Idea to Bring Optional Majors to SLC Sparks Discussion on College’s Academic Identity

Students in a typical Sarah Lawrence seminar class taught by Professor Bert Loewenberg in the 1940s. Photo courtesy of the Sarah Lawrence Archives

Students in a typical Sarah Lawrence seminar class taught by Professor Bert Loewenberg in the 1940s. Photo courtesy of the Sarah Lawrence Archives

Every Sarah Lawrence student has likely had some version of the same conversation during their time at college—that moment at a family dinner party, or while hanging out with high school friends over break, when someone inevitably asks, ‘What’s your major?’

The explanation that ensues is a familiar one; Sarah Lawrence, of course, doesn’t have majors. But an idea recently brought to students by Deans Kanwal Singh and Danny Trujillo could change that. 

On April 1, Dean Singh and Dean Trujillo sent an email to the student body describing the prospect of bringing “optional fields of study”—or, as they’ve been termed, “optional majors”—to the college, and seeking student input as discussion around this idea, which is currently in a very early stage, moves forward. They expressed hesitation around using the term ‘major’ to describe the idea, writing that if designated fields of study were to be implemented at the college, they would not resemble traditional majors as they’re handled at other institutions.

While Sarah Lawrence students today receive degrees in ‘Liberal Arts’ rather than a specific discipline, this proposed option would allow for the college to award degrees in twenty different fields of study—ranging from Literature to Mathematics to Dance. 

In 1982, New York State, which has defined criteria for the areas in which a college is permitted to offer degrees, gave SLC certification to offer majors in these twenty fields. Dean Trujillo said a combination of factors sparked the idea to consider reactivating this state certification: specifically, concerns voiced by some students that the lack of designated fields of study on SLC transcripts is preventing them from securing jobs and getting into certain grad schools, positive feedback on the idea from some student surveys, and optional majors giving the college the opportunity for better representation in college search databases.

In an effort to gauge student opinion, the issue has been the subject of several Student Senate meetings and town hall discussions, where the majority of students present have voiced concerns with the idea. At a town hall on April 5 where students were given the opportunity to vote on the issue, out of 90 students who submitted a vote, 80 voted no, 7 said they were undecided and only 3 voted yes. 

Many students have said they think the college does not have the logistical means necessary to support majors, arguing that course offerings are already limited and the registration process is already overburdened. 

Others have argued that the institution of majors, even if they’re optional, would go against the college’s unique pedagogy that allows students to structure their own education, and that it would also create unnecessary divisions on campus and add a level of competitiveness to the college environment.

“I want to believe that we are more academically egalitarian than other institutions, that’s why I came here,” said student Carolyn Martinez-Class at the town hall on April 5. “I think we put that at great risk when we start competing further with students to get into classes that are already impossible to get into.”

Dean Trujillo said the administration is currently awaiting feedback from faculty in the fields this would affect, who have been told to evaluate the offerings in their departments and come to a decision. In the April 1 email both he and Dean Singh ensured that if this idea were to become a reality, the seminar conference system would remain intact, academics would remain interdisciplinary and student-directed, and choosing a field of study to ‘major’ in would not be an option until a student’s third year at the college. At a town hall on April 12 with the Deans, they insisted that any proposal would be designed to complement, not alter, Sarah Lawrence’s unique pedagogy, and said students would still be encouraged to explore a variety of disciplines. 

Still, concerns that the school’s academic identity would fundamentally change if this proposal were adopted remain for many students, with alumni contributing their thoughts on the subject as well. 

Over 500 alums have signed a letter to Dean Trujillo, Dean Singh, and President Karen Lawrence arguing that elective majors would “ultimately erode the curricular liberty of all students.” The letter raised several logistical questions including, “Would students with majors receive priority in the course interview process? Would prerequisites be instituted?” It also argued that the absence of majors gives Sarah Lawrence students a leg up post graduation because the value of a truly interdisciplinary education allows them to be flexible in a constantly changing job market.  

Alum Audrey Irving, who graduated in 2015 and attended the April 5 town hall, said the school should focus more on strengthening career counseling rather than altering its academic philosophy.    

“What we’re talking about is a marketing problem, not a pedagogy problem,” Irving said.    

Current students added on this note, expanding on how the college’s open curriculum has shaped their academic experiences for the better.     

“Because I’ve been able to explore, I have a lot of random skills which I really think will help me in the job market,” said Sophie Bazalgette. “I am primarily an arts student, but I know how to code because of Sarah Lawrence, I know how to conduct a proper oral history interview.”     

Student Nathan Naimark took issue with how he feels the rhetoric from administration has changed from when he was first introduced to the college to now.     

“When I applied to this school, I was told that having a liberal arts education would be good for grad school and jobs and all that,” he said. “And then recently I was told by administration that students are having trouble getting into grad school and getting jobs because they don’t have their majors listed on their transcripts.”     

A major aspect of this idea is the college’s need to boost enrollment. Dean Trujillo cited surveys in which the lack of majors was a top reason for why students who were admitted to Sarah Lawrence chose not to attend, as well as a top reason for why students transferred out. In terms of specifics on the visibility of SLC on college websites, Sarah Lawrence does not show up on the College Board Search and the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard when searching by major because the school does not offer them, and the hope is if the college is on these databases, student recruitment will be easier.

Senior Class President Toya Singh, however, feels the financial issues faced by the college are just another reason why majors should not be considered.

“I think that we’re not in the right place to have this discussion,” she explained. “Something like majors is going to require, as we have reiterated fifty times, a building in of layers and levels that we don’t have—we are, as we speak, firing professors.”     

While several professors declined to comment on this issue to the Phoenix because the discussion is currently in such an early stage, those who did offer their thoughts voiced cautious support.    

“My main thought is that if we do end up offering students the option of declaring a major, it really won’t change the way we either teach or learn at the college,” said literature professor Ann Lauinger. “As I understand it, although the existence of a major must be ratified by the NY State Board of Regents, the college is empowered to make its own decisions about what would constitute a major. Since major requirements typically vary widely across disciplines, I believe each faculty group will be free to essentially shape its majors.”    

Psychology professor Linwood Lewis continued on this note. 

“The reasons why some believe it is necessary to make this change seem compelling (e.g, increasing visibility for HS seniors in online searches). My son and his classmates used the very methods described in his college search this past year,” he said. “It seems like an opportunity to lay out guidelines for the knowledge base we would like students to have in a discipline when they graduate. And most importantly, to pick a major is completely voluntary. As long as that remains the case, I’m cautiously in favor of it.”     

Russian professor Melissa Frazier said she thinks getting Sarah Lawrence on the college databases referenced above is especially important, particularly for bringing more diversity to the community.   

“We do a lot of preaching to the choir, i.e. we tend to draw a lot of upper middle-class students who already know and value progressive education and accordingly already know who we are,” she explained. “That’s wonderful, but: there are a great many people out there from different backgrounds who would also benefit from our open and individually-designed curriculum. I really want them to be able to find us.”     

Professor Lauinger, however, said a concern of hers is that the official list of majors will give prospective students a somewhat skewed perspective of the school, as some disciplines the school still offers courses in despite not being part of the official list of degrees offered would be overlooked.     

“Such omissions may lead people to think that they can’t do any work at all in subjects that don’t appear on the list as majors. That would be sad, not to speak of unhelpful!” she said.

Some students expressed frustration that such few details have been made available to them of what would ultimately be proposed if this discussion were to move forward, but Dean Trujillo says administration has not gotten that far, and that the idea is being brought to students now in an effort to increase transparency.     

“One of the biggest concerns that we’ve actually been hearing from students in previous years as well as this year is the lack of transparency on our campus, so in the effort of moving toward a more transparent space between administrative decisions and the student body we’ve been informed of the possibility of majors at SLC,” said Student Senate Chair Mahi Chopra. “With that in mind, one can understand why there are such few answers.”     

Repeatedly emphasized in all forums is that the discussion on this issue is ongoing, and students can expect to hear more details in the coming weeks and months.

Janaki Chadha '17

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Over a Year After Move to Unionize, Facilities Workers Discuss Option to Go on Strike

Facilities Worker Patsy Morano Talking about the ongoing labor negotiations on news 12: Westchester. Photo credit: Janaki Chadha

Facilities Worker Patsy Morano Talking about the ongoing labor negotiations on news 12: Westchester. Photo credit: Janaki Chadha

Less than a week before the most recent session of contract negotiations between facilities workers and college administration, Sarah Lawrence found itself to be the focus of a segment on News 12: Westchester's afternoon broadcast. The subject of the segment was a bake sale organized by SLC Worker's Justice to show student support for the workers, who moved to unionize in December 2014 and have been in the process of negotiations with the College since January of last year.

News 12 reporter Grace Noone observed, "You wouldn't expect students at Sarah Lawrence College, one of the most expensive in the nation, to hawk treats for the workers who keep their heat, air-conditioning and plumbing up and running."

She went on to detail concerns that have been voiced by members of the community for months—namely, arguments that operations workers are underpaid by the college, and that at times they work in unsafe conditions. Sarah Lawrence declined to comment for the segment, but on Monday afternoon, an email sent out by Maureen Gallagher, Assistant Vice President for Facilities, and Julie Auster, Vice President for Human Resource Services and Legal Affairs—both of whom sit on the College's bargaining committee—set out to provide information they wrote had been "missing from recent accounts and press coverage".

They assured that negotiations are not being delayed or dragged on by either side, and that Sarah Lawrence has been and will continue to negotiate in good faith. "Both sides have devoted countless hours to the bargaining process and have made significant progress toward a multi-year labor agreement," they said.

But those on the other side of the bargaining table have expressed a markedly different outlook on the progress of negotiations. The day after the latest bargaining session last Monday, six out of the twelve operations workers employed by the school did not come to work to send a message about their dissatisfaction with how they feel negotiations have stalled, particularly on the subject of wages.

"Basically, we're negotiating with ourselves," said Patsy Morano, a facilities worker who is part of the union bargaining committee. "They say they're negotiating in good faith but when you come down six dollars and they come up thirty cents, that's like a slap in the face to everybody." He continued, "They always write, things are going good—No, things ain't going good. Maybe things are going good on your end, they're not going good on my end."

Gallagher and Auster focused on two main points: that, from the college's perspective, facilities workers are not underpaid, and that the workers are not subjected to unsafe conditions, as was brought up in the News 12 segment. While the school has limited financial resources due to factors such as its location and relatively small endowment, they said, "The College’s bargaining team has surveyed wage and benefit levels for the same or similar jobs at several peer institutions, both union and non-union, and have found that Sarah Lawrence pay rates [for maintenance workers] are competitive."

Chair of Sarah Lawrence Worker's Justice and graduate student Hank Broege says this is inaccurate. "If you look at average wages for skilled journeymen like Patsy in Westchester, they're underpaid," he said. Women's History professor Priscilla Murolo, who also sits on the union bargaining committee and writes a blog about the negotiations, has argued that the peer institutions Sarah Lawrence is referencing to justify its pay rates, such as Skidmore College and Vassar College, are located in places with a vastly lower cost of living than Westchester County. If one factors this in, she says, Sarah Lawrence pay rates aren't competitive at all.

Gallagher and Auster argued last Monday that some disparity in the pay rate is justified because, they say, "the majority [of the maintenance staff] do not possess the highest credentials in their respective trades.”

The second source of contention on this issue is a recent Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) investigation into working conditions for maintenance workers at the College. Gallagher and Auster stated the investigation "confirmed that our work conditions are safe and our safety measures and training for our staff meet or exceed all the appropriate standards and guidelines." Those on the union bargaining committee, however, question the validity of this.

