"Home Away from Home"

Canvassing HWS Events


Chinese Language Exchange Shares Culture and Food

Chinese students shared a traditional meal with their language exchange partners during an end-of-semester dinner at the Chaplain’s house on Dec 1. Students studying Chinese who have been matched with native Chinese speakers were introduced to “hot pot”, a communal dining experience popular in East and Southeast Asia.  Diners sat around a large pot of simmering flavored broth into which meats, seafood, vegetables and other delicacies are immersed to quickly cook before dipping in a savory sauce and eating. “It’s especially popular when the weather gets cold, but we actually eat it all year long,” said Natty Lin.  Each part of Asia has its own regional variation of flavors and ingredients, some spicier than others. It is a fun and delicious way for friends to get to know one another better through sharing language, culture and food!

Alpha Phi Alpha Founder’s Day

Monday, Dec. 4 at 7:06 p.m. members of the HWS community gathered at the Bartlett Theatre to celebrate the Alpha Phi Alpha Founder’s Day, presented by Eta Rho Lambda and Upsilon Pi Chapters. The event featured various speakers such as Dr. Weldon Thomas, Eta Rho Lambda, Chaplain Maurice Charles, Dean Montrose Streeter, as well as President Gregory Vincent. Sadeek Walker H’18 is the first President of this chapter.

In Spring of 2014 HWS established the Upsilon Pi chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity on campus. Their motto is “First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All,” and they foster the principles of leadership, academic excellence, service and advocacy. Originally founded at Cornell University, Alpha Phi Alpha is the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans.

For additional photos, check out the online album here.

Thanksgiving Break at HWS

The IC offered a series of programs for HWS students who stayed on campus for Thanksgiving break in cosponsorship with the Office of the President, Residential Education and Student Activities. The HWS community, and the IC family in particular, prides themselves in providing students with a sense of home. The activities over break encouraged students to take some time away from their academic stressors and focus on friends, the holiday and relaxing. Many events invited both students and faculty/staff to build a relationship regardless of age or grade. There was a great turn out at all of the events, and if you didn’t make it this year, the IC is always hosting programs, so feel free to drop by.

We hope you’re enjoying the holiday season!

I really feel like I share similar beliefs about engaging with others. I found people who appreciate the voices of others. William Ortlieb H’19

I became more social… I feel more at home. Giselle Miranda WS’21


Students enjoy brunch with President Vincent and Professor Alejandra Molina

Koshare Weekend

The Koshare Dance Collective is a dance club that has been in effect for over 65 years at HWS. Every year the collective aspires to produce a concert that is directed, choreographed, and danced by the students of the Colleges. The stage is continually brightened with diverse student choreography and dancers of varying levels of experience.

This year, the collective performed at two different shows at the Smith Opera House in downtown Geneva. Hundreds of students, faculty/staff, Geneva residents and friends/family of the performers attend to watch the show. This occurs once a year, and students are always welcomed to dance or choreograph a dance of any genre and ability level in the performance.

For more photos and videos of the event, check out the album here.

HWS’ LGBTQ and Allies Initiative

“The LGBTQ & Allies group is composed of faculty and staff who are working toward improving the campus culture around LGBTQ issues. The goal is to increase support and awareness for the LGBTQ community in hopes of creating a more inclusive environment.” For more information, visit the LGBTQ & Allies’ website.

“During 2016-2017, a steering committee of faculty, staff, and students established the Colleges’ LGBTQ+ Resource Center. The Center actively promotes academic and personal growth for the HWS LGBTQ community. In addition, it also plans and coordinates campus-wide programs and services to enhance the community’s understanding and appreciation of LGBTQ people, themes, and needs. A space designed for social gatherings, meetings, as well as providing tangible resources, the new center is located in deCordova Hall and is staffed by a LGBTQ Post-Undergraduate Fellow, two student advocates, and is supervised by the Division of Campus Life.” For more information visit the Resource’s website.

The LGBTQ & Allies group meets often to discuss different initiatives and plans to encourage inclusivity on campus. Shelly Lear, Counseling Center; Maurice Charles, Spiritual engagement; Katie Stiffler, Title IX; Molly Schamel, Counseling Center; Alejandra Molina, Intercultural Affairs; Darline Polanco Wattles, Intercultural Affairs; Jennifer Nace, Library; and Lester Gomez H’18 were all in attendance.

Past Updates:
Spring 2017
Fall 2016

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Facciamo la pasta!

The Italian Conversation Table invited students to attend a session to learn how to make traditional homemade pasta in the Hirshson Ballroom. The Italian Conversation Table is a great way to learn about the Italy, as well as their food – a significant aspect of their history and culture.

Founder’s Day

Founder’s Day is one of the oldest traditions at HWS, celebrates the establishment of William Smith College, its students, graduates and their achievements. Founder’s Day brings together students, faculty, staff and alums every November in a series of events.

HWS welcomed Chrysa Chin WS’84 to campus as this year’s keynote guest. Chin is the executive vice president for strategic engagement and development for the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). She presented at the Founder’s Day celebrations, where she also was awarded the Alumna Achievement Award, the William Smith Alumnae Association’s highest honor. For more information about Chrysa Chin, read HWS Update’s article.

Other Founder’s Day celebration events include a showcase of remarkable alumnae, a Compliment Board, a Scavenger Hunt, green decor all over campus and a William Smith Photo Booth.

Buddhist Meditation

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Ven. Tenzin Yignyen was ordained as a monk by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, and later entered Namgyal Monastery in India in 1969. After completing the studies of the monastery, including the monastic rituals and philosophical studies. In 1985 he received the “Master of Sutra and Tantra,” the monastery’s degree and equivalent to a Ph.D.

