questions about maintaining affordable rent, preserving rural lands, and addressing water quality in the Town of Red Hook. Dutchess County Legislator Kristofer Munn, hoping for high voter turnout, said, “a handful of votes could decide our three county-wide races.”
All the efforts, by the candidates and especially by the team at [email protected], paid off. Bard College students voted in record numbers. At polling stations in Barrytown, Tivoli, and Rhinebeck, students voted at a rate of 40-49%. In recognition, the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge awarded Bard College a Gold Seal at its November 12 awards ceremony honoring colleges that demonstrated excellence in nonpartisan student voter engagement.
Bard students have a history of voting in impressive numbers. This election was no different. A balance was struck between national and local election education and engagement. Mazzye sees this as a beacon of hope for the longevity of student voter participation. “When folks are politically active in their younger years, it tends to signal a lifetime of engagement.” she said. “For Bard students, this is just the beginning of a long future of political participation, activism and protest.”
by Audrey Russell ‘20
Bard College is the only American institution of higher education with a dual-degree program in Palestine. With a deep partnership with Al Quds University in the West Bank, manifested by Al Quds Bard (AQB), Bard regularly hosts exchange students on the Annandale campus. Going in the other direction, the Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative (BPYI), a longstanding TLS student-led initiative, has for years sent Bard undergraduates to Mas’ha, a village in the West Bank. There, students teach a liberal arts curriculum to local children and teens.
While recent tensions in the region have made it difficult for students to visit Mas’ha, BPYI is adapting its focus so Bard students can stay connected to the community.
Genevieve Chiola ‘20 has worked with BPYI since her freshman year. She now leads the project. She remembers traveling to Mas’ha in 2017 and feeling a connection that remains today. After assessing the project’s current abilities, Chiola has decided to put its funding and energy into something more feasible: building a soccer field in the village. Chiola is also communicating with members of the the Palestinian community here in the Hudson Valley to raise funds and organize letter-writing campaigns. About the strategy, she says, “It’s not a permanent move away from our current mission, it’s just a detour–the ebb and flow of running a project like this.”
Bard and BPYI have worked hard to acclimatize to changing conditions in a turbulent part of the world. One day, students will again travel from Annandale to Palestine to engage the community and study at Al Quds Bard. Until then, the colleges, students, and community, are finding ways to stay connected and engaged.
This semester, Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences commemorates its fifth year inviting students to choose from more than 25 courses that add experiential learning in civic engagement to their respective curricula. Students have more unique opportunities than ever before to engage with the community while pursuing their own academic interests. This semester also marks a significant increase in the diversity of ELAS courses, with offerings ranging from Anthropology and Mathematics to Political Science and Environmental and Urban Sciences.
Two ELAS courses, Food Microbiology: Cider Making and the Art of Science and Fermentation, make good use of Bard College’s recent acquisition of Montgomery Place Orchards. There, students learn directly from the experts about real-world applications of scientific concepts. The classes also visited Scrumpy Ewe Cider in Richmondville and KyMar Farm in Charlotteville to witness the science of fermentation in the business of beverage production and distribution.
In Writing, Science, and Environmental Issues, students ventured onto the Hudson River to conduct research on invasive species and take an up close look at local environmental concerns. The Argentine Tango course featured a Bandoneon performance by Javier Sanchez; This Class is a Podcast is facilitating connections between Bard students and community partners from Kingston using facilities provided by Radio Kingston and will culminate in a presentation at the Kingston Artist Collective in December.
Finally, the ELAS/International Network course, Engaged Citizenship, is being taught by CCE heads Jonathan Becker and Erin Cannan. The course connects students on the Annandale campus with those from the International Network, tying together civic engagement in disparate communities around the globe. Featured speakers this semester included New Orleans mayor and Bard Alumna LaToya Cantrell and Texas ACLU attorney Tommy Buser-Clancy.
The ELAS courses have been very successful in capturing the interest of Bard undergraduates. According to a survey performed this past spring, archaeology students were happy to find “the ways in which the information that we were discovering could help people in the surrounding area engage better with their landscape.” Other students found “a sense of purpose and meaning to what we’re learning” They were pleased that the ELAS courses “[showed] what we can do with our major outside Bard” The Argentinian Tango course inspired one student to respond, “Human connection is fundamental to civic engagement.”
Significant new data on Bard's two high school early colleges in New York City reveals them as the state leaders in on-time college success. New analysis from the Education Trust–New York follows the rates at which low-income high school students in New York State are progressing to a bachelor's degree. Their research shows that Bard High School Early College (BHSEC) Manhattan and BHSEC Queens, of New York State's 1,100 public high schools, are the two leading schools in on-time college success for economically disadvantaged students. Low-income students who graduate from BHSEC complete bachelor's degrees on time at a higher rate than at any other high school in New York State.
The data validates a central premise of BHSEC: that young people have a greater chance of success when we challenge and inspire them at a younger age. Since the first BHSEC was founded in 2001, over 3,000 students have earned Bard associate in arts degrees. Today, across eight Bard Early Colleges nationwide, half of Bard's 3,000 early college students are first-generation college goers.
"The BHSEC community should be truly proud," says Stephen Tremaine, Vice President for Early College Policies and Programs at Bard. "At the heart of the BHSEC community is an idea that we take extraordinary pride in: that, through inclusive excellence, education can resolve—not reflect—long-held disparities."
Bard College received a gold seal, the highest honor, at the 2019 ALL IN Challenge Awards Ceremony held to recognize colleges and universities committed to increasing college student voting rates. Bard achieved a student voting rate between 40 percent and 49 percent.
“Bard students truly appreciate the importance of voting as one of the first rites of passage into participatory American democracy. Their engagement is key to our future and exemplifies the spirit of the 26th Amendment where young adult voices are equal and encouraged. It’s part of what drives [email protected] to inspire a student voter culture,” said Erin Cannan, vice president for student affairs.
