The American Dream was the ultimate goal, and for us it meant this: to achieve a successful and prosperous life through initiative, determination, and hard work. For Filipino children, visiting America is the best of gifts. For Filipino parents, sending their child to America is the greatest of blessings. For Filipino employees, working in America is the shot at a better life. Filipinos associate America with the successful, the innovative, the educated, and the powerful: all of us want a piece of that dream.
My parents are no different. They believe that my best shot at this dream is to get the best education possible and where else would I get that but here? So, when I stepped into the CMC campus in late August that I realized that my American Dream had just become a reality. A new life in a new school in a new country.
Being in CMC for almost 2 months now, I can say America (in terms of the Claremont bubble, at least) has exceeded my expectations. The people I’ve met here are the embodiment of the American Dream: all passionate, driven and determined. However, it is in different ways. Among the CMC students I have met, I came across a Biology major who is also an archer, a football player who can play the cello, and an MUN member who takes ballroom dancing as his PE. Although I was in a sea of the ambitious and career-driven, I was also in a sea of the talented and surprisingly quirky.
Connecting with all kinds of people has changed my definition of diversity. For as long as I can remember, diversity was a concept that only concerned race and culture which was easily determined and rigidly categorized, be it by geography, language or physical appearance. But here, diversity expands further than what is on the surface: a community can also be diverse in talent and skill. My exposure to this different kind of diversity here at CMC, in turn, changed my perspective on “The American Dream.” Perhaps the American Dream has nothing to do with America. Maybe the dream is not the destination, but the origin—maybe it is the starting point, not the goal.
I have grown up to believe that the best measure of success is wealth because it is the most logical and quantifiable way to gauge work and effort. Every time I thought of what success was, I always pictured this: A person in fancy business attire, working in a spacious office, owning a nice car, having a wonderful spouse and beautiful children, travelling the world. While all of these things do require money—whether you obtain it through your own hard work or through inheritance—not everyone views all of these as contributing factors to one’s success. In the time I’ve spent at CMC (and therefore America), I have come to realize that the definition of success is arbitrary—it changes based on each person’s values and aspirations.
After one month and 29 days of being in a college on the other side of the world from home, I have a newfound independence, wonder and perspective. I have learned that success is not defined by society’s definition based on monetary wealth, nor is it limited to the expectations of my family or my culture. This is my American Dream: to achieve success through hard work, initiative and determination, but on my own terms. For so long, people have told me which direction to go and have set my goals for me. It is now my time to go off and set my own. And what better place to do that, then here and now, in college?]]>
The peak of the Diwali festivities falls on the third day of the festival. On this day, people often wear new clothing, spend time with family and friends, and exchange gifts or sweets. The triumph of light over darkness is displayed through candles, oil lamps (diyas), and fireworks that light up the night. These lights are often thought to greet Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth and to express the well-being of those on Earth.
Diwali marks the start of the New Year on the Hindu calendar and all five days are a time of great happiness and gratitude. A large percentage of the global community celebrates Diwali, making the festivities and lights prominent throughout South Asia and many other parts of the world.
Considering that Diwali is a public holiday in many countries and arguably the most extravagant and important festival in India, it is shocking how little the dominant culture in the United States knows about the festival (outside of that one episode of the Office). Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world, making Diwali one of the most important holidays for many people, including a large portion of the South Asian population at the 5C’s. In order to provide these students with a sense of home and to augment the cultural awareness on campus, the Claremont Hindu Society is hosting a Diwali celebration on November 9th at 5 pm in Edmunds ballroom.
For the Hindu Society’s Diwali event last year, Edmunds ballroom was adorned with lights that cascaded across the ceiling and vibrantly colored decorations that attracted over 400 people. This included a variety of guests from staff members to students who were unfamiliar with Diwali previous to the event. In fact, most guests were not of South Asian descent but came to benefit from the unique cultural experience. President of the Claremont Hindu Society, Sanjana Rao CM ’15, says her favorite part of hosting Diwali is “meeting all the wonderful people from all ethnicities and religious backgrounds who come and celebrate Diwali.” This event gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy the global community on campus and learn about one of the world’s largest and oldest cultures.
Students are given the opportunity to learn about Hindu traditions and philosophy through a prayer session that has been translated into English and takes places at the beginning of the evening. Then, the event showcases a variety of impressive student talent, including a performance from the Claremont Bollywood Dance Company from 5:30 to 6, followed by the opportunity to enjoy an authentic (and free!) Indian dinner. The evening ends with guests dancing to Bollywood music.
The popularity of this event has increased from year to year at a rate that has exceeded expectations and demonstrated the power of a shared culture. Rao goes on to say “The whole Claremont Hindu Society board loves to bring people together to give thanks for our wonderful community, celebrate the talent amongst us, and enjoy the present moment!” Whether you have a profound curiosity of other cultures or just a desire for an authentic, dining-hall-free meal, all students are encouraged to attend this event regardless of religious or cultural background.]]>
Each committee consists of a Resident Assistant and members from the student body, faculty, and ASCMC Executive Board. Committee members are elected through the Senate. Although each committee has its own focus, all of the committees share a common goal: to study and address the causes and consequences of irresponsible behaviors.
The purpose of these committees is to encourage all students to take part in creating a better and safer environment at CMC and to provide opportunities for them to do so.]]>
The Student Deans have reached out to Tiombe Sewell and Mandy Mount, who are both experts in the field of sexual violence education, prevention, victim support and advocacy, for recommendations on what programs and services should be included in this resource center.
