186 South College

grab your coffee, sit back and hang out with the UD Honors Program for a while

Month: April 2013 (page 3 of 6)

Reflections on a Failed Art Project

In the midst of the insanity that is Spring Semester, I occasionally find myself reflecting on calmer, more relaxed times, such as Winter Break- the only time I think I’ve ever had virtually nothing to do. During those seven weeks of nothing, I often had to get creative to stay busy.

Which is why one day, I found myself hot-gluing crayons to a piece of poster board and then blowing on them with a hair dryer. For those that haven’t seen this technique, the idea is that when heat is applied, the wax will drip down from the crayons creating streaks of brightly colored wax. It’s a surprisingly lovely visual. And I was in a DIY kind of mood.

While I am certainly artistically inclined, artistically gifted is more of a stretch. A project like this seemed safe for someone like me, the skill level required was exceptionally low. And yet, I managed to mess it up.

And this is why art projects aren’t a regular thing in Victoria’s schedule.

My plan was to get a bit creative and tape the outline of the words, “Carpe Diem” (oh so original), to the board so the wax would drip over them. When the letters were peeled away I envisioned crisp white letters amidst a background of dripping colors. As most aspects in my life, it didn’t turn out the way I planned.

First of all, because I left the paper covering on many of the crayons, the hard wax ended up melting inside of the coverings and ultimately falling out. The pressure from the hairdryer blew the wax in ten billion different directions, which is why a lot of it ended up on the walls. (Sorry, mom.) Not to mention the fact that the only shapes the wax dripped around were the scotch tape pieces I used to secure the letters to board, leaving a bunch of odd looking white squares amidst the mess of wax.

Now, I would like to say that despite my unsuccessful execution, the final product was striking in all its haphazard glory. That even though the project went in a completely different direction than envisioned, the end result still managed to achieve a sort of beautiful honesty. No such luck, my friends. It just looked stupid.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from my career as a college student, it’s that things rarely go as planned. Whether it’s changing your major, taking a class that is nothing like what you thought it would be, studying abroad in a country you never wanted to go to, or waking up thirty minutes late to a 9am, a college student, and a human being for that matter, is constantly having to adjust and move forward. I find that no matter how carefully laid out the schedule in my planner is, there will always be those external events that can upset the entire balance. So yes it’s good to be organized; certainly it is important to plan ahead; and there is no problem with taking on a craft with the end result in mind. But I’ve found that even more crucial is learning to be flexible. When you can still keep moving forward in spite of those inconveniences, both minor and major, that’s when you really start to accomplish big things.

I’m coming to embrace that, one failed art project at a time.

~Victoria Snare

Don’t Stop Believin’

You still have plenty of time to vote for the 186 South College Photo Contest here!

While the University of Delaware is usually always a joyful place overall, Saturday, April 13th was a particularly Gleeful night.  Why was this so?  200+ members of the UD community, including this overly excited blogger, were treated to a lecture about diversity from actor/dancer Harry Shum, Jr. of Fox’s renowned hit musical dramedy.

The event was put on by a combination of three RSOs on campus: Haven, Hola, and SCPAB.  Held in the Trabant MPRs, hundreds of fans came out to hear Harry Shum talk about diversity and the role it has played in his life.  Shum was born and raised in Costa Rica to Chinese parents before moving to California later in his life to pursue his career in dancing.  He has been featured in many films, two of my favorites being Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D, and is an active dancer and choreographer for The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers (The LXD), a premier dance troupe. However, he is most known for his role as Mike Chang for the last four seasons on Glee.

Considering his character on the first season was almost mute, Shum had no problem cracking the jokes and talking for the entire night.  While interlaying the important issue of diversity in popular culture today, Shum mainly focused on telling how he started in dance, his experiences with acting and dancing roles thus far, and the everyday occurrences at Glee.  Fun fact: he started dancing because of a dare to join the dance team at his high school.  It clearly was a smart dare for him to do, considering it eventually led him to dance on tour with Beyoncé before his stunt on Glee.  Besides dancing, Shum is also a gifted actor.  He even did an interpretation of Robin Williams’ famous Good Morning, Vietnam monologue.

However, Shum did provide some wonderful insights on the overall theme of diversity for the night.  He urged the entire audience to create our own stereotypes instead of contributing to preexisting diverse groups.  He believes that the only way to stop the obvious division among people in our society is to be open for new ways of grouping people together.  This idea is what he believes will propel our generation farther in the future than society is today.

After finishing his talk, Shum surprised the audience with an impromptu dance solo to end the night.  Being a dancer myself, I was hoping he would dance at some point during the night, and he did not disappoint!  I do not know about the rest of the audience, but I certainly was in a sense of awe watching him dance.  To top off the night, he even stayed for a meet and greet after, during which he willingly took pictures and signed autographs, and even listened to a girl sing him a song.

Hannah and fellow UDHP student, Alicia, meet Glee’s Harry Shum.

Personally, it was such a successful night that I hope SCPAB, Hola, and Haven can try and do something like this by bringing in a celebrity to UD for a topical lecture more often. Now that we’ve had Harry Shum come to UD, who would you like to see come to UD for a lecture?

~Hannah Tattersall


How-to: Develop Your Passion at the University


One of the most overwhelming things to a student on campus is the amount of clubs there are. You can literally find a club for any interest whether it be Harry Potter, chocolate or in my case, public relations. The question is how do you first of all, figure out what to join and second of all, balance it out and harness your passion for a particular interest? Below are a few tips on what has worked for me.

StUDent Central can be a great way to find out what’s going on around campus, and what groups you can get involved in!

