Student encounters teaching in England

By Robbie Long, Contributing Writer

A gap-toothed, six-year-old British boy cames up to me at recess and asked, “Mistah Long, what do you call sheep in America?”

“We just call them sheep, Archie.” “Oh. Well, we call them that, too!” Wash, rinse, and repeat with a new word twenty minutes later. I chose GO Chester for my GO Short experience, and I couldn’t be more grateful that I did.

A new program through the Susquehanna Education Department, GO Chester features two weeks spent full-time as a student teacher in a primary school in Chester, England. Through this experience, I learned more from the students than they could have ever learned from me—it was more than what they call sheep in England.

The primary school I was placed at has no more than 100 students in total, with less than twenty staff members. Its acceptance rate is less than one percent.

After siblings of current students, children of staff members, and those with special needs were admitted, there was only one open spot for the upcoming school year’s “Reception” (preschool) class, with over 100 applicants.

Why? Because this school gets results.

I spent nearly sixty hours in this school over the course of two weeks, and I witnessed children achieve milestones that American educators would normally expect from children years older than them. While assigned to a “Year 2” (first grade) classroom, I observed students reading “Matilda,” a book that Scholastic categorizes as suitable for “Grades 3-7”. These first graders were already learning cursive handwriting and spouting off the scientific method faster than I could.

One would initially think that these poor children are having information drilled into their brains all day with no reprieve. The image of a dreary classroom with children sitting in rows while a teacher lectures comes to mind.

Quite the contrary, actually. Students at this school don’t have desks. They don’t have workbooks. They don’t even spend the majority of their school day in their classroom.

During the two weeks I spent at this school, I accompanied Archie and his classmates to their weekly swimming lessons, their thrice-daily recesses, the front of the school to observe a wood carving expert, on a field trip to a local theatre, and, perhaps most impressively, on their “Outdoor Classroom Day”, where the entire school split into their four, mixed-age houses (much like Hogwarts) and spent the entire day outdoors, even in the infamous England rain.

These kids are not being drilled on their knowledge. As it happens, the only exam of any kind that my first graders were subjected to during my time there was one short spelling quiz. Instead, students are asked to create something to showcase their learning at the end of a unit.

This, in fact, is the key to success: project-based learning.

After their Outdoor Classroom Day, the teacher assigned my class of six-year-olds to write a narrative of their day in at least four paragraphs, each including multiple, complex sentences. This wasn’t even the lesson objective; knowing how to write at this level of complexity was considered background knowledge for these students. Only one struggled to perform to this level: Archie. Archie has high self-esteem and a dazzling smile, only disappear- ing when it’s time to write. Although a math whiz, science know-it-all, and trivia knowledge champion, he struggles with writing to the point where he gets little to nothing done without adult intervention.

For this multi-day narrative assignment, I was his adult intervention. Although I had never worked with this grade level and had little knowledge of the expectations of the teacher, I sat with Archie and we painstakingly wrote his narrative, one word at a time. And I truly mean one, slowly written, often misspelled, word at a time.

By the end of the third day, however, we finished the conclusion of his narrative. We dotted the “i’s,” crossed the “t’s,” and made sure his name was at the top. It wasn’t great, but it was his story, and it met the lesson objective.

Seeing his gap-toothed grin return and his hand go up for a high-five is a mental image that I hope I never forget.

I’ve been working with children of various ages for five years now. I’ve spent countless hours observing in classrooms from infancy through eighth grade. Archie is the student that reminds me why I do this.I just had to cross an ocean to find him.

Chaplain’s Corner

By the Rev. Scott M. Keshner, University Chaplain

This past week we remembered, as a country, the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. To mark that memorial, the Susquehanna (SU) College Republicans put 2,996 small United States flags in the grass outside Degenstein Campus Center to represent each of the victims of the attacks.

Part of what I found moving about those flags is that they represent that incredible diversity of what America is, and what America stand for when we are at our best.