This Thursday, Dr. Mount and Ms. Sewell will be conducting “Focus Groups” where interested students, faculty and staff can give input on the resource center. Both Dean Spellman and Ms. Gray have emphasized that student participation in these focus groups will be vital for creating effective recommendations for the resource center.
Gray commented, “I hope the sessions will provide the CMC community an opportunity to think about the resources they would like to see available to them in the area of Title IX and sexual assault generally. This is a time for all the members of the consortium to collaborate and develop the best resource center possible.”
As for next steps upon the completion of the panel, Gray noted, “The next step would be implementation of the ideas and concepts generated by the group. This is why student involvement is so important. I think CMC already has a great deal of resources available to students but students may not be aware of all of their options.”
The CMC Focus Groups will be held on Thursday, October 30, 2014 at the following times and locations:
2:45 – 3:30 pm: faculty and staff session, Freeburg Lounge, Athenaeum
3:30 – 4:15 pm: faculty and staff session, Freeburg Lounge, Athenaeum
6:45 – 7:30 pm: student session, Curb Conference Room, Heggblade
7:30 – 8:15 pm: student session, Curb Conference Room, Heggblade
Important Note: If members of the CMC community are not able to attend any of the focus groups but want to provide information, students can alternatively email Dean Spellman. If students wish to keep their recommendations anonymous, they can also leave any information they have at the Dean of Student’s reception desk.]]>
Last year, the CPB, working closely in collaboration with the Student Activities Staff, tended to schedule events mostly on Friday nights and on weekends during the day. This will not be the case this year. Kari Rood, CMC’s new Assistant Director of Student Activities and advisor to the CPB, explained one of the organization’s new goals.
“The charge for CPB is to plan events every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening,” said Rood. “The events vary in size, scope, and activity and are all created, planned, and executed by students.”
To some extent, this is a deviation from the CMC weekend norm, as students often tend to think of Thursday and Saturday as nights that are reserved for parties. The CPB plans and sponsors events that can serve as alternatives to the typical weekend parties. It often holds movie screenings, and its upcoming events include a karaoke night and pumpkin carving.
However, the CPB’s goal is not to compete with ASCMC and its weekend social events. In fact, the CPB works closely with ASCMC Student Life Chair Chloe Zagrodzky ’17.
“Essentially, the CPB and the SLC have a common goal: introduce programming to CMC that’s different from just the usual party scene offerings,” explained Zagrodzky. Both the SLC and the CPB work to make sure that there are events at CMC that cater to a diverse range of student interests.
“By working together, we also have the advantage of combining ideas and revamping events as well as getting different perspectives on what kind of events should be added to the CMC social calendar,” said Zagrodzky.
Another change to the CPB this year is its restructuring to include a six-member executive board, as well as subsequent committees. This year’s student board members are Marcel Hite, Stephanie Wong, Hashim Jamil, Micky Ferguson, Anoush Baghdassarian, and Sonya Jendoubi. Those involved with the CPB hope that having a more structured board of students will improve student involvement in planning events. Said Rood, “It is my goal to see more students involved in leadership roles with CPB and for the entire CMC student body to provide input about the types of events they host.”
DOS staff hopes that the current format, structure, and goals of the CPB will allow CMC students to participate in and plan, as well as attend, events that cater to a diverse range of interests. All CPB events this year are entirely planned and executed by students.
Rood summarized one of her main hopes for the year: “that all students will be able to benefit from the work of CPB so that campus life can continue to improve.”
Update: An earlier version of this articled incorrectly referred to the SLC as “Social Life Chair” instead of “Student Life Chair.” Corrected October 29, 2014 at 8:45pm.]]>
If that isn’t a worrying statistic, here are a few more: according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, 99 percent of the artichokes, a fifth of the cabbage, two-thirds of carrots, half of bell peppers, 89 percent of cauliflower, 94 percent of broccoli and 95 percent of celery produced in the US is grown in California. Closer to the heart of a 5C-er, California produces nine out of ten American avocados. Yes, avocados, the fruit that we all love in our salads and as guacamole with our burritos. While the prices of these agricultural products is not going to increase for some time, over 171,000 seasonal and part-time workers have lost their jobs, and 428,000 acres, or 5 percent, of irrigated cropland is lying unused in the Central Valley, Central Coast, and Southern California.
Yes, Southern California is affected by the drought too. As insulated as we may be in the City of Trees and PHD’s, the Claremont Colleges have begun to respond to the drought, and here is a look at what they are doing:
For more information on CMC’s response, read Brian Worley’s more in-depth explanation of CMC Water Reduction Efforts, or contact SSPEAR at email@example.com
In an email to the Forum, Scripps Associated Students Sustainability Chair Jessica Ng outlined a few of the measures that student and institutional groups have taken:
CMC’s 6th Street rival seems to have a more comprehensive plan in responding to the drought. As mentioned on a Drought Action Plan page on its website, Pomona College has taken numerous steps to reduce water use on campus:
For more information on Pomona’s drought action plan, visit: Pomona’s Drought Action Plan and Pomona’s Water Efforts.
When contacted, Pitzer’s Facilities and Campus Services Department could not be reached for detailed comment.
For more information on Pitzer’s sustainability projects, visit Pitzer’s Sustainability in Action page.
In an email to the Forum, Sustainable HMC, a student environmental organization at Harvey Mudd outlined some of the measures being implemented by the Grounds Department: