Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dance at EC

I have been dancing since a young age and when I started to look at colleges for my undergraduate education,  I wanted a place where I would still be able to dance.  One of the reasons that I chose Elmira College was because I would still be able to dance when I wanted.  This blog post is dedicated to the art of dance at EC and how it is addressed on campus!

(This is me in the studio my Freshman Year,
it gives a look into what the studio looks like.)

D - Danceline - Danceline is our dance team, here at EC.  They perform dances that are a mix of hip-hop and jazz style during the half-time of Varsity Basketball games.  They usually rehearse every night and learn new choreography for each performance.  I am not personally a member of Danceline because I do not have enough time to commit to the team, but they are a club that prides themselves on teamwork.  They are a really close-knit group that love to have fun no matter the place or time.

A -  Audition & Perform - Every term, the Orchesis club creates a dance show that is presented to the entire campus as an ENCORE event.  So, before rehearsals start, there are auditions for dances within the Orchesis club, but other dance clubs and students at EC are able to audition as well.  So, both Danceline and EC Tap Ensemble audition pieces every term.  After the auditions, we have rehearsals for almost a full week before the opening night of the show.  I really enjoy our Orchesis Tech Week because it is the one time where all three dance clubs are together.  Most dancers belong to more than one dance club, so it is really great to be able to share the experience of the Orchesis Show with all the dancers of Elmira College.

N - No Major - Elmira College does not have a dance major, but we do offer a couple of classes per term that are in the dance genre.  Our professor is really great and very helpful, as she owns her own studio in the area and is an alumna of EC!  There is both the beginner and the intermediate/advanced level for the class, but most are mixed with different skill-levels.  I find this to be ideal because the beginner students are learning new dance steps, while the more advanced students are practicing and refining them.  The instructor, Mia Wise '92 also choreographs a dance for the students in the classes to audition and perform during the Orchesis show.  I really loved taking the Orchesis Class because it was a fun time, doing something that I love, while getting a grade for it ... what's better than that?

C - Club Orchesis - This year I am the Treasurer for Orchesis, so I have a more in-depth look into what makes a dance club on campus run.  What is unique about Orchesis is that we only meet on the weekends and you sign up for the dances that you want to be in.  At the beginning of the term, we officers hold a meeting and play the songs that we have choreographed for the show.  Then, everyone signs up for the dances that they like.  This is a lot less of a time commitment because each dance only meets for an hour on either Saturday or Sunday, and then we also have Tech Week before the performances.  Orchesis' styles range anywhere from lyrical to jazz to hip-hop, so there are a lot of opportunities to learn how to dance or just craft your skill!

E - EC Tap Ensemble - This is the ALL TAP club, where the only style of dance that is practiced and performed is tap.  Much like Orchesis, the Officers of Tap Ensemble will hold a meeting, usually the first week of classes in September, and play their music for people to sign up for.  These are one hour slots and they are offered every night, depending on the song and choreographer.  Before I came to EC, I had only tapped to teach three-year-olds how to shuffle, so through my experiences as a member of EC Tap Ensemble, I have learned how to tap and can call myself a tap dancer now!  The Officers are always willing to teach new steps and break it down for beginners, which is what is so great about coming in with no tap knowledge.  This is also a close-knit group of dancers, as many people do between three and five dances with Tap.  EC Tap Ensemble also has a culminating show at the beginning of Term II.

So, those are the dance clubs at EC.  Overall, all of the dance clubs on campus really work together to make Elmira College a strong dance community!  The Term II Orchesis Shows are March 21st and 22nd at 8pm and March 23rd at 2pm in Gibson Theatre.  Make sure you get your tickets!

Monday, January 7, 2013


W - Winter Storms - The Finger Lakes Region of New York is notorious for lots of snow during the Winter months.  The mix of normal winter storms with lake effect snow help to make campus a winter wonderland!  However, last year we did not receive that much snow.  Thankfully, this year, Mother Nature gave Elmira a beautiful white coating before we students returned from Winter Break.

Photo: We have had a bit of snow over break!

