Help! It's Fall and I Can't Get Up!
Posted on October 6, 2010
Welcome back to the d-Log. For those of you who are new to Wheaton (or just getting around to checking your email from last semester), the d-Log (short for “Dean’s Log”) is my occasional missive to students and anyone else who cares to listen in. I’ll share some things going on around campus, answer questions you’ve asked, rail and rant when I feel like it, and remind you of whatever you might be forgetting at any particular moment.
I have written this first d-Log of the new year about 12 times in my head, but am finally getting around to putting it on (virtual) paper. Of course, I can’t remember the content of those first 12 times, but trust me—it was great stuff. Hopefully, the 13th time’s a charm.
First, ponder this: PANCAKES AFTER DARK! Is that not the most tempting all-caps sentence you’ve ever seen? Please mark your calendars for our first Moonlight Brunch, a late-night breakfast in Chase on Thursday, October 21, starting at 10 pm and going till midnight. Food and fun, including some of the most interesting novelties we’ve ever had at Wheaton. Best part? My colleagues and I will be serving up the pancakes and other breakfast foods, just to let you know we love you (and are still capable of staying awake past 10 at night). Watch for announcements after Fall Break about how to get tickets (they’re free, but necessary so we can have enough ‘cakes for all).
It’s hard to believe that Fall Break is upon us already. It seems like yesterday I was standing in front of 469 new students, their proud and anxious parents, RAs to the left of me, Preceptors to the right, about to pass out from heatstroke. And now here we are in October, temperatures in the 50s and 60s, flip-flops being replaced by Uggs. Ugh. Where does the time go?
Well, it’s gone to various events and activities squeezed in between classes and study sessions. Have you been paying attention to our various sports teams? Women’s soccer is about to take over the world, field hockey is kicking serious tail on their pretty turf field in nearby Rehoboth (as well as at Wellesley—yeah, ladies), and women’s tennis is on a similar path to last year’s, when they won their first league championship. Get yourselves out there and cheer on these and our other fine teams!
Speaking of outside, if you’ve not been to the Farmer’s Market yet, check it out each Friday from 11:30-2:30 on the Dimple or in Balfour-Hood. Seek an answer to a question I often ponder: Can you ever eat too much goat cheese?
A while back I sent you all an email about the importance of getting help for friends who have had a dangerous amount of alcohol. I appreciate the emails you wrote in response and the conversations I’ve had with some of you (or heard about) since that email went out. I really do believe that Wheaton students excel at looking out for one another, and I think that’s evidenced by your actions in this regard and in other things you do. You alert staff when you believe a friend is really struggling, you encourage your friends to get help when they seem to be in need of more than a shoulder to cry on. But I am sometimes troubled by what I hear from students who think that the only path to a healthy social life is alcohol. How can there be so many of you who tell me you don’t like to drink to excess, and you don’t seem to know one another? I suppose it’s because those who prefer to drink excessively are a lot louder, and drown out the others. I just want to offer encouragement to those of you who don’t drink or choose to drink in moderation: you are not alone. Keep looking for each other, keep making your own fun. Offer a counter-narrative to those who believe all college students want to do is drink.
Thus endeth my alcohol message for the month. Next week is our ridiculous Wheaton Fall Trifecta: Homecoming/Family Weekend/Board of Trustees Visit, or, as it’s more commonly known around campus, “There’s No Place to #*&@ Park!!!” Weekend. If your family comes, and comments on what a beautiful campus we have, remember to credit our grounds staff who work tirelessly to keep the campus looking great, including the recent Planting of the Mums (my favorite time of the year). Remember to point out the stump of the tree that fell across the Dimple last week, and maybe, with your dad there to take a picture, sit on the stump in that touching “The Giving Tree” pose and put the photo on your Facebook page. Treat your family to frappes in the Café, encourage them to enjoy the many scheduled activities, and thank them for sending you to Wheaton.
Speaking of families, I’ve been thinking a lot about the family of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate posted a video of him making out with another guy. This tragedy has reverberated across campuses everywhere. And it is that—a tragedy, for Tyler, his family, his friends, and for the Rutgers community, which is in the midst of some painful soul-searching. You have to know that this was not the first time Tyler had been ridiculed because of his sexual orientation, that he had probably experienced slights small and large for years. This was most likely just the final brick placed in a backpack that he wore on his shoulders every single day. I can’t help but wonder what might have better helped him bear that load—the absence of such slights, or the presence of those who were willing to share the load. Are you someone who says, “Well, I never would do anything that cruel?” That’s a good place to start. But can you honestly say, “I am someone who makes it clear that the space around me is safe for GLBT students”? Are you a neutral observer or are you a positive factor in the environment for others? Just askin’.
Speaking of askin,’ I suppose it’s time for me to turn my attention back to my email and phone messages and the other exciting parts of my day. I have one last request for this d-Log: Will whoever has them please return the garden gnomes to Mr. Rich’s yard? I know it’s a funny thing to do (I’ve seen the movie “Amalie” three times, I’ve seen the Travelocity commercials), but come on. He’s a very nice old man who has been a friend to the college for decades. He loves his gnomes, which he has collected from around the world. He is very, very sad that a few have gone missing. So just bring them back, no questions asked, okay? Thank you.
If you have questions about stuff going on around Wheaton, suggestions about how we can do better, or take exception to something I’ve written, send me an email. I’m also always happy to meet you and your friends for coffee at the Den or the Café, and have been known to bring pizza when invited to a floor gathering. See you around the Dimple.
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