Irish Studies minor will connect BSU with history and culture

Emma Johansen
Staff Writer

photo (1)BSU now offers an interdisciplinary minor focused on Ireland, its history, and its culture.


Bridgewater State University (BSU) recently launched a new Irish Studies program, which will be an interdisciplinary minor.

According to Dr. Ellen Scheible, the coordinator of the new program, the goal of the program is help students understand “how histories of colonization and modernity overlap in western culture and how that overlapping is part of both the Irish and American experience,” and for students to understand “how maintaining tradition and history alongside progressive modernity is a unique experience that connects life in New England to modern Irish culture.”

Scheible has been with it since the beginning. “The program was originally my idea and I have organized and coordinated it from the very beginning.  My area of study and research is modern Irish culture, so I teach classes in Irish literature,” said Scheible.

She saw an interest in her students, and thought the program would fill a void.

“Since coming to BSU in 2010, I have noticed that my classes continuously fill with folks interested in learning about Ireland,” said Scheible.

Additionally, Scheible expects the program to resonate with students. “Many BSU students, faculty, and staff identify as Irish or Irish-American and have some connection to Irish history and culture,” said Scheible.

The program was a natural fit into the current programs offered at BSU.

“Many classes at BSU have Irish content.,” Scheible said, discussing the formation of the program. “We decided to bring together the strong sense of Irish heritage shared by our community with pre-existing curriculum that teaches Irish culture. The Irish Studies minor allows students to bridge a connection between their personal experiences with Irish heritage and their college study.”

Students from every walk of life can benefit from the program.

“I think our students often struggle to connect their personal experiences to their life as college students,” Scheible explained. “ It is often difficult to understand how one fits into college as a first-generation student who also has family and work obligations.”

One of her goals for the Irish studies program is to “help students to better understand the relationship between a personal sense of culture and intellectual development.”

Additionally, BSU, being located so close to Boston, is in a unique position for an Irish Studies program. Boston has a long history of Irish-American culture.

“Boston is the single, best place to be if you are interested in Ireland and Irish history and culture,” said Scheible. “We plan to build relationships with community organizations to create internship opportunities and market cultural events to our students.  We are very excited to encourage students in Irish studies to explore the many resources Boston offers for those interested in Ireland.”

One of those students, Tina Worton, first heard about the program through the Student Announcements. Worton, an English major who is taking on the new minor, has been interested in Irish culture for a while now. “I took an Irish Cinema course a few semesters ago with Professor Vejvoda,” said Worton. “I fell in love with the culture. Our school offers a number of Irish studies courses, so I continued learning about Ireland.” As to why she cares so much about the program, Worton said “I want to have a better understanding of Ireland because it is a land so rich in history and culture.”

Emma Johansen is a Staff writer for The Comment.

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“Day of the Dead” celebration at Bridgewater State University

Marissa Bean
Campus Life Editor

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With some spooky holidays quickly approaching, some Bridgewater State University (BSU) organizations are getting in the holiday spirit.

One organization in particular, La Sociedad Latina, hosted a Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, celebration this week. The event was held on Monday, Oct. 26 in Burnell 132B.

Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday celebrated on Nov. 1. It is a remembrance and celebration of family and friends who have passed away.

The event began with some background on the holiday.

La Sociedad Latina member Elizabeth Janssen said, “We did include a short powerpoint at the beginning that included some background and fun facts about the holiday.”

Attendees could also enjoy some traditional Mexican music. The event also included a taco and fajita bar.

The centerpieces on the tables were skulls with flowers, which were “similar to what they in Mexico would decorate the loved ones’ graves with,” Janssen said.

La Sociedad Latina is an organization at BSU that promotes cultural awareness and allows students to learn about Latin American countries and cultures.

Marissa Bean is the Campus Life editor for The Comment. Follow her on Twitter @MarLaur16.

BSU Homecoming Weekend 2015

Marissa Bean
Campus Life Editor

A big anniversary for Bridgewater State University (BSU) wouldn’t be complete without celebrating Homecoming.

This year’s Homecoming events began on Oct. 20 and ended with Family Day on Saturday, Oct. 24. Program Council hosted the entire week.

The Homecoming events were part of the university’s year-long 175th anniversary celebrations.

