October 26, 2020

Eagles Fly High During Virtual Awards Ceremony

Senior Nehemia Abel received the Grace Mann Launch Award during the virtual Eagle Awards ceremony on Friday.

Senior Nehemia Abel received the Grace Mann Launch Award during the virtual Eagle Awards ceremony on Friday.

University of Mary Washington senior Nehemia Abel received the Grace Mann Launch Award during the annual Eagle Awards ceremony, presented virtually Friday evening. This event honors student leaders and outstanding campus organizations. New this year was the James Farmer Defining A Legacy Award.

As one of the emcees for the video awards ceremony, Brianna “Breezy” Reaves put it: “Though we cannot be together, we will come together in spirit. During this very uncertain time, we want to take every opportunity to appreciate everyone who makes UMW the place we like to call home.”

Abel, a first-generation student from Fredericksburg, paid it forward by becoming a mentor with the RISE program (Resources Inspiring Student Excellence). A RISE mentor had helped him adjust to life as a college student, Abel said.

In presenting the Launch Award, Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker described Abel as “an outstanding advocate for change” and an ambassador for “doing the good Grace would have done.” Read more.

Uniquely UMW Tradition – Devil Goat Day – Lives On

The uniquely UMW tradition of Devil Goat Day continues this year. With classes online due to COVID-19, contests are being held virtually.

The uniquely UMW tradition of Devil Goat Day continues this year. With classes online due to COVID-19, contests are being held virtually.

The name might sound odd to some. But for University of Mary Washington students and alumni, “Devil Goat Day” is tradition – one that’s been around for nearly a century.

And this year, as always, it’s on!

With courses turned virtual and campus cleared out due to COVID-19, Senior Class Council (SCC) couldn’t bear to give up this uniquely UMW event – where students who graduate in odd years, called “devils,” compete with those who graduate in even years, called “goats.”

“We couldn’t let that day slide by without acknowledging the tradition that we care so much about,” said SCC President Eleanor Kilmon, who’s worked with her clubmates to take it online for a week instead of a day.

Launched Sunday, this year’s event is packed with as much Eagle pride and well-meaning rivalry – seniors and sophomores vs. juniors and freshmen – as ever. But instead of on Ball Circle, competitions take place on Instagram, with #umwdgd. Traditional matches of corn hole, cup-pong and bull-riding give way to virtual challenges unofficially measured by re-posts and tags. Read more.

Come Be a Part of Unwind @ Mary Wash!

Planned by the Office of Student Activities and Engagement, Unwind @ Mary Wash helps students de-stress before exams. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Planned by the Office of Student Activities and Engagement, Unwind @ Mary Wash helps students de-stress before exams. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Every semester during finals week, the Office of Student Activities and Engagement participates with other offices on campus to put together Unwind @ Mary Wash. A program that brings together free snacks, arts and crafts, and therapy dogs to help students unwind as they go through finals. This year, we are looking to expand to more departments on campus! If you are interested in participating this year, or if you have any questions, please reach out the Assistant Director of SAE, Crystal Rawls, at crawls@umw.edu.

2019 National Day on Writing

The University of Mary Washington is celebrating the 2019 National Day on Writing, an initiative of the National Council of Teachers of English to promote writing not just as a critical part of literacy, but as worthy of celebration and greater attention in its own right. On October 21, from 11-2 p.m., several departments and offices on campus, including the Department of English, Linguistics and Communication; Honors Scholars; Writing Center; Simpson Library; and the UMW Barnes & Noble Bookstore will have tables set up at their locations with opportunities for student engagement.

Departments involved include:

  • Department of English, Linguistics and Communication
  • Honors Scholars
  • Writing Center
  • Simpson Library
  • Student Activities and Engagement
  • UMW Barnes & Noble Bookstore
  • Eagle One

UMW ‘Keeps the Light On’ Banned Books Week

UMW sophomore Katia Savelyeva reads a chapter from emily m. danforth’s ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ at UMW’s Banned Books Week Read Out on Wednesday. Photo by Matthew Binamira Sanders.