Student participation in elections has increased from the 2014 midterm election to the recent 2018 midterm election. According to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, an initiative of Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy & Higher Education, voter turnout at the more than 1,000 institutions participating in the study increased by 21 points, from 19 percent to 40 percent. The voter registration rates for Bard College demonstrate that 47.2 percent of students voted in the 2018 elections and 82.5 percent of students were registered and eligible to vote.
“Working in partnership with the Center for Civic Engagement and the Andrew Goodman Foundation, we saw a huge rise in students voting in the 2018 midterm election,” said Ava Mazzye ’20, student director of [email protected] “We hope this is the beginning of a lifelong commitment to democratic engagement.”
“We are excited to honor Bard College with an ALL IN Challenge gold seal in recognition of their intentional efforts to increase democratic engagement and full voter participation,” said Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “More institutions like Bard are changing the culture on campus by institutionalizing nonpartisan democratic engagement efforts that are resulting in the incredible student voter turnout rates that we’ve seen across the country.”
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a nonpartisan, national initiative recognizing and supporting campuses as they work to increase nonpartisan democratic engagement and full student voter participation. The Challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, and make democratic participation a core value on their campus. More than 560 campuses, enrolling more than 6.2 million students, have joined the Challenge since its launch in summer 2016.
So much of what has catapulted race and racial identity into the mainstream over the past 10 years has been molded by our political climate. Of course, this emphasis on identity politics happens on the left as well as the right—and it’s growing. “It’s a bad strategy to have an identity-based strategy on the left,” says Williams. “Deemphasizing identity all around would help our politics because we would have to pay more attention to the issues. We may have to pay more attention to class if we didn’t have these self-defeating identity agendas.”
Eban Goodstein, director of Bard’s Graduate Programs in Sustainability, says putting the planet and its inhabitants before profits “is an incredible paradigm shift” for business schools that have long trained their students to maximize shareholder value. Bard’s MBA in Sustainability bakes sustainability principles into every class rather than simply offering sustainability electives as many business schools do. “In theory, you don’t want to have a sustainability department. The goal should be to make sustainability part of the business model,” says 34-year-old Nour Shaikh MBA ’16, a vice president at ING Financial Services.
The artist and cook Mirna Bamieh created the Palestine Hosting Society in 2017 to preserve and share Palestinian recipes and, by extension, the cultural identity they represent, in the face of state-imposed displacement. For the project, Bamieh stages on-site performance pieces centered around the preparation and serving of meals she’s learned to create via oral tradition. She calls these performances “tables,” and the world premiere of her newest table, titled Menu of Dis/appearance, will be presented locally by Bard College and Murray’s in Tivoli November 21–23 as part of the Live Arts Bard Biennial, Where No Wall Remains, which centers on the subject of borders.
Bard Center for Civic Engagement Senior Fellow James Ketterer, who is currently dean of the School of Continuing Education at the American University Cairo, recently joined WAMC’s Roundtable panel for a conversation about the Trump impeachment inquiry, the climate crisis, and the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, among other issues.
On Monday, November 4, the New England Patriots hosted a special red carpet event and screening of College Behind Bars at Patriot Place in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Bard Prison Initiative alumni Sebastian Yoon and Salih Israil joined NFL stars Jason and Devin McCourty and director Lynn Novick to talk about the film with executive producer Ken Burns. “It kind of goes against the status quo of what we already think the prison system is for,” Jason McCourty said. “’Hey, you did something bad. You should be punished for it.’ Now to understand that there’s another way to rehabilitate people in prison and when they get out, give them an opportunity so they don’t end up back there.”
Bard Prison Initiative alumnus Sebastian Yoon talked with Boston Public Radio along with College Behind Bars filmmakers Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein. “I believe in BPI very much because when I was 16, I was an insecure boy, and I wanted power and wanted to feel loved,” Yoon says. “And then, when I went to prison, I became reduced to nothing. I went through dehumanization, hopelessness and terrible, terrible loneliness,” Yoon said. “I felt no hope for my future, but then I learned. I got a liberal arts education, and it was liberating. I was able to think not only about myself, but my place in society, what my duties are and what I can do to better for others and the society in which I live.” WGBH, the Boston Public Library, and Bank of America hosted a special preview and discussion of College Behind Bars with Bard alumni, director Lynn Novick, and Congressman Joe Kennedy III on Tuesday, November 5. The series airs November 25 and 26 on PBS.
The Institute for Higher Education and Democracy has released their 2019 report, Democracy Counts 2018: Increased Student and Institutional Engagement. According to the report, mid-term election voting rates at US colleges and universities more than doubled from 19% to 40%. Bard College students, however, voted at a significantly higher rate of 47.2%.
The report contains findings from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, an ongoing examination of student voting on U.S. college campuses. More than 1,000 public and private institutions participated in the study. Bard College was among them. In her introduction to the report, Institute director Nancy Thomas made the following comments:
Indeed, Bard College exemplifies this shift, hosting student-led initiatives like [email protected] that actively encourage and facilitate campus and community electoral participation - driving voting registration and voter information, providing transportation to polling places, hosting watch parties, advocating for accessible polling, and fighting for voting rights.
To reinforce and expand student awareness of local and national elections, CCE coordinates Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses; a robust offering of classes across departments that incorporate voting information, discussions about citizenship, and other forms of community engagement into extant curricula.
Visit [email protected] to see how the team provides important information to students about upcoming elections. To read Democracy Counts 2018 in its entirety, click here.
On Friday, October 18, nearly 100 middle school students from Miller Middle School in Kingston, New York, spent the day at Bard College working with undergraduates from the course Pedagogy and Practice in Civic Engagement, an Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences offering that is crosslisted between Bard’s undergraduate and master of arts in teaching programs. This course is cotaught each year by Bard MAT visiting faculty member Mary Leonard and BHSEC Newark faculty member Michael Murray. The course is designed for Bard undergraduates who are working in one of the College’s many educational outreach programs and who are committed to the idea of civic engagement. Guided by readings in education, the class considers the interpersonal, cultural, social, and ethical issues that arise in the context of civic engagement in schools.