Morano says an OSHA representative pointed out dangerous areas on campus to him that workers should not enter, and that in his nine years at the College, the workers have not received OSHA training for how to handle asbestos and confined spaces. He said the College has promised future training for these two scenarios, but added, “that's because we got the union involved.” Broege also pointed out that the record of the investigation on the OSHA website says the case is currently open. The Phoenix reached out to the local OSHA office, which confirmed that the case is still in progress, but the conclusions that can be drawn from that are unclear.

Over the past few weeks, these frustrations have come to a point where the workers have begun discussing the possibility of going on strike if the College refuses to budge any further. Morano says the bargaining session this last Monday has moved him closer to voting in favor if it comes to that.

“As far as I'm concerned, and I'm speaking for me, I'm voting to strike,” he said. “I ain't just taking [their current offer]. I can't speak for all the guys, because they have families, they have houses, you know what I mean? I can't blame them, to vote not to strike, 'cus you could lose your job. And could I afford to lose my job? No, like everybody else.”

Broege explained that this process would start when the College offers what is called a 'best and final', which, he says, “is basically telling our side, take this contract that we've offered or go on strike,”—following this, the workers would take a vote. While the outcome of a strike can be that the employer gives in to certain demands, workers also face a serious risk of being fired, because, as Professor Murolo explains, “The law does not prevent them their replacement if they strike for a purely economic reason."

Asked for a comment on this possibility, Julie Auster told the Phoenix, “I certainly hope that a strike won't happen because everyone suffers in a strike including the workers. On the other hand the College recognizes that this possibility exists and is prepared for any eventuality.”

Discussions about these negotiations continue to go back to the school's priorities and what many perceive as a lack of financial transparency. Despite pressure from many in the community, the College still has not revealed how much they are paying Bond, Schoeneck & King, the law firm they hired in response to unionization efforts. Since the beginning of negotiations over a year ago, the firm has been heavily criticized by both students and faculty who say it has a reputation for busting unions.

The lawyer for the College, Ray Pascucci, has argued that, in terms of pay rates, the financial realities of the schools make it so salaries across the board (as in, not just facilities workers, but also professors, etc.) are generally at the lower end of the spectrum when compared to peer schools. But Professor Murolo has pointed out on her blog that while he may be right for the majority of those employed by the College, the salary of the president is right at the middle. "This is about priorities, this is not about being broke,” she commented.

On the same note, Morano said, “You say you got no money—well, how are you paying this lawyer? You're not paying him with peanuts, you're finding the money from somewhere. Well, you know what? You should be able to find money for the workers, the guys who keep the place going.”

Last week's email ended with Gallagher and Auster saying, “We fully respect [the workers'] right to unionize, and we are dedicated to being as supportive and fair toward them as we can be.” Speaking to the Phoenix separately, Auster said, “I think everyone involved in the negotiations is feeling somewhat frustrated and anxious to reach a conclusion, but this process takes a lot of time, and as long as both parties continue to negotiate in good faith I am optimistic that we can reach a contract sooner rather than later.”

But it doesn't seem the tensions around this issue are dissolving anytime soon. Both Morano and Broege felt the email was “just damage control”—a response to bad publicity. Morano continued, “They should be ashamed of themselves, especially this college, the name it has and what they stand for.” Reflecting on the past few months of negotiations, he added, “I never thought it would go this long. I thought they would be more fair about it. But are we better off with the union here now? Absolutely. At least we got a voice."

Janaki Chadha '17

Students Hold Vigil For Freddie Gray

SLC Students stood in a circle on the North Lawn in silence to honor the death of Baltimore citizen Freddie Gray. Photo courtesy Rachel Eager ’17

SLC Students stood in a circle on the North Lawn in silence to honor the death of Baltimore citizen Freddie Gray. Photo courtesy Rachel Eager ’17

On Mon., May 4, about fifty students, faculty and staff came together on the North Lawn for a moment of silence for Freddie Gray. They stood in a large circle, facing inward, with several people in attendance holding photographs of the current situation in Baltimore. Participants stood in silence, in an act of solidarity, until three readers—Sydney Pope ('18), the organizer of the vigil, fellow student Ayanna Harrison ('17), and Director of Diversity and Campus Engagement Natalie Gross—went through a timeline of the events surrounding Gray's death.

Freddie Gray died on April 19, one week after his violent arrest by the Baltimore Police Department, and, on May 1, a medical report sent to state prosecutors ruled that the death was a homicide. Protests in response to this have been ongoing in downtown Baltimore since the middle of last month, calling for consequences to those responsible for Gray's death and an end to police brutality.

Pope, who is from Baltimore, decided to plan the SLC initiative the Friday before the vigil took place. She got in touch with Natalie Gross and Common Ground space managers Imani West-Abdallah ('16) and Brendan O'Connell ('17), and held a brief planning session on the prior Sunday. "This really hit home," she said of the events that have been occurring in her home city. "I felt like I had to do something." 

Gross agreed that she thinks of SLC-focused initiatives to fight racism and create a more inclusive community, which include RealTalk events and Race Matters discussions, in a larger context. "I think if I think about them so globally, it overwhelms me a little bit," she said. But she continued on the importance of thinking about the root of the issue, and thinking about "how many black and brown individuals, how many lives have been taken at the hands of people who are supposed to be in authority, who are supposed to protect and serve our respective communities."

"To me," she said, "it goes back to that lack of understanding, and seeing these black and brown bodies as othered, as not belonging, and therefore, not being worthy of respect." She continued, "If we can plant enough different kinds of seeds of awareness, of understanding...[we can] work to have a different perspective where it is not 'us' and 'them', or 'me' and 'them', but it is just us."

Pope commented that she is looking forward to returning to Baltimore after the semester ends. "I want to be a part of that healing process as much as possible."

by Janaki Chadha '17

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Sarah Lawrence Soon to Adopt New Affirmative Consent Policy

To help keep students safe, these sexual assault awareness posters have been placed all over campus. Photo by Ellie Brumbaum ’17 

To help keep students safe, these sexual assault awareness posters have been placed all over campus. Photo by Ellie Brumbaum ’17 

Like dozens of colleges across the country, Sarah Lawrence will soon be adopting an affirmative consent standard as part of its sexual assault policy. This change, which the college's sexual assault task force has been working towards for some time, will redefine the consent requirement as active agreement rather than simply the absence of a “no.” It will go into effect in the fall, and the college community will be officially notified in the coming weeks.

Dean of Studies Al Green, who also holds the position of Title IX coordinator, said that this addition is part of a larger initiative to improve the way the school deals with the issue of sexual violence and harassment on campus. Last spring, the college was one of about fifty institutions for higher education to be put under investigation for alleged mishandling of these cases by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. According to the Dean, since then, the school has been working to better respond to concerns from students about college policies and procedures and do a more thorough job of educating the campus around issues of sexual assault.

Early this year, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo stated his intention to push forward legislation that would require colleges to incorporate affirmative consent into their sexual assault policies, going off of similar law passed in California in September 2014.

While similar policies have already been adopted by the SUNY system and the standard is on the road to becoming a state mandate, Dean Green commented on how he thinks the school has done "a lot of good work in terms of moving the affirmative consent forward before it was actually hoisted on us by the governor."

He pointed out that the issue is much more complicated than simply incorporating a state law into the college's regulations. "What we try to do is make sure that when we're developing policy and procedure, we can't just adopt something from another campus and [apply it] to Sarah Lawrence. Our students have certain kinds of sensitivities and we wanted to make sure that when we did look at this, we were able to tweak it a little bit to make it more consistent with how we think about these issues on our campus". He continued, "I think the real work will be doing more education among students and ways in which we help them understand what this is."

Along with planning to start an educational campaign to for the student body about the new policy specifically, the college has also been working to strengthen campus alerts when there has been an allegation of sexual assault and has established a threat assessment team “that we bring together when an allegation has been made to make sure that the alleged perpetrator is not a danger to the campus," Dean Green said. The school has also been in conversations with Lawrence Hospital about the needs of the student body and the task force, in hopes of  "finding ways to reach out to students to further the conversation,” is thinking about how to create a program for the larger student community than complements the consent and respect workshops that first-year students are required to complete.

Kelly Gilbert ('15), who is a student member of the task force, said that she thinks the, "new definition, when coupled with the education stuff we're doing, which is all focused on verbal affirmative consent, will be really helpful, and I think give people a clearer understanding of what consent is." She added, however, on a more general note, "I still think that society has a long way to go.”.

In recent months, the issue of campus sexual assault has taken center stage in national discussions on the state of higher education, with countless voices advocating for colleges to take cases more seriously and many accusing institutions of sweeping incidents under the rug to save face. Various news outlets and other media such as the recent documentary, The Hunting Ground, have captured the negative experiences of victims, such as being ignored by college administrators in efforts to keep rape statistics low.

This has largely resulted in calls for stronger campus policies, but other commentators, such as Judith Shulevitz in the New York Times and Emily Yoffe in Slate, have argued for more integration between campus proceedings and local law enforcement as well as greater protection for the rights of the accused. In the same vein, in October of last year, 28 Harvard Law School professors came out in protest of the university's new sexual misconduct policy, claiming that the new rules violated the rights of accused students.

Dean Green responded to this debate, saying that while the college has a responsibility towards the safety of its students, being “mindful of the impact” of the decisions that are made is also important. He still acknowledged that the standard of evidence that campus hearings are operating on is very different than that of a legal proceeding. “It's not 'beyond a reasonable doubt', it's 'more likely than not',” he explained. He continued that for the college, the issue comes down to “trying to balance the safety of the campus with a student's ability to also continue with their education program, but we think that we want to err on the side of making sure the campus is safe”.

He added, however, on the subject of a zero tolerance policy, that oftentimes it can be difficult to find clarity in these cases, explaining that, "for some, [zero tolerance] means that if there is an allegation, that student should be expelled immediately. And I think that we [in the task force] wanted to take some time to think about that and think about how if it's an allegation, nothing has been proven, so is that a prudent way to proceed, where you're basically saying, you're guilty until proven innocent.”

Gilbert maintained that the the process of going through sexual assault cases should be made easier for victims, arguing that when the legal system consistently fails them, schools should take up this responsibility. She acknowledged that this brings up great challenges. “The problem that the task force faces is patriarchy,” she said. “We're trying to figure out how to make a model society about this while also adjusting to the fact that most people have grown up with rape culture and haven't been able to question it.”

On the campus climate in general, she commented, “I think it's maybe better than some parts of America, but I mean, we are definitely not immune.” She still gave the administration credit for taking this issue seriously, and added, “I think that people are galvanized and they want to do something about it, which is a lot better than being complacent and just accepting that sexual assault is a thing that happens, because it definitely doesn't have to.”

by Janaki Chadha ‘17

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Students Against the Rebrand Call For More Input Post Protest

Some cardboard picket signs used to protest at the board of trustees meeting    Photo credit: Jomana Abdallah 

Some cardboard picket signs used to protest at the board of trustees meeting 
Photo credit: Jomana Abdallah 

More cardboard picket signs used to protest at the board of trustees meeting    Photo credit: Jomana Abdallah 

More cardboard picket signs used to protest at the board of trustees meeting 
Photo credit: Jomana Abdallah 

In early February, a group called Students Against the Rebrand stormed into a Board of Trustees meeting in Heimbold with a document outlining their various concerns with the current state of the College. The list of demands drafted by the small group of students leading the protest covered the alleged “neoliberalization of SLC [and] shift in institutional values and priorities,” as written in a letter posted by the group on their website and directed at the student body. Through this document, which is split into topics that include admissions policies, athletics, the gender ratio, labor relations, sexual assault and diversity, these students aim to reverse the trend they say has been developing at the College over the last few years.

