In This Together: Edition 5

MOVE stays active; Dunford greetings; employable education grads; 'Mill Girls' returning; more news from a time of pandemic

April 16, 2020
Mark Tarnacki
Staff Writer

Staff in the College’s Marketing & Communications office are continuing to find and post stories from our community during these uncommon times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.in This Together

We’ve invited anybody among us to share whatever from their daily lives might inspire and make us feel connected, from the more serious to the whimsical. Particularly we would love to hear from some students in isolation about what life is like for you now. Please continue to share your news items, however seemingly small. We also welcome broader updates from your offices, departments and homes. Thanks to everyone who shared the following submissions and community snapshots. Keep them coming – email to mtarnacki@smcvt.edu

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Zoom staff meeting has amazing ‘turnout,’ uplifting vibe

Friday morning at 9 a.m. a large number of Saint Michael’s staff members — about 180 were signed on at the peak — “met” in a Zoom staff meeting event with the help of host Anne Crowley from IT to hear updates from President Sterritt on all the things the College is doing to serve students and families in this challenging time; from Kristin McAndrew, VP for enrollment & marketing, on innovative and impressive  online events and adaptations from the Admission office and efforts by the marketing team; from Rob Robinson, finance VP, on assorted financial matters of general community interest; from Krystyna Davenport-Brown, VP of Institutional Advancement, on how fundraising is going in the “new normal,” with many key numbers still up thanks to a strong year of giving; from Jeff Vincent of Student Life about special efforts to serve those 160 or so students — many international — remaining on campus; and from Kathy Butts from Bergeron Wellness Center with helpful advice on self-care (along with a follow-up from Rebecca Schubert of the Consortium who has been offering popular wellness activities for the community). The session also featured a lively exchange of questions and answers and encouraging comments. Several noted how great it was to be able to see so many familiar faces “live” on the video screen. Any doubts about the sustained strong sense of community at Saint Michael’s College vanished for anybody participating.

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MOVE keeps finding ways to serve, help from isolation

This week’s email newsletter for MOVE, the service arm of Edmundite Campus Ministry — sent around to the community by MOVE Director Lara Scott – demonstrate how effectively a key Saint Michael’s organization can adapt to changing times in order to continue serving others. In her newsletter, Lara highlighted “opportunities and great work being done as part of the covid-19 support efforts AND to encourage students to think about what might be next for you…maybe it’s post-graduation long term service!” Items included news that Professor Candas Pinar, Sociology/Anthropology and Public Health Professor at Saint Michael’s reached out to MOVE about needing volunteers to help the UVM College of Medicine gather Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for the hospital. Lara asked MOVE members and supporters to get the word out on the initiative. Another item told of the Burlington Generator Space 3D’s printer support for printing PPEs, and she shared details on how to help, mentioning the key role played by Eric Roy of the Saint Michael’s MakerSpace; she also alerted readers to an effort by Sugarbush Resort to get used or new ski googles in the hands of healthcare workers who need them as they treat COVID-19 patients; and, she offered links for students interested in long-term post-graduation service though such agencies as AmeriCorps, Mercy and Jesuit Volunteers, Peace Corps and other less widely known agencies. Then in Thursday’s even more recent newsletter, she told of online offerings through Mercy Volunteer Corps for online prayer, fellowship with a group from Guyana, a virtual COTS Walk Team zoom meet-up, a reminder of virtual Sunday Mass continuing through Campus Ministry even beyond Easter, and a  Franciscan Mission Service Webinar April 28. Contact Lara at 802.654.2674 or lscott@smcvt.edu for more information.

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Gen. Dunford ’77 sends Easter greetings to Fr. Ray Doherty ‘51

Father Ray Doherty, S.S.E. ’51 was gratified to receive Easter greetings last week from high places – namely, his old fellow Saint Michael’s alumnus and Marine friend Gen. Joseph Dunford ’77, who retired some months ago as the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest military post. On Easter Sunday, the general emailed to his friend: “Fr Ray– Many thanks for your e-mail. I hope the spirit of the Resurrection carries us through the coming days … Happy Easter.  Stay healthy! SF, Joe. He was responding to Fr. Ray’s well-wishes for the holy day sent a day earlier to Dunford, his family and loved ones, “and the needy military veterans you now serve, and all the active military including of course our brother and sister Marines – for a blessed and hopeful (much needed at this time) celebration of Christ’s Resurrection. May we all stay well! God bless. Fr. Ray (Semper Fi)”

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Revisiting Hamilton with “The Zoom Where It Happens’

Given the recent announcement of next year’s Common Text for Saint Michel’s first-year students (“Reading With Patrick”) the timing of a recent fun link-share with fellow faculty by Katie Kirby of philosophy felt particularly relevant, as she evoked last year’s extremely popular Common Text, the musical play Hamilton. Here was Katie’s note, with the link to a Zoom performance that feels well worth watching for those needing a lift: “My dear colleagues, “… in honor of last year’s Common Text, and because I’m sure many of you enjoy a great song parody as much as I do, I hope you don’t mind if I share a little video of human beings making the best of things. I hope all of you are safe and healthy! Best, Katie”

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Tiptoe through video tulips again via Lou DiMasi

Lou DiMasi, recently retired longtime Dean of Students in the Student Life Office, happened to turn on the weather this past Wednesday morning on WCAX, the Burlington-area CBS affiliate, and saw a background image that looked familiar – it was a video he had taken last year when the beautiful purple and gold tulips were in full bloom all around the chapel and main green a few weeks before last year’s Commencement. Lou’s son Ronnie DiMasi ’12, a professional videographer and former Saint Michael’s student, had submitted it to the TV station some time back, Lou soon realized, and it made for a nice spring background image during the weather report. At the link below, go to “Weather” and scroll down a few items to view Lou’s video as a reminder of how beautiful the St. Mike’s campus can be in the spring.

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Education graduates finding jobs despite new realities

Valerie Bang-Jensen of the education faculty shared earlier this week some news reflecting on the strength of Saint Michael’s programs to place students in jobs even when jobs are scarcer during a pandemic. Val wrote: “Even early in this unusual spring, our Education Department undergrads and MAT students are sought after in the job market. To date, eight of our undergrads and MAT students have been hired for full time positions for fall.” Here are a few of them: MaKayla Foster will be a literacy teacher at Westford (VT) Elementary School; Kevin Dalton will be a Teach for America Corps member at Hope High School in Providence, RI, teaching High School ESL English; Megan Reid will be an elementary classroom teacher at Berkshire (VT) Elementary School; Lauren Giampietro will teach English and Language Arts, also at Berkshire Elementary; Kayla Carew will be a math teacher of Algebra and Geometry at Essex High School. Val hopes to share more such news as she verifies it.

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Hard Times Come Again No More – but Mill Girls to return

Peter Harrigan of the Fine Arts Theater, who conceived of (with musician Tom Cleary), directed and produced the local hit MainStage production Mill Girls based on the lives of those who worked in mills like those in Winooski as well as other New England towns in the late 1800s, is excited to share that he and his theater colleagues plan to revive the show for the next school year if the situation allows it. One song that the cast sings in the show is “Hard Times Come Again No More,” a Stephen Foster classic that also has recently been making the rounds online as performed by prominent artists in a timely Zoom initiative. Peter shared a link to the entire Mill Girls show from 2017 at St. Mike’s – it’s well worth seeing for anybody with the time – but in particular, it is moving in today’s context to hear them sing “Hard Times” at about 22:40 through roughly the 27 minute mark on the video. “It would be great to reflect on difficulties our predecessors experienced AND get some publicity for the revival production in November!” says Peter in sharing this link.

 

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