News and Notes by Date
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Bard Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of the Center for Civic Engagement Jonathan Becker and Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Civic Engagement Erin Cannan are coteaching a new course on local politics and civic engagement. As part of the course, Bard students have accepted internship positions in local governments, including the offices of Red Hook Village Mayor Karen Smythe, Red Hook Judge Jonah Triebwasser, and Tivoli Deputy Mayor Emily Major. Students are also working at the City of Hudson mayor’s office, and with State Sen. Michelle Hinchey (D-46).
“Jonathan and I realized that there is very little engagement with local government here, when more engagement of local people and Bard means more civic literacy and a better functioning government,” said Cannan in an article appearing in the Red Hook Daily Catch. “Few people have access to youth voices, the perspective of someone who is current on certain trends that older people don’t have. Students are going to move into the world soon, and this experience gets them ahead of the times and properly engaged in politics.”
Anna Likhanova (Bard '25)
Even before I first arrived for the Language and Thinking orientation on the campus early in the semester, I had decided to start the Amnesty International Human Rights Club at Bard. In high school, I was a part of Amnesty Norway and I knew that it was something I wanted to bring to my new community.
We’re always asking ourselves, "How can we figure out ways to make the world a better place and then help facilitate this change?” I’m originally from Russia, and human rights in my home country is a sore topic. Even before I became more conscious of what my rights are, I always felt that treatment of human rights needed to be improved. This is what first inspired me to join Amnesty at my high school. I went on to become a club head and then group coordinator at Bard.
Recently I was honoured to be recognized by the Center for Civic Engagement and participate in a panel during Family and Alumni weekend. I spoke about the purpose of the club and what’s possible in the future, as I hope to establish a legacy so that the Amnesty Club will be here when I graduate and human rights awareness at Bard will become a tradition that moves beyond current programs and academic discussions.
While I am leading Bard’s Amnesty chapter, my hope is to collaborate with other clubs and Trustee Leader Scholar projects in order to bring the human rights conversation not only to campus but also to nearby Red Hook and Tivoli.
On December 10th, Bard's Amnesty Club hosts an open discussion about human rights for International Human Rights Day, where we will discuss what it means to take direct action through the framework of Amnesty International, bringing a positive and holistic change to the community.
By Astrid Guzmán Hernández (Bard College '25)
Today, Bard College’s 1000-acre campus is chock-full of asphalt roads and buildings in the Gothic Revival style, but it wasn't always that way. The ELAS archaeology course “Anthropology 211: Ancient Peoples Before the Bard Lands: Archaeology Methods and Theory” seeks to uncover what the societies 5,000 years ago left behind.
This class doesn’t just take place in a classroom. Students also gather at the Forest Site archaeological dig located next to the Honey Field. Although it’s close to the center of the college grounds, this wooded promontory high above a creek still feels strangely isolated, with a sea of tarps separating it from the rest of the campus.
On a recent visit, I saw students hard at work either scraping at their designated area or sifting through the dirt they had already dug up. Professor Christoph Lindner excitedly pointed out the recent discoveries by Emily, one of the twelve students participating. She explains how the orange and grey speckling on the burnt stones in the bottom of her shallow quarter-square-meter trench means that, at some point, there was possibly a fire here. Fifty feet away is another student, McKinlay, who is working separately from the rest of the group. McKinlay is an anthropology major working on her senior project, hoping to find material she can use to further develop her research. She’s been allowed to work in a section of the site where fragments of pottery are concentrated in abundance.
Slowly but surely, students uncover signs of previous civilizations in the area. Flint here, charcoal there, pieces of scattered pottery: in this class Bard undergraduates get a rare opportunity to bring to light items that are important in both the historical and contemporary contexts. They ultimately want to share their results with the Stockbridge-Munsee Community of the Mohican Nation, through another senior project that includes an online interactive digital map of the site linked to photographs, videos, and textual interpretations.
The Andrew Goodman Foundation has released a news story detailing the long battle conducted by Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at Bard College, supported by the Center for Civic Engagement, to obtain expanded access to voting on campus. In the end, the hard work paid off as the Dutchess County Supreme Court ruled in favor of Bard College’s right to an on-campus polling site.
As explained in the article, Bard College students for a long time had clear and documented difficulties voting at their allocated polling site, the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist, which they found to be neither safe nor accessible.
After previously unsuccessful attempts at changing the polling site, Bard College student activists worked with The Andrew Goodman Foundation to file a lawsuit against the Dutchess County Board of Elections for violating students’ voting rights. Student ambassadors took the lead on organizing their campus community in support of the litigation, collecting testimonies from student voters, and actively building momentum leading up to the 2020 election. In late October, the Supreme Court ruled in their favor and granted an on-campus polling site for the first time.
Speaking to the importance of Bard’s long term commitment to this battle, Andrew Goodman Campus Co-Champion Sarah deVeer says, “As a private college working for the public good, we constantly are pushing for our students to think with us on how to leverage our resources (including voter protection resources) for the community. And our students are doing exactly that: They are modeling what it means to build an inclusive voting environment.”
Read the full article.
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