According to member and Senior Class President Emily Rogers (‘15), the group largely came out of concerns about the College's response to workers unionizing on campus and its subsequent relationship with the law firm, Bond, Schoeneck & King (BSK), which has been seen as problematic by both students and faculty who say the firm has been part of "anti-union" activities in the past. “There had been a lot of pushback against BSK, but we really saw a very lacking response from the administration. So I think that is what convinced a lot of people, definitely myself, that the old methods have failed,” said Rogers. “We had to try something different, and that's what we did.”

While the response from the Board was “largely positive” and steps have been taken to create a student affairs committee within the Board of Trustees, Rogers added that the group as a whole “has been unable to secure a meeting with [College President Lawrence], or any of the trustees, and no one from senior staff has responded to any of us.”

On the protest itself, President Lawrence said that while it was obviously a surprise at the time, she was aware of many pre-existing student opinions regarding the issues brought up. Dean Al Green said he thinks the group used too broad a brush in painting the school, adding, "The issues are of concern. But I also think that some of the issues are actually being addressed," mainly pointing to the work that has been done on the prevention of sexual violence.

President Lawrence explained that while she takes the points brought up seriously, her main concern is, “how we [can] do better in hearing voices, helping students feel like they have a voice, and in doing something with the structures so we're improving how that works, both with the board and with us on senior staff.” She continued, “The larger reaction is that it's clear that at least some students, and we weren't totally sure who this group was, feel that, despite the mechanisms set up in senate, on the Board, where there are four student representatives, that somehow other students don't feel like their voices are heard.”

Many of the students who are part of the group are and have been involved in channels for student engagement and input, whether it be through senate, committees, or campus activism groups. Despite this level of involvement, many of these members still do not feel like they have enough information, and one of the main issues the group has been advocating for is increased transparency within the administration.

On this subject, President Lawrence responded, “I don't know exactly what that means because we feel that on senior staff, we go to the Senate a lot of the time to go into detail about what's happening in Finance, what's happening in the President's office, what's happening in Admissions, what's happening in Athletics. So I don't know what more transparency means.” Still, she said she is open to expanding student access to the administration.

Another major point brought up in the document, which goes along with the call for increased transparency, is a demand to reveal how much the college is spending on contracted firms (one of which is the law firm, BSK) which is not information currently available to the college community. When speaking about this, Rogers pointed to periods in the history of the college when financial data that is now confidential had been open to the entire student body, particularly during efforts to grow the college under President Charles DeCarlo in 1976.

President Lawrence emphasized that SLC does not have a large staff and maintained that this makes reaching out to contracted firms necessary. However, on the subject of BSK, President Lawrence said the College had no intention to be perceived as anti-union. “We hired a law firm with a lot of experience in this area because the College doesn't have that experience. We have not had unions before on campus,” she said. "But there's absolutely no intention of intimidating the workers and, in fact, we're going to do what we can to have and plan to have negotiations.” When asked if she thought the document was at all limited in its understanding of the financial realities of the school, the president answered with a straightforward, “Yeah.”

But the group does not buy the excuse of tough financial times. “Show us the data,” Rogers said. Fellow member Faith McGlothlin ('15) added, “There are certain financial realities that this school has to face all the time...but part of what came up in a lot of our discussions is considering the money that we do have, and then thinking, what are we focusing on? What are we privileging more than other issues?” Member Kelly Gilbert ('15) continued on this note, saying, “If you can't afford to give people a raise, but you can afford to retain a law firm that's notorious for union-busting, and they cost at least tens of thousands of dollars if not hundreds of thousands of would rather do that than just treat people fairly? That doesn't make sense to me, and if you're argument is about economic competitiveness, you're doing it wrong.”

In terms of other parts of the document, Dean Green pointed out aspects of it he felt were inaccurate: for example, demands that call for balancing spending on men's and women's sports, which, if not done, would be an NCAA violation. “These are requirements,” he said, “It's one of those things that students just assumed that we were not [doing], but by law, we have to.” Dean of Enrollment Kevin McKenna said he feels this points less to the document itself and more to the issue of “what's wrong with our manner of communication, and the way that we communicate to students that led to that misperception.”

All three administrators still maintain that there has not been a “rebrand”, or a shift in institutional values. “What makes a good student experience doesn't stand still completely, but that's different from changing the values of the college,” said President Lawrence. But Students Against the Rebrand do not seem to be backing down from their assertion that, in recent years, a broad set of changes have indeed taken place.

The initiative has gained support from the student body since the protest. Despite this, there have been various criticisms from fellow students, mostly on the subject of diversity. While race-related issues were included in the list of demands, some felt that they were not adequately explored or taken seriously. Rogers agreed that this part of the document should be expanded upon, but added that, while asked, “a lot of people who are currently working on [issues regarding race on campus] did not want to be a part of this group." She said it became an issue of, “How do you both signify that you agree with their efforts, without stealing words from them.” Rogers also pointed out blatant false information about the protest immediately following it, particularly the rumor that there were no students of color involved.

The present focus of the group is receiving input from a wider range of students, since the current document is limited to the contributions of the relatively small group who initially formed the list of demands and organized the protest. On both the criticism and the direction the initiative will take from here, Gilbert said, "I do think we could have done better [in terms of the action]...and I really want to make it a more inclusive movement.” McGlothlin continued, “While the scope [of the list of demands] is rather broad, it is not meant to be all-encompassing at all.” The group acknowledges that it is not a complete representation of the community and welcomes any feedback from interested students, emphasizing that its list of demands is a living document.  

by Janaki Chadha ‘17

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

New zine explores the role of technology in modern life

Image from slc's newest zine: fictional anatomy founded by sophomores sofia seidel and noushin ahdoot.

Image from slc's newest zine: fictional anatomy founded by sophomores sofia seidel and noushin ahdoot.

Earlier this year, two SLC students started a new campus publication called Fictional Anatomy. The zine, according to its mission statement, is dedicated to the "search for significance in contemporary life." The co-founders of the publication are sophomores Sofia Seidel and Noushin Ahdoot, who say that the idea for the zine came out of feeling a certain lack of respect for aspects of the modern world that they felt were natural to include in their work. According to them, the publication, "stands against the erasure of technological and internet realities from today's literary and visual art forms," and is, "committed to exploring how modern modes of interaction are shaping what it means to be human."

Ahdoot explained the origins of the idea, saying, "I've noticed that there's this pressure to erase things of 'this time' from writing, assuming that would render it cheap or superficial. I've felt that pressure in deciding what to write about, and in deciding what details to leave out from my writing. There's this great piece by Laura Miller of the Guardian called 'How Novels Came to Terms with the Internet' that I read a while ago. That article really set the mental ball rolling."

Seidel added, "There seems to be a general disrespect for the internet and other modern technology, in that certain experiences are seen as less meaningful, but they don't play any less of a role in my life." She expanded on this idea, saying, "I went on Omegle one night last year; my plans with friends had fallen through but I still wanted to have a conversation with somebody. I got lucky and didn't match with a pervert and this person opened the conversation with a list of elements and then percentages, and then I said, 'I don't know what this means', and then the stranger said, 'It is the composition of the body--all the elements--that is you--sitting all together'. And we had a really interesting conversation after that. And I'm not saying that everyone who goes on Omegle is going to not be shown a photo of a penis, but what I am saying is that that experience is not any less profound than meeting a stranger face to face."

Seidel and Ahdoot hope that the zine that can create a forum on campus for discussing how technology changes the search for meaning in the world today. Ahdoot explained that it is often difficult to deal with the present in various art forms, but added, "I think that there needs to be a space for dealing with it. I've had many, many conversations with people who work in an endless nostalgia, and while I understand and see where they're coming from, I don't think this should be an excuse." Seidel continued, "I think the internet is a perfect reflection of our society. It's not more degenerate, it's not less moral, it's just public. People think that the trash on the internet is creepy, but people do creepy things 'irl' that you don't even hear about."

The zine accepts both writing and visual art, and publishes twice a year. The deadline for the first issue will be the last week of this semester, and the issue is set to be released at the beginning of next semester. Seidel and Ahdoot agreed, "the more form bending, the better. We take poetry, fiction, interviews, transcribed performance pieces, short and long form pieces, nonfiction, essays, novel excerpts, screen-shots, paintings, photographs, prints, mixed-media experiments, and everything in between!"

While the focus of the zine is technology, Seidel clarified that they would like to include any work exploring communication and connection. She said, "We don't only want pieces related to the internet. It's just one facet of our reality and one tool for meaning-making, and we just want to acknowledge the fact that the search for meaning has now been expanded to include that along with the types of encounters that human beings have been participating in for centuries." Ahdoot added, "I can't claim that this publication will be the vehicle to deal with these issues properly or to flesh them out in the highest quality, but I still think it's worth a try."

by Janaki Chadha '17
News Editor

Writer Mary Ruefle Visits Sarah Lawrence for Poetry Residency

Mary Ruefle speaking to a group gathered in Slonim Living Room. Photo by Georganna Poindexter '17

Mary Ruefle speaking to a group gathered in Slonim Living Room.
Photo by Georganna Poindexter '17

Mary Ruefle, the American poet, essayist, and professor, recently visited Sarah Lawrence College as part of a Poetry Residency. Her residency included both a craft talk and a reading, which took place last week in the Slonim Living Room on Nov. 4 and 5, respectively.

Ruefle, who currently lives in Vermont, teaches in the MFA program in Writing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and has previously taught at the widely regarded Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. She graduated from Bennington College in 1974.

She is the author of twelve poetry collections, the most recent of which, Trances of the Blast, was published in 2013, as well as one collection of prose. She has also been published in various journals and magazines, including Harper’s, The American Poetry Review, and The Kenyon Review, and her work has appeared in many widely-known anthologies, such as Best American Poetry and Great American Prose Poems. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among others.

In his citation for the William Carlos Williams award that Ruefle received for her 2011 poetry collection, Selected Poems, Rodney Jones of the Poetry Society of America included, “What a civil, undomesticable, and heartening poet is Mary Ruefle…any Ruefle poem is an occasion of resonant wit and language, subject to an exacting intelligence." Lisa Beskin, a critic for the Boston Review, has written of her, Like John Ashbery and James Tate, Mary Ruefle investigates the multiplicities and frailties of being with an associative inventiveness and a lightness of touch; the purposefulness of her enquiry never eclipses the remarkable beauty of her work.”

Last Tuesday afternoon, Ruefle began her craft talk with a speech that focused on the concept of imagination. She expanded on how it can manifest itself in negative ways, such as through mental illnesses, but in positive ways as well, primarily through art. "The imagination is not what you play with, but what plays with you," she said. She continued,The imagination is my demon because it is my best friend and my worst enemy.”

She also talked about how her ability to communicate with today’s poets is getting harder as she grows older, and how modern technology can be limiting. "Freedom is being able to pay attention to what you want to pay attention to,” she said, “And I'm upset because it seems like in today’s society the media is always trying to direct your attention and you don't have the ability to be curious and imaginative."

After her speech, she played "Imagine" by John Lennon through the speakers and sat down while it played and answered questions from the audience. She talked about her attitude towards being a writer, saying, "As an artist, I like many mistakes. Not all, but many of them." She also expanded on her attitude towards poetry specifically. “A poem is an experience in and of itself,” she said, “No one cares what your experience with the poem is."