The display called to mind, for me, the motto of our country, “E Pluribus Unum”-“Out of Many, One”.

Though the flags appear uniform, each one represents a unique human life. This means they represent the wonderful diversity of America, the “many” from which we become “one”.

The victims of 9/11 included every race, religion and gender identity of our country. In addition, they represent 372 foreign nationals. This does not count the 19 perpetrators, representing 61 countries: the flags represent them too.

Each of those flags is a human story, and each story is woven into the larger tapestry of what out country represents. As we remember victims of 9/11, we are honoring the amazing diversity and unity of the United States. I am thankful to the SU College Republicans for reminding us all of that.

The question of what defines “American” or “Americans” is currently a matter of urgent debate. There are some who wish to define what America is along racial, ethnic, or religious lines. Such attempts are not true to the America represented by those flags, and certainly  not of our highest and best ideals as a nation.

As former President Barack Obama spoke to this very issue recently in a post on Facebook: “What makes us American is not a question of what we look like, or where our names come from, or the way we pray. What makes us American is our fidelity to a set of ideals – that all of us are created equal; that all of us deserve the chance to make of our lives what we will; that all of us share an obligation to stand up, speak out, and secure our most cherished values for the next generation. That’s how America has traveled this far. That’s how, if we keep at it, we will ultimately reach that more perfect union.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Editor talks anxiety and depression

By Danielle Bettendorf, Living & Arts Editor

When I started writing this editorial, I really didn’t know where to start, because I didn’t know how to talk about something that no one talks about: not loving yourself-and how horrible and how normal it is.

Growing up, suffering from depression and anxiety, I was a really shy kid who didn’t have a whole lot of self-esteem. I was always the kid who never talked in class, who always second guessed their worth and who could be praised a million times but never feel like they were doing enough.

And i’m not saying that’s completely changed-there are situations where i’ll be doing fine, but still feel like i’m drowning: like no matter what I do, i’ll never be good enough.

People will say, “no one will love you until you love yourself”-but I think that’s completely absurd.

Self-love can be the hardest thing in the world and can feel even worse when it becomes an obstacle to over-come before you can get any further. For people struggling to love themselves, the argument can seem like a catch-22: can’t love yourself until someone loves you, but they won’t love you until you love yourself.

It is so hard to love yourself: loving yourself is saying “screw you” in a world were it’s so easy to give in to self-doubts and self-hatred and let negative thoughts overcome your mind.

I didn’t start to love myself because I read a self-help book, or because I had a life-changing experience that made me reevaluate my world view. I started to love myself after realizing that other people loved me. I took in what they said and I look at myself through their eyes.

It didn’t take a day for things to change and I won’t pretend like things are perfect now. I still struggle with how I see myself and there are a lot of days when it feels like things won’t get better. I know that most if not all of my friends are in the same boat, even when we’re reluctant to reach out to others.

I realized that everyone around me was kind of suffering in the same way: we were all willing to drop the world for each other, but let ourselves go. We would do so much for other people and nothing for ourselves.

I’m a better person today than I was yesterday and I think i’ll be an even better person tomorrow. I’m not ashamed to say that i’m better because of people around me-i’m trying to be that positive influence for other people, too. I am where I am today because of the people around me and i’m nothing but grateful for them.

I don’t know if I can completely say I love myself, but i’m trying-and even though I waver, even though I still have shaky days, one day i’ll confidently believe that i’m good enough.

Senior does service work in Puerto Rico

By Michael Bernaschina, Staff Writer 

This past summer, from June 17 to July 2, I, along with 11 other Susquehanna University students and program directors Keith Spencer and Molly Roe, traveled to Puerto Rico for our GO Short trip.

For the two weeks we were there, we stayed at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazon in Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan.

As obvious as it might seem, what immediately struck me about Puerto Rico was the culture shock. There was a lot of Spanish influence in the architecture, and many of the road signs were in Spanish.

However, because Puerto Rico is a United States territory, there was a lot of visible American influence, which I thought made for a very interesting blend of cultures.