After earning diplomas from the Bard Prison Initiative, these alumni are using their skills to forge new paths.In 2015 the story of the Bard Prison Initiative Debate Union’s win over Harvard became a global news story. Leslie Brody of the Wall Street Journal, who was there for the debate, first broke the story. Now, four years later, Brody reunited with the BPI alumni who were on the debate stage that evening to find out what has happened to each of them since. The debate was also captured by camera crews filming for the upcoming documentary series College Behind Bars, which is coming out on PBS in November.
By Audrey Russell '20
The Center for Civic Engagement is pleased to be part of a new collaborative endeavor between Bard and the City of Kingston. After years of joint initiatives, such as Bard’s Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences courses and the Clemente Course in the Humanities, President Botstein urged college administrators to begin strategizing for a deeper and more meaningful relationship between Bard and Kingston.
On the college’s end, the partnership includes representatives from across the college. “Kingston is a great place for students to connect classroom learning to the real world, and we want to be a resource to the Kingston community,” said Malia DuMont, Chief of Staff and one of the partnership organizers who recently moved to Kingston herself.
The effort is divided into three focus areas: Science and Sustainability, Arts and Historic Preservation, and Educational Initiatives. Initially the group will focus on holding community conversations, strengthening relationships with Kingston schools, and facilitating more transportation options between Kingston and Red Hook. The partnership will continue to search for new partners to further enrich the relationship between Bard and Kingston.
DuMont is particularly excited to bring Bard’s enthusiasm for community engagement across the river. “Bard does great things out in the world, but we can also do this work in the community right next door,” she said, “And that ultimately makes me feel more connected to Kingston and proud to be a resident.”
By Najwa Jamal '21
Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley held its annual gala in Rhinebeck on Saturday, September 7. Bard College students, supported by the Center for Civic Engagement, volunteered their time to help them reach their fundraising goals.
Students served appetizers, networked with donors and other attendees, and learned about Planned Parenthood. Their efforts were part of a larger movement among Bard students and others to make the Hudson Valley a more equitable area in regards to reproductive and sexual rights. Student participation was also indicative of the mission of the CCE to foster vital relationships between Bard and community organizations.
Benni Perkins ‘22, one of the volunteers, said about the event, “... It is a call to action in a very particular way. It calls… people with disposable incomes that want to put that money towards something that will change lives and save lives.”
Clare Herzog '22, Nisa Danitz '22 and Maya Aga '22 also participated in the gala event.
Perkins was particularly taken with the diversity of attendees, lauding Planned Parenthood’s success in bringing together “people from all over the Hudson Valley to donate towards the battle for reproductive rights.”
This year’s fundraiser yielded an impressive $215,000. The money will go towards supporting Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley, as well as its nationwide counterpart.
By Danielle Martin
Bard’s Annandale campus sits between two small villages in the Hudson Valley. The surroundings are decidedly rural:if you don’t drive by at least three farm-stands on your way to get a coffee, you’re probably lost. Some new students, unaccustomed to rolling farmlands, stretching forests, and Bard’s own sprawling campus, might call the setting isolated. Yet “isolated” would be an imprecise adjective; it suggests separation from its neighbors. On the contrary, Bard’s community connections grow deep.
The Trustee Leader Scholar program articulates the depth of the college’s relationships. The program invites students to create, design, and execute community engagement projects. Through TLS projects, students develop meaningful relationships with community organizations locally, regionally, and internationally. One particular project that unites the college with its nesting community is the Astor TLS project.
Located in the heart of nearby Rhinebeck, Astor Services for Children and Families is a residential rehabilitation institution that serves families of the Hudson Valley and the Bronx. Founded in 1904, Astor began as a home for children to recover from physical illnesses. In 1952 the mission of the home changed in order to provide a haven for children who had experienced mental or physical traumas.
The atmosphere inside Astor is exceptionally lively. The children residing there tend to be young — as young as preschool — although some programs accommodate residents up to 21 years old. The kids like to show each other ‘memes’, they dance when they’re happy, they love playing kickball. The Astor TLS project strives to champion this “kid-ness.” Several days a week, groups of Bard students travel to Astor to engage the children in cooking, theater, art projects, and athletic games—whether that’s flag football or an obstacle course designed with help from the kids. The activities allow Bard students to embrace their own playfulness too. And the camaraderie is infectious.
Bard College is more than just a cloistered congregation of students tucked behind apple orchards and maple forests. The Astor TLS project is exemplary of an institute that reaches out to communities near and far with the mission of transforming us, the students, as well as our partners who share with us as much as we hope to share with them.
I recently spoke with the Astor TLS project leader, Samuel Kiley ‘20, to discuss Bard’s work with Astor.
On Monday, October 7, four cadets from the United States Military Academy at West Point joined four members of the Bard Debate Union for a public debate on whether the U.S. prison system should be abolished or reformed. The debate served as an opening event for the annual Hannah Arendt Center Conference, "Racism and Antisemitism," which takes place Thursday and Friday, October 10–11. West Point argued in favor of prison reform, while the Bard team argued in favor of abolishing prisons, drawing upon key arguments about institutionalized racism and criminal justice from Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colourblindness.
The debate was moderated by Dyjuan Tatro '18, a Bard alumnus who began his college career with the Bard Prison Initiative while incarcerated, completed his degree at Bard College in Annandale, and now serves as BPI's government affairs and advancement officer. Dyjuan was also a member of the famous BPI Debate Union team that defeated Harvard in 2015 and is featured in the upcoming PBS documentary College Behind Bars, directed by Lynn Novick and executive produced by Ken Burns. This four-part series follows a dedicated group of BPI students as they pursue their educations while incarcerated. The film is currently in previews and will air and stream on PBS on November 25 and 26.