Tenzin has worked at HWS since 1998. In addition to teaching and advising students, he hosts a weekly Buddhist Mediation session at the IC. Members of the HWS community are always welcome to attend to unwind and meditate on the week ahead.

“Meditation is habituation our mental state with constructive, realistic and beneficial attitudes and emotions to reduce our worry, anxiety, stress and depression that we experience in our daily fast pace college life. It is also very powerful mental exercise to develop focus, patience, mindfulness and peace.” Venerable Tenzin Yignyen


Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration held in the United States and in other nations of the West African diaspora in the Americans. The celebration honors African American culture and celebrates family, community and culture. Kwanzaa has seven core principles, including Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith.

Kwanzaa has its roots in the black nationalist movement of the 1960s and was established as a means to help African Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical backgrounds.

At HWS, members of the community celebrated the holiday on Nov. 11, 2017 in the Vandervort Room. Sankofa presented the event, and the theme was to explore the intersections of identities through love and recognition. The Keynote speaker and performer was Shea Diamond.

From Swastika to Jim Crow

The Abbe Center for Jewish Life and Intercultural Affairs cosponsored a film screening and panel discussion of “From Swastika to Jim Crow” on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Geneva Room.

The documentary, produced in 2000, explores the intolerances felt by Jewish intellectuals and scholars who escaped Nazi Germany and immigrated to the U.S. After confronted with anti-Semitism at major universities, many secured positions at traditional Black colleges in the segregated South. This is a story of two cultures, each sharing a burden of oppression and brought together by the tragic circumstances of war.

The panelists included in the discussion after the film include Professor of Religious Studies, Michael Dobkowski, and Assistant Professor of History, Janette Gayle.

“‘From Swastika to Jim Crow’ explores the similarities between Nazi anti-Semitism and racism in the Jim Crow South in the 1930s and how these two diverse communities, German-Jewish professors and African American students, found common cause in the struggle against prejudice and created bonds of community, mentorship, learning and dialogue. It is a hopeful film, particularly given the current divisive political climate in Europe and the United States—-a rise in global anti-Semitism, a resurgence of populist nationalism, and xenophobia, Neo-Nazi groups and white supremacists and violence. It shows that in solidarity it is possible to break through barriers and confront evil and prejudice. The spirit and ethos of the film were carried over in a meaningful and open fashion during an engaging conversation between the panelists and audience participants. I was so heartened that difficult issues could be discussed in a respectful and honest way. I was also reminded that when we are able to create an environment of dialogical teaching in our classrooms, extended to the public square, we empower not only our students but ourselves, providing new avenues for engagement. I was very moved and encouraged by the evening.” Professor of Religious Studies, Michael Dobkowski

For more photos of the event, check out the online album here.

Festival of Nations

The Festival of Nations took place on Nov. 4 from 1-4 p.m. in the North Street Elementary School. This is the 11th annual Festival to celebrate the diverse cultures in the Geneva community.

This event is coordinated by the Geneva City School District, Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Finger Lakes Community College, and invites schools, local artists, musicians, business owners, community resources and non-profit agencies.

This year, Kiara Gardiner, a student at Finger Lakes Community College and 2017 graduate of Geneva High School, used this as an opportunity to collect food to send to Puerto Rico as they recover from Hurricane Maria.

The event is always filled with food, dance, art and crafts, inviting all attendees to learn and celebrate different cultures, while also showcasing their own history.

Day of the Dead

Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and people of Mexican ancestry living in other places. This multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to celebrate, commemorate and pray for family and friends who have died.

The HWS community celebrated this event on Nov. 3 from 8-9:30 p.m. in the Fisher Center. The Introduction to Chicana Feminism and Visual Culture (Woman Studies 150), taught by Professor Michelle Martin-Baron, put together altars to remember family and friends who have passed.

Professor Michelle Martin-Baron joined the HWS faculty in 2012 and teaches a range of courses on gender, sexuality, and feminism in relation to the arts, memory, and identity. For more information on her work, check out her website.

For more photos of the event, check out the online album here.

President Vincent’s Inauguration

Hobart and William Smith Colleges celebrated President Vincent’s Inauguration during an installation ceremony on Friday, Oct. 27 at Trinity Church in Geneva. HWS students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Members of the HWS Board of Trustees congregated at the church for the event. The ceremony began with a processional, followed by readings, music, President Vincent’s inaugural address, and a concluding benediction. This event marked a transition in leadership, and will be forever remembered as an important part of HWS’ history.



For more information about the Inauguration, check out HWS’ website.

Italian Pastry Program

Alessandra Bottacin, Italian Fulbright Teaching Fellow, coordinated the Italian Pastry Program through the Italian Conversation Table this past Oct. 24 from 3-4 p.m. This program invited HWS students to participate in baking, and learn a bit more about the Italian culture and its pastry delicacies. The pastries made at this event are called pasticcini di pastadi mandorle, or almond pasticcini. HWS is so grateful for our Fulbright Teaching Fellows, especially with incredible cultural opportunities such as these.

The other Fulbright Teaching Fellows on campus are Meghann Fedon, French Fulbright Teaching Fellow, and Augar Khoshaba, Arabic Teaching Fellow.


Speaker on Racial Disparities

Professor James Sutton of the sociology department and Intercultural Affairs collaborated to bring James Schuler to campus to discuss “Racial Disparities in the criminal justice system, education, prison and ‘at risk’ children.” This event occurred on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Vandervort Room and was open for the public to attend. Discussions regarding the impact of racial disparities is important and often not talked about. After years in and out of jail, James Schuler is currently employed with Youth Advocate Programs, Inc., as an Intensive Case Manager and a member of the “Juvenile Justice Task Force of the Finger Lakes” and speaks out against what he went through. It is important to hear voice of those who can speak to our students from their own experiences, and James Schuler is a perfect example of this.