A major focus of our trip was service work, so while we were there we worked with two different service groups, namely Enlace Cano Martin Pena and an Events Management graduate class from the university.

The first of the two we worked with was Enlace, whose goal is to one day clean up the heavily polluted Caño Martin Pena: a body of water that runs from San Juan Bay to the Laguna San Jose.

In our experience working with them, we went on a bicycle tour around the neighborhood affected by the pollution and worked on a service project, in which we worked in a community garden, setting up seed-beds and making signs. While working with the graduate class, we helped them advertise an event that they had been planning by handing out flyers in the surrounding area.

In addition to the service work, we visited a number of notable sites including El Yunque national rainforest, La Marquesa forest park in Guaynabo: where we were able to observe various exotic birds, and Old San Juan: the city’s historic district. We also had the opportunities to learn a little about the history of the island through our visits to the sugar cane and coffee plantations, as well as our “Birth of a Puerto Rican Nation” class, which was held by a professor from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazon.

This trip was big deal for me for a couple reasons. Not only was I going to be leaving the country for the first time in my life, but I was going to be experiencing another culture in person. Overall, I found our trip to Puerto Rico to be a very worthwhile, eye-opening experience that I’m very glad I went on, and I hope to one day be able to go back.

Director’s Discussion

By Eli Bass, Director of Jewish Life

“No matter where you are from, we are glad you are our neighbor.” Walking out of Hillel house, I was met by these words on the lawn of our new neighbor and University President, Jonathan Green. When I saw these words, they awoke a question inside of me. Specifically; what am I doing to welcome those who do not share my identities? I also turned to my own sacred text, the Hebrew bible, where it reminds me 36 times, more than any other commandment, to welcome the stranger.

In just two weeks, the Jewish community will welcome our new year; Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is a chance to create a personal reflection that enables us to think about how we can do better. This is not far removed from the practice which I know each student takes entering a new school year: to ask questions. Who was I last year? Who were my friends? What was I involved in? What is important to me this year? What will I think about differently this year than I did in the previous one?

Rosh Hashanah as a holiday forces discomfort as we become introspective over the past year. We look at our shortcomings and our potential to be better in the coming year. It is a time filled with both joy and challenge as we take time to reflect. Teshuva, the act of repentance, is literally the act of returning.

We are not returning to our past, but rather to an aspirational vision of who we could become. We look at life as a target which we attempt to hit. As flawed humans we may not be hitting the bulls-eye.

Instead we ask ‘in what are the ways we have fallen short?’ We use a ram’s horn in a ceremony to sound a reminding alarm. The blast is designed to awaken us to look inward and aspire as individuals and as a community.

Spending time at Susquehanna as a staff member forces me to continue to broaden my horizons. I know that I hold many preconceived notions about identity. When I spend time in student community it forces me to challenge my own preconceptions. This year it is clear to me that I still have plenty of work to do to think about and process my own misconceptions over this holiday season.

On campus, there are many groups, which I know can feel misunderstood Ethnic and religious groups, Greek communities, LGBTQQ, political organizations and others. My work with Muslim students has forced me to continue to challenge my own assumptions. I have been able to listen to and learn from this diverse religious community. My core work with Jewish students also challenges many of my beliefs. As a part of the Susquehanna community, I feel it is critically for me to be deeply engaged in the diverse communities here. As the director of

Jewish Life, I have enjoyed welcoming a wide variety of students to join us to deepen their understanding of Jewish community, culture and practice. This is part of our ethos as a university both on and off campus.

The challenging piece of rejoicing in the diversity of our community is also the most valuable. We learn from listening and learning from those who do not look, think or identity in the ways that you do. This is the reason why the bible emphasizes hospitality. Because once you invite the stranger into your home they are no longer a stranger. That encountering other iden- tities challenges us to our core.