Michaela Brady ’17, who attended the talk, said that she was, “in awe of [Ruefle’s] normal voice, how honest she was,” and empathized with some of the things that Ruefle said that she worried about.

Towards the end of the event, Ruefle went back to where all writers start out, and talked about her experiences as a reader. "Lately,” she said, “I read a good poem or a good book and I am fulfilled, but then that feeling goes away and I need another hit."

by Janaki Chadha '17
News Editor 

 Georganna Poindexter '17


SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Students, Faculty and Staff Come Together to Discuss Racial Climate on Campus

Marek Fuchs, Komozi Woodard, and Rebecca Johnson at the first campus conversation in September. Photo taken by Anthony Magana ‘17.

Marek Fuchs, Komozi Woodard, and Rebecca Johnson at the first campus conversation in September. Photo taken by Anthony Magana ‘17.

On the evening of Monday, Oct. 6, a dozen students, faculty and staff sat together in a classroom in Heimbold to discuss issues surrounding race on campus. The conversation, which was the third part in a series put together by the Diversity and Activism Programming Subcommittee (DAPS) of Student Life, focused specifically on racial 'microaggressions', which were defined at the meeting as, "Brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial, gender, sexual orientation and religious slangs and insults to the target person or group."

  The dialogue, which was led by Director of Diversity Natalie Gross and Assistant Director of Community Partnerships Jason Beck, included discussions of the different types of microaggressions as well as how specific incidents on campus can be approached. Participants agreed that while Sarah Lawrence has, in theory, come a long way on issues of race and diversity since the founding of the College, these issues are far from being completely resolved. Gross commented on the nature of microaggressions, explaining, “It's still aggression, it's still violent, but in small, subtle forms. The best definition that I've heard for microaggression is [that they're] thousands of paper cuts.”

  The first of these campus conversations took place in December 2013, and came out of the work that the student group, Dangers of a Single Narrative, had done during the Fall 2013 semester, primarily their composition of a document outlining the climate on campus regarding race and sexual assault. This document included the assertion that, “The climate is a clear extension of microaggressions on campus, hostile language, and toxic verbal and non-verbal interpersonal exchanges. These exchanges succeed in silencing student voices, stifling student growth, and creating the exact opposite of a deeper education that we value at the College.” According to Gross, the dialogues were, “something that we felt that we could do for the community to further broaden the conversation.”

  Three Open Dialogues took place during the '13-'14 academic year, between the end of the fall semester and February. The first meeting focused on concerns surrounding the current climate on campus, which included a lack of discussion about institutionalized racism, a lack of questioning or reflecting on the part of students on how they contribute to the system, microaggressions being passed off as general curiosity, and several others. The second meeting focused on the structures that keep these aspects of the climate in place, and the third focused on solutions. About 45 people attended the first two meetings, while only 25 attended the third.

  This first campus conversation held this year took place at the end of September, hosted about 45 students, faculty and staff. The shooting in Ferguson, MO in early August and other examples of police violence throughout the country were a main theme during the discussion. Three faculty members, Marek Fuchs, Komozi Woodard, and Rebecca Johnson, spoke on specific, relevant topics followed by opening up the dialogue more to other attendees. The second conversation, held a few days later, was intended to focus on the personal experiences of participants, but no one attended. At the beginning of the meeting on October 6, only four students were present, but the dialogue began regardless.

  While Gross agreed that ideally these meetings would reach a larger part of the campus community, she added that, “they need to be smaller. Having 40 people in a room is fantastic, but to really get people to feel comfortable, and to get people to want to share and to want to come back and feel like they're being heard…I feel like in a smaller group of twelve, fifteen, you are able to have a more meaningful dialogue.” She also added that as the conversations have veered more towards focusing on talking about solutions to these issues, attendance has gone down. “Solutions are harder,” she said, “because you know how you're feeling, you know what the issues are, you know where you're hurting, but you don't always know how to heal that hurt, and how to fix those things."

  Elaborating on the importance of these conversations, Gross said, “I think, for me, the reason why dialogue is so important is because it can affect the microagressions, so you can affect the individuals. Me trying to affect the system, and I'm not saying that it can't be done, but it's a lot more of everything: time, work, energy, people, money, influence, and for me, I have to think about where I can start, right now, where I am, and I can start with people.”

  The next campus conversation is set to take place on Oct. 27, and will focus on the concept of privilege. Gross continued, “I want people to keep their eyes open that, whether race is a social construct or not, there are very racialized experiences that happen, and that we all play a part in those experiences, and we also play a part in changing what those experiences are like."

by Janaki Chadha '17
News Editor

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

New form of assessment developed to complement narrative evaluations

Sofia Seidel '17 looks at her assessments on MySLC. Photo by Janaki Chadha '17

Sofia Seidel '17 looks at her assessments on MySLC. Photo by Janaki Chadha '17

Sarah Lawrence has recently implemented a new form of assessment to complement the narrative evaluations that students receive at the end of every semester. According to an email that Associate Dean of the College Kanwal Singh sent to the student body earlier this year, "the new addition is intended to give you and your don a comprehensive view of your progress towards institutionally defined goals over time."

At the end of every semester, faculty in each course will examine a student's progress towards "six critical abilities" that are outlined in the college’s mission statement. These include the ability, "to think analytically about the material, to express ideas effectively through written communication, to exchange ideas effectively through oral communication, to bring innovation to the work, to envisage and carry through a project independently, with appropriate guidance, and to accept and act on critique to improve work."

According to Associate Dean Singh, the reason behind this change came about during the '12-'13 academic year. "We were charged," she explained, "like many other institutions, by our accrediting agency to develop an assessment tool that was not grades, that would complement and supplement our narrative evaluations and let students and faculty see how students progressed over time to some institutionally defined goals." Unlike course evaluations or any other form of assessment, these goals are meant to go beyond any specific concentration or discipline and look at a student's progress on a larger scale.

Though the process towards this new system began early in the '12-'13 school year, it was first used by faculty in May 2013. These assessments were not made available to students until later because the system was still being tested out. Singh explained that, "we needed faculty to use it several times, to see if the questions we were asking them to answer made sense to them, to see if we were asking faculty to assess qualities that they thought they could do across all the disciplines."

Other institutions who were in the same situation as SLC had different methods of developing this assessment tool. According to Singh, "there are a fair number of schools who have just bought off-the-shelf products to do this." One of these products is called the Collegiate Learning Assessment 2 (CLA2), which is simply an exam that a sample of students need to take to fulfill this requirement. Singh continued, "We always said that if we're going to do something like this, it has to be something that is authentic to our mission, it has to be something that we think is valuable for our students, for faculty, and for ourselves as an institution, and it has to be something that can really complement what we already do."

While, according to Singh, the response to this form of assessment from faculty has been largely positive, she did admit that it requires more work on the faculty member's part. She added, however, that this system came out of what was, "very much a faculty-driven project." A core committee of faculty members met every week or every other week for a year, drawing members from across all disciplines, from Dance to Psychology to Computer Science. Singh continued that, "it's a different mindset for the faculty member, and that was something that faculty had to get used to, and we had a lot of conversations about that."

What Associate Dean Singh hopes that this new system will allow student to do is help them, "extrapolate skills that are applicable to just about everything." While course-specific narrative evaluations are still the foundation of the system of assessment at the college, she continued, "the liberal arts is an education that is about providing you with analytic and communication tools that you can take anywhere. Everybody that's here is a big believer in that. What I hope this tool does is to help the student make the bridge."

by Janaki Chadha '17
News Editor


SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Newly Elected Senior Class Presidents Look Towards New Year

The prospective senior class presidents posed for a campaign photo prior to their official appointment last week. Photo by Kathryn Glover '15.

The prospective senior class presidents posed for a campaign photo prior to their official appointment last week. Photo by Kathryn Glover '15.

On Monday, Sept. 22, the race for the position of Senior Class President in the 2014-2015 Senate Elections came to a close with the election of Emily Rogers and Stephanie Permut. The pair, whose platform was mainly focused on student self-government, a democratized senate, and transparency within the administration, ran against the team of Owen Marks and Natasha Leonard and the team of Ray Schechter and Delaney Brady. 

Permut and Rogers decided to run for the position together during their sophomore year at SLC.

"It was on a whim, honestly," Rogers explained, "I joined curriculum committee sophomore year, but I never thought that I would want to be senior class president until, kind of, being on senate for that first year and realizing that the senior class presidents could be doing a lot more."

Permut added, "It's hard to trace the genealogy of where this originated, but I'm pretty sure we just agreed that we had a shared vision for the direction of the school and what types of administrative steps might need to be taken in order to implement progressive reforms. So I thought that we were a good fit in terms of both accomplishing the things that you need to do to be senior class president as well as extra things that we both think would be good for the direction of the school."

They both agreed that the position has been underutilized to some extent in the past, and Rogers explained that, "it had the reputation of just being something for planning parties, that we didn't get people who would be critically attentive to the overall direction of the school."

Permut and Rogers' official campaign slogan was, "Empower SLC", and their campaign Facebook page laid out their platform in the following points: "principles of self-government & participatory decision-making at our institution, an active, activist, democratized senate, a commitment to diversity, specifically to create connections with our PoC alumni, a check on corporate interests in our school, better beer for the people, and a student senate free of neoliberal interests." 

Looking back at the election, both said that they had always predicted an incredibly close race. Despite agreeing that turnout numbers for Senate Elections could be higher, and attributing this to races not being very competitive and people not really following the election, Rogers continued, "I think most voters were able to see clearly the differences between the three candidates," and expanded, "There was a real choice, and that if they voted for one candidate over the other it would be a real difference in what they would see."

Permut added that there was, "Clearly a spectrum of interpretations of the position, and what it's about."  She laid out the primary issues that are currently facing this campus as, "size of the college, sexual assault, as a thing that happens constantly and is perhaps reinforced by the culture on campus, and then things like transparency in general, which is very much a buzz word but which we see to mean having administrative processes as well as senate processes being more open and accessible to students." 

She continued, "We have a very deep investment in the idea of democratizing senate processes, by which we mean making them more accessible to people who might want to utilize senate. I think we both share the belief that the process by which you would accomplish that is currently very opaque, it's not commonly known to a lot of the student body." 

One way they both felt that this issue could be dealt with is by improving intercampus communication. 

Rogers began, "Communication between senate and the student body, between the administration and senate, between administration and student body--I mean, those are key issues to the future of the school." 

Permut continued, "One of the ways that at least I envision our addressing that would be to utilize the senior class president email address…It seems like a very good and useful opportunity to let people know when certain things in senate are happening that they might have a stake in."

Other plans for the year include creating a student ad-hoc committee to deal with issues surrounding sexual assault on campus, and utilizing their voice to express concerns about the strategies that the school is using to have larger class sizes as well as the ways in which these larger class sizes are being dealt with. 

They are also interested in making a queer space available at SLC, citing the disorganization of the queer community on campus, and the fact that most peer institutions (Hampshire, Haverford, Smith, etc.) have one.

Despite clear goals laid out for the rest of the year, Permut and Rogers said, "We're super open to suggestions. If you have ideas about these things, you can absolutely contact us because we're very interested in incorporating [them] into this." Follow their campaign page on Facebook for more information

by Janaki Chadha
News Editor


SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Get involved this year with one of SLC's student-run organizations

Photo Credits: Mayra Hidalgo Salazar '14 and Manuela Barreneche '14 at the United We Dream Congress in Phoenix, Arizona last year, which four Sarah Lawrence for Immigration Advocacy members attended. The photo was taken by Emily Ptak-Pressman.

