Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Boston Globe notes revolutionary voice

On April 12, the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, the Boston Globe featured excerpts from the 19th-century diary of Lucy Larcom, one of Wheaton’s most storied educators and an ardent abolitionist.

As quoted in the Globe, Larcom wrote, “It will be no pleasure to any American to remember that he lived in this revolution, when brother lifted his hand against brother; and the fear is, that we shall forget that we are brethren still, though some are so unreasonable and wander so far from the true principles of national prosperity.”

The Globe noted that news of the Confederacy’s attack at Fort Sumter took a full day to reach Boston. Soon President Abraham Lincoln was rallying the troops, and on April 21 Larcom wrote: “I felt a soldier-spirit rising within me, when I saw the men of my native town armed and going to risk their lives for their country’s sake…. The streets of Boston were almost canopied with the stars and stripes, and the merchants festooned their shops with the richest goods of the national colors.”

Larcom taught literature, composition and other subjects at Wheaton for many years, beginning in 1854. She also founded the student literary journal, Rushlight, which is still published today. Her style of teaching “by lecture, reading and discussion, rather than by memorization and recitation” was revolutionary at the time.

 

Sun Chronicle highlights efforts to help Japan

In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, the campus community offered support through “Together with Japan,” a series of events aimed at raising awareness and funds for the American Red Cross in Japan. The collaborative effort involved the Global Center for Education; the Office of Service, Spirituality and Social Responsibility; the Asian American Coalition; AfterTaste club; Art House; and the Service, Engagement and Activism Board of the Student Government Association.

During one event, the rich culture of Japan was highlighted in Balfour-Hood through music, food, displays and activities, including the making of paper cranes. Another event, an evening of reflection and education in Cole Memorial Chapel, provided an opportunity for the members of the Norton Japanese community to share their feelings and thoughts about the disasters in their homeland, and offered a chance for Wheaton science professors to discuss some of the possible long-term effects resulting from the disasters. The Sun Chronicle (Attleboro, Mass.) wrote about the outreach efforts.

 

Miller looks at unemployment in “Dollars & Sense”

As millions of Americans continue to search for jobs, Professor of Economics John Miller continues to analyze the challenge. In an article he co-authored in Dollars & Sense, he points out that the nearly 10 percent national unemployment rate is not due to a lack of skills by job seekers, as recently indicated by some politicians and media outlets.

Miller wrote: “The reality of the situation—the widespread job losses and the long, fruitless job searches of experienced workers—makes it clear that today’s employment problem is a jobs deficit across the economy, not a skills deficit among those looking for work.

“While it’s true that any given month ends with some number of unfilled job openings, the total number of jobs added to the economy during this recovery has simply been inadequate to put the unemployed back to work. In fact, if every job that stood open at the end of September 2010 had been filled, 11.7 million officially unemployed workers would still have been jobless.”

The simple reality of the current recession is that people have less money to spend, so demand has plummeted and therefore fewer businesses are willing to invest in creating jobs or hiring, he noted. Focusing on that, rather than blaming the unemployed, is the way to begin to remedy the situation, according to Miller.

California community web site spotlights swim team

The weather outside might have been frightful in Boston, considering December’s blizzard, but in California it was delightful. So it is no wonder that the members of Wheaton’s synchronized swimming team headed to La Mesa, Calif., for training during winter break.

Swimmer and team co-captain Christiana Butera ’12, who grew up in California, hosted her teammates at her parents’ house near Mount Helix, Calif., according to a news article in the La Mesa Patch. The sleepover on cots, air mattresses and couches may sound like fun and games, but the team was in town for hard work—practicing each day from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. They also held a demonstration for the public at the municipal pool.

“I’ve been an athlete my whole life,” Butera said in an interview. “I’ve done soccer, gymnastics, dance, swimming, basketball and even played for a boys’ flag football team, and this is absolutely the hardest sport I’ve ever tried. People make fun of it because it looks so easy. But the goal of synchronized swimming is to make something difficult look artistic. It really challenges you as an athlete and as an artist. For anyone who thinks it’s easy, try it for 10 minutes. You’ll see how difficult it is.”