I - Igloo Making - Carnegie Lawn is the perfect place for students to enjoy the snow.  It is an open field, right next to the puddle, where students can design igloos and snowmen.  Oftentimes, students will even sled down the hill that is in front of Cowles Hall.  Having that open area lets all of the students enjoy the snow and bring back the relaxing memories of childhood.
N - Nearby Skiing - There is one really great ski resort that is about an hour and a half away from campus.  Greek Peak in Cortland, NY has both skiing and snowboarding, as well as tubing!  For those who are inexperienced on the slopes, the mountain also offers lessons with instructors.  Elmira College also has a Ski Club on campus and they offer multiple ski trips throughout the year!

T - Tea & a Fire - About half of our Residence Halls on campus have fireplaces in the Main Lounges.  During the winter, these fireplaces are often filled with wood and combustion, and surrounded by groups of people.  It is a great place to put a chair by the fire, grab a book for a Lit class and drink some tea or hot chocolate!

E - Essential Outerwear - Oftentimes I think some people forget that we actually have to walk to class in the snow and wind.  It is so important to have a winter coat and good boots that have a tread on them.  It is very rare when classes get cancelled, so there are times when you have to walk through the snow to get there.  One of the best investments for school at EC is warm winter coat with a hood!

R - Rock Salt - In the land of purple, there is purple rock salt!  Buildings and Grounds has started to phase out the use of purple rock salt, but when it appears on our sidewalks, there is another piece of our purple home for everyone to see!

** Photo Credit:  Elmira College Office of Public Relations

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Founders' Weekend

Traditionally, Elmira College adheres to the tradition of an unplanned Mountain Day (day off from classes), however this year the Administration made Mountain Day into a weekend long event!
F - Fun Activities - There were fun activities planned for the entire weekend.  Some of these included a kite decorating contest, Founders'-edition Bingo, as well as, the standard Mountain Day games!  This year they added many activities for the Founder's Cup Challenge.  Each class year competed in various activities, like volleyball, and the dizzy bat relay. Congratulations to the Class of 2013 for winning the Founder's Cup Challenge!

 O - Open House in Cowles Hall - Elmira College students and members of the surrounding community were all invited to attend the Cowles Hall Open House.  There were tours of the building and reenactments.  There was also a presentation on Tommy Hilfiger, who is one of Elmira College's Trustees and who grew up in the Elmira area.  His sister Betsy Hilfiger discussed their childhood in Elmira and her brother's first successes taking place in Upstate New York. 
U - 'U Gotta Regatta - The standard Mountain Day tradition of racing across the Puddle in small rafts helped lessen the shock of the changes in the Mountain Day protocol.  Students were still able to race in groups of four from one side of the Puddle to the other using no equipment other than the raft and their arms and legs to propel them.  Luckily, we had nice weather this weekend, which made the race more enjoyable and less frigid.

N - Name that Began Elmira's Fame -  "In 1855 when Elmira began, it was founded by a wise and worthy man.  He thought perfection would be designed if women and books combined.  He had a black cloak, a very quiet appeal, confidence and a rare ideal.  Simeon Benjamin is the name that began Elmira's fame.  In the years gone by we have grown to be equal to me academically.  And as our founder's dream unfolds, we see what the future holds.  He had a black cloak, a very quiet appeal, confidence and a rare ideal.  Simeon Benjamin is the name that began Elmira's fame." (Lyrics by Fredricka Simon Goodman '58 and Margaret Holt Parish '58)

D - Dean Martha Anstice Harris was the first person to institute a Mountain Day.  The Elmira College Archives state that many of the students were trying to get over an influenza epidemic, so Dean Harris cancelled classes the night before October 23, 1918.  That next day, the students went on hikes to help them recuperate from their sickness.  The hiking trips are still part of Mountain Day as we know it today.
Thank you to everyone who helped make the 2012 Founders' Weekend adn Mountain Day a success!

**Photo Credit to Amanda LeBoeuf' '13

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spending the Summer at EC

This past year, I decided that I wanted to spend the summer break on the Elmira College campus. I was not sure what I was going to experience, but whatever it was, I knew it was going to be life changing. 