Photo Credits: Mayra Hidalgo Salazar '14 and Manuela Barreneche '14 at the United We Dream Congress in Phoenix, Arizona last year, which four Sarah Lawrence for Immigration Advocacy members attended. The photo was taken by Emily Ptak-Pressman.

In the frenzy of finding out roommate assignments and first-year studies placements and anxiously awaiting orientation week events, course registration and dorm life, it is easy to forget that the process of building a fulfilling and enriching college experience does not end outside the seminar room or residence hall. At Sarah Lawrence, the learning process can take many forms, and there are many ways in which students can get involved and make their mark on the college community.

Students at SLC can choose from a wide range of ways to get involved in student activities, including becoming a part of the Student Senate or the Sarah Lawrence Activities Council (SLAC), managing student spaces, joining college committees, or, most commonly, joining clubs and student organizations.

SLC has over 90 student organizations, each with their own purpose, mission and set of goals. Some are focused more on activism, while others more on the arts, with most built on unique combinations of various different topics. Organizations such as the Feminist Collective, the Queer Voice Coalition (QVC), Students Against Sexual Violence, Trans Action, SLC Workers Justice, and Sarah Lawrence for Immigration Advocacy, are social justice-oriented, and aim to provide safe spaces for support, discussion, education and advocacy. Many of these organizations take part in rallies, attend conferences, and organize campus-wide events.

“The main mission of SLC for Immigration Advocacy is to work with members of the SLC community and Yonkers and NYC communities to organize around immigrant justice,” said members Carolyn Martinez-Class ‘17 and Leyana Dessauer ‘17. “During the ‘13-’14 school year we met with SLC administrators, who agreed to incorporate inclusive language in the school’s website, stating that SLC welcomes all students regardless of their citizenship status, and will try to meet accepted student’s financial needs. This means that Sarah Lawrence joins the growing group of colleges that publicly welcome undocumented students.” Martinez-Class, who is the elected chair of the organization, added, “Sarah Lawrence for Immigration Advocacy has taught me about the power of the collective. Throughout the 2013-2014 school year, so many things were accomplished by pooling our individual strengths together.”

Sarah Lawrence is also home to various identity groups and cultural/faith-based clubs. Harambee is an organization for Black students and their allies at SLC to discuss issues surrounding Black identities and culture at weekly meetings and promote dialogue throughout the college campus. UNIDAD is a similar organization that provides a safe space for the Latino/a community at SLC. Faith-based groups such as the Sarah Lawrence Christian Union (SLCU) and Hillel@SLC, and cultural clubs such as the Italian Club, the Japanese Culture Club, and the Chinese Table, are also open to interested students.

Student publications on campus cater to various different interests, and publish a wide scope of student work, ranging from journalism to literary pieces to visual art. The Sarah Lawrence Literary Review is an annual literary publication at SLC that accepts submissions of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and visual art. Gina Iaquinta ’15 and Lucy Dunphy Barsness ’17, who will be Co-Editors-in-Chief of the Review during the upcoming school year, said, “Our goals [for the new year] can be summarized by the descriptor, ‘more.’ Ultimately, we want to accomplish more of everything: more events and readings, more advertisement and visibility, more student involvement, etc.” Other student publications include Dark Phases, which is an annual literary journal that publishes poetry, prose and visual work by students, faculty, and staff of color, The SLC Visual Art Review, The SLC Annual, which is the yearbook, and, of course, The Phoenix.

Other organizations and clubs on campus include everything from the Spoken Word Collective, which holds weekly open mics for student poets to perform and listen to other students’ work, to The Melancholy Players, which is a non-departmental theatre company on campus. Other clubs such as Enviro-Earth, an organization in which students teach lessons and assist with programs that are part of an environmental/garden-based education club for children and teens in Yonkers, go beyond the SLC campus and work with the larger community.

Despite the diverse selection of student organizations to join, if you have an idea for an organization that does not already exist, starting one is very simple. All you need to do is get together with one other person, fill out the Student Organization Registration Form, and submit it to the Office of Student Affairs, after which Student Senate will contact you about coming to a meeting to approve the organization.


As for joining clubs that are already registered student organizations, an annual Club Fair is held during orientation week where you can get more information, so remember to attend! Looking back on her experiences as an Enviro-Earth club member during the past school year, Sofia Seidel ’17 said, “I would recommend this club or any other volunteer group to any first-year who is feeling too involved in their own work. It’s important to be part of larger work as well.” This sentiment can hold true for any type of student group, and when you look through the student organization list this Fall, remember to try to expand your horizons. Along with joining clubs focused on topics that you have knowledge about, try to step out of your comfort zone a little and join something that you are unfamiliar with. You never know what you might end up being interested in!

This year’s club fair will take place on September 6th from 4:30-6:00PM on the North Lawn. Come check out The Phoenix’s table!

by Janaki Chadha '17
News Editor

Check out all of SLC's awesome Student Organizations! Full List from 2013-2014 school year (taken from

The 24 hour Shakespeare Marathon
Mission: Each semester they aim to lead students in performing as many Shakespeare plays as possible in 24 hours, culminating in Hamlet

Alternate Shades
Mission: Welcome to Alternate Shades! We are driven to create fun, insightful events on and off campus. We plan to bridge campus life with that of New York City & all it offers. If you're into social justice, culture, art, & a deep intellectual vibe you want to be involved with Alternate Shades. Our shared & created experiences meet culturally aware & diverse ones!

Alternative Spring Break
Email: N/A
Mission: Each year a group of SLC students fundraise in order to spend a week of their spring break doing a community service project.

American Chemical Society Student Chapter
Mission: The Sarah Lawrence student chapter of the American Chemical Society aims to spark an interest in chemistry at SLC and within the Yonkers community at large. Through a variety of educational events and service projects (particularly those that promote green chemistry) for the campus, K-12, and general communities, we hope to shed light on the vital role chemistry plays in our everyday lives and in the longevity of our environment. Additionally, we wish to provide professional development opportunities to prepare and encourage those students considering a career in chemistry or related fields.

American Sign Language Club
Mission: American Sign Language club strives to learn and practice communication through American Sign Language. ASL is not offered through Sarah Lawrence's curricular classes, and the ASL club feels that it is still extremely important to have on campus. We hope to expand our ability to communicate with the deaf population, which is an important part of this world.

The Annual Rocky Horror Picture Show Production
Mission: The Annual Rocky Horror Picture Show Production aims to put on a fun and sexy shadow-cast production of the cult classic film "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" the weekend of Halloween, guaranteed to thrill you, chill you, and fulfill you. Rocky is an amazing experience, a wild adventure in fishnets, lip-synching, cross-dressing, and body-positive silliness. Everyone is welcome to audition and no acting or dancing experience is required whatsoever!

Body Art
Mission: Body Art is a student collective that promotes self-love and self-worth for one's body

Email: N/A
Mission: Bookworms is a club that provides a safe space for students to come to and enjoy the pleasure of reading. We encourage members bring in non-academic reading material and enjoy an hour of unwinding, relaxing, and tea-drinking fun.

Mission: Brainwashed is a group of individuals who are passionate about both the psychology and biology of the brain. We will approach the exploration of the brain based on our interests, learning about the diverse effects of all activities from dance to psychiatry while focusing on everything from ethical issues to philosophical issues. This is a space in which we can learn about the brain by reviewing groundbreaking research through dialogue and interactive activities. A major goal of this group is to provide a platform in which individuals can pursue initiatives in an interdisciplinary context to spread our knowledge of the brain to the rest of the community in ways that will improve how we see and interact with the world.

Burlesque Fitness Club
Mission: Burlesque fitness's mission is to be a space for body positivity, both physical and mental, through which members explore the art of burlesque. Group leaders help foster a safe space for exploration within the art of burlesque, allowing members to create burlesque characters and numbers. The group will also address important issues surrounding body positivity and conduct check ins with the group to see if there are any issues. Burlesque Fitness would like to encourage a more open dialogue about burlesque in the Sarah Lawrence community, and the benefits of a body positive community.

Café Latino
Mission: Bienvenidos! Café Latino is an organization of Hispanic students who seek to promote the Spanish language and Hispanic culture. We are primarily a safe space for students who would like to dialogue about their experiences as bilingual, bi-cultural human beings in a world that operates on defnited labels. However, we also strive to connect and engage with the Sarah Lawrence Community, opening our space to college faculty and staff, non-native speakers, and any member of the SLC population with an interest in our language and diverse latino cultures. Through campus-wide events and discussions we hope to promote awareness, knowledge and understanding, firm in our belief that a deeper connection between our ethnic community and the diverse SLC community as a whole will result in cultural enrichment on both sides.

The Capoeira Collective
Mission: The Capoeira Collective aims to provide quality and accessible Capoeira programming (classes, rodas, workshops, field trips, lectures and film screenings) to the Sarah Lawrence Community. We work to use the philosophy and practice of Capoeira to promote community and generate discussion around issues of social justice and community concern. We work to provide opportunities for community members to grow and build with each other through the study of Capoeira. The Capoeira Collective works collaboratively with FICA New York, the Brooklyn-based non-profit study group of the International Capoeira Angola Foundation.

Chinese Table
Mission: Since last year, Chinese Table had become an official student organization, with the fundamental goal of offering the SLC community a chance to get to know both Chinese culture and Chinese language better in a conversational setting. In addition to the weekly meeting at Bates Faculty Dining Hall, events will be launched at occasions such as traditional Chinese festivals, culture events in the city (e.g. film screening, traditional Chinese theater), etc. In addition, Chinese table will give Chinese students an equal chance to experience the genuine American culture.

Sarah Lawrence Christian Union (SLCU)
Mission: Sarah Lawrence Christian Union is an authentic community that is about changing lives as we get to know who God is and aspire to serve the campus. We're not just for Christians, but for anyone to bring honest questions to explore God and faith. We host community engagement events, social outreach programs, and a weekly van to a nondenominational church in NYC.

Mission: We embrace the incomplete. What exactly does that mean? Here we like it short and sweet. The Cliffhanger designates a space for the so-called in-between. This experimental pocket-sized zine is the parenthetical limbo of creativity. Finally there is a home for the underdeveloped, those rootless shards of verse, sketches-in-progress. The interlude of consciousness, so to half-speak. Simplicity. Brevity. Here the fleeting or still-born ideas may retreat. (Mid-sneeze!) Submit your bits of dialogue, micro fiction, run-on sentences that cling to suspense or nonsense, and fragments of poetry. You get it. Postcard riddles. Broken refrains that end far too…

Comic Book Club
Email: N/A
Mission: We want to create the comics club in order to have an environment for students to share comics that they both create and read. Here students will also be able to aid others in their journey by editing each other’s work. Readers of all genre are welcome, from indie to mainstream, to share what they love with others.

Creative Arts Thinking Space (C.A.T.S)
Email: N/A
Mission: The Creative Arts Thinking Space is a student-run arts collectibe focused on exposing, engaging, and encouraging the artistic community on the Sarah Lawrence campus. Our primary goals are to facilitate discussion about student work and promote cross-disciplinary collaboration that will initiate the development of a self-sustaining community. Through monthly student-curated shows, themed collaborative events, installations around campus and collaborations with other campus organizations, we establish a means of bringing student work to all students. The monthly shows will be led by a rotating group of student curators who choose a theme and organize the show with the help of a C.A.T.S administrative staff. We also host student-led critiques that enable a critical discussion of student work outside of classes, exposing students to new mediums and new perspectives. Through talks from practicing artists, workshops, and field trips to museums, galleries, and other arts institutions we can connect our community of Sarah Lawrence artist to the larger art world in New York City.