James Beard Award–winning Chef Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge reservation and founder of the company The Sioux Chef, is committed to revitalizing Native American cuisine. Chef Sean comes to the Fisher Center to discuss The (R)evolution of Indigenous Food Systems of North America, Tuesday, October 29, in the LUMA Theater at 5 p.m. The talk will be followed by a question and answer period and book signing. Admission is free; to reserve tickets and for additional information visit fishercenter.bard.edu or call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900.
Through his research Chef Sean has uncovered and mapped out the foundations of the indigenous food systems through an indigenous perspective. His book, The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, earned a 2018 James Beard Award and was a top 10 cookbook of 2017. He has become renowned nationally and internationally in the culinary movement of indigenous foods and is leading a movement to completely redefine North American cuisine.
Copies of The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen will be available for purchase in the lobby of LUMA Theater courtesy of Oblong Books. In addition, Ken Greene from Seedshed will be showcasing Haudenosaunee crops grown in the Native American Seed Sanctuary, a collaborative initiative with the St. Regis Mohawk tribe Seedshed and The Hudson Valley Farm Hub.
This event is sponsored by Bard College’s Center for the Study of Land, Air and Water, American Studies, Environmental and Urban Studies, Bard Farm, Bard Office of Sustainability, Experimental Humanities, The Bard Center for Civic Engagement, Trustee Leader Scholar Program, and Oblong Books. The Fisher Center’s presentation of the event is in tandem with the upcoming Live Arts Bard Biennial, Where No Wall Remains: An International Festival About Borders, November 21–24, 2019.
Chef Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, born in Pine Ridge, SD, has been cooking across the US and Mexico over the past 30 years, and has become renowned nationally and internationally in the culinary movement of indigenous foods. Chef Sean has studied extensively to determine the foundations of Native American indigenous foods systems to bring back a sense of Native American cuisine to today’s world. In 2014, he opened the business titled The Sioux Chef as a caterer and food educator in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. He and his business partner Dana Thompson also designed and opened the Tatanka Truck, which featured pre-contact foods of the Dakota and Minnesota territories.
In October 2017, Sean was able to perform the first decolonized dinner at the James Beard House in Manhattan along with his team. His first book, The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen was awarded the James Beard medal for Best American Cookbook for 2018 and was chosen as one of the top ten cookbooks of 2017 by the LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the Smithsonian Magazine. This year, Chef Sean was selected as a Bush Fellow, as well as receiving the 2019 Leadership Award by the James Beard Foundation. The Sioux Chef team of twelve people continues with their mission to help educate and make indigenous foods more accessible to as many communities as possible through the recently founded nonprofit North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS). Learn more: natifs.org.
The Fisher Center develops, produces, and presents performing arts across disciplines through new productions and context-rich programs that challenge and inspire. At once a premier professional performing arts center and a hub for research and education, the Fisher Center supports artists, students, and audiences in the development and examination of artistic ideas and perspectives from the past, present, and future. The organization’s home is the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and located on the campus of Bard College in New York’s Hudson Valley. The Fisher Center offers outstanding programs to many communities, including the students and faculty of Bard, and audiences in the Hudson Valley, New York City, across the country and around the world. The Fisher Center illustrates Bard’s commitment to the performing arts as a cultural and educational necessity. Building on a 150-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders.
Bard faculty members Marina van Zuylen and Daniel Terris spoke at "Educating for Freedom, for All," a forum marking the 75th Anniversary of the Teagle Foundation. The event featured leaders and fresh voices promoting equity in higher education. It took place on Thursday, October 3, at the Harold Pratt House in New York City. Daniel Terris, dean of the Al-Quds Bard College of Arts and Sciences in East Jerusalem, spoke on the panel "Opening Minds" on the topic of educating for citizenship. Marina van Zuylen, professor of French and comparative literature at Bard College and national academic director of the Clemente Course in the Humanities, spoke on the panel "Liberal Arts for All" on how the humanities bring hope to adults in crisis.
The Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) will present a special screening of the upcoming PBS documentary series College Behind Bars at Bard’s Fisher Center on Monday, October 21, at 5 pm. Directed by Lynn Novick, produced by Sarah Botstein, and executive-produced by Ken Burns, College Behind Bars explores the lives of several BPI students as they try to earn Bard College degrees through the program. Shot over four years in maximum and medium security prisons in New York State, the film reveals the power of higher education and raises two key questions: What is prison for? Who has access to educational opportunity?
The Bard Prison Initiative was founded in 1999 by undergraduates at Bard College responding a nationwide decimation of college-in-prison. After obtaining access to the New York State prison system and securing limited funding, then undergraduate Max Kenner ‘01 launched BPI as a pilot program with 15 students. Over the last twenty years, BPI has enrolled hundreds of incarcerated students and impacted thousands more. It has inspired similar programs across the country and persuaded government leaders to begin to reinvest in education in prison at every level. Most importantly, BPI alumni/ae are thriving – earning graduate degrees, establishing careers, and opening businesses.
This preview event will feature segments from the documentary followed by panel discussions with BPI alumni featured in the film, director Lynn Novick, producer Sarah Botstein, and BPI Executive Director Max Kenner ’01.
This screening is free and open to the public, reservations are strongly encouraged. For more information and to reserve tickets, call 845-758-7900 or visit fishercenter.bard.edu.
College Behind Bars is a production of Skiff Mountain Films, in association with Florentine Films. The four-part series airs on PBS November 25-26 and will be available to stream on the PBS Video App.
The Bard College Department of Athletics and Recreation, in partnership with Bard's Center for Civic Engagement, has announced the launch of an initiative to encourage greater participation and leadership in the area of civic and community engagement among student-athletes.
Launched on October 1, 2019, the Raptors Cup is an annual competition between Bard's 19 varsity programs. The name of the winning team will be engraved on the Raptors Cup each year, and the cup will be kept in the trophy case in the Stevenson Athletic Center.
