Patti Smith and Other Campus Happenings

This past week we had world-renowned artist Patti Smith come to campus to be honored for winning the Katharine Hepburn Medal. I had the privilege of going to her concert in Goodhart this past Thursday. To be honest, I had never really listened to Patti Smith before seeing her perform but I did some research before I went and felt that this was an incredible opportunity to see someone who had so much influence on the musical world.  Patti Smith is one of only a few female artists to be in the top 50 of Rolling Stone’s Top Albums of all time. My parents are rather young so I didn’t grow up with her music but after seeing her live, I wish I had.

Patti Smith performs "Grateful"

While the event wasn’t strictly a “concert”, she showcased the variety of talents she possesses, from reading an example of her writing to singing an acapella version of her hit “Because the Night”. I loved getting to hear her speak because she was so down-to-earth and had such a genuine way of expressing herself. Seeing her has inspired me to listen to more oldies, as sometimes I overlook the value of older music in favor for newer indie and alternative music.

The day after Patti Smith, I attended Bryn Mawr’s production of The Vagina Monologues, a collection of monologues on different aspects of sexuality and being a woman that raises money for non-profit organizations that focus on women’s rights. Some left me uncontrollably laughing while others left me quivering from the power of the vivid images of rape. It was interesting to go back and see it again after seeing it my freshman year when hearing graphic descriptions of sexuality made me extremely comfortable while now I was able to fully embrace these performances with a much deeper understanding; a testament to my growth as both a person and a woman. It was fitting to realize my transformation on that night with all of the snow falling, a chance to start fresh and see things in a new way.

On Saturday, I had my first Social Justice Training Program meeting! The group is designed to develop our social justice skills and train us in different tactics and ways of facilitating dialogue. Our first program was entitled, “Got privilege?”, which was an activity where we walked around the building picking out slips of paper for statements that applied to us. Some statements said things like, “I have access to hot water” and “This sign is written in my native language.” Although I had done similar activities before, I appreciated that what you grabbed wasn’t completely obvious so you were allowed to be more anonymous (and hopefully therefore more honest) about the privileges you possessed. It was also a good reminder for me, since sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the ways we don’t have privilege and feel powerless but it’s important to recognize where you do have privilege and how you can use that to empower those who are voiceless and marginalized. I’m excited for where our conversations and discussions will take us in our next session. We get to bring a friend next time so I’m hoping to bring one of my international friends, since currently no one in the cohort is an international student and I think international students can often be left out of social justice dialogues.

That night, we led a Saturday of Service at a community art center where we helped with the Valentine’s Dance. It was fun, but majorly hectic, a vision for what the next few weeks are going to look like for me. In the next few weeks:

-start my praxis for my Women’s Mental Health class

-HELL WEEK

-hall advisor interview

-customs application reading and interviews

-info session/interviews/reading applications for our volunteer program at a women’s shelter

-MUMFORD & SONS CONCERT

-Plenary

-finishing applications to summer programs

-taking my friends out to dinner for their birthdays

-being a functional human being that gets enough sleep, eats well, and does her homework (most important)

So lots going on and lots to talk about next time (especially Hell Week, my favorite tradition)!  Until next time!

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About Amanda Beardall

I am a senior psychology major (minoring in child and family studies and environmental studies) from Portland, Oregon. I am involved with the Civic Engagement Office, Art Club, admissions, dorm leadership, and teaching art classes at a local elementary school. I studied abroad in Denmark, did an internship in Indonesia, and took a 360 course cluster that traveled to Ghana.

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