Featured are recent news from the press and community relations of our membership of academic, cultural, health, and religious institutions.


MSM student “Talking Circles” rooted in Native American tradition


Report by Rosalind Zhang

Earlier this month, 16 MSM students attended the first annual Talking Circles Retreat hosted by the Department of Student Affairs at the YMCA Greenkill Retreat Center in Huguenot, New York.

The gathering is rooted in the Native American tradition — specifically that of the Mi’kmaq people of Canada — who used the Talking Circle as a method for solving interpersonal problems (more photos below).

During their time at the retreat, the MSM students took part in various activities to generate dialogue and leadership on issues such as diversity and social justice.


For the Department of Student Affairs, the Talking Circles Retreat gives MSM students an opportunity to advance their communication and social interaction skills, and become even more effective at connecting with students from other cultures and backgrounds.


The group enjoyed views of Lake Marling during hikes, made s’mores in the fireplace and slept in Kleinstuber Lodge.

Huguenot, New York is about two hours northwest of New York City in Orange County, not far from the Pennsylvania and New Jersey borders.










At the end of their Talking Circle journey, the students shared their belief that they’d acquired a new family at MSM!


It was incredibly inspiring for me. The giant quilt weaved by our individual stories made me realize I am part of this wonderful group of human beings — Rosalind Zhang

I hope everyone got to take something away from this eye-opening and overall lovely experience, because I know I will never forget it and I will always hold you gorgeous angels in a very special place in my heart — Melanie Dubil

This was thus far the most heartwarming, life-changing experience that I will never forget. Trust the process and challenge by choice #MSMTalk360 — Veronica Mak

The retreat was led by four MSM staff facilitators: Jim Love, Director of Residence Life; Melanie Dorsey, Director of Student Engagement; Crystal Wilson, Coordinator of Student Engagement; and Min-Jung Kim, Graduate Hall Coordinator of Residence Life.


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Poetry and Song Unite Community at Gospel Celebration

At the 2017 Gospel Celebration at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s, students presented a diverse collection of songs and poems that honored the legacy of African-American poetry, music, and social justice activism.

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Early Childhood Creates "Circle of Sun"

Beginners, nursery, and junior kindergarten students held their own Gospel Celebration to celebrate the diversity of the school family and the unique beauty that each student offers. (With VIDEO)

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Rev. Dr. Serene Jones and Union Theological Seminar are Jones Pilots Today’s World of Religious Scholars

Rev. Dr. Serene Jones was interviewed for the March edition of Women in Higher Education. See below or CLICK HERE to see the full magazine. The interview featuring Dr. Jones is on page 6.


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Sunday Supper: A Conversation with Cyber Security Expert and Obama Aide Dr. R. David Edelman

Date: 3/2/2017
Sunday Supper: A Conversation with Cyber Security Expert and Obama Aide Dr. R. David Edelman

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Willy Wonka Rehearsals Begin!

We are excited to start our Willy Wonka rehearsals this week! Please see the schedule on the website for rehearsal days and times. The schedule is set through March 16th. We will be announcing the rest of the schedule next week. Please also return the Performer’s Agreement by Friday, March 3rd. You can return the agreement to the front desk to attn.: Katie De Vries or your child can give it to me directly in rehearsal.

The magic of theatre is just beginning…

Mr. & Mrs. De Vries 


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Music at I-House: Then & Now – A Celebration of the Words and Music of Leonard Cohen '57

Date: 2/27/2017
Music at I-House: Then & Now – A Celebration of the Words and Music of Leonard Cohen ’57

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Mathletes Compete, Collaborate at Schoolwide Math Bowl

The annual Math Bowl united two teams of talented upper division math students in a friendly competition, while the lower division paired “math buddies” for a morning full of math activities.

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Cambridge, MA – February 24, 2017 – The Board of Trustees of the Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) today voted to pursue an affiliation with Union Theological Seminary that would create an EDS entity to provide Episcopal theological education and other programs at Union’s campus in New York.
The Board of Trustees of Union Theological Seminary has voted enthusiastically to support Union’s leadership in bringing negotiations with EDS to a successful conclusion.
“We are excited to begin negotiations toward an agreement that will allow EDS to achieve the three goals we set for ourselves when we began the process of assuring the seminary’s future,” said the Rev. Dr. Gary Hall, ’76, chair of the board. “EDS will continue to provide theological education within an accredited and degree-granting program, we will carry out our historic mission to place gospel-centered justice at the center of that education, and we will provide financial strength and stability for EDS’s future.”
“We are thrilled that EDS’s trustees have made this momentous decision and we are excited about all it portends for the future,” said the Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, president of the faculty and Johnston Family Professor for Religion and Democracy at Union. “The mission alignment between our two institutions is clear and strong. You can’t miss it! This alignment assures that the deepest commitments of both institutions will be honored and strengthened in the years ahead.”
The two seminaries will begin negotiations immediately in the hope that both boards can vote on an agreement when they meet in May, before


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Basketball Hawks Fly High Together

The school’s four basketball teams completed the season with an impressive 37-4 record. Patti Lesser, director of P.E. and athletics, attributed the Hawks’ success with excellent preparation from their coaches and teachers and a desire on the part of every student-athlete to bring his or her best efforts to each game and practice.