Whether we talk about welcoming in the academic year, or observing Jewish New Year which starts on September 20, I would like to wish you “Shana tovah u’mituka;” A good and sweet year. I hope this coming year, we can commit to greater understanding and community as we approach this year together. In my role as Director of Jewish Life; I hope that my writing here will allow space to both strengthen your understanding of Jewish tradition and challenge us to be better neighbors to each other.

Editor makes case for relief conversation

By Megan Ruge, Co-editor in Chief 

The day before we returned to campus to start the fall semester, the students here at Susquehanna received a text message about possible immediate danger on campus.

The text read: ‘There has been an incident on campus and/or in the Selinsgrove Borough involving a gun. Please shelter in place until further notice.”

Of course, knowing many of my friends and loved ones had already returned to campus, I immediately took to contacting anyone I could think of.

I texted, emailed and Facebook messaged anyone I knew had returned. I felt helpless, but this way I was doing my part in the only way I could think of. It was important to me to make sure that people I knew were safe and that they were sure of the safety of others.

Thankfully, the situation was resolved quickly and it turned out that no one was in any kind of danger. There was no gun and campus was safe, but I was still glad I had reached out because no matter how small, it’s important to do your part in your communities.

On August 25, Hurricane Harvey first touched land. Within days, areas of Texas were flooded with 50 inches of rain. Many of us who were unaffected took to Facebook to offer thoughts and prayers to those affected. Though this is similar to how I reacted in my situation, when disaster like this happens, there is so much more we can do.

After the destruction in Houston became a headlining topic, many organizations and companies advertised that a portion of sales would be donated to relief funds, specific the American Red Cross. Just this week, I went into TJ Maxx and found myself adding a donation to my receipt at check out.

But it isn’t just businesses that are pulling their weight. Many of our own clubs and sports team on campus are raising funds and collecting items such as clothing and school supplies.

The Susquehanna Track and Field team are donating cases of water to people affected by Harvey’s destruction. The Johnson Center for Civic Engagement is collecting monetary donations and will make a collective donation on behalf of the school. There are so many outlets for donation on our campus alone.

But the ability to help doesn’t end with Harvey relief. There are many ways to contribute to the community you live in. Donating blood at a local blood drive or clothing to community aid are just a few ways to help out.

It’s important to help out and contribute. Saying something is “not your problem” is a poor outlook. If a person wants to be part of their community and have a voice in it, it is important for that person to be there when things are bad.

As an American citizen and a citizen of the world, we have a responsibility to take action and lend a hand.

Senior discusses diversity requirements

By Justus Sturtevant, Staff writer

Susquehanna needs to get serious about its diversity education.

I know that is a harsh assessment from a student who has not taken the vast majority of diversity classes at the uni- versity, but hear me out.

Thursday morning I was part of a discussion about racism in my business ethics class. For a class full of seniors who have all taken both diversity and diversity intensive classes, the discussion was very underwhelming.

At one point, the professor asked the class how we could use what we had learned about diversity at Susquehanna to address systemic racial issues in the world of business. After a few minutes of silence, there were several mumbled responses about judging people based on character rather than race.

Is that the best we can do? I recognize that race conversations in an 8:15 a.m. class full of predominantly white business majors will always be incomplete, but it still seems like we could have done a little better.

The discussion made me think back to the classes I took to fulfill the diversity and diversity intensive requirements of the central curriculum at Susquehanna. This was where my real issues with Susquehanna’s curriculum began.

In the fall of my sophomore year, I fulfilled the diversity requirement with Comparative Government and Politics.

One year later, I checked off the diversity intensive box with Management and Organizational Behavior.

Recently, I decided to take a closer look at the course catalog to see what other courses fulfilled these requirements. What I found was an odd mixture. Some classes seemed incredibly relevant to current conversations about diversity.

These included: Intro to Asian Religions; Race, Ethnicity & Minorities; Jewish Literature; Middle East Politics and Society; Introduction to Islam; Social Stratification.

Others seemed far less relevant. Under the list of current courses that fulfill diversity and diversity intensive require- ments I found the following selections: Oceanography; Intermediate German II; Intermediate French II; Dramatic Literature; Forms of Writing: Novel.