“Positioning his testimonial in the context of the educational and prison systems, Mr. Schuler brought to HWS a powerful (and empowering) indictment of the impact racial disparities have had on young man of color who, like himself, are incarcerated and who feel their  Community gave up on them too soon.” Director of Intercultural Affairs and Professor of Latin-American Studies, Alejandra Molina


LAO’s Heritage Dinner

The Latin American Organization hosted their annual Heritage Dinner in the Vandervort room on Oct. 14 from 5 – 8 p.m. The theme for the dinner this year was “Mexican Renaissance,” where the Mexican culture was celebrated through arts, history and dance. LAO invited all HWS students, staff and faculty to join in on the festivities, and sold tickets to students for $5 and non-students/faculty for $10. Through ticket sales and additional fundraising, LAO helped raise money to support Mexico’s earthquake victims and Puerto Rico’s victims of Hurricane Maria. HWS is committed to the global community, and LAO exemplified this through their success.



If you’d like to see more photos, check out the online album!

CSA’s Trip to the Tropics

The Caribbean Student Association hosted their annual Trip to the Tropics this past Oct. 21 at 4:30 p.m. in the Vandervort Room. This year’s theme was “Reggae Night.” The club invited the HWS community to participate in a celebration of the Caribbean culture and identity through dancing, presentations, good food and good company. CSA raised money for the island of Dominica for Hurricane relief efforts.


For additional photos, check out the online album here.

Arabic Snack Making Program

Augar Khoshaba, Arabic Fulbright Teaching Fellow, organized an Arabic Snack Making Program to teach students how to make hummus, Baba Ghannoush, and other delicious Arabic appetizers at the Arabic Table. Food is incredibly important when overcoming cultural barriers and making food together promotes community and friendship.

This took place in the Hirshon Ballroom from 4-6 p.m. on Oct. 16. For more information about the Arabic department and the Arabic Table meetings, check out the HWS website.



Asian Student Union’s Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th month according to the Chinese lunar calendar, and is celebrated in the middle of the autumn season. Please in mainland China typically enjoy one day off on the festival which is usually connected with the weekend. On the festival day, family members gather to offer sacrifice to the moon, appreciate the bright full moon, eat moon cakes, and express strong yearnings toward family members and friends who live afar.

A group of HWS students gathered together with the Asian Student’s Union to celebrate the festival on campus this year at the Chaplain’s house.


LGBTQ and Allies Meeting

The LGBTQ and Allies met at the new LGBTQ Resource Center on campus on Oct. 4. The group discussed different ways they can address inclusivity on campus to promote safety, awareness and support for the LGBTQ+ community.

The Resource Center just recently opened this year and is located in deCordova Hall. This center is staffed by a LGBTQ Post-Undergraduate Fellow, two student advocates, and is supervised by the Division of Campus Life. This space actively promotes academic and personal growth for the HWS LGBTQ community and plans and coordinates campus-wide programs and services to enhance the community’s understanding and appreciation of LGBTQ people, themes, and needs.


HWS Impact

HWS Impact is designed as a platform for students to engage in the collective exploration of our campus culture through the exchange of stories, ideas and experiences.

On Monday, October 2, 2017, students gathered in the Bartlett Theatre to listen to five students’ stories. Kahiya McDaniels WS’19, Bartholomew Lahiff H’20, Alexia Sereti WS’19, Donovan Hayden H’19, and Tolulope Arasanyin WS’21 all contributed as student storytellers. This event provided students with the ability to explore their own narrative, share their complex humanity and come together as a community to explore how we an dispel the single stories that are perpetuated on our own campus.


Arabic Dance Program

Augar Khoshaba, Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant in Arabic hosted an Arabic Table at the Hirshson Ballroom. The theme of this program was Arabic Dance, where the group spent some time learning about the wedding traditions and culture in Arab countries, followed by Arabic dance lessons and music.

Opportunities to learn about different cultures and their traditions is important in expanding your knowledge about people across the world. We’re so lucky to have opportunities like this on campus, and hope students will take advantage of these events to learn more about other cultures.



Homecoming & Family Weekend

Homecoming & Family Weekend is always an exciting time for families and friends to visit the Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ campus to spend time with HWS students, faculty and staff. The Colleges find importance in having students show their family and friends what their lives on campus are like, so we put together a weekend’s worth of events to showcase the HWS community. Some of the events which IC was a part of included:

Snack and Share
The IC hosted a Snack and Share for students to show their guests the Intercultural Affairs Office and everything it has to offer. We love to invite parents to our center during this busy weekend and remind them that we strive to be a “home away from home” for students.

HWS Parent Fair
The HWS Parent Fair takes place on the Quad, and is a good way for families to learn about the different offices and departments at the Colleges and seek information.

CGASJ Luncheon with Alums
The CGASJ Luncheon with Alums provided HWS student leaders in the cultural, global awareness and social justice clubs with the opportunity to meet with alums who were also a part of those same clubs as students to learn more about their experiences and expertise. In this program, mentoring was key along with talking about how those leadership skills transfer in life after HWS. The Colleges loves their close-knit community and alum network, thus opportunities like these are always perfect for students to connect with other people also from the HWS circle.


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Justus Bey H’90 speaks about the clubs he was involved with during his time at HWS at the Luncheon with Alums.