Click here to get the Raptors Cup form.
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee participated in establishing the goals of the program, which are meant to build the athletic community, inspire leadership and civic development among student-athletes, and to get everyone actively engaged in volunteer efforts, both on campus and off.
Student-athletes can collect points for their team in six value areas:
Bard Center for Civic Engagement Senior Fellow James Ketterer, who is currently dean of the School of Continuing Education at the American University Cairo, recently visited Serbia, where he delivered the keynote address at an event marking the anniversary of the founding of the Center for the Study of the United States of America in the Faculty of Political Sciences at the University of Belgrade. He spoke about continuities and disruptions in American foreign policy in the post–Cold War period. He also gave a presentation at the American Studies Center in the Faculty of Philosophy, focusing on jazz diplomacy, and met with Serbian students as part of the EducationUSA program, discussing with them the value of the liberal arts approach to higher education. The trip was supported by the United States Embassy in Belgrade. While in Serbia, Ketterer met with two people with connections to Bard College, both PhD candidates in political science at the University of Belgrade: Milan Krstic, who participated in the 2017 Bard U.S. Foreign Policy Institute in Annandale, which was supported by the U.S. State Department; and Marko Kovacevic, who was a Program in International Education student in 2005–06, spending the fall semester in Annandale and the spring semester at BGIA.
The Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities is offering a college-level introduction to the humanities—philosophy, literature, U.S. history, art history, critical thinking, and writing—again this fall in Kingston, New York, to adults living on low incomes. Students attend at no cost. Tuition, books, and childcare will be provided. Transportation is free within the immediate Kingston area. Students who successfully complete the course earn 6 college credits from Bard College. Classes will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., from October 1 through May at the Kingston Library, 55 Franklin Street, Kingston, NY 12401. Prospective applicants are invited to attend the first class on October 1 and can submit applications until October 3.
Applicants must be 17 years of age or older; living in a low-income household; able to read a newspaper in English; highly motivated and committed; and have the time and desire to attend classes regularly, complete assignments outside of class, and participate fully in the course for the entire nine-month term.
“The impact this course has had on the lives of people in the Kingston area—veterans, single mothers, homeless, people in recovery, citizens in search of a community—is a great example of the power of education to change lives,” said Clemente Course Director Marina van Zuylen, stressing that many of the course’s graduates go on to enroll in part- and full-time college programs, while others have been successful in finding new career opportunities and getting their creative work published or exhibited. “The Clemente Course’s supportive and devoted teachers provide a very rare kind of personal and intellectual nurturing. Each year, we’re reaching more people and engaging more partners in the community who are eager to support the course and our students.”
Applications can be picked up from the Kingston Library, by clicking (2019 Application), or by visiting clemente.bard.edu. The application deadline for the 2019 Kingston Clemente Course is October 3. If you miss the deadline, please contact Marina van Zuylen at [email protected]. Once the application is completed, please e-mail it to Marina van Zuylen at [email protected], or drop it off at the front desk of the Kingston Library at 55 Franklin Street, Kingston, NY 12401. For library hours, please call 845-331-0507 or go to kingstonlibrary.org/hours.php. For more information about the Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities being offered in Kingston, please visit clemente.bard.edu or e-mail [email protected].
The Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities, taught by Bard College faculty, provides college-level instruction for college credit to economically disadvantaged individuals. Begun as a pilot project on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Clemente Course is currently in its 21st year of operation. Overall, the program has enrolled over 3,000 students. More than 2,000 have completed the course and earned college credit; and more than 1,500 students have transferred to four-year colleges and universities or plan to do so. The Clemente Course was awarded a 2014 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama.
The program is based on the belief that by studying the humanities, participants acquire the cultural capital, conceptual skills, and appreciation for reasoned discourse necessary to improve their societal situation. Clemente students receive 110 hours of instruction in five humanistic disciplines and explore the great works of literature, art history, moral philosophy, and American history. Instruction in critical thinking and writing is also offered. The program removes many of the financial barriers to higher education that low-income individuals face: books, carfare, and childcare are provided, and tuition is free. Bard grants a certificate of achievement to any student completing the Clemente Course and 6 college credits to those completing it at a high level of academic performance. For more information, please visit clemente.bard.edu.
The Center for Civic Engagement celebrates and congratulates Brothers at Bard (BAB) for their ongoing success and achievements. Co-founders Dariel Vasquez '17 and Harry Johnson '17, are building a unique and scalable [email protected] program that is informing the national conversation on education and black male achievement. Dariel and Harry have worked tirelessly over the past two years at CCE to transform their hugely successful and unique TLS project -- through which college men of color support each other on campus and mentor and support high school men of color in Kingston, NY to a project with national ambitions.
In well-deserved recognition of their accomplishments, the William R. Kenan Trust has provided a $400,000 grant in support of their vision. We want to thank the Kenan Trust, along with the many donors that have made BAB possible these last six years, including the Kingston Central School District, the Ascienzo Family Foundation, Helen’s Hope Foundation, Hudson Valley Foundation for Youth Health, Lifetime Learning Institute, The Fellowship Initiative, Ulster Savings Bank, and countless individual donors and supporters.
BAB now plays a critical role, not only in the lives of students on campus and in the local community, but in the life and structure of the College as a whole. BAB has made an incredible contribution to Bard and we look forward to tracking its trajectory as it continues to grow.
Read Dariel’s open letter to BAB supporters.
When Hannah Arendt came to the United States as a stateless refugee, she began writing for small Jewish journals and reflected upon the similarities and differences between racism in American and antisemitism in Europe. Arendt argued that racism is an ideology like antisemitism, thereby offering a pseudo-scientific justification for violence that elevates one group at the expense of another. From The Origins of Totalitarianism to The Crises in Little Rock, Arendt’s thinking on race is controversial and has often led many to quickly dismiss her thoughts on race and antisemitism entirely. The Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College’s 12th annual conference, “Racism and Antisemitism,” gathers a diverse group of thinkers to explore these oft shunned concepts in Arendt’s work in the context of our contemporary political moment, which is marked by antisemitic and racist violence.