W - Wind & Rain - On July 26, EC was in the midst of Summer Registration III.  The last third of the incoming Class of 2016 were on campus, taking assessments, while I was at work in the Mark Twain Exhibit in Hamilton Hall.  All of a sudden I noticed the sky turn an eery grey and it start to rain.  At first the rain was light, then it grew to a downpour and eventually was falling in horizontal sheets of water.  The mist and the fog rolled in and I could not even see across the street from Hamilton Hall.  When the mist subsided, I saw the damage.  Trees were down everywhere; in the middle of Washington Avenue and all over the lawn by the newly renovated Cowles Hall.  Because the power went out (and would continue to be out for three days), we had to evacuate our building.  It was not until I walked across campus that I realized the extent of the tree damage.  There were trees and debris in the puddle.  Two trees even uprooted and fell and broke two benches next to the Fountain.  In the days that followed, I saw professors, Administrators, and students outside helping to clean up debris.  The 2012 Tornado is a moment that everyone who was on campus will think back to and remember how close of a community Elmira College really is.

A - All the World's a Stage - This summer, not only did I conquer my biggest fear (tornado), but I also visited and did a lot of things I have not had the time to do in the Finger Lakes/Southern Tier area.  One weekend, I travelled to Ithaca to see all of the cool little shops that the Ithaca Commons has to offer.  Many of the stores were antique/consignment shops, while others were handmade crafts that would make beautiful gifts.  Even though I did not buy anything on that trip, I enjoyed just looking at all of the boutiques!  I was also able to attend the Chemung County Fair.  Where I grew up, county fairs are always the places to go during the summer.  Since I was not home for the summer, I took a short trip to Big Flats and watched the truck and tractor pulls one afternoon! It was a little piece of my hometown in my other home!

R - Reading by the Puddle - One of my favorite things I did this summer involved the Puddle and good book!  Sitting on a blanket by the Puddle with the sun gazing down on you is a great feeling and during the chaos of the term, we forget about it.  This summer I was able to reconnect to a great feeling that made me love living in Alumni Hall my freshman year at EC.

M - The Mark Twain Study - One of the greatest little treasures of American Literature sits on the Elmira College campus.  Before I became a Mark Twain Ambassador, I had never set foot inside the Study.  Once I worked there everyday, I could understand the magic that the building carries to many people.  This summer I encountered visitors from Las Vegas, North Carolina, England, Australia, and Japan.  There is such a history in that Study that you do not realize until you are stepping foot inside the place where Samuel Clemens wrote his great works of literature.  What amazed me the most is when people would point to a picture of Mr. Clemens sitting by the window and then ask if he really sat there.  I think a lot of students forget that Elmira College and Elmira, NY has a lot of rich history that we students need to take advantage of and learn from. 

Spending the summer at Elmira was one of the best decisions I made, I learned a great deal about myself and enjoyed making many new friends!

I hope everyone has a great Fall!

**Photo Credits:  Elmira College Office of Public Relations

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Term III 2012 - Paris, France

Hello everyone and I hope you all had a wonderful spring and summer, I know I did.  This spring I spent 5 weeks in Paris, France with some classmates from Elmira College.  We lived in aparthotels and attended classes everyday.  This is what I learned/realized during my five weeks in a European country. 

P - Practice -  As I am a French major, this trip was especially important for me.  I wanted to leave the trip with a better understanding of the language and the nuances of the culture.  So, I decided that I would practice my French as much as possible.  There were only about four of us on the trip who were French majors, so during our group outings I did need to speak English with them.  However, during class and when out shopping or in museums I made sure I used my skills in the language.  It seemed silly to me why anyone who knows the language wouldn't try to use it as much as possible.

A - Americanizing - I had a really unique experience one day when I was at a department store.  A lady came up to me asking about the check-out lines.  She could obviously tell that I was not a native French speaker, so she asked where I was from, how long I have been studying French ... etc.  After I responded to her questions, she said that she was glad I was trying to speak the native language of her country.  She said that the real France is getting lost because all of the tourists come to Paris expecting everyone to speak and understand English, so they bother not trying to learn the language.  I thought this was really interesting and what she said made me want to use and practice my French more and more!