Most of the events on Family Day occurred in University Park. Campus organizations, including Greek organizations and WBIM-FM, the campus radio station, had tents in the park with information and activities for attendees.

Other activities throughout the day included trolley tours, bingo, sports games, and the president’s brunch.

During the festivities, senior Emma Manning was named the Homecoming winner.

One of the most visible activities was hosted by the new Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice. Homecoming attendees were encouraged to make small flags for peace. The flags, which were made in partnership with the Peace Flag Project, were hung on lines close to the new Martin Richard statue in University Park.

Homecoming events earlier in the week included a casino night, the annual Homecoming pageant, and a spirit night that included a bacon food truck.

Homecoming is one of two week-long events hosted by Program Council throughout the academic year.

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Geography conference held at BSU for first time since 2001

Breanna Palhete
Comment Contributor

Bridgewater State University (BSU) hosted the New England St-Lawrence Valley Geographical Society, or NESTVAL, conference this past weekend for the first time in more than a decade.

This geography organization was established at Clark University in 1922. It was the first regional geography organization.

The goal of NESTVAL is to promote geography education and research. This organization has a yearly meeting, where they make presentations to support their findings. The annual conference is held at different colleges and universities. Bridgewater State University (BSU) was honored as the 2015 host. The annual event was held in the Dana Fohler-Maria Science and Mathematics Building.

The conference also served as a pre-meeting before the Association of American Geographers’ national meeting.

Every year the conference includes a keynote speaker. The speaker this year was Professor Francisco Henrique “Chicho” de Oliveira from the University of Santa Caterina. The university is in a partnership with BSU.

Besides a presentation on land conservation records, Francisco was at BSU to advocate for and help spread the word about study abroad programs. The study abroad program to Brazil was previously offered to only geography majors, but now the program is offered to all BSU students.

Other than spreading the word about study abroad opportunities, NESTVAL had other presentations and events being held.

One of the presentations was presented by a University of Connecticut student, Awanti Acharya. Acharya has only been in the U.S. for two months. Her presentation focused on her home in Kolkata, India, and urbanization.

Other events included Geoball and The Map. The Geoball contest came down to two teams: UMass Amherst and BSU. BSU ultimately won the competition.

The Map was a large man-made map on oversized paper. It was located downstairs in the Dana Mohler-Faria Science and Mathematics Center. Attendees were encouraged to draw on the map. The point of the map was to represent the world, and the objective was to draw out the world in different colors. The map was in three different languages: English, Portuguese, and French Canadian.

BSU last hosted the regional event in 2001. The next NESTVAL meeting will be held in Quebec in 2016.

Breanna Palhete is a Comment Contributor.

Dean’s Q-Tea brings important discussions and flamingo croquet

Marissa Bean
Campus Life Editor

October is LGBT History Month, and there is no better way to celebrate than with tea.

Paula Krebs, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, hosted her annual tea event this week.The event is held every year in mid-Oct. to commemorate National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11.

The event was held on Oct. 13 in the RCC Small Ballroom. The theme of the event was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a novel by Lewis Carroll written in the Victorian era. Krebs wore a Mad Hatter outfit through the event, which included a large hat and bowtie.

This year’s event was the fourth annual event of its kind. Krebs began the Dean’s Q-Tea in 2012 so that students could see that some faculty, staff, and administrators were out.

All attendees were asked to complete a quiz at the beginning of the event. The quiz covered both LGBTQ history as well as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Krebs led a brief discussion of the quiz, which included topics like the Stonewall Riots and legal issues regarding LGBTQ rights.

The event ended with a round of flamingo croquet, which is played in Carroll’s famed novel. Students played croquet with plastic flamingos, while faculty and staff in attendance served as the croquet hoops.

Krebs recognized that events like the Dean’s Q-Tea were unheard of only a generation ago. Similar events were not held when she and other staff and faculty were undergraduate students.

She also discussed the major legal victories for LGBTQ people since the first Dean’s Q-Tea only four years ago. These changes included the legalization of same-sex marriage in all fifty states, which occurred earlier this year.

Krebs’ also discussed the fact that microaggressions still occur on the BSU campus and other campuses across the United States, but she acknowledged that things are different now.

Krebs said, “Things are better than they used to be.”

Marissa Bean is the Campus Life Editor for The Comment. Follow her on Twitter @MarLaur16.