I may be completely out of line in suggesting these courses are not true diversity classes based solely on the name and department, but there certainly are some questions that need to be asked about the requirements of course that fulfill diversity at Susquehanna.

After all, the “diversity” courses I have taken at Susquehanna-Comparative Government and Politics, Management and Organizational Behavior and Legal Environment-were all courses designed with other focuses in mind. I would not claim to have much knowledge about diversity after having taken any of these classes.

I am proud of the fact that our school believes diversity to be an important part of its central curriculum; many of the classes that address diversity issues seem fantastic.

On the other hand, it seems to me that many of the courses students can use to fulfill diversity requirements were not designed with diversity in mind but had the diversity fulfillment attached to them to encourage students to take the course or to help students with that major.

As someone earning a dual degree who has overloaded every semester this is very helpful. As someone who sees the need for more comprehensive discussions of diversity on our campus it is very concerning.

There have been an alarming number of racially-charged incidents at Susquehanna in the last year. Perhaps it is time our curriculum reflected this and actually prioritized diversity in education.

Forum editor writes about The Quill

By Matthew Dooley, Forum editor 

When the next school year rolls in, so will a new assortment of students. Still untested in the college setting, these new personalities will begin to make their mark on campus. They will be able to find their niche amongst the variety of clubs and organizations Susquehanna University offers.

One such organization they may choose to frequent on campus is the campus newspaper, The Quill. At the paper, students can write to their hearts content.

Whether they have a preference for news, sports, the arts, or a personalized editorial, The Quill offers a space for their writing.

However, any interested writers or aspiring journalists can show up to a meeting and receive an assignment.

I remember walking into the meeting room the first day; I didn’t know where my life was taking me. I wanted to write, although I didn’t know precisely what I wanted to write. The Quill gave me a space.

On a weekly basis, I would pump out article after article. With each article I would interview a variety of fun and interesting people. Everyone I interviewed had a story to tell and as a journalist it was my duty to effectively bring those stories to print.

As the new forum editor, I am excited to work with the variety of writers and artists who would wish to grace the Forum page.

I have some big ideas and a whole year to see those ideas to come to fruition. If anyone is interested in being apart of The Quill’s journey to build a successful weekly publication, come to a meeting and experience journalistic bliss.

Susquehanna University is a breeding ground for creativity and leadership. I feel it is the duty for upperclassmen to be welcoming and to show these new students the way. Whether that be in writing for The Quill, which is always an option, or in any other endeavors where the path of a first year and upperclassmen may cross.

The Quill is a paper that will work with students. For any future Quill writers, we present you a word of advice.

Do not be afraid of the editors. We do not bite. If your running a bit late with an article tell us. An editor needs to edit like how a writer needs to write. Without any contact from the writer, the editor has no idea if the article will even be completed.

The deadline for each article is every Monday. New assignments are given on Tuesday.

Thursday is the last day editors are able to edit and place the articles on the pages. Afterwards, the paper is de- livered to the university news racks on Friday morning.

Student looks for silver lining in Scotland

By Justice Bufford, Abroad writer

I remember looking forward to this experience for the past two years. Susquehanna requires all undergraduates to go abroad during either a full semester or over the winter or summer break. I opted for the full semester. It is a nice change of pace from my home university and I do not have to stress too much over my grades.

I thought that I would have the time of my life while I was here. I always heard people say how great an experience it was and that they had so much fun. They would travel all throughout Europe or throughout the country and make friends quickly.

It was like a dream to me. An adventure that I could not wait to go on. It turns out that their words were tinged with hindsight.

I love Scotland. This is true. It is really green here even though spring has yet to appear. The air is clean, but I can not stand the wind. I am meeting different people and I have successfully blended to university life here.

I do not know if it is that I am unwilling to find something more exciting or what, but it is like I am just living my life here. I quite seriously think that is the point.