Dance Collective
Mission: We want to create a dance collective that gives students an outlet to get together and work on various forms of dance together. The group will be hip hop based but will be open to students and choreography from all types of dance. The group will meet to train and choreograph together.

SLC Dance Team
Email: N/A
Mission: Our mission is solely to promote dance here at SLC and bring school spirit. We are here to dance the night away using all genres of dance and most importantly to have fun.

Dangers Of A Single Narrative
Email: N/A
Mission: We, Dangers of a Single Narrative Collective, are in solidarity with members of the Sarah Lawrence Community who are consistently working for a fuller realization of a safe community. This committee is comprised of students who are concerned about the lack of community engagement with the multiplicities of inequality, exclusion and lack of safe space to speak of race and sexual assault without dismissing and silencing others voices. This collective and the members of the Sarah Lawrence community who support our mission and demands seek to affect tangible and concrete change within the Sarah Lawrence College Community.

Dark Phrases
Mission: It is though we whisper to only ourselves when we speak. It is as though we bite out bottom lip with each pulse of our blood. We have long been unheard though we have never been silent. We have long existed in a world which refuses to hear us, but we refuse to forsake our own voices, our own survival. This is the language of unuttering darkness, the syntax of our own empowerment, the flesh and spirit enwombed and born in these phrases

Sarah Lawrence Speech & Debate Club
Mission: The SLC Speech & debate club is an organization that allows students to create and perform their own theatrical or informative pieces in a competitive environment. Students essentially cast themselves, becoming their own writers, directors, and producers. The team will travel to tournaments and compete with schools in the surrounding areas in events such as Prose, Poetry, Dramatic Interpretation, Persuasive Speaking, and Rhetorical Criticism.

SLC Democrats
Mission: The Sarah Lawrence College Democrats are devoted to Democratic values, The Democratic Party, its ideals, and to helping Democratic candidates across the country win elections. We encourage all students to register and vote, no matter their political affiliation. We encourage students to control their future by engaging in the political process. We aim to create an open space for all students to discuss their beliefs. As Democrats, we fight for those that don't have a voice of their own and we hope to shape a better future for all Americans.

SLC Development Collective
Mission: The Development Collective hosts the annual Undergraduate Development and Post Colonial Studies Conference that allows students from all over the country to present their original research. It is an organization that encourages critical discussions.

Disability Alliance
Mission: Disability Alliance is dedicated to advocating for accessibility and respect on campus for people with disabilities. We are working to raise awareness of disability issues and build a community of students with disabilities and allies.

Endangered Species Advocacy
Email: N/A
Mission: We are excited to promote Endangered Species Awareness throughout our campus. No weekly meetings just fun events every few months.

Mission: The Enviro Earth Club is the Sarah Lawrence College wing of an environmental and garden based education club for children and teens in downtown Yonkers. The club, which is run by Lucy Cassanova-Moreno and sponsored by the Greyston Foundation is based (weather permitting) in a community garden on Buena Vista Avenue. Enviro Earth members from SLC plan and teach lessons and facilitate programs relating to environmental science, and reading comprehension as well as forming strong positive personal relationships with younger people and actively engaging with a community of people.

Feminist Collective
Mission: The feminist collective is dedicated to discussion, education and activism. It is the goal of the co-chairs to create and maintain a safe space for feminists to explore the past, present and future of feminism in conjunction with our own experiences as feminists. We believe in a feminism that is diverse, intersectional and inclusive.

SLC Figure Drawing Club
Mission: The SLC Figure Drawing Club is a space and time dedicated to providing an informal space for artistic growth both for visual art and non-visual art students on campus. While students have access to a live model it is also an opportunity for student volunteers to have artistic modeling experience and as a part of our mission, we are dedicated to fostering the creative community and network at SLC.

Film Networking Cooperative
Mission: The purpose of the Film Networking Cooperative is to facilitate collaboration between students interested in Directing, Producing, Screenwriting, Animation, and Production (Editing, Light & Sound Design, and Camera Operation) and provide outlets for success. We seek to inform these filmmaking students and the broader community (Actors, Musicians, Dancers, Writers and other Visual Artists) about film projects that are being developed by Sarah Lawrence students and that need the assistance of students in on or more of these fields in order to be fully realized.

SLC Folk Club
Mission: The SLC Folk Club aims to support a community of folk music makers and lovers. We arrange the yearly Folk Festival in Slonim Living Room, pairing well-known musicians and groups from around the country with student and local musicians. We will do our best to increase the presence of a warm, loving, and awesome music community on the Sarah Lawrence campus, and also the presence of our famous baklava.

SLC Food Co-op
Email: N/A
Mission: We want to gather students to cook, eat, and discuss food issues together. We aim to provide more food from just and sustainable sources on campus. (We will elaborate this statement later in the year, with input from our members)

Global Activism Through the Arts
Mission: Global Activism Through the Arts is committed to creating awareness for the SLC community and public about different human rights issues around the world especially in New York through the arts (which includes all types of visual and performance art as well as creative writing), conversation, publications and events. Our mission is to help the SLC community and the public to see that they can help end these issues in New York and around the world through art and volunteering. We want to connect SLC students to Non-profit organizations and artists/activists in New York. This includes volunteering and bringing art to those affected by different social issues of poverty, health, education, human trafficking, environment, etc.

Mission: Harambee provides a safe space for Black students and their allies on the SLC campus to explore all different expressions of Blackness. There will be weekly discussion meetings in addition to an array of programming that examines various aspects of Black culture. While we encourage dialogue surrounding Black identities and race, discussions are not limited to such topics. We encourage members to bring ideas and themes to explore. Everyone is welcome!

Harts for Hope
Mission: Our mission is to promote biopsychosocial healing in a creative, interactive manner. We believe in healing rather than treating. The mind and body are two wonders that work together, and utilizing arts as a way to bridge them is our overall objective. We work with persons of all ages, ill and not ill, and persons of all cultures. We want to bring the whole picture of healing and promote it to the people we work with.

Health & Science for Kids’ Afterschool Program
Mission: This club connects Sarah Lawrence students with local elementary school students to discuss health topics and do simple science experiments. Our primary aim is to work with elementary school students in Yonkers to develop the skills necessary for peer education. More concretely, we want to give students the resources to educate their friends about health issues in their lives, as well as basic science topics.

Hillel @ SLC
Mission: The mission of Hillel@SLC is to support its Jewish population. Hillel@SLC welcomes everyone to explore Judaism throughout the year, while also providing opportunities to learn about Israel, Jewish Spirituality, Torah, and Social Justice.

Home Movies: The Sarah Lawrence Film Journal
Email: N/A
Mission: Film history cannot be said to end in the last century. More and more exciting, inspiring and independent works from the most vibrant and alive of art forms are coming out regularly, not just from America but from all over the world. With The Sarah Lawrence College Film Review, we aim to showcase film's past and present with all the excitement that comes with it. We hope to make a website and hopefully also physical journal full of great articles, interviews, reviews, artworks, film recommendations and all kinds of other film related miscellany from the Sarah Lawrence community. As well, we plan to host film screenings on campus and create a revitalized and active film community at Sarah Lawrence.
Iglesia Scholars: The Saturday Enrichment Program at Iglesia San Andres
Mission: The mission of the Iglesia Scholars program is to provide a weekly curriculum, designed by students, to provide avenues for program participants to develop relationships, discover creative outlets, and become lifelong learners. Our goal is to make learning fun, approachable and easy.

Sarah Lawrence for Immigration Advocacy
Mission: Our goal is to organize & advocate for the immigrant community as the opportunity for immigration reform grows near.

International Students Union (ISU)
Mission: The International Students Union is a student group that seeks to nurture cultural diversity and awareness on campus, complementing the Sarah Lawrence educational philosophy of "experiential learning." We endeavor to create a compact community where all members are able to exchange and appreciate international experiences and perspectives; as well as help solve issues concerning the international community on campus. Last, but most importantly we hope to make Sarah Lawrence your new home!

Italian Club
Mission: The Italian Club seeks to expose Sarah Lawrence students to the Italian language, culture and history, through film screenings, events and conversations with native Italian speakers. It aims to create a place for people that have studied or lace to study in Italy, people currently studying the language and anyone interested in learning about the culture in general.

Japanese Culture Club
Email: N/A
Mission: The mission is to immerse the students of SLC in Japanese cultural and enriching experiences. Attending Local events, scheduling field trips, creating informative newsletters, and inviting inspirational guest to campus are just some of the various things we wish to accomplish this year. We strive to build communal bridges of cultural understanding between our students and the people of japan.

Just Dance!
Email: N/A
Mission: Sarah Lawrence is a college with a wonderful dance program, and yet students outside of this program rarely experience movement. We walk by studios filled with sweaty moving bodies, but are rarely invited inside and more importantly do not consider entering. And yet, even the simplest movement holds the power to transform. People who move, who dance, feel better, discover different parts of themselves and connect with others in new and profound ways. Movement is a language unto itself, transcending spoken words while providing a means to expression and communication. Given these facts, we feel something radical is needed for our bodies and our campus. We want to bring accessible, joyous, judgement-free, movement to the entire Sarah Lawrence community. Our mission is to create an at-least-weekly movement hour that is open and accessible to anyone who is willing to risk finding movement in their body. We want dancers, first-time dancers and those might call themselves non-dancers when they first join. We want students, faculty and staff. Through a combination of dance, mindfulness and creative exercises we aim to create something enriching for this community and all its members. Won't you join us?

Kamikazes Anonymous
Mission: Kamikazes Anonymous exists to bring nerds from all corners of SLC together to bond over epic sword fights, ridiculous hair-styles and of course giant robots. Our mission is to make the campus of SLC aware of how awesome it is to be a card carrying geek and enjoy one another’s company while yelling at fictional Japanese people on the screen. We intend to rock hard.

Keeper Of The Bees
Email: N/A
Mission: Our mission is to raise awareness on campus of problems facing bee populations today such as colony collapse disorder, and the agricultural consequences we face therein, while caring for and maintain hives of our own here on campus. We also aim to advocate for more bee-friendly vegetation be introduced to the campus grounds.

Kung-Fu Klub
Email: N/A
Mission: We want to bring our love of kung fu films to the SLC community. We believe that it is every student's right to enjoy the best adrenaline-pumping, lightning-striking, fire-blazing kung fu on the big screen. For this exact reason, we will be hosting bi-monthly screenings of the legends.

Language Partnerships
Email: N/A
Mission: Language acquisition is a challenge—whether it is one's first language or seventh. Through a partnership with the SLC Operations and Facilities Office, volunteers teach English lessons to participating members of the Sarah Lawrence community.

Email: N/A
Mission: LARPers' Union's goal is to rekindle the spirit of childhood in a productive, team-building way that allows for stress release through fantasy reenactment.

Lend Me Your Years
Email: N/A
Mission: To give the Sarah Lawrence, Bronxville and surrounding communities exposure to a classical education, composed of Latin, Greek and Classical Literature.