Building Leadership through Community

Building Community Through Leadership brought student leaders together to encourage them to form connections and build partnerships in new ways – with clubs and people they might not have collaborated with in the past. HWS believes it’s important to come together as student leaders to collaborate ideas and brainstorm different programs together while getting to know each other. This event took place in the Bartlett Theatre in  Coxe Hall on September 14.
“The Building Community Through Leadership event offered student leaders from very different clubs the opportunity to network and discuss collaborations.  We often find that our very engaged students are so busy that they may not know their counterparts in other clubs.  We hope events like this begin to foster alliances and understanding across interests and connect people who may have very different backgrounds around similar goals.” – Jeremy Wattles, Associate Director of the Community Engagement and Service Learning Office


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LGBTQ+ Resource Center Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

On September 4, 2017, Hobart and William Smith Colleges officially opened the new on-campus LGBTQ+ Resource Center during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in de Cordova Hall. This event brought together students, faculty, staff, alums and friends of the Colleges, and featured a keynote address by Savas Abadsidis ’96, the managing editor for Retrograde Communications.

The LGBTQ+ Resource Center located on the first floor of deCordova Hall offers a safe, physical space for students and organizations to meet and find campus and community resources.


Speakers during the ribbon-cutting ceremony included: President Vincent, Kim Wilson Vincent, Savas Abadsidis, WS Dean Lisa Kaenzig, and Michelle Martin-Baron. Members of the LGBTQ+ Resource Center committee include Assistant VP for Campus Life Brandon Barile, Katie Stiffler (Title IX & Compliance Programs), Assistant Professor Michelle Martin-Baron, Christine Lucht (Residential Education), Valerie Cuellar ’20, Josue Cuevas ’20 and Lester Gamez ’19.


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Here is a glimpse of the ribbon cutting ceremony:


For more information on the resources HWS has to offer for the LGBTQ+ community, check out their website here.

HWS Club Expo

The first Friday of the Fall semester, HWS student leaders showcase their club on the Quad to inform and invite others to join. This is the perfect opportunity to see what HWS has to offer, meet new people, and join a new club. Every club sets up a table to have students walk around, introduce themselves and share contact information for future club meetings.



This year’s Convocation was a memorable one, as it was first in the tenure of President Gregory J. Vincent ’83. All students, faculty and staff were invited to join the gathering on the Stern Lawn where they listened to the traditional procession of bagpipes and international flags. This event allowed attendees to envision the promising year ahead and hear from keynote speaker, NPR’s Laura Sydell ’83 who received the prestigious William Smith Alumna Achievement Award during the ceremony.



International Student Orientation & Breakfast

All of the HWS International Students were encouraged to attend a Student Orientation and breakfast on the Scandling Patio. HWS wants to welcome all of our international students and note how they bring the world to our campus. The HWS community values all different cultures and is thankful for our global engagement each and every day.


HEOP Summer Institute Closing Banquet Summer 2017

The Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) is funded by the New York State Department of Education and Hobart and William Smith Colleges. HEOP is regarded as one of the most successful academic access and support programs of its type in the nation based upon student achievement and graduation rates according to the Teagel Foundation.

When a student is accepted into HWS through the Academic Opportunity Programs office, that student will attend a five-week intensive academic summer program, required for all first time enrolling Academic Opportunity Program students. This intensive program includes courses in College Writing, Geoscience, Humanities, Film Analysis and Study Skills for College Success. In addition, individual counseling sessions are scheduled to assist students in making the transition to the college environment. The Summer Institute sets the foundation for making the successful transition into HWS through academic preparation in essential skills necessary for college success, and building identity and community as new college students. In addition to learning administrative processes, students receive in-depth orientations to learn about the many services available on campus.




HWS Summer Academy 2017


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The HWS Summer Academy is a yearly summer opportunity for Geneva High School juniors and seniors to engage in college academic work and activities for a period of two weeks. Students are guided by college student mentors, receive instruction and mentorship from professors and staff, and get to learn more about the college application process, college study strategies and college search process. The curriculum has expanded to include classes in architecture, computer programming, psychology, chemistry, sociology, environmental studies, social justice and dance. All in all the program seeks to prepare students for the networking, presentation, study skills, and application process expected for college applicants/students. The program is possible thanks to the generosity of the Wyckoff Family Foundation. It has been a huge success and has substantial support from HWS.

The Summer Academy is an academic program that combines lectures, discussions projects, presentation, field trips and workshops. It was started 13 years ago by Professor Boyer and has segued to new different ways, and this year we had 20 rising juniors and seniors who may have some kind of barriers…and this is an exposure program to college that says yes you can go and there is a way and you should be in college”
– Shayne Feinberg, Program Coordinator at the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning




Hobart and William Smith Colleges   Alumni Reunion of 2017 – Farewell to President Gearan and Mary Gearan


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President Gearan’s accomplishments, in partnership with the HWS community, are too many to mention in one blog post. But as the office of Intercultural Affairs we would like to thank President Gearan for his dedicated support for inclusive excellence on campus as well as a noticeable increase in diversity across many identities and backgrounds. Under his leadership  the Office of Diversity and Inclusion was established with the mission to ensure adequate resources and attention is available to promote and sustain a diverse campus. Moreover, President Gearan led an effort to establish a Culture of Respect on campus which will continue to encourage a campus climate where prejudice and hate are not acceptable and where leadership is encouraged to counter them with the support of the colleges. “From class, to race, to sexuality – underneath all of these challenges to building a sense of community is the imperative for greater respect.” His Inclusive Excellence vision included creating “a learning community that is guided by the principles of equity, social justice, cultural competence, and engaged citizenship.” And so among the numerous other accomplishments of President Gearan, he prioritized and took to heart the need for inclusivity and communicating the benefits of diversity and respect. We thank both President Gearan and Mrs. Gearan for their personal involvement with HWS students as well as students in the Geneva school district. We wish the Gearan family the best in their future life. We will miss them! You can view videos of their final farewell during Alumni weekend below!