However, every student I talk with about their abroad experience, talk about how much they traveled while abroad.

I decided to stay in Scotland and experience where I am. That is really the only way to learn about a culture. You have to connect with it in genuine moments of human interactions. Anything outside of that is staged.

And while I think cultural festivals and the like have their place in the world, although I do not think that is experiencing another culture.

I am convinced that to actually experience a culture you have to live it. I have lived in Scotland for a few months now and I have acclimated to my surroundings. Sometimes I go shopping. I am planning on going to a Chinese restaurant within the week.

There is a coffee shop that I will probably go to again. The church in town has questionable doctrine but really awe- some tea. I have never liked partying or going out, so I am not inclined to pub crawl. It is like I live here.

At the end of the day, I am still me even if I’m in another country. My life and the interests and the culture that I am a part of are only as exciting as I perceive my own life.

The value of my experiences are dependent on what I put in, but I can not bring myself to change my mindset.

At that point, my time here would seem disingenuous to the intended purpose of experiencing a new culture.

I am sure there is a silver lining somewhere. What that is, I have yet to discover.

Student experiences religious ceremony

By Charis Gozzo, Abroad writer

“Is that the KKK?” people replied over and over to my Snapchats. I’ll admit, if you weren’t expecting it, pictures from Semana Santa would seem shocking. It’s a shame that the Klu Klux Klan in America has tainted something that should be beautiful. However, here in Spain, Semana Santa is still a spectacular and revered tradition every year. Despite your religious background, it is impossible to leave Semana Santa behind without feeling affected in some way.

The hush that fell over the crowd when the Virgin Mary marched by or the band that followed behind Jesus Christ’s float resonated within me while I snapped pictures to share. The children receiving candy from the tall, hooded, anonymous Nazarenos showed me that real people were inside. I could almost feel the strain of the “costaleros,” those men who carry the floats through the city, as their feet shuffled along the ground in sync.

Every day, about eight brotherhoods leave their churches and take to the streets of Sevilla, making their way to the official “carrera,” where they ask permission to enter the route that each brotherhood must pass through. Then they enter the “Catedral” and finally make their ways back to their respective churches.

The brotherhoods range from several hundred people to almost 2,000 and ages vary from small children to older adults. They wear long robes and “capirotes,” pointed hats that also cover their faces with only holes for eyes. Some walk barefoot, some with socks and some with shoes, all depending on their personal level of penitence. Clothed like this, it is impossible to tell who anyone is.

While there are hundreds of “Nazarenos,” there are about 30 “costaleros” beneath each float, or “paso,” each helping to bear the weight of the two ton “paso.” There are two “pasos” for each brotherhood, one of Jesus Christ and one of the Virgin Mary. Sometimes a band follows close behind and sometimes they bring a sweeping hush over the crowd with them, the silence made more profound by the sheer number of people watching in awe. After pausing to rest, the “costaleros” heave the “pasos” into the air and catch them on the backs of their necks and shoulders and carry on.

So many brotherhoods weave their way throughout the narrow streets all distinguishable by different colored robes that it’s impossible to avoid them. Sometimes you’re forced to dart between the masked “Nazarenos” to pass, or if there are too many people, you have to find another way to go altogether.

If you’re lucky, you’ll hear a passion inspired “saeta” sung from a balcony as a “paso” goes by. Hearing the “saetas” was one of my favorite parts because it’s un- scripted and raw, sung without a microphone from a high balcony over a crowd.

The brotherhoods walk for up to twelve hours, normally leaving in the afternoon and returning in the early hours of the morning. Thursday night, however, they left after midnight and returned after noon the next day, commemorating Good Friday, when Jesus died on the cross. I’ve never seen so many people in Sevilla, let alone at four a.m.

This has absolutely been my favorite week yet in Sevilla. Each day was spent with new people, discovering new parts of the city, feeling awe each time we saw the “pasos” march by. I hope other people are encouraged to look on the centuries old tradition with new eyes.