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Congratulations!  Another semester down!  Now that finals week is over, we can finally relax, spend time with those we care about during the holiday season, catch up on sleep, and embark on our next adventures.  As finals week came to a close, we at the Forum took some time to reflect on the past semester.

It was a busy semester at CMC.

CMC moved up in the rankings to the 9th best Liberal Arts College in the country.

The Kravis Center officially opened to students and faculty.  The Living Room (affectionately known as ‘the Kube’) attracted students’ attention  after some technical difficulties and the administration’s initial decision to limit access to students. This was all before the Kube became home to one Pomona student’s temporary interpretive dance studio.

The fall semester also celebrated and embodied student leadership at CMC.  Students started a movement to do a better job of cleaning up after parties and led an effort to change our campus conversation about sex and gender norms. Trying bridge the gap between our Building Attendants and their residents, the Forum got to know some of CMC’s friendliest staff members. CMCers led a campaign to be more environmentally friendly on campus and coordinated a day of reflection on 9/11. Others took the lead in social activity planning, expanding student involvement with Dean of Students and creating the College Programming Board (check out the big name they are bringing to campus). Student initiative also brought the popular TED talks to the Claremont Colleges, hosting a TEDx conference in September.

CMC also faced a number of challenges in the fall of 2011: an unexpected over-enrollment of students forced the conversion of two popular study spaces into four-person rooms and a large number of students returning to CMC in the spring from fall study abroad programs led to an on-campus housing crisis.  The story behind the “Marks Squatter” brought some humor to a rather-serious-but-now resolved issue of on-campus visitors.

The Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College was hard at work all semester, advocating for students on issues such as increased study spaces, building a better quality of life, and providing some much needed snack time.

The Occupy Movement swept the nation this semester and arrived at the doorstep of our Claremont Colleges. Students were active in the protests in Claremont, Los Angeles, and the rest of the nation. Indeed, two Pitzer students were arrested for their involvement in the Occupy LA protests.  Political dialogue was alive and well, especially towards the end of the semester, when CMC welcomed former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to our campus. Many 5C students, however, had a different plan in mind and formed an “unwelcoming” party for Rice’s visit. The planned protests forced a change in venue for Rice’s speech, which triggered an outcry from students. While the protests stirred up quite a controversy, the civility and political discourse throughout the evening exemplified students’ diversity of thought, without provoking violence or hostilities.

The Forum sat down with our very own college president Pamela Gann and discussed her current and future projects for the school, which included a revamp of the beloved North Quad and expanding the new Center for Civic Engagement.

But it wasn’t all business this semester at the Forum. Speaking with Paul Zak, a.k.a Dr. Love, the Forum got to hear the Doctor’s thoughts on love, life, and how giving 8 hugs a day will make the world a better place. Those student globe-trotters enjoying their study abroad experience took time to write home to CMC and share their experiences from far-off lands such as Washington D.C., South America, Italy and Oman. And for those bright-eyed freshmen, returning students and Dean Spellman gave them their two cents (sometimes musically) on how to navigate their first semester and discover how great this college really is.

We uncovered the top 5 companies that hire CMC students, brought Words with Friends lovers the 10 most useful Scrabble words, and suggested 8 classes to students that might have overlooked some academic treasures. Students contributed to the ongoing discussion on topics such as art, film, pop culture, public radio, music and concerts. And despite the delicious unveiling of a new Ath menu, the Forum offered some tips on how to stay healthy, even in the face of all those Rice Krispie treats.

A-Mitch even appeared for an encore.

ASCMC hosted a number of events this semester, improving on past traditions—Monte Carlo—and even starting some new ones—The Boardwalk Empire party and No Shave November. We know you can’t wait for the Wedding Party next spring—and neither can we. Expect even bigger surprises next semester.

Our tech guru offered some awesome tips on his #CMCTech blog, including advice on how to make your work faster and more effective, thoughts on the Semester in Silicon Valley Program and even a holiday gift guide (it’s never too late to get that perfect present).

The Forum also better incorporated sports into our publication. The Forum now offers live broadcasts of all home CMS athletic games, complete with video and audio from student broadcasters.  We celebrated triumph, defeat and the utter domination at SCIACs.  The publication also took and in-depth look at sports at CMC and uncovered how SCIAC rules hurt CMS recruiting high school athletes and what many are doing to save the Intramural program.

Outside of the CMC bubble, the Forum checked in with our beloved Claremont village, celebrating the once-in-a-century Zipcode Day (9/17/11=91711) and partaking in the delicious festivities at the California Beer Festival.

It was a busy semester and time for reflecting has just begun. First, we would like to thank you, our readers, for your support, comments, advice, kindness, crudeness, humor and thoughtful discussion. But, we have one more request. The Forum has grown considerably in the last semester but we want to know how we can continue to improve. Below is a short survey that we hope you will fill out so we can make this publication stronger. We look forward to hearing your constructive thoughts, suggestions and comments.

The Forum wishes you a wonderful break and a restful holiday. We promise to bring you the best in news, opinions, and insights from Claremont College students as we enter our spring semester. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading with us this fall, and we’ll see you in 2012!

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