Hobart and William Smith Colleges   Commencement 2017


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President Bill Clinton took the time during his commencement speech to address the Class of 2017 as political agents who have growing civic responsibilities on their shoulders. He spoke to the importance and accompanying benefits of diversity and inclusivity, and addressed the current divisive climate of our country. Bill Clinton asked the Class of 2017 and their friends and family “Do you believe constant combat works better to produce prosperity, harmony, peace — or are diverse networks of people working together more likely to produce those good ends?” His message was followed up by speeches of student representatives of HWS, Sydney Gomez WS’17 and Matthew Skinner H’17. Both spoke to the need of being better and more authentic listeners, being more empathetic of others unlike ourselves, and of the open doors students had available during their time here at the colleges. Together these speeches spoke to the importance of collectivity, supporting one another during times of need, and being more receptive and aware of diverse inclusivity. A great awesome note on which for Class of 2017 to say goodbye!

Below is a link to the IC’s full photo collection of Commencement 2017!

Commencement 2017 https://goo.gl/photos/epE8CVao42QenMtLA

IC Commencement 2017 Lunch and Dinner https://goo.gl/photos/bVpMSZcVx5S538Hz6

Girl Up & PeaceAction NY’s Hunger Banquet

On Sunday, April 30, Girl Up and PeaceAction NY hosted a Hunger Banquet for HWS. The Oxfam Hunger Banquet is a memorable, interactive event that brings hunger and poverty issues to life. The clubs were happy to see many students attending this event to learn more about the poverty issues worldwide. To learn more or donate to this foundation, check our their website here! If you would like to see additional photos and videos check out their album!



8th Annual The Arts Experience

Every year the Finger Lakes, Inc. and HWS Colleges are pleased to present The 8th Annual Arts Experience: A Festival Celebrating Inclusion & the Arts. This year, the theme was Planting Seeds. This took place from April 3 – April 7, and the Gala was on Thursday, April 6 in the Vandervort Room in the Scandling Center. This was an art exhibit featuring local artists and participatory dancing with Cadence Whittier. HWS Studio Arts Collective students provided opportunities to create art from found materials. The William Smith College A Capella group, Three Miles Lost performed, as well as the Youth Voice Band.




Pride’s Gayla Dinner

On Friday, April 14, the PRIDE club hosted their annual Gayla Dinner at the Barlett Theatre to bring together members of the HWS community and recognize the work of Pride over the past year. This dinner is an exciting occasion for all those involved, and provides HWS students and faculty to gather together at year’s end. Samantha Vega, a drag queen based out of Rochester, hosted the event and performed for all the attendees.

Pride’s prizes were Oscar themed and IC received the best production design award. The IC was honored to receive an award at the event and will treasure all the memories made at this fabulous annual gathering.



HipNotiQ’s Step Show

On Saturday, April 15, the HipNotiQ’s hosted their Step Show. The Hip-NotiQ’s is an organization and team devoted to creating a positive energy on campus by merging the arts of dance and step to create unique routines and performances.

In stepping, the body is used as an instrument to create intricate rhythms and sounds though a combination of footsteps, claps and the spoken word. Stepping is based on a long and rich tradition in African-based communities that use movement, words and sounds to communicate allegiance to a group.

If you’re interested in joining the team, check out their website.



Sankofa’s Charity Ball


Sankofa, the HWS Black Student Union, recently hosted its annual Charity Ball which raised over $2,000 and awarded scholarships to Geneva High School students. The theme of this year’s Charity Ball was “Black Diamonds” to represent the strength, beauty and uniqueness of the Black diaspora. The Ball took place Saturday, March 26 at the Geneva Ramada Lakefront. German Veras H’17 MC’ed the event.

Award-winning artist, writer, performer, educator, and activist Dominique Christina served as keynote speaker. Christina holds four national titles in the three years she has been competing in slam poetry. The Charity Ball also featured a dinner, live performances, dancing and a silent auction.

For more photos of the event, click here! To read more, click here!

Scholar’s Day at HWS

Intercultural Affair’s Director Alejandra Molina and Pamela Icyeza welcomed students and families who attended the Academic Department and Campus Resource Fair on Saturday, April 8. HWS encourages all admitted students to visit campus where they’ll be introduced to the Colleges through the eyes of our students. Students gain a better understanding of life at HWS is actually like. Visiting students and families have the opportunity to attend various panels, meet with faculty and staff members, participate in full campus tours, residence hall hours and visual arts tours.

To read more, click here! For more photos, click here!

“Saturday was a lot of fun! It’s always great speaking to potential students and exposing them to the many different student run clubs and through this, showing them the importance of the IC to the student population!” Pamela Icyeza


International Student Association’s Annual Dinner


ISA hosted their annual dinner on March 31 at the Ramada on the Geneva lakefront. HWS students and faculty attended for a night filled with music, dancing and fun. There were impressive performers, a delicious buffet style dinner, and various speakers.

For students interested in participating in events with international students, you can attend this Friday’s International Café at the Chaplain’s house. For more information on how HWS supports their international students, check out our website.

For more photos of the event, click here.

Banning Refugees Program


Activist, Speaker and author of Bosnian Immigrants visited Hobart and William Smith this past Friday, March 24 to speak about her book, as well as the topic of immigration and refugees. These conversations are important to have, especially during our current political situation. It’s crucial to listen to other perspectives and become informed on every aspect of the situation.