Email: N/A
Mission: LUMINA's mission is simple: to provide a venue for both emerging and established writers and visual artists to tell goods stories and to feature great writing and great art. Every year, a new editorial staff sets the tone and direction for the annual publication. This practice allows the journal to stay continually alert to new developments in the field of writing and the arts, along with the freedom to go in any direction the tastes and curiosity of the staff suggest. LUMINA was established in 2000 in association with Sarah Lawrence College. It is run entirely by graduate student volunteers in the MFA Writing Program. We welcome unsolicited manuscripts in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and graphic narrative, as well as collaborative ventures with other areas of the arts--visual art, dance notation, sheet music, streams of choreography or audio--from emerging artists to appear in print or online alongside the work of established artists and writers. We have featured writers such as John Barr, Tao Lin, Jenny Boully, Kenneth Calhoun, Seth Fried, Cathy Park Hong, Rick Moody, Anne-E Wood, Dorothy Allison, David Sheilds, Susan Orlean, Natalie Angier, Verlyn Klinkenborg, Paula Fox, Suzanne Gardinier, and many others who have gone on to acclaim after first appearing in LUMINA.

Mission: Mabuhay is a student-run group formed to unite those of Filipino heritage and encourage cultural exploration through forms such as culinary arts and dance. The organization creates a foundation for relationships amongst those who share similar cultural roots yet have different experiences of the role that the Filipino culture has played in their lives.

Martial Arts Students Teaching Effective and Realistic Skills (MASTERS)
Email: N/A
Mission: Our goal as a club is to teach and discuss the values such as courage, humility, perseverance, and respect that are passionately practiced in various martial arts. As co-chairs, Mike and I teach American karate and judo but we welcome all martial arts. Through teaching various techniques, strength exercises, and conditioning exercises, we like to create a balance between fitness and the philosophies of martial arts. Expect to sweat and leave with a deeper understanding of martial arts and sore bodies.

The Melancholy Players
Mission: Established in 2006, The Melancholy Players is the longest running student produced, non-departmental theatre company on campus. We are a group of artists, producers, directors, performers, playwrights, technicians, and designers who hope to achieve a common goal of theatre dedicated to equality, community, and creativity. Our plays often highlight the poetics and lyricism of language, and are interested in the female experience. Our productions are both student written and published works, straight plays and musicals, classic and contemporary, all performed on campus in traditional and non-traditional theatre spaces. We adhere to a strict policy of inclusion and kindness.

Men’s Naked Shakespeare
Mission: To explore and perform Shakespeare’s text in its rawest form so as to open the door for new textual possibilities for the benefit and entertainment of the student body.

Midnight Cabaret
Mission: Midnight Cabaret fosters a lively dialogue between artists of all kinds through a high-energy, fast-paced process of production that happens every week. The group can change every single week and consists inclusively of visual artists, designers, musicians, actors, dancers, and writers who meet with the goal of collaborating to create a new show. The group meets throughout the week to discuss and workshop pieces for the upcoming show. Members can also work outside of these meetings either alone or together in order to finalize projects. The show itself is a series of pieces. Pieces can include any combination of performers, dependent only on the restraints of time and on the members of the cast. The group tries to explore different ways of thinking about the relationships between the various art forms, in order to challenge the very labels that separate them. Additionally, Midnight Cabaret takes on larger projects that embody in larger scopes the values it expresses in every weekly show.

Model United Nations
Mission: The objective of Model UN is to seek, through discussion, negotiation and debate, solutions to the various problems of the world: e.g. questions of human rights, protection of the environment, economic development, disarmament, the problems of youth and of refugees, as well as the more critical issues of war and peace. Delegates, in seeking solutions to these problems, can learn to break away from narrow, national self-interest and develop true international cooperation. The research and preparation required, the adoption of views and attitudes other than their own, the involvement and interaction with so many other students from around the world, all combine to provide a deep insight into the world's problems, to make students aware of the causes of conflict between nations and to lead them to a better understanding of the interests and motivations of others. Thus, MUN, through its conferences, attempts to fulfill the aims and goals set by founders of the United Nations in the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations: "to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good as neighbors."

Outdoor Club
Email: N/A
Mission: Providing the opportunity for students to engage in and interact with nature through the participation of various hosted outdoor activities

People Eating Tasty Animals (PETA)
Mission: We stand for your right to eat meat! Through the art of eating animals we seek to establish a strong foundation of enthusiastic carnivores within the SLC community. Our cookouts are free for all and we guarantee you leave a little more sated than when you came. Stay hungry friends.

The PHIL Project
Mission: The PHIL Project is philanthropy for students by students. Working with the SLC Student body, the PHIL project educates the college campus about giving back inspiring an excitement for students fund-raising while simultaneously providing valuable experiences and opportunities to learn about philanthropy at SLC

The Phoenix
Mission: The Phoenix is a student run newspaper that provides the students faculty and staff of SLC with up to date news, feature stories and editorials that are relevant to the SLC community.

Pre-Veterinary Collective
Mission: The Sarah Lawrence College Pre Veterinary Collective was designed to assist students considering applying to veterinary schools. We also aim to provide opportunities for interested students to gain experience working with animals. We assist students interested in applying to veterinary school to further understand the required coursework & recommend experience in order to have the absolute best chance at getting into their top choice graduate programs. We are open to students who are not necessarily pursuing pre-vet, yet would like to gain animal experience through volunteering.

Queer Voice Coalition (QVC)
Mission: The SLC Queer Voice Coalition seeks to provide a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Allied students, as well as to provide information and events to the wider student population surrounding LGBTQQIA issues.

Reading Buddies
Mission: Reading Buddies is an organization of student volunteers who are dedicated to creating a relationship between Sarah Lawrence College and the greater Yonkers community through tutoring kids between the ages of 5 and 10. We partner with the Iglesia Elementary School’s after school program, and volunteers are expected to pair up with one of the children to tutor throughout the semester. Reading Buddies not only offers a great opportunity to work on your communication skills while getting to know the surrounding community, but the children are thankful for the opportunity as well.

Rock Climbing Club
Email: N/A
Mission: The SLC Rock Climbing Club is dedicated to making sure that all Sarah Lawrence students have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful sport of rock climbing. We provide thrice weekly transportation to and from the nearby "The Rock Club" climbing gym, and plan climbing trips in Upstate NYC.

Sarah Lawrence College Review
Mission: The Sarah Lawrence Review is the oldest running annual literary journal that provides an opportunity for writers and artists in the Sarah Lawrence College community to gain validation and exposure through publication in a high quality collection of works. We publish a wide range of literary and visual arts created by students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Our main objective is to showcase the exemplary talent of the Sarah Lawrence College writing community. We are entirely student run, and work hard throughout the year to solicit submissions for our magazine and to ultimately produce a tasteful and professional publication. Our staff, diverse in talent and committed to maintaining the standards of the Review, selects works in an unbiased and open-minded manner. We believe that the quality of the work in the Sarah Lawrence Review is comparable to any of the most widely circulated and respected literary magazines.

Sarah Lawrence Activities Council (SLAC)
Mission: SLAC is a student-run organization of volunteers who coordinate and plan a variety of weekly campus events including films, concerts, dances, and open mic nights. SLAC is comprised of two Co-Chairs, eight series, and general members. The Office of Student Activities serves as adviser to SLAC. Some SLAC events feature student performances, while other events feature outside musicians, speakers, or variety acts. The goal of SLAC is to host events that appeal to the interests of the student body. The SLAC members meet weekly to plan events and are always looking for feedback and new members.

Sarah Lawrence Quiz Association
Email: N/A
Mission: The Quiz Association seeks to hold a variety of intellectually stimulating general knowledge quiz competitions.

Scandal Revue
Mission: The Scandal Revue was founded to share our message of body positivity, sex positivity, and personal narrative through dance, striptease, song, comedy or whatever talents you've got. The troupe is part of the neo-burlesque movement that strives to bring burlesque dance and performance to the Sarah Lawrence community. We are open to all- come play with us!

Screen Writers Workshop
Mission: In order to write a well crafted screenplay, one must have access to a community of fellow screen writers who are willing to share their own work and offer constructive criticism to one another. This environment will be one that is welcoming and helpful rather than overly critical. Join if you are a screenwriter or simply have the drive.

Short and Sweet
Email: N/A
Mission: Short and Sweet is aimed at both theatre and non-theatre students. We intend to give theatre students the opportunity to showcase skills they perhaps aren't getting the chance to within the department (actors, lighting designers, set designers, sound designers, playwrights, puppeteers, directors, etc.) and also allow them to experiment with different aspects of theatrical experience- for instance, an actor who wants to try directing for the first time. We also intend to give students outside the theatre department, who do not have access to the proper venues, a chance to show work they intended for the stage.

Slam Poets; Reclaim Your Space
Mission: Slam Poets; Reclaim Your Space, Aims to give people a space to be more than spoken word and less than theater. Slam provides a safe space to memorize work, talk about issues in their work (Ex. Life, Classes, inside themselves) and have the ability to get up on various stages in the City to slam, to sing, to play an instrument and to do it with a group of interested, poets in training, veterans or newbies.

SLC ++
Email: N/A
Mission: SLC++ is Sarah Lawrence’s official computer science club. We will be hosting weekly programming sessions and occasional hackathons. Our goal is to build community within a traditionally underrepresented academic department at Sarah Lawrence by fostering a collaborative work environment. All computer science students, interactive media artists, and mathematicians with an interest in computation are encouraged to join and participate.

Songwriters Collective
Mission: In a city where competition between aspiring musicians is fueled by the cut-throat industry, we are forming a positive community of creation that inspires, encourages, and supports its members. Through workshops and showcases we will provide an environment where music is not only made, but also heard. The Songwriters Collective at Sarah Lawrence College bring together students who have any interest in creating music; whether you can sing, play an instrument or jot lyrics on the backs of napkins at coffee shops, may this group be a place where we can collaborate and simply jam like we've never jammed before!

SLC Speaks
Mission: SLC Speaks is a web-based, student run publication that brings together the voices of an individualized campus. We reach out to every social group and student with interesting, thoughtful content and creative presentation see our platform at

SLC Speech & Debate
Email: N/A
Mission: Love acting? Hate type-casting?
Create your own one-man performance using text from published literature, poetry, drama, and film. Compete at tournaments along the east coast. Hone your acting like never before — and play any (and every) character you’d like. No costumes. No set. Just you and your performance.

Spoken Word Collective
Mission: The Sarah Lawrence Spoken Word Collective exists in order to introduce the Sarah Lawrence community to outstanding voices from the contemporary spoken word and slam poetry movement and to further the dialogue between academic and slam poetry. We host weekly poetry open mics, each followed by a 30-40 minute performance by a new featured slam poet or spoken word artist from around the country. Students are welcome to read/perform either their own or someone's else poetry, and are also welcome to participate simply through listening. It is our goal for Spoken Word Collective to be a safe space for any and all students who would like to attend, and we ask all participants to please be aware of and attentive to the implications of their own work and presence in the space.

SLC Stitch ‘n Bitch
Mission: Stitch & Bitch aims to provide a welcoming and cathartic community where students can work on crafting projects (specifically knitting, but we welcome anyone making anything) and vent the pent up frustrations of SLC life to a (more or less) sympathetic audience.

Students against Sexual Violence
Email: N/A
Mission: Students Against Sexual Violence is a group committed to eradicating sexual violence on the Sarah Lawrence campus and in the world at large. We seek to raise awareness about sexual violence and to provide education on surrounding issues. We also aim to make campus a safer space for victims of sexual violence.

Students as Citizen Scientists
Mission: Citizen Science or crowd-sourced science refers to the practice of opening research to the public and enabling the general population to make meaningful contributions to our understanding of the world around us. These projects range from simple, such observing the water quality of rivers, to complex, such as building a functional solar panel testing module out of LEGO parts and an inkjet printer. Students as Citizen Scientists will bring both of these projects and more to the Sarah Lawrence campus. We will also coordinate with other Sarah Lawrence groups to involve more students in projects relating to those groups goals.

