Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Basketball team’s goal is helping others

Basketball giving back

Norton Middle School eighth grade girls’ basketball team members cheer on Wheaton’s women’s basketball team before a game in Haas Athletic Center.

While winning is the aim in any competitive sport, the Wheaton women’s basketball team has earned a reputation for being just as dedicated to serving the local community as they are to dominating the court. Over the past several years, they have engaged in projects that range from food drives to coaching and mentoring.

“It has always been an integral part of our program,” said head coach Melissa Hodgdon. “I just feel that character is a big part of your growth as a student and a student-athlete. Giving back to the community is a big piece of that.”

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Biology major sails into academic adventure

Betsy Meyer ’14

Betsy Meyer ’14 in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Only a year ago, Elizabeth “Betsy” Meyer ’14 had never traveled far from the Boston suburb where she grew up, let alone flown on a plane or set out to sea for days on end.

What a difference a semester makes—particularly if the semester is spent enrolled in the Maritime Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport, which has been giving undergraduates a hands-on interdisciplinary experience learning about the sea since 1977.

Meyer, a 21-year-old biology major, spent last fall living in a historic house on the grounds of the seaport in Stonington, Conn., and studying in nontraditional classrooms like a sailing vessel along the coast of California. Quoting Woody Guthrie, Meyer said she “literally got to see America ‘from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters,’ accompanied by fantastically intelligent people who related everything I saw to our academic studies.”

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Combating sexual violence

Grant will support new campus programs

combating sexual violence

In November, Kate Gannon ’16 raised awareness about sexual assault by hanging fact-filled pink shoes from a tree in the Dimple as part of her outrageous acts assignment for her “Introduction to Women’s Studies” class. “I was doing some research and I read a fact, which I put on one of the shoes, that 97 percent of rapists don’t spend a day in jail. That was startling to me and devastating. So I decided to do a piece about victim blaming because women are often blamed for what they are wearing,” she said.

Wheaton has won a three-year, $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to develop programming aimed at combating sexual violence on campus. In partnership with the Norton Police Department and New Hope, a sexual violence crisis center in Attleboro, the college intends to create a comprehensive community-based model that can be shared nationally.

The grant from the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women will support “a continuum of programming that will convey a consistent message that violence against women is not tolerated” at Wheaton, according to the college’s grant proposal. Rather than focusing solely on perpetrators and victims, the program will stress the notion that “every community member has a role to play in combating sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.”

Wheaton was one of 22 institutions awarded a grant from among 110 applicants.

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