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Tag: community (page 2 of 8)

Swing into the School Year by Joining a Club by Jenna Whiting

“What’s your advice for my first year of college?” I repeated this sentence at every graduation party, friend run-in, and summer gathering before freshman year. Anxious to reap guidance from those more experienced in university life, I sidled up to anyone who even slightly looked like they were in college, or, if all else failed, to any adults in the room who probably went to college at some point in their lives. One of the most popular suggestions among the many pearls of wisdom that were graced upon me was the never-forgotten, “Join as many clubs as you can. You’ll make friends, become involved, and build your resumé.” Joining clubs became a reiterated theme when I arrived at college, too; RAs, Munson Fellows, and fellow students alike all recommended joining activities. I took this tip very seriously and proceeded with a fervent desire not to miss out on any club opportunity, so that by the end of the Registered Student Organization fair during 1743 Days, I had given my e-mail address to upwards of twenty organizations and sauntered out with a drawstring bag full of candy and pamphlets. Mind you, I only actually joined about a quarter of those clubs, but I wanted to explore all of my options.

Those shiny pearls of wisdom hold truth. I am only a callow freshman one month into my whole college career, but to incoming freshmen, or to anyone who is clubless, I emphatically, enthusiastically, and wholeheartedly declare: explore and join clubs that interest you. Why am I so passionately advocating assimilation into college life by club, you ask? Well, the answer is three words: UD Swing Club.

Coming into college, I was skeptical I would find an activity that really, truly speaks to me and that is fun while also being educational and challenging. But I need not have worried, because after the first Friday Swing Club lesson and social dance, I was excited for the second one. After the second Friday, I couldn’t wait for the third one. After my first Sunday morning workshop, I was completely hooked. And after my first Tuesday night workshop, I couldn’t imagine getting through the week without the knowledge that I would soon have swing dancing to rejuvenate me. If I hadn’t taken the opportunity to join as many clubs as I could, I would have never found the community that is UD Swing. I would have never met the people whom I have, challenged myself like I have, and had as much fun as I have. So I implore you, attend the activities fair during the first week of school. Scroll through UD’s RSOs on Student Central. Ask your friends for club recommendations. And eventually, hopefully, you will find a club that will make you as happy as UD Swing makes me.

“Petsickness” by Sarah Blum

The idea of homesickness is not foreign to college freshmen like myself. We are told from the beginning to be prepared to miss our families, friends, beds, and showers. There are some things I miss about home and it is true that the college environment takes some getting used to. However, when I talk to my friends about homesickness, I notice one common theme. My peers don’t talk about missing home-cooked meals or their childhood bedrooms—they miss their pets.

When I sit in the lounge around people cramming for tests, they are complaining about how they miss their dog/cat/bearded dragon and not about how they miss their parents. They vocalize how much they miss coming home to see their dogs instead of an empty dorm room, or how they wish they could smuggle their guinea pigs back to school with them. I even find myself thinking very similar thoughts when I am particularly stressed. So what does a pet provide that people cannot? Continue reading

Words, Words, Words by Emily Fudge

While thinking of William Shakespeare’s famously penned line “Words, words, words,” (2.8) from his play Hamlet, it really got me thinking about the power of those little things. Words. One of the most basic and important principles we need to understand when learning to read is the concept that sounds make up words and words have meaning. Of course words have meaning, you’ll say. One of the most basic rights in this country is the freedom of speech. But believe it or not, some people really don’t like that idea. They’ll say sometimes words have too much meaning, meanings that are inappropriate, meanings unsuitable for children, or perhaps just unnecessary in life. Imagine how different life would be if some of your favorite words were restricted, unable to be read, said, and lost forever.

While this idea sounds absurd, the censoring of words has been happening all around the country for years. Every year, countless numbers of books are challenged by various people and groups in an attempt to restrict reading materials from places such as libraries and schools; in some cases, materials are requested to be banned and removed permanently. From September 25-29, the American Library Association celebrated its annual Banned Books Week. This week was a celebration of the freedom to read and an effort to cherish the power that words have. On September 27, the University of Delaware hosted its 5th annual Banned Books Readout. From 11am to 3pm, students, faculty, and other university goers gathered on The Green in front of Morris Library and read excerpts from some of their favorite books that had been banned or challenged over the years.

Many were surprised to see what books had been challenged and why. I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings made the list of the “Top Ten Challenged Books of 2016” for portraying transgender youth and being generally “offensive in viewpoint.” This story about acceptance and exploration in gender has been lashed out against by many groups. Think of how many children this story could positively affect, but can’t because of multiple challenges around the country. One of the most popular book series of our generation has held the spot of the most challenged series of the 21st century. To add onto that, the author of the books remains the most challenged living author to date. Have you guessed yet? The Harry Potter series remains frequently challenged in libraries and schools around the country. Why, you ask? The books contain one too many “Satanic, anti-family values, allusions of violence, and references to magic.” Over the years, the most challenged books have had to do with violence, sexually explicit actions, foul language, and anti-family values. This year, every book in the top 10 list had to do with sexuality.

Books provide insurmountable amounts of knowledge. They unleash creativity and take you to another world. They allow you, even for just a moment, to forget your troubles, stresses, and worries. They provide readers the opportunity to just be, and revel in all the joys that words have to offer. Little words, strong but mighty, have the power to change and create. They inform and explode off of a page. They resonate and make us think. We must protect and cherish them, for if there are no words left, what is there to say or do?

While Banned Books Week has passed, I encourage you to check out the American Library Association’s website and look at the list of frequently challenged books. Maybe pick one up and give it a read. Live in rebellious nature! Bask in the glorious power of a book that overcame and resisted the powers that be.

“Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“Fall Things To Do in the First State” by Jennifer Most

Do you want to get off campus? Want to explore the beautiful state of Delaware and all the cool things it has to offer? Milburn Orchards, Frightland, Longwood Gardens, White Clay and the Christiana Mall are all on my to-do list. Check them out!

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“Main Street, I Love You!” by Lauryn Magill

Main Street is a part of the University of Delaware that deserves endless recognition.  When I first drove down the long stretch of restaurants and shops, I was in awe.  Coffee, ice cream, cookies, pizza, movies, and more; all within a half-mile radius.  I could envision myself walking along on the sidewalk and stopping to grab a drink before finding a quiet spot to sit and study, relax, or people-watch.

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