This event was hosted by the One-on-One Friendship Club, a service club that relies on a video calling platform to connect young Indonesians to youth in other cultures to promote peace, non-violence and social justice. Their mission is to promote social justice and to provide a network for working collaboratively among individuals of diverse cultures as well as furthering our understanding of world cultures, uniting cultural differences, enhancing leadership skills, and creating a discourse that addresses issues revolving around social justice. They do this by skyping with students in Indonesia weekly in order to help teach them English as well as creating and holding events that discuss cross-cultural issues and how to address and go about working with people of different backgrounds positively and productively. The club meets every Monday at 7pm in the Demearest reading room on the first floor for anyone interested in attending.

One on One Friendship was proud to host Aisa Purak as our speaker on Friday. Our club promotes cross-cultural engagement and conversations as we help teach students in Indonesia English. We believe that having serious conversations about cross-cultural issues and being able to understand and accept those of different backgrounds is extremely important. Asia Purak, a Bosnian refugee, was able to tell us about her own experiences as a refugee and how that has impacted her. Everyone there got to understand how impactful it is to be torn away from one’s own country and, as being a Muslim, Purak was able to tell us why religious differences in this country, especially coming from refugees, is crucial to creating acceptance of others. We were so glad to have hosted her at HWS and hope to continue promoting cross-cultural friendly dialogues! Carly Kelly WS, Co-Founder of One-on-One Friendship Club


CSA’s Masquerade Ball


Every year, the Caribbean Student’s Association on campus hosts their annual Masquerade Ball and invites the HWS community to participate in celebrating the caribbean culture, enjoy traditional food and dance, and spend time with friends. The event this year took place at the Belhurst Castle on Saturday, March 25 from 5 to 8 p.m.

The theme this year is “Whine ‘N Dine,” which references the Caribbean dance from called whining. Various live performances included FuturPointe from Rochester, NY, and the Brazilian dance group Samba Novo from NYC.

All proceeds from the event were donated to a CSA Scholarship Fund at the Center for Global Education that provides assistance to students who are studying abroad.

Students can become involved with CSA by attending weekly meetings hosted at the IC on Thursdays from 7-8 p.m. For additional photos from the event check out this link Masquerade Ball 2017 Photos



Hillel HWS Shabbat

Shabbat, or the Jewish Sabbath, is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night. Shabbat is ushered in by lighting candles and reciting a blessing. Shabbat observance traditionally entails three festive meals: in the evening, in the early afternoon and late in the afternoon. The evening meal typically begins with a blessing called kiddish and another blessing recited over two loaves of challah bread.


“HWShabbat 2017 was a huge success!  The theme of the event – and the reason we changed the name from Shabbat 250 to HWShabbat – was community, and the evening allowed us to come together as a community and to celebrate the idea of community.  The Jewish community on campus enjoyed sharing our Shabbat traditions with friends and colleagues from other faith traditions, and everyone learned about the idea of Shabbat – the idea of taking time away from our to-do lists and schedules to do something that feeds our souls.  We honored President Gearan for his service to the Jewish community, and presented him with a gift engraved with the Jewish teaching “L’dor vaDor,” which means “From Generation to Generation.”  This is an idea in Judaism that we have an obligation to plant for future generations just as prior generations planted for us.  President Gearan’s work in starting the Abbe Center exemplifies this teaching, and we were thrilled to be able to honor him.” Julianne Miller, Director, Abbe Center for Jewish Life and Hillel Adviser

See more photos of the Shabbat dinner here.

For more information on the Jewish life at HWS, visit their website here!

William Smith Walkout


On March 8th, otherwise known as International Women’s Day, an International Women’s Strike took place in locations all throughout the world. Women in various international locations participated in a strike in the form of walk-outs, protests, occupations & blockades. The women of Geneva, New York and other neighboring cities joined this action towards change by assembling at noon in front of Congressman Tom Reed’s Geneva office. Strikes were open to all ages and genders to have people stand in solidarity for women.

William Smith also participated in a Walkout where HWS students met outside the Performing Arts Center at 11:30 to walk downtown and protest at Tom Reed’s. This was a call for collaboration to support the Geneva Women’s Assembly.

At least 200 students gathered in front of the PAC to walk downtown in solidarity to Tom Reed’s office. By one o’clock several hundred people had gathered on the sidewalk. Students and individuals alike stood up in front of the crowd and spoke on why they strike; varying from immigration to violence against women to reproductive rights. In that moment, we found that we are stronger together. And together we have the opportunity to voice our opinions and stand together in solidarity. Brittany MacLeod WS’17


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International Women’s Day


International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and commemorates the movement for women’s rights. This day has been observed since the early 1900’s, and is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity.

To celebrate incredible women and their accomplishments, the IC and GirlUp hosted “Mothers and Daughters Across Borders” featuring Marzia Ahmadi and Nagina Ahmadi WS’20 and Celia Pérez and Marilú Segura WS’07. It’s important to hear stories of women, particularly those who find themselves forces many times to cross geographic, identity and political borders.

For more photos of the 2017 celebration at HWS, click here.

An African Experience: Remembering Our Roots


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Wednesday, February 22, the IC hosted a panel entitled “An African Experience: Remembering Our Roots” at the Bartlett Theatre. The panel was moderated by Joshua Kolapo, the Area Director of Residential Education, and the panelists consisted of Provost and Dean of Faculty Titilayo Ufomato, French and Francophone Studies Professor Kanate Dahouda, Interim Chief Diversity Officer Solomé Rose, and Magdy Gad ’19 and Djeneba Ball ’20.

The panel worked to inform HWS students about the African continent, learn about the different African countries, identities, histories, and African and African-American identities.

