"Home Away from Home"

Archive for March, 2012

Afghan Scholars Initiative

The International Student Association brought the founders of the Afghan Scholars Initiative on March 1, 2012. They spoke about their organization, the struggles they went through in starting this program and how they have managed to sustain it. Before and after the event, they sold scarves who’s proceeds would go to fund scholarships for International Students to study in the United States.

“I thought it was very inspiring for us listen to the work and achievements of ASI, which founded by recent grads from a similar-sized college, that have undergone an education/ curriculum that is very similar to ours. It goes to show the impact of the power of an idea. The speakers had some very useful advise for us, particularly sophomores and juniors that will be around for a while. It was very enlightening to hear them speak about the advantages of starting an initiative/ organization while still in college. As a grassroots organization that is still relatively new, they are well established in their field and it was fascinating to see how far they have come in such a short span of time.”- Simrat Randhawa ’12


Masquerade Ball

 The Caribbean Student Association had a successful Masquerade Ball last Saturday March 10, 2012. The proceeds from their event went to fund the organization “Pathways to Togo” and the “Rural Migrant Ministries.” Each were the recipients of $500. Pathways to Togo provides educational opportunities for girls in Africa–$100 will fund a girl to go to college for 1 year. Rural Migrant Ministries supports the educational and advocacy needs of Caribbean farmworkers.

“A fine dinner in good company! Swarms of beautiful young people and splendid dancing! And the first, SPECTACULAR contribution to supporting women’s education BEYOND William Smith College. On Saturday night, CSA sent one brilliant Togolese woman all the way through college. WHAT A NIGHT!” – Susanne McNally, Dean, William Smith College


Night Market

The Asian Student Union hosted a Night Market at the Barn this past Friday March 9, 2012. There were a variety of tables with different asian foods and games.

“I thought ASU did an amazing job! They totally transformed the barn and gave it a ‘night market’ feel. The food was great and the games were lots of fun–it was nice to see so many students there having fun.” – Darline Polanco, Intercultural Affairs Program Coordinator


International Women’s Day Speaker: Mara Ahmed

Mara Ahmed independent filmmaker came on March 8, 2012 and screened her latest film “Pakistan One on One,” which was filmed completely in  Lahore. This documentary interviews several people in Pakistan about their opinions about issues such as the possibility of democracy in Pakistan, the War on Terror, the Taliban and American foreign policy in the region.

Mara spoke about her experience filming this documentary as well as how she came to be interested in this field of filmmaking and documentary making and hurdles she had to overcome.

“I thought the documentary, Pakistan One on One by Mara Ahmed, was very thought provoking and important because it gave viewers an intimate view on the attitudes of  people from Lahore, Pakistan on what it is to be Muslim, what democracy means to them, and American foreign policy affecting them today. I appreciated the film because it helped me reflect upon how important public opinion is and what a great medium film is in making connections between people and expanding knowledge.” – Fatima Sarassoro ’15

“I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to students at hws on International Women’s Day (march 8, 2012). As an independent filmmaker and activist, the focus of my talk was to encourage students to look deeper into images and soundbites in order to deconstruct implicit messages. I showed them iconic images and we discussed their context and emotive content. I asked students to decode some of the messages inherent in those images by using logic rather than relying on pre-programmed responses. I was impressed with the level of participation in this exercise. students were quick to recognize logical fallacies and point them out. After having dinner with a group of lively students, I screened my film “Pakistan One on One”. Once again I was very pleased with the intelligent questions that followed the screening. Not only were some students knowledgeable about the political situation in South Asia, but they were equally aware of the limited information available in American mainstream media. Talking to bright young people is one of my favorite things to do, so my visit to HWS was immensely satisfying.”-  Mara Ahmed, Independent Filmmaker


Community Conversation with Nancy Ghertner, Independent Filmmaker

On February 22, 2012, Independent Filmmaker nancy Ghertner came and did a presentation on her documentary After I Pick the Fruit, which focused on the lives of migrant farmworker women.

“Nancy Ghertner’s presentation on migrant women farmers was a very informative description of the process behind the film and the reasoning why she filmed it the way she did; her mission was to keep these women’s stories as authentic as possible.” – Karen Romero ’13

“It was very moving because it reminded me of what my family went through.”- Katherine Burgos ’12

“Our students were very impressed with Ms. Ghertner’s work. The stories of these outstnading women reminded some of our students of the obstacles their own family members have overcome as immigrants.”- Alejandra Molina, Director of Intercultural Affairs