R - Regrets are not an option - When a student goes on a Term III travel trip, it is important that they realize the opportunities that lay ahead of them.  I know for myself, I spent a lot of my own money to go to Paris for five weeks and I was crazy if I wasn't going to do everything that I wanted to do on that trip.  So I made it my mission to do two things:  Go to Disneyland Paris and go to an interesting museum.  So, I did just that, we set a date to go to Disneyland and it was so much fun!  I rode the Tower of Terror and felt like I was going to die while doing it, but, at least I went on it!  I met Micky Mouse, Cinderella, Aurora, Prince Charming, and Snow White, and I took a ride on Aladdin's magic carpet!  It was so much fun to spend the day with the girls on the trip and just revel in our childhood of Disney Princesses and the Lion King!  For the museum, I chose to go to the Museum of Decorative Arts on the Free Museum Sunday.  We got passes for the major art museums in Paris (the Louvre and the Orsay Museum) so I wanted to go to this one when I didn't have to pay for my entrance.  This museum was WONDERFUL!  I say that because there was so much to see and look at.  They had antique jewelry exhibits, old-school furniture, and my favorite, a LOUIS VUITTON and MARC JACOBS exhibit!  If I could have spent all day in that exhibit, I probably would have.  It showed the progression from LV's designer luggage to the more modern doctor satchel and his fabulous shoes as designed by Marc Jacobs.  It was so amazing to see how this man who originally started out making little hat boxes became the name-brand designer that he is known for now! I did everything I wanted to do on this trip and more because I looked at where I was and there was nothing that I could not accomplish in the city of lights and love!


I - Immersion - As I stated above in the Introduction, we took immersion classes for four of those weeks that we were in Paris.  These classes were very helpful because everything was taught in French. But, what I especially liked about these classes was that it wasn't a class just filled with Americans, people of other nationalities were there too.  In my class, we had students from Angola, Israel, Spain, Mexico, China, Romania, so many places and we got to learn about the French language, the French culture, and all of the fellow students' cultures.  It was one of the greatest experiences of my life being in those classes with people who cared about growing in the language and who wanted to participate and practice.

S - Self-Reflection - Spending five weeks in an unfamiliar country, without your family, without your best friends, without the comfort of fried chicken and macaroni and cheese can be pretty intense for people.  I will not lie, my first few days were rough, I was incredibly homesick for my Homeland, but when I finally relaxed and was able to look at the bright spots of the trip, I enjoyed my time and I learned a lot about myself in the process.  It showed that, I did not need to be defined with the adjectives that would normally define me while in America; Conservative, Upperclassman, Student ... etc.  In Paris, I was the definition of myself.  The people I met did not care that I was from the United States, they did not care that I was staying in Saint Denis, and they certainly did not care that I was a student at a private college in Upstate New York.  What they cared most about was the way I acted towards them and how I carried myself.  All they wanted to do was have a good time and learn, just like myself and I think that that is what I love most about Parisians, they always want to learn and they always want to have a good and enjoyable time with their family and friends.  This is what I have taken most out of this trip: a new sense of self. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Academics at Elmira College