Multicultural Career and Networking Conference

On February 10-11, 2017, HWS alums returned to campus to participate in a Multicultural Career and Networking Conference for current students. There were various panels and programs throughout the day, but the conference began on Friday, February 10 at 5pm with “Defining Success in the Workplace,” which was a conversation with seniors regarding the workplace culture, your personal sure north, and how the rules of work may apply to you. This was facilitated by former Trustee Margarita Ramos WS’85. Saturday morning’s activities began at 10am with various workshops and panels, some of which included “Life After HWS,” “Non-Profit Careers,” “Business Careers,” and “Grad School/Law School.” There was an additional networking session and REAL talk with Alums.

The Keynote Speaker of the event was the honorable Laura G. Douglas WS’79 who now works as the Justice of the Bronx Country Supreme Court and Supervising Judge of the Bronx County.

Only some of the organizations included The Economist, SUNY ESF, NYC Dept. of Education and Bank of America.

Click here for more photos of the event!


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HWS Club Expo


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The Club Expo is a great way to see what clubs are available on campus, and what you might be interested in joining. The Spring semester club expo was held in the Vandervort Room, and club leaders and members set up tables to invite new members to join. Clubs are a wonderful way to get involved on campus, gain a sense of community and connection, and really just to make more friends! If you’re interested and looking for more information about clubs, visit the Student Activities website to see how you can get involved.

International Student Association’s Sit In & Write In

In protest of the current Trump Administration’s Executive Order, the ISA hosted a Sit In and Write In at Scandling Center. They wanted to stress the way the Executive Order impacts the international academic community, in addition to immigrants and refugees.

“The sit in was to protest the unjust rulings and executive orders by the Trump administration. It was done in silence to reflect that even if you are silent you can get your message heard and raise your voice. The fact that the executive orders had negative impacts on international students coming back into the United States to return to their studies is something worth to be concerned about, along with the refugee crisis.” – Shafi Shirzai H’17


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Lunar New Year 2017

The Chinese New Year in modern Mainland China is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. In 2017, the first day of the Chinese New Year was on Saturday, the 28th of January, initiating the year of the Rooster.

The New Year festival was traditionally a time to honor deities as well as ancestors. Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, as it’s a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the lunar new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors.

Within China, regional customs and traditions of the celebration of the Chinese New Year vary widely. The evening preceding New Year’s day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It’s traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “good fortune” or “happiness,” “wealth” and “longevity.” Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes.

Students on the HWS campus celebrated at the Asian Student Union’s Lunar New Year semi-formal dinner and dance on Saturday, January 28. HWS students and three clubs from Cornell University all performed at the event, and enjoyed dinner from Wing Tai restaurant.


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Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He is known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs. At the age of thirty-five, MLK Jr. was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement. In 1968 while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march, he was assassinated. People commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. by celebrating his life and achievements on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 16. Communities such as Geneva, NY and HWS come together to honor his legacy, such as the series of events this January. There is a march that takes place in downtown Geneva followed by a worship service at the Presbyterian Church and a speaker, William Johnson, former mayor of Rochester, NY. Also, there was an HWS Day of Service in MLK Jr.’s honor where HWS students volunteered to help members in the community.

Screening of “13th”

Tuesday, January 24 at 7pm, join us in the Sanford Room for a screening of Ava Duvernay’s documentary “13th.” Following the screening, Professor Justin Rose of the Political Science department will lead a conversation on race and the U.S. criminal justice system.

MLK Dance Program

A multicultural dance event titled, “Building the Beloved Community: Social Change through the Performing Arts” was hosted by Assistant Professor of Dance Kelly Johnson in the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts. The Niema Atkins and Afreesoul Dynamic Dance Company, a group of intersectional artists, will showcase their craft of spoken word and storytelling, movement and dance, video and film, as well as music and soundscapes.


Fulbright Forum


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Fulbright Language Teaching Assistants Roxana Nabati and Malik Al-Masoodi presented on the Gilman International Scholarship and Fulbright Teaching Assistants Program.  The Gilman Scholarship Program is an undergraduate grant program for U.S. citizens of limited financial means to enable them to study abroad, thereby internationalizing their outlook and better preparing them to thrive in the global economy.

“In general, these scholarships offer a wonderful experience for any applicant because one will visit a new country, meet new people, make new friends, and experience a new culture, language, and traditions. To be more precise, one will see things from a different perspective, an authentic one, away from media. Consequently, one will make their own judgments  about the place they visit. It will definitely open wider horizons and changes the way one used to think. It is an adventure that young students have always been looking for and is worth trying, not to mention grant benefits, every students can apply free of charge.” –Malik Al-Masoodi, Arabic FLTA

Immigration: Voices and Identities


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Monday, December 5 in the Bartlett Theatre, HWS hosted a forum on immigration entitled, Immigration: Voices and Identities. The event featured a panel of students and faculty, including Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Sociology Ervin Kosta, Nagina Ahmadi ’20, Kely Amejecor ’18, John Camara ’19 and Sergio Perez ’19. The closing remarks were provided by Alejandra Castillo ’20. Through the lens of immigration, the panel examined various reasons for immigration, stereotypes and race, feelings of homesickness, and the challenges of encountering new customs and cultures.

International Game Night at the Chaplain’s


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Friday, October 28 at 7pm, the Chaplain invited HWS students to attend a game night where he provided desserts and snacks. There were a variety of games and he invited students to bring games and teach others. He also had Karaoke and mah jong.