The two-day conference takes place on Thursday, October 10 and Friday, October 11 in Olin Hall, on Bard’s Annandale-on-Hudson campus. For registration information, please visit hac.bard.edu/conference2019. Speakers will discuss questions such as: What is racism? Is antisemitism a form of racism? What does anti-racism mean today? Is it antisemitic to criticize the state of Israel? Is equality possible in a world where prejudice exists? How can we respond to racist fantasies?
Featured speakers include:
Kenyon Victor Adams, multidisciplinary artist and curator; Peter Baehr, research professor in social theory, Lingnan University, Hong Kong; Étienne Balibar, emeritus professor of philosophy, University of Paris-Nanterre, and anniversary chair of contemporary European philosophy at Kingston University, London; Aliza Becker, associate fellow, Hannah Arendt Center; Kathryn Sophia Belle, associate professor of philosophy, Pennsylvania State University, and author, Hannah Arendt and the Negro Question; Roger Berkowitz, academic director, Hannah Arendt Center; Robert Boyers, editor, Salmagundi, director, New York State Summer Writers Institute, and professor of English, Skidmore College; Ian Buruma, Paul W. Williams Professor of Human Rights and Journalism, Bard College; Joy Connolly, president, American Council of Learned Societies; Deirdre d’Albertis, dean of Bard College; Lewis R. Gordon, professor of philosophy, University of Connecticut-Storrs; Nacira Guénif-Souilamas, professor of sociology and anthropology, University Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis; Eric Kaufmann, professor and assistant dean of politics, Birkbeck, University of London; Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning historian, speaker, and author of Stamped From The Beginning; Jennifer Kidwell, performing artist and cocreator of the Obie Award-winning play Underground Railroad Game; Rev. Jacqui Lewis, public theologian and senior minister, Middle Collegiate Church in Manhattan; John McWhorter, associate professor of English and comparative literature, Columbia University; Marwan Mohammed, sociologist, research fellow, Centre Maurice Halbwachs in Paris, and visiting scholar, John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY); Shany Mor, associate fellow, Hannah Arendt Center, and research fellow, Chaikin Center, Haifa University; Nikita Nelin, writer and winner of 2019 Dogwood Literary Prize; Emilio Rojas, multidisciplinary artist; Peter Rosenblum, professor of international law and human rights, Bard College; Batya Ungar Sargon, journalist and opinion editor, The Forward; Amy Schiller, associate fellow, Hannah Arendt Center; Adam Shatz, contributing editor, London Review of Books, and contributor, to New York Times Magazine, New York Review of Books, New Yorker, and other publications; Scott R. Sheppard, OBIE Award-winning theater artist, codirector, Lightning Rod Special, and cocreator of the Obie Award-winning play Underground Railroad Game; Allison Stanger, Russell Leng ’60 Professor of International Politics and Economics at Middlebury College, technology and human values senior fellow at Harvard University’s Edmund J. Safra Center for Ethics, New America Cybersecurity fellow, and external professor, Santa Fe Institute; Kenneth S. Stern, director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, a program of Bard’s Human Rights Project; Mebrak Tareke, writer and a content strategy advisor; Eric K. Ward, executive director, Western States Center; Marc Weitzmann, journalist and author of 12 books, including Hate (2019), which explores the rise of antisemitism in French society; Thomas Chatterton Williams, author, Losing My Cool, and contributing writer, New York Times Magazine; Ruth Wisse, former Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and professor of comparative literature, Harvard University, and distinguished senior fellow, Tikvah Fund.
Arendt Center conferences are attended by nearly a thousand people and reach an international audience via live webcast. Past speakers have included maverick inventor Ray Kurzweil; whistleblower Edward Snowden; irreverent journalist Christopher Hitchens; businessman Hunter Lewis; authors Teju Cole, Zadie Smith, Masha Gessen, and Claudia Rankine; Wall Street Journal columnist Walter Russell Mead; and political activist and presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Previous conferences have explored citizenship and disobedience, crises of democracy, the intellectual roots of the economic crisis, the future of humanity in an age increasingly dominated by technology, the crisis in American education, and American exceptionalism. The Arendt Center’s 13th annual conference, “Revitalizing Democracy: from Sortition to Federalism,” will take place October 15–16, 2020.
For a full conference schedule and bios of featured speakers, please visit hac.bard.edu/conference2019. For more information or answers to questions about the conference, please contact [email protected].
The halls and classrooms of Olin were bustling last weekend as the Bard Debate Union hosted the Bard IV Debate Tournament. The tournament welcomed over 200 visitors to campus from regional, national, and international debating programs. Among the participating institutions were Cornell, Colgate, Vassar, Middlebury, University of Vermont, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, as well as Bard Network institutions Al-Quds Bard (Abu-Dis, East Jerusalem), Smolny College (St. Petersburg, Russia), and the Bard High School Early Colleges in Queens and Cleveland. Students from the fledgling debate program at Bard College at Simon's Rock also joined as observers on Saturday.
All participants in the tournament competed in five debates on topics ranging from universal basic income to "cancel culture" to Puerto Rican statehood. Top scoring teams then debated in quarter-final, semi-final, and final rounds. Hobart and William Smith Colleges won the final round, making them the tournament champion. Bard High School Early College Queens won the novice final round, making them the novice champions.
Bard Debate Union codirectors Ruth Zisman and David Register ran the tournament, together with 20 members of the Bard Debate Union and alumni/ae Eva-Marie Quinones '17 and Clarence Brontë '18. "It was wonderful to see members of the Bard Debate Network from near and far join together in the spirit of competition and collaboration for an exciting weekend of debating," said Ruth Zisman. "We are so proud of our students and the debate leaders throughout the Bard Network for all of the work they put into this event. It is a testament to the value and importance of public discourse and exchange today."