I thought I would devote a Blog to the unique academic environment that Elmira College has to offer all kinds of students!
A - Analytical Discussions: These happen in almost every class that is offered at EC, whether it is Freshman Core, a French Literature class, or even a dance class. These are so important in a collegiate environment and it helps expands the student's knowledge and range of thinking. I recall during Term I of Freshman Core, my professor said, "There is a lot here, so let's flush this out some more." She was referring to The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. To this day, that quote is stuck in my head and whenever I have to do an in-depth reading, I refer back to it!
C - Creative Presentations: As a student, one will have to do a lot of presenting throughout the four years they are here. This is important because it helps enhance public speaking skills, as well as, conveying information to a large audience. Now, since everyone is doing a presentation, there should be a lot of different methods to convey the topic. For example, one presentation I did, I used a quote from the Austin Powers trilogy to support my thesis regarding the Psychedelic '60s to add something different to the old-fashioned PowerPoint. When forming a presentation, it is important to remember what is going to set it apart from every other PowerPoint and outline that the class sees. Originality is the key!
A - Avoid Procrastination: This is a great piece of advice that everyone should take into account, whether it is for an essay, or a presentation. It will need to be done no matter if it is two weeks before or if it is two days before it is due, so why not work on it over a long period of time, so as not to stress oneself out? This is important and it allows for enough time to proofread and rehearse.
D - Distinctive Honor Societies: There are rewards for high averages, not just the personal gratification, but also the possibility of getting inducted into the many prestigious National Honor Societies that Elmira College has. Some of these include: Phi Eta Sigma (Freshman Honor Society), Psi Chi (Psychology Honor Society), Scabbard and Blade (Military), and so many others. Many of these organizations have community outreach programs and develop presentations or conferences that their members can go to. They help make one's academic career even stronger with the many educational opportunities that they continually offer.
E - Extra Credit Opportunities: A part of the Psychology major at Elmira College mandates research classes where students create a thesis and test it on their fellow students. For most of the other students who are in Psychology classes, they can go to these research sessions and receive extra credit from their professor. This usually depends on the professor who teaches the class, but both my Introductory Psychology and Child and Adolescent Psychology professors allowed this. The sessions usually only take a half an hour, but it is incredibly valuable for all students; test subjects and researchers!
M - Mandatory Officer Hours: One would be crazy not to go to them at least once throughout the term! These are where a professor has to be in their office for at least an hour a week, most professors have their office hours twice or more during the week. I found this is most helpful when preparing for a large essay assignment. Some professors will look over outlines or rough drafts before handing in the final copy. This is great because it can be the difference between a C and a B for some students. These hours also let the professor get to know the student on a personal level and helps establish the student-professor connection that will help for future classes or even recommendations.
I - Interesting Classes: These are plentiful at Elmira College, one just needs to look for them! Some of these include, "Marking the Body: The Art of Body Modification," "Fermentation throughout the Ages," and "History of Rock and Roll." There are many other ones, but these are the classes that have interested me the most. Term III is best to take these classes because they can be enjoyed without the hassle of four or five other classes! One can really find value in what they are learning and take the most out of their classes while applying it to their major as well!
C - Committed Professors: When a prospective students enrolls at Elmira College, they know what they are going to get out of their professors. They are all committed to their subject area, as well as, helping their students grow. Not once in my almost two years at EC have I doubted the commitment of my professors, not only are they there for you to teach you a subject, but they also provide great life or future career advice. A small college, like EC, allows for the personal one-on-one interaction between students and professors and this is invaluable in a society where two opinions are always better than one!
Hope everyone has a great week and enjoys studying in the sunshine!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

EC Tap Ensemble Presents: "Party of Our Lives"

This past weekend, February 3 and 4 was EC Tap Ensemble's performance! The theme was music of our generation including, "Believe" by Cher, "One Week" by Barenaked Ladies, "MMM Bop" by Hanson, and so many others! It was such a great show with something for everybody.
T- Teamwork – The one thing that I have noticed with Tap Ensemble, as opposed to any other club I am in, is the amount of teamwork and camaraderie that every person has with each other. Whether someone hurt themself during Tech Week, or were crying because it was there last Tap performance, we all came together in a big group and comforted each other! These ladies keep the heart in dancing and I am so glad that I have been able to be a part of such a loving group!

A- A New Way – This was my first year of tap … besides teaching five-year-olds how to shuffle, and I could not have asked for a better experience. After a while, not getting anywhere with your dancing is quite frustrating, so this allowed me to really recognize what I love about all art forms of dance and really “Find a New Way” to dance.
P- Professionalism – Tech Week is quite honestly one of the most stressful weeks in college. We all have our normal homework and reading to get done, as well as, other projects, plus three hours of tapping every night. This would give anybody a reason to be cranky and rude to anyone they see. This was not the case with our Officers. They were so cooperative and helped anyone who had questions or just needed clarification. It was probably the highest level of
professionalism that I have seen in a Tech Week … ever.
Thank you to all of our Officers, Dancers, Emcees, Tech staff, and anyone else who made this show so great! :)