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International House Awarded $500,000 Grant to Support Programs to Prepare Globally-Minded Millennial Leaders

Date: 2/17/2017
International House Awarded Fund II Foundation Grant to Support Programs to Prepare Globally-Minded Millennial Leaders

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Barnard BOLD Honors Students & Organizations Dedicated to Community

studentsactivismpublic servicestudent life Student Life celebrated five students and three organizations committed to engaging and supporting the Barnard community at the Barnard BOLD dinner reception on February 16 in the Diana Event Oval. Barnard BOLD recognizes the dedication to community that philosopher and activist Grace Lee Boggs ’35 exemplified. As Boggs said, “We urgently need to bring to our communities the limitless capacity to love, serve, and create for and with each other.”


DaMonique Ballou ’17

DaMonique Ballou is the director of The Black Theater Ensemble, an active and creative member of BOSS (Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters), and a Community Assistant in the Office of Student Life. DaMonique is committed to the arts and believes deeply in using theater, performance, and visual culture as ways to engage differences and to work toward social change. In her BOLD work at Barnard, DaMonique centers black experiences and those of other people of color and always invites everyone into the dialogue—creatively.


Helen Cane ’17

Helen Cane is a co-founder of the Divest Barnard from Fossil Fuels campaign, a Well Woman Peer Educator, and a Writing Fellow. She works tirelessly to sustain a community with (in the words of Boggs ’35) “limitless capacity to love, serve, and create for and with each other.” As a social justice organizer, she is deeply invested in anti-oppression analysis and group dynamics.


Valerie Jaharis ’19

Valerie Jaharis runs numerous Facebook groups for Barnard students, including “Barnard Pay It Forward” and “Barnard/Columbia Safety Network.” These groups support students with marginalized identities and reach the larger Columbia University community.



Nadia Mbonde ’17

Nadia Mbonde has an impact on student life through her photography projects and communities on social media. As director and president of the performing arts group V-Day, Nadia launched a platform to publically discuss people’s experiences with disability by creating an exhibit in Sulzberger Parlor. As president of MISC, she has created a new space for transnational people to discuss the intersections of their identity. Nadia has modeled in Columbia’s Afropolitan arts showcase and Culture Shock, presenting a monologue of her Asian heritage.


Aneliza Ruiz ’19

Aneliza Ruiz protested against police brutality in New York and marched for women’s rights in Washington, DC. She has reached out to students of color through her involvement with Mujeres as well as through her positions in Student Life and Well-Woman. As a Resident Assistant, she has organized coloring activities and brunches for her residents. Aneliza constantly works to better the lives of her friends, classmates, and community.        


Latinx Heritage Month Committee

Latinx Heritage Month (LHM) creates community by working with Latinx groups on campus to hold events such as the Maya Hip Hop and Showcase that celebrate different Latinx identities. Almost every single Latinx group on campus is involved, including graduate student groups. LHM enables conversations that often don’t occur, such as discussions about mental health. Students are challenged to take what they learn to their Latinx community as well as to other spaces.


She’s The First

She’s the First (STF) is a non-profit organization devoted to providing scholarships, mentorship, and empowerment to more than 800

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Break This Down: Q & A with Prof. Robert McCaughey on Barnard’s Evolving Identity

college history In his first presentation kicking off a series of lectures on the history of Barnard, “Location, Location, Location: Barnard’s Belated Embrace of Its Urban Identity” (February 21, 6 p.m. in Sulzberger Parlor, Barnard Hall), Professor of History and Janet H. Robb Chair in the Social Sciences Robert McCaughey discusses the significance of the College’s setting. He also reveals that the College resisted its city identity for much of its first six decades, illustrating how the times have changed. A Barnard professor since 1969, Prof. McCaughey is the author of seven history books, including Stand, Columbia: A History of Columbia University in the City of New York, 1754-2004. His research has been supported by the New-York Historical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Prof. McCaughey’s lecture series offers a preview of his forthcoming book on Barnard’s past and present.

Prof. Robert McCaugheyYour lecture poses the question: Barnard has always been “in the City of New York,” but has it always been “of the City of New York”? What has your research shown?

Into the 1940s, Barnard remained skittish about too closely identifying with New York City. The concern was with frightening off the daughters of wealthy families who were the mainstay of the “country” Sisters [Seven Sisters; other women-only colleges]. Some Barnard officials worried that the College was attracting too many first- and second-generation immigrants from the City’s public high schools. Barnard had sought to be the women’s college of the comfortably “arrived,” but as board chairman Silas Brown Brownell said in 1914, instead the College was educating New York’s “deserving and aspiring crowds.”

Why was it only in the last four decades that the College moved away from a country identity to embracing an urban one?

There were several reasons: A rejection of anti-Semitism, which made earlier discriminatory practices unacceptable and illegal; a belated but serious effort to recruit students of color, which extended an earlier openness to class and religious differences to racial difference; Barnard’s leadership becoming more welcoming of the City’s “best and brightest”; its faculty becoming more reflective of the wider society; a string of enlightened admission directors who recognized there was a national clientele attracted to Barnard for the New York characteristics that are different from those found at Ivies and other Sisters; and administrative leadership from Presidents Millicent Carey McIntosh, Ellen Futter ’71, and Judith Shapiro, Ph.D. ’70 GSAS.

How did this identity shift help the College, the surrounding community, and students?

It gave the College a distinctive identity that was no longer that of a [Seven] Sister wannabe. The construction of Sulzberger Hall in 1988 made it possible for city-dwelling applicants to be eligible for on-campus housing.

What are some facts you’ll share during the lecture that will surprise most?

For the lecture, I’ll share new takes on founder Annie Nathan Meyer’s aspirations for “her” college, new insights on former Dean of the College Virginia Gildersleeve, Class of 1899, as a New Yorker, as well as insights on changes in the social composition of the

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