1. Attend Student Activities Night. The majority of active student clubs will be in attendance at Student Activities Night. Beforehand, there is a full list of the clubs attending that will be released, so I would encourage you to check it out and find a few clubs that scream “you.” Hey, that might even be the Genshiken (https://studentcentral.udel.edu/organization/genshiken/about) club, which is all about video games.

2. Go to a few of the interest meetings. All clubs will have an interest meeting which is where you can find out all of what this club is about. This is your first impression of the club and you will know pretty much right away if you want to join or not. If not, then all the better! You can check it off your list and visit some of the other clubs. I promise you, you will not be able to be a part of all of the clubs that interest you, at least not actively. I tried that freshman year and it really didn’t go well…

3. Seek out someone in that club to talk to. It’s always nice to have a friendly face when you show up to a meeting, and it also makes you want to go back. Introduce yourself to someone in the group and see if they want to meet up for coffee/froyo/Rita’s and talk about their role in the organization. You’ll get a better gauge of how the club will fit into your schedule and if you’re able to make the time commitment

4. Lastly, be active in it. It’s truly hard to develop a passion in something if you’re not committed. I can say that I am so passionate about PRSSA because I have grown as a person and as a professional throughout my three years being involved, and now I’m the president. You want to be able to develop that passion for a club on campus, because let’s face it; everyone wants to belong to something. I’m not saying that you have to jump up and be a leader on the first day, but take initiative and make your face known. Trust me – the leaders of that group will be more than appreciative.

So say you’re a junior, there’s definitely still time to get involved! All groups will welcome new members, and what else are you doing next year besides taking some of the easy classes you have left (sorry engineers/all science majors, I know that’s not the case for you)? So next year, when you’re considering what to do with your free time, take these tips! It’ll pay off big (and look great on your résumé).

~Chelsey Rodowicz

Campus Springs to Life

All of a sudden, it’s the middle of April!  Can you believe we’re only about five weeks away from summer 2013?  Too bad that means we’re even closer to finals week…

But let’s focus on the positive.  After a chilly February and a generally dreary March, spring has made its arrival in Newark, Delaware.  Last week was mostly sunny, warm, and generally beautiful, even if Russell did feel like an oven on the hottest day.  Despite having entered the home stretch of the semester when the exams, assignments, and extracurricular commitments really add up, UD students have been finding the time to enjoy the beautiful weather they deserve after endless rainy Tuesdays.  How, exactly?  Here are some ways I have noticed campus springing to life recently.

“Studying” outside.  I use quotation marks because I have never been able to actually get anything done while lounging out in the sun with friends, but to those who can, more power to you!  True, one does see a lot of books and laptops, but more commonly, students nap, throw a Frisbee, or play guitar (all so collegiate) on our beloved Green. The Harrington Turf right next to Russell, is particularly packed when the weather heats up. I’m sure most UDHP students fondly remember spending leisurely afternoons on the Turf during their freshman year.

Even pineapples enjoy getting a little sun on the Harrington Turf (photo credit to Cathryn Davidson)

Sports.  Blue Hens love the gym, but are more than happy to take their exercise outside when weather permits.  Football, soccer, and lacrosse are all popular.  There are also even more joggers and skateboarders darting around campus.

Just hanging out.  Most UDHP students would agree that the second half of the semester gets especially intense, as we’re juggling classes, clubs, and trying to land that perfect summer internship or job.  Sometimes, a peaceful walk or sit on a bench in a particularly pretty area of campus provides just the relaxation you need.

How do you enjoy spring at UD?

~Ruby Harrington

University Singers Choir Tour

As some of you may have noticed, my weekly post didn’t happen last Friday (and I know, you were all traumatized, but don’t worry, I have returned!). The reason for my absence is actually the subject of this week’s post, so here it goes.

I have been a proud member of UD’s primary womens’ ensemble, the University Singers, under the direction of the magnificent Dr. Duane Cottrell since the first semester of my freshman year. Our repertoire consists of a variety of pieces, ranging from the classic French Impressionist Debussy all the way to songs with no real words in their lyrics, but lovely, rich textures, like Jenkins’ “Adiemus.” The challenge and diversity that come with being a member of Singers has kept me engaged throughout my experience with this fantastic group of women. This semester, we had the honour of being selected to perform at the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) convention in Hartford, Connecticut as the final stop on our two-day tour last Thursday and Friday.

the author in her choir garb

… of course, it didn’t feel like an honour when I was waking up at 6 a.m. on Thursday and dragging myself to catch the bus at the Amy E. DuPont building, but I and everyone else quickly got into the spirit of the trip once we were on the road.

We had a few stops on our tour before the NAfME conference, the first of which was a visit to West Windsor-Plainsboro High School in New Jersey to perform for their choir. Their enthusiasm and attention was, admittedly, surprising (considering my past experience with notoriously rude high school student audiences), but all the more appreciated. Following that performance, we made a stop at Westminster Choir College for a coaching session with the fantastic Dr. Amanda Quist. Finally, on Thursday night, we gave a performance in a beautiful chapel in Hartford with the Morris Knolls Chorale, of Morris Knolls High School in New Jersey.  Each performance increased our excitement to perform at NAfME, and finally, on Friday afternoon, we arrived at the convention center for our big performance.

The choir in performance

If I had to describe the twenty-five minute set in one word (and being an English major, that’s a very tough thing for me to do), the one I’d choose is surreal. All of our preparation, passion and perseverance came together in what I can only describe punfully as a beautifully orchestrated final product. I’m so proud to have been a part of this experience and a part of this brilliant choir.

~Claire Davanzo

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