Upcoming Bard Debate Union events include: the Annual Hannah Arendt Center Conference Public Debate on October 7 (topic: U.S. Prison System: Abolish or Reform) and the Annual Family Weekend Faculty-Student Roundtable on October 26 (topic: Trump and American Foreign Policy). Visit the Bard Debate Union website for a complete list of events.
On Thursday, October 10, Bard College features author Isabella Tree presenting her new work Wilding: returning nature to our farm (New York Review Books, 2019), winner of the 2019 Richard Jefferies prize for nature writing and chosen by Smithsonian as a top 10 science book for 2018. The event takes place at 5 p.m., in Weis Cinema, Bertelsmann Campus Center. Admission is free and no reservations are necessary. Books will be available for purchase at this event courtesy of Oblong Books & Music.
The event is sponsored by the Bard Center for Civic Engagement, Office of Sustainability, Environmental and Urban Studies Program, and Lifetime Learning Institute.
About the Author
Isabella Tree writes for publications such as National Geographic, Granta, and the Guardian, and is the author of five nonfiction books. Her articles have been selected for the Best American Travel Writing and Reader’s Digest Today’s Best Non-Fiction, and she was Overall Winner of the Travelex Travel Writer Awards. Her latest book Wilding: returning nature to our farm charts the story of the pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex where she lives with her husband Charlie Burrell. Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy Sussex clay was economically ruinous, they decided to step back and let nature take over. By introducing free-roaming herbivores—proxies of the large animals that once roamed Britain—the Burrells’ degraded agricultural land has become a functioning ecosystem again. In less than 20 years, wildlife has rocketed and numerous endangered species have made Knepp their home. The Knepp experience challenges conventional ideas about our past and present landscapes, and points the way to a wilder, richer future—one that benefits farming, nature, and us.
For more information about the book, visit nyrb.com.
For more information about the author and Knepp Castle Estate, visit isabellatree.com and knepp.co.uk.
The Bard Center for the Study of Hate (BCSH), an initiative of the Human Rights Project at Bard College, has received a $165,000 grant from the GS Humane Corp. to fund five projects over the next two years. The new initiatives will help increase the serious study of hate and will provide research, ideas, and direction for people and groups seeking to combat hate and its manifestations.
GS Humane’s funding will allow BCSH to support Bard faculty as they design and teach new hate-focused courses, including multidisciplinary ones; create an “economic cost of hate” index, directed by Bard Assistant Professor of Economics Michael Martell; create a “level of annual hate” index, conceived and directed by Robert Matthew Tynes, Associate Director for Research Bard Prison Initiative; underwrite a consultation on how those opposing hate can use social media more effectively; and underwrite a multiday retreat both for academics who study hate and key NGO staff members working to oppose hate.
BCSH Director Kenneth S. Stern ’75 said, “GS Humane’s gift is transformative. It will allow Bard faculty to increase the depth of their teaching and research about hate, and establish a model for other colleges and universities to follow. It will enable academics who are experts in hate and those seeking to combat it, to create new ways, grounded in testable theories, to approach this vexing problem.”
Glenn Opell, GS Humane Corp.’s executive director, said, “The increase in antisemitism and white supremacy in the United States warrants far more study and attention than what’s currently allocated. We think Bard is the perfect laboratory for these studies and we’re excited to support the innovative and vital work of BCSH Director Stern and his colleagues.”
For more information about BCSH and its programs, visit bcsh.bard.edu.
Bard International Network faculty have developed a new course that brings curricular and co-curricular civic engagement to a new global level. The course, “Engaged Citizenship: Civic Engagement Locally, Nationally, and Globally” includes guest lectures, fieldwork, case studies and community projects; all within the framework of a class offered simultaneously at Bard and three international partner campuses, including Al-Quds Bard (AQB), American University of Central Asia (AUCA), and Bard College Berlin (BCB). The course will be offered at European Humanities University (EHU) in the spring.
A version of the course was first offered on the Bard College campus in fall 2018, where CCE Director Jonathan Becker and Dean of Civic Engagement Erin Cannan co-taught the course. “We created this course for a number of reasons. We think it’s important for students to get a sense of agency; especially in a world where national politics is so divisive and disempowering. There are opportunities, primarily locally, but also nationally and globally, where they can positively impact society. We want them to understand different notions of citizenship and how they can operate in a complex world,” says Becker, who is currently co-teaching the updated and adapted network course with Erin. Other Bard international network courses include: Global Citizenship, Freedom of Expression, Nationalism and the Lexicon of Migration.
Throughout the course, students are exposed to diverse perspectives and intercultural dialogue using blended learning formats, common texts, virtual lectures and class meetings, and shared assignments that link students and faculty across multiple institutions. In addition, the network course offers faculty and scholars the opportunity to collaborate on course design and implementation. While students are considering how they want to be engaged in their community, Cannan notes that it’s a two way street. “I’m continually reminded how each generation's perspective informs my understanding of what it means to be in a democracy and to critically challenge the status quo.”
Colleges are unique venues for civic engagement; serving as long-term investors in human capital that can tap into the idealism and ambition of students and faculty to make a difference locally, nationally and internationally. As stated by UNESCO’s Chief for Higher Education, Peter Wells, in Higher Education in the World, “Perhaps never before in recent history has the role of higher education been so intricately tied to the economic, social and environmental fabric of the modern world. The demands from all stakeholders for quality, robust and diverse systems of higher education to take an active responsibility in addressing the challenges of the world’s pressing issues is likewise unprecedented.” (p31). The network course on Engaged Citizenship is a venue for students and faculty to identify and respond to the needs of local and global communities, including student-led projects and institutional engagement that demonstrate the unique ways network partners participate as civic actors in their own region.
