Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Newsmakers: Aimee Lambert Poor ’84

One dress. The same dress. Worn every day. For 50 days. What the frock?!

Aimee Lambert Poor ’84Sounds like a fashionista’s worst nightmare. And yet, Aimee Lambert Poor ’84 dreamed up the idea for herself last fall in an effort to suspend the mental energy spent thinking about what to wear and to simultaneously raise awareness and money for those who may only have one outfit because they are homeless. She asked friends, family and colleagues to pledge money for each day she completed wearing the dress. She then donated the funds to a Swedish charity.

A government major while at Wheaton, she teaches fourth grade at a bilingual school in Stockholm, Sweden, where she has lived since 1995. Her effort, which she dubbed “One Dress 50 days: Uniform Hunger,” took place from September 1 through October 20, 2010.

Her model behavior became all the rage in the media, including in Metro Stockholm, a Swedish national public radio program; on a morning TV show; and on fashion blog scandinavianfashion.net/2010/09/03/one-dress-50-days-uniform-hunger/.

“Several years ago I decided it was time for me to support a local charity in a concrete way. I have been so lucky in my life, and had made a new friend whom I greatly respect, and she influenced me in this regard. At about the same time,  I read about a young designer who created a dress that could be worn for 100 days. I thought that was really interesting. I kept that idea in mind and casually wondered if I could find a dress I could wear for 100 days. After consideration, I thought 50 days was more realistic. I also decided it was time to examine my relationship with clothes and the excessive time and energy I spent on thinking about clothes, shopping for clothes, dressing in the morning, packing for trips.

The frock of choice? [Read more...]

Newsmakers: Robert Lamarche ’94

Lamarche family

Lamarche family at SeaWord: Donald, Kasey, Sharla and Robert.

For 36 years, a Florida state law had prohibited gay men and lesbians from adopting children. Robert Lamarche ’94 challenged that law by seeking to adopt a 14-year-old boy (Kasey), whom he and his partner had been caring for for two years as foster parents. In October 2010, he became only the fourth gay man in Florida to adopt a child, thanks to a ruling by a Broward County juvenile court judge. And then, on Sept. 22, 2010, a Miami appeals court overturned the law, ruling it unconstitutional. A story in the Palm Beach Post stated that “It is a victory fueled by the initiative of gay men like Lamarche and [Donald] Giustiniani, partners for six years.” Several other media outlets also covered the story. “What an incredible thing to be a part of,” Lamarche said. He is currently a second-year law student at Shepard Broad Law Center at Nova Southeastern University and works part time as a law clerk. He also is a clinical consultant for the Alliance for Children, a private nonprofit adoption agency. A psychology major while at Wheaton, he notes that the college played a tremendous role in shaping his life and encouraging him to speak up. “I moved onto campus in August of 1990 a very insecure and directionless young man. Wheaton was a nurturing and progressive place. I came to understand who I was as a person and realized that being gay was not only OK, but it also was to be celebrated. I have always felt that as a gay man I was given the opportunity to live my life somewhat differently, blazing my own trail. I get to be a different kind of man in the world, the kind of man that I want to be. Wheaton also gave me the strength to stand up for myself and other people who are oppressed and devalued in the world. I am a part of this victory in Florida in large part because of Wheaton. This is Wheaton’s victory, too.”

Newsmakers: Roxanna Azari ’10

Roxanna Azari '10Roxanna Azari ’10 graduated from Wheaton with a far-reaching mission and the resources to pursue it around the globe. A double major in women’s studies and English with a concentration in creative writing, she won a Watson Fellowship to study the religious, political and personal meanings ascribed to the veils worn by women in many Islamic countries. Her plans include visits to France, Morocco, Turkey, India and the United Arab Emirates to uncover the stories of women behind the veil and reveal the diversity of opinions, beliefs and personal stories behind the clothing. While in India last year, Azari struck a chord with people near the city of Mumbai, where she organized a poetry writing workshop and performance with a group of young women. The Mumbai Mirror described the scene this way: “While the loud Azaan from the nearby mosque silenced the crowd of 50 women and few men inside the tiny hall in Kurla, the enthusiasm of the performing poetesses hung thick in the air. After all, it was the evening of Bazm-e-Sukhan, wherein 12 young otherwise-shy Muslim girls from Mumbra were standing before an encouraging audience of family, friends and well-wishers, as they performed their own poetry in various formats. The inspiration behind this activity, Iranian-American spoken word poet Roxanna Azari, stood cheering each of her students-turned-friends.” Azari says the experience so far has been transformative. “I feel like the only ‘certain’ aspect of my project is the feeling of uncertainty. The poetry and performance workshops have been truly eye-opening, and the women I have met along my travels have all given me a newfound sense of hope and strength. Currently, I am running the workshops in Morocco, and working on putting together a national show here with the U.S. Embassy!”