“Improv is fun!! The dynamic activities cross all cultures. When 20 international and American students gathered for International Game Night they started by creating a human machine, enlivened by sound and movement. That was just the warm up led by Andrew D’Angio-White who has performed with improv troupes in Rochester, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Although most of the group had not done improv before, they created sketches that had everyone laughing harder than Saturday Night Live! Held at the start of Halloween weekend at the Chaplain’s House, Game Night also featured games and karaoke songs from around the world. We’ll repeat it on Friday, Nov 18 since everyone had fun making friends.  Thanks to Lan Yao and Bex Czajkowski and many other people who made it possible, including the instructors and students of CTL’s writing classes and conversation partners , the Intercultural Center, Peer to Peer, CGE’s Global Buddies, International Student Affairs, International Students Association and Office for Spiritual Engagement.” Clifford Chan, International Student Programming (Volunteer)



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Kwanzaa is a secular festival observed by many African Americans from December 26 to January 1 as a celebration of their cultural heritage and traditional values. People celebrate by feasting and giving gifts to loved ones.

This holiday was first created by Maulana Karena and celebrated in 1966-67. Karena founded the seven principles of Kwanzaa, and each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is each dedicated to one.

  1. Umoja (Unity): To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race
  2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves
  3. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and work together to solve them
  4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses, and use these to profit from them together
  5. Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness
  6. Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it
  7. Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

The Kwanzaa celebratory items include a mat (Mkeka) on which a Kinara (candle holder), Mishumaa Saba (seven candles), maze (crops), Muhindi (corn), a Kikombe cha Umoja (unity cups) for commemorating and giving shukrani (thanks) to African Ancestors, and Zawadi (gifts). These all represent values and concepts reflective of African culture and contribution to community building and reinforcement of culture.

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories, as well as acknowledge the important contributions of Native people.

We are so lucky to have tribes near Geneva, NY, including the Iroquois. The Iroquois were not one tribe, but a group of five different tribes, consisting of the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida and Mohawk. They lived near each other and spoke very similar languages. They lived in what is now New York State along the St. Lawrence River, and their village consisted of two or more longhouses.


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Culture Through the Arts


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HWS celebrated culture though the arts this past Tuesday, October 18. David Lahmani H’17 hosted the event and announced the various performances beginning at 5:30pm. The day began with an open exhibit of street art from abroad, and then later in the evening students performed their dance routines in the Scandling Center.

It was very rewarding to see the great talent our students have and how well they showcased their work according to this year’s theme – Street Art! Darling Polanco-Wattles, Assistant Director, Intercultural Affairs

Panel on Islamophobia


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There was an on-campus panel discussion regarding the rise of islamophobia in the United States. Professor Shalahudin Kafrawi in the Religious Studies department was the moderator of the discussion, and five student panelists participated. The moderator asked questions regarding the students’ Muslim identities and their experiences with islamophobia. This event was sponsored by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, and Intercultural Affairs.

The islamophobia panel was a great opportunity to hear firsthand from Muslim students about their experiences on campus as well as the broader issue of Islamophobia plaguing our nation and the world. Salome Rose, Interim Chief Diversity Officer

HWS Impact


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Several campus offices have collaborated to host HWS Impact, a day of dialogue devoted to exploring issues of identity, engagement, justice, leadership and social change at the Colleges.

“HWS Impact is designed as a platform for students to engage in collective exploration of our campus culture through conversation,” says Denise Polanco ’11. “Ultimately, our goal is to provide the community with a unique opportunity to create a shift in the campus culture and support the goals of the Culture of Respect initiative.”

The first portion of the event features student storytellers sharing personal narratives about the ways in which their identities have impacted their college experiences. Following the personal narratives — which are themed around race, class, gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, ability, power and privilege — the second portion provides an opportunity for attendees to debrief the stories through dialogue groups. The groups allow an environment where students feel empowered to engage in action-oriented conversations about issues that impact or affect the campus community.

HWS Impact has grown in collaborations and was able to reach wider audiences across campus. The narrators  were very impactful and widened different perspectives touching on important topics affecting the HWS community. Denise Polanco, Program Coordinator at Student Activities

Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month


Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestor came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

September 15 is a significant date because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Also, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12 which also falls within this 30 day period.

International Student Dinner


The President and Mrs. Gearan’s hosted their 18th annual event and welcomed our international students. Students were invited for dinner to meet one another, and become acquainted with Mr. and Mrs. Gearan. HWS is a true global community, and this dinner is only one example of the ways we incorporate our students from all over the world.



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Convocation is a wonderful event which brings the entire campus community together to celebrate the start of the academic year. During this event, students, faculty, staff and alums gather on the Stern Lawn to reflect on the values of the Colleges and remember traditions from the past. The ceremony always begins with a traditional bagpipe-led processional, as the lawn was lined with 102 flags representing the nations and terrorizes from which the colleges’ students and faculty are from, and where they’ve studied.

Present Mark Gearan welcomed the students of the Class of 2020, and made sure to advise them to “take advantage of every day here, take advantage of every faculty and staff member here, who are here for you. And take advantage of our web of alums and parents who are dedicated to your success, for this is a very special place and you will make it an even better place.”

Vipe President for diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin Dr. Gregory J. Vincent ’83 delivered the Keynote address. The Chair of the Board of Trustees, Thomas S. Bozzuto ’68 and the Professor of Geoscience Nan Crystal Arens, the recipient of the 2015-2016 Faculty Prize for Scholarship, also both spoke, offering a welcome and advise for the Class of 2020.

The two Student Trustees, Sydney Gomez WS’17, and Zachary Grattan H’17, both spoke as well.

Club Expo


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The Club Expo this past September 3rd was an Involvement Fair hosted on the Quad. Different clubs on campus set up their own table to promote their club and find new members. Many students attended and learned about the different ways to get involved on campus and signed up to join different clubs.