Bard and partner institutions will showcase student final projects across the network, with some students selected to participate in and present at the 7th Annual Network Get Engaged: Student Action and Youth Leadership Conference in Budapest this spring.
Each summer, approximately 50 Bard students receive Community Action Awards (CAA) from the Center for Civic Engagement. CAAs support student efforts to engage with communities locally, nationally, and internationally by providing funding for participation in unpaid or underpaid internships that address issues impacting people around the world.
This year, I interned at the Baan Unrak Thai Animal Sanctuary, located in Thailand, close to the border of Burma. While it is called an “Animal Sanctuary,” we work mostly with dogs and cats as the only source of veterinary care in a four-hour radius. The sanctuary is relied upon heavily by locals who are able to bring their animals in for free.
I first came to the sanctuary two years ago as a volunteer when I wanted to experience a new part of the world and work with animals. I have always loved animals, and. the impact the sanctuary has had on the local population through increased accessibility to veterinary care both impresses and inspires me. The sanctuary also runs ‘spay and neuter camps’ in which the vets travel to nearby villages to sterilize dogs and cats to limit their population growth.
My time at the sanctuary was spent caring for the dogs that live there. I arrived daily at eight in the morning to clean the poop from their enclosures and provide them with fresh water. What followed was the dogs’ favorite time of day: walk time. The dogs went on at least one walk a day, and in order to walk every dog the volunteers had to go on at least two, sometimes three walks with one and four dogs at a time. After the walk we prepared breakfast. Some dogs received a simple bowl of kibble, others were on special diets due to health concerns. The feeding took a while as there were about 40 dogs at the sanctuary, and they had to be supervised to prevent them from stealing each other’s food. Some were also on medication. Despite limited funds, the sanctuary was able to provide specialized care for the dogs that needed it.
In the afternoons, I cleaned, did laundry, bathed the dogs, and fed them for the second time. But not everything went according to routine. I was in Thailand during the rainy season, which makes everything dirtier and more difficult. One day, one of the enclosures was flooded from the heavy rain. So, we dug a small channel to divert the water out of the enclosure.
My experience in Thailand helped hone my ability to adapt to a lifestyle very different from how I grew up in America. I look forward to applying this adaptability after graduation, when I hope to live and work abroad.
The first in a series of panel discussions with alumni/ae, parents, faculty, and members of the Bard Community.
This event took place on September 5 at Bard High School Early College Manhattan.
In this podcast Associate Dean of Civic Engagement Brian Mateo talks about his involvement as a Climate Reality Leader and how it’s shaped his ideas about climate change activism; climate migration in Afghanistan, Central America, and the United States; and how to get through to climate change deniers. “Sometimes I feel like the conversation is only about emissions,” says Mateo, “and there's so much more than that. I want to be able to see politicians and world leaders talk more about the people who are being displaced, talk more about food scarcity, talk about how we’re building communities. Lowering emissions is very important, but that's not the only driving part of the conversation.”
The Greater Hudson Heritage Network (GHHN) has announced Gilsonfest, a project of Bard College and Historic Red Hook, among the winners of its 2019 Awards for Excellence. The awards recognize and commend exceptional efforts among Hudson Valley heritage organizations. Awards are made to projects that exemplify creativity and professional vision resulting in a contribution to the preservation and interpretation of the historic scene, material culture, and diversity of the region. Gilsonfest is one of seven projects receiving awards this year.
Gilsonfest is a Bard College–led collaboration including Historic Red Hook, the Dutchess County Historical Society, and the Red Hook Quilters, funded by the Lumina Foundation, focusing on the life of Alexander Gilson (ca. 1824–1889). Gilson was an African American who labored for 50 years at Montgomery Place, an estate that utilized slave labor, eventually becoming the head gardener. Gilsonfest featured lectures, exhibitions at the Historic Red Hook Annex and Bard’s Montgomery Place Campus, new signage, a commissioned quilt, an artistic digital display, and a brochure. Bard students in Professor Myra Young Armstead’s spring 2019 course The Window at Montgomery Place, an Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences offering, conducted historical research and assisted in developing the exhibition in partnership with local historians and Bard staff. Gilsonfest focused on and interpreted the life of Gilson, which allowed the project to illuminate the contributions of African Americans in 19th-century New York and the Hudson Valley, including the experiences of slaves, indentured servants, and free-born blacks.
The awards will be presented at GHHN’s Experimenting With History Annual Conference on Tuesday, September 24, at the Bear Mountain Inn and Conference Center, in Bear Mountain, N.Y. Awardees will also be featured in a poster session at the conference.
“I went from hating school as an adolescent to loving it as an adult. And my path from public education to private college tells the story of the power that education, done right, can have—even in the darkest of places. Because here’s the twist: when I finally did encounter this real education, I was five years into a 15-year sentence in state prison.”
Dear First Years,
Welcome to Bard! Whether you’re coming from across the world or across the county, attending college is a big change. The Language & Thinking program (L&T) is an incredible time to get acclimated to life at Bard: from the dorms, to the cafeteria and campus, to all the different programs and resources Bard has to offer.
The students and faculty at Bard strive to be socially conscious and to engage with the surrounding communities. The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) is an on-campus office that promotes and facilitates relationships between students and local organizations. During L&T, the CCE organizes a series of events designed to introduce you to the many ways in which you can take action, get involved, and engage.
Civic engagement is close to the heart of Bard’s mission as a college and is meant to complement your academic program. To get you started, the CCE is offering a variety of different outings, programs, and day activities as stepping stones for your involvement on campus and in the community. This August, we have a number of different events taking place:
Students directly inform our work. We strive to incorporate your passions and creativity within the scope of our work. When you’re ready to begin, we’ll be here to help.
Erin Cannan: Dean of Civic Engagement
Cammie Jones: Assistant Dean of Civic Engagement
Sarah deVeer: Outreach Coordinator
Julia Eifert: L&T Programming Intern
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