Student Microfinance Chapter
Email: N/A
Mission: Our mission is to empower student leaders to build strong ties with their surrounding communities by helping disadvantaged individuals start and grow businesses, develop assets etc. through microfinance.

Swing Dance Club
Email: TBD
Mission: Some students know how to swing dance, some don't. Our club provides a venue for students of all skill levels to swing dance and to meet people who share their enthusiasm for the craft.

Table Salt
Mission: Table Salt is a student made, student run campus zine devoted to compiling the creative works, findings, musings and inspirations of Sarah Lawrence students (and occasionally others). Mostly black and white and assembled with some scissors, tape, and glue, the zine aims to access the sort of things people tend to keep tucked away in notebooks or floating around in their heads. Unfinished projects, odds and ends, scraps and scribbles--we'll pretty much take anything.

The Annual (Yearbook)
Mission: The SLC Annual desires to compile a book of memories for students to take with them and keep long after their time here is done. Our vision is to capture the daily life of the community and all of the beautiful scenery in which these events take place. We aim to have every aspect of the student life noted and preserved.

Terse Tales
Mission: Terse Tales is a literary club dedicated to out-loud readings of classic short stories. Each meeting is devoted to a single writer. Writers under consideration for future meetings include, but are not limited to, Aesop, Anderson, Irving, Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, James, Wharton, Fitzgerald, O’Conner, Bradbury, Dickens, Proust, Kafka, Joyce, Mann, Lawrence, Mansfield, Tolstoy, Gogol, Chekov, Dostoyevsky, Nabokov, and de Maupassant.

Trans Action
Mission: Trans*Action is a Sarah Lawrence College club that focuses on creating a trans* activist space on campus. This club is intended for trans* and gender varient folks on campus but all are welcome.

Trans Space
Mission: Trans* Space serves as a support group for transgender, genderqueer, and other gender-non-conforming people and their allies. Our primary goal is to provide a "safe" space for trans* people to share their experiences around their gender identity as well as how that identity intersects with other identities. In addition, non-trans* or genderqueer (cis) people are encouraged to attend and discuss their experiences with gender and experiences with the trans* community.

Transfer Connection
Mission: The mission of The Transfer Connection is to bring a greater level of engagement between all who have transferred into SLC Transfer Connection Club will provide transferred into SLC. We’ll provide support, transfer specific events and guest appearances from important people on campus that will aid in acclimation. Furthermore, transfer friendly allies are more than welcome to attend if they want.

Treble in Paradise
Mission: Treble in Paradise is SLC's only female a Capella group. The group seeks to provide members with not only the opportunity to perform and arrange music, but also to be a part of a diverse community of talented musicians.

Mission: UNIDAD is a safe space for the Latino/a community at Sarah Lawrence and its allies to dialogue about identity and empower our communities through knowledge and support. We are a resource of unity, support, and solidarity to any students wanting to discuss issues relevant to the racialization and marginalization of our community on campus as well as in the United States more broadly. We strive to promote awareness and an ever deeper understanding of the language, images, and policies that impact and define us as a people. We celebrate the diversity of Latinas/os and our own intersecting identities, while remaining critical of the construction of race, class, ethnicity, language, sexuality, gender, orientation, and self-image within our own identities and the communities to which we belong.

Mission: UUreka! seeks to create a space for students to explore an open spirituality based in the principles of Unitarian Universalism, through the weekly practice of self-reflection and community building exercises.

SLC Vanguard
Mission: Since 2008 Vanguard has been a forum for the collection, curation and publication of conference work by the Sarah Lawrence community. We believe that it is the independent interdisciplinary endeavors of students at Sarah Lawrence which distinguishes this prestigious college from other academic institutions. As it’s VANGUARD, our mission is as follows: to push these endeavours farther still. Through creative processes of collaboration, debate,discourse and discord,we aim to explore and exceed the bounds of all that is, and all that has been called, conference work.

Visual Art Review
Mission: The SLC Visual Art Review is a student-run annual publication showcasing the creative work and community of Sarah Lawrence. We welcome multiple submissions from any student, regardless of enrollment in a visual arts class. We also welcome new media art, video art, or other work that might not translate to print. Work is submitted under a blind submissions policy and accepted after viewing and discussion with a select group of students.

SLC VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood
Mission: The SLC VOX (Voices for Planned Parenthood) Chapter is a Planned Parenthood affiliate that aims to educate and mobilize students and youth in support of reproductive health. The SLC VOX group works with the Hudson Peconic Planned Parenthood to educate the SLC community about sexual health and reproductive rights. VOX members lobby for local legislators and coordinate events that provide sexual health education and address governmental policies that affect access to sexual healthcare. The VOX chapter at SLC provides an abundance of volunteer and advocacy opportunities for those interested--ranging from canvassing, to voter registration, to community outreach, to petitioning. Members will receive volunteer hours for meetings as well as other VOX events they attend. VOX at SLC is an excellent way to keep yourself informed; get involved in a community interested in healthcare and sexual education; and affect change throughout campus, the local community, and nation-wide.

Women of Color Affinity Group (WoCo)
Mission: WoCo is an organization for women of color and their allies. We seek to celebrate and challenge preconceived notions of one’s identity as well as to collectively raise awareness of one’s own privilege. Our mission is to encourage long lasting relationships between the members of our group and our Sarah Lawrence community, while also providing a safe space for members. Everyone is welcome!

Worker’s Appreciation Dinner Club
Mission: The Worker’s Appreciation Dinner is an annual even coordinated by students to celebrate the hard work and importance of the many workers on this campus. In the past years we have given out invitations to the following departments: AVI, Maintenance, Security, ABM, Bookstore, Post Office and Duplication. Each department is vital is making sure this campus functions properly. We cater the event to the workers and their families and friends, making sure that they have as enjoyable a time as possible. Previously, this event was sponsored by UNIDAD, Harambee, and other Common Ground organizations. However, this year we are truly trying to outreach to the greater SLC community, while still maintaining ties to Common Ground to encourage a greater participation in planning and Putting on This event. Ultimately we want to demonstrate our immense gratitude to the workers and their families by strengthening the bond between students and workers.

SLC Workers Justice

Mission: Sarah Lawrence Worker Justice is a student based organization which strives to protect the rights and dignity of working people on campus. We recognize the impact of every working person’s labor at Sarah Lawrence College. As such an important part of our school community, SLCWJ believes that all workers are entitled to a safe and respectable environment to work in. Open to all students who wish to contribute, the group works to achieve these goals by engaging the school community, creating solidarity through dialogue, maintaining and defending the commons, and non violent direct action.

SLC Writers Block
Mission: Writer's Block aims to build a stronger writing community on campus by providing peer-to-peer help with academic writing and open writing hours for those who need some time and space to work on their writing outside of class. In peer-to-peer tutoring, students can bring in their academic writing (conference projects, plays, poems, PowerPoints, etc) and receive feedback. Our peer consultants will be students who understand how to discuss and collaborate with their fellow writers and create a comfortable environment to discuss the writer’s work. Peer consultants understand the SLC workload, the writing atmosphere on campus, and of course the special burden of a conference paper. If you've ever had writer's block, needed someone to bounce ideas off of, or just needed someone to look over your paper and tell you it makes sense, this would be the thing for you! Writer's Block also aims to create a more tangible writing community by hosting open writing hours. These will be part group writing games and prompts to get ideas going, and part quiet writing time for those who just need a place to sit and work. Our open writing sessions will be held during evenings, at times that are convenient for undergrads, and are welcome to writers of any genre.


CLASS OF '14: Second-year graduate students performed original choreography at the MFA Dance Concerte

"Crossing Rivers," choreographed by Mor Mendel, grad '14,  features undergraduate dancers Julia Beros '17, Jonathan Gonzalez grad '14, EmmaGrace Skove-Epes grad '15, and Zoe Ulrich '16. Photo courtesy Paula Court.

"Crossing Rivers," choreographed by Mor Mendel, grad '14,  features undergraduate dancers Julia Beros '17, Jonathan Gonzalez grad '14, EmmaGrace Skove-Epes grad '15, and Zoe Ulrich '16. Photo courtesy Paula Court.

On April 11 & 12, the dance department at Sarah Lawrence held its annual MFA Dance Concert. All of the performances in the concert were choreographed by second-year Masters students, all of whom will be graduating at the end of the year. These students included Helen Hickey, Rakia Seaborn, Mor Mendel, Yehuda Hyman, and Kendra Leigh Mace. Along with choreographing their own pieces, each of these dancers performed in the concert as well.

The concert consisted of nine performances, each of which was choreographed by one of the graduating students in the Masters program. Commenting on the nature of the performances and what tied all the pieces together, Director Sara Rudner said, "I think, in this particular instance, each of these young choreographers and their performers were working on subject matter that was really personally important. So you think of Yehuda's piece about his mother, and Mor's piece, which is more abstract, but she's Israeli, and there are hints of that conflict that is happening in that part of the world. Helen, who is this beautiful blonde, working on something that's kind of distorted because she's thinking about other aspects of herself.”

The MFA Dance program at Sarah Lawrence is one of the oldest Masters programs in Dance in the country. Sara Rudner described the program as, “basically a creative, choreographic MFA.” The program consists of daily physical practice across multiple genres along with seminars in dance history, lighting design, experiential anatomy and other subjects. Choreographic inquiry is also an important part of the program.

Commenting on the trio, Masters student Rakia Seaborn said, “I am not resigned,” that she choreographed and performed alongside Helen Hickey and Kendra Leigh Mace. Seaborn continued, “[It is] an iteration of a piece I started making in 2010 that I've only been able to complete now. It's about the loss of my mother. Working on a concept so personal was mostly terrifying and much of the process of this work was getting over the fear of being honest. I got to work on this piece all year long and the version that was performed in the winter concert was perhaps the embodiment of a raw nerve. It was exhausting. This semester I focused more on the nuances of grief. The version performed last weekend was definitely a far more emotionally complex and thus, a more successful piece, and surprisingly easier to perform.”

She also choreographed and performed a solo, “Filigree,” which she said was, “in some ways a direct response to the group piece. It started as an exercise in Emily Devine's compositions class. I wanted to make something pretty and delicate, the opposite of a raw nerve. I conceptualized the solo as one long, run-on sentence/moveable surrealist painting about adolescence. It's the place where Rakia the writer and Rakia the dancer converge.”

On his piece, “LEANING INTO MOISTURE…about my mother,” which he both choreographed and performed alongside Amanda Schussel, Yehuda Hyman said, “I had been intending to make a piece about my mother's experience in Istanbul since 1999. I have made many false starts – at first it was going to be a play, than a novel, etc. I have a box at home filled with research and drafts of different versions of the story. This is the first time I worked on it as a dance/theater piece.” He continued on the storytelling element of his performance, “For my process I find it useful to have a story, even if I discard it. Here I particularly wanted to relate my mother's story and I felt responsible to it. I love storytelling. There is nothing more magical for me than a performer on a bare stage taking the audience, through movement and words, to different worlds.”

Looking back at the concert as a whole, Rakia Seaborn said, “As a whole, I think the concert was full of pieces which truly embodied the personal history of each choreographer. Everyone placed an absolutely brilliant and unedited version of themselves on the stage and I am proud that I got to be a part of such a wonderful experience.” Sara Rudner continued on this note, “In many instances, our students inspire us, and the concert was definitely one of them."

by Janaki Chadha '17

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.