UMW sophomore Katia Savelyeva reads a chapter from emily m. danforth’s ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ at UMW’s Banned Books Week Read Out on Wednesday. Photo by Matthew Binamira Sanders.

Born in Russia, UMW sophomore Katia Savelyeva has called America home for most of her life. But the English major sometimes wonders what it would be like had she stayed in St. Petersburg.

“I hope I’d still do things that don’t require as much bravery here in the United States,” said Savelyeva, who read aloud on Campus Walk Wednesday from a young adult book that was banned in an American school district, as part of Mary Washington’s annual Read Out event.

Held every September, this national awareness campaign by the American Library Association (ALA) and other organizations puts a spotlight on attempts to censor, challenge and ban books in libraries and schools. A collection of events and displays across campus this week highlights the need to “keep the light on” and celebrate the freedom to express all ideas. Read more. 

Sandrine Sutphin: Join the Club

Sandrine Sutphin, director of Student Activities and Engagement, and her staff support huge campus-wide events like yesterday's Club Carnival, as well as Orientation, Family Weekend and Homecoming. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

Sandrine Sutphin, director of Student Activities and Engagement, and her staff support huge campus-wide events like yesterday’s Club Carnival, as well as Orientation, Family Weekend and Homecoming. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

The carnival came to UMW yesterday – Club Carnival, that is. Rather than rides and fried treats on sticks, this beloved Mary Washington tradition is about forming connections. Hundreds of students congregated on Ball Circle, finding new friends to share their passions. From organizations that encourage community and civic engagement, to clubs for Quidditch and Japanese anime fans – with more than 150 groups seeking new members – there was something for every Eagle.

In the center of it all was Sandrine Sutphin, who has run the event since she came to the University three years ago. “After graduate school, I spent four years at large research institutions, so I wanted to gain experience at a smaller school. Coming to UMW was a great opportunity.”

Indeed. As director of Student Activities and Engagement, Sutphin and her team support Mary Washington clubs and organizations, manage the MyUMW student engagement software and support huge campus-wide events like Orientation, Family Weekend and Homecoming.

As an undergraduate, Sutphin personally experienced the impact that belonging to a club can have on a student. At JMU, she served as a weekend designated driver, an orientation guide and peer advisor, and as a member of the Alpha Phi Omega co-ed service fraternity. But it was her participation in Outriggers that gave her a taste of her future career.

“Our club’s motto was ‘peers helping peers help themselves,’ ” said Sutphin, who facilitated ice breakers, team builders and reflection sessions to assist other campus organizations. “My involvement in that group influenced my decision to become a student affairs professional.”

 

As director of Student Activities and Engagement, Sandrine Sutphin and her team support UMW clubs and organizations. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

As director of Student Activities and Engagement, Sandrine Sutphin and her team support UMW clubs and organizations. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

Q: Why does participating in clubs and organizations enhance the college experience?
A: There’s a lot of research around the benefits of involvement and how it can positively impact your success in college and beyond. On the surface, it helps you meet new people, make friends and feel more connected. Beyond that, there are many skills that can be gained, particularly if you take on leadership positions. Organization, communication, team building, critical thinking, gaining multicultural awareness – these competencies support career preparedness.

Q: Anything new at this year’s Club Carnival?
A: We announced next week’s auditions to become UMW’s mascot, Sammy D. Eagle, who’s getting a new look that will be revealed at Homecoming.

Q: Any clubs or activities unique to Mary Washington?
A: The Geek Alliance, which includes the Video Game Club, UMW Whovians, League of Legends Club and Western Animation Club.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
A: Developing relationships with students and helping them work through group dynamic challenges.

Q: The most challenging?
A: Remembering how much is out of my control.

Q: How do you enjoy your free time?
A: Having fun with my husband and 2-year-old son. Lately we’ve been focused on preparing to become a family of four this winter!

Q: What is your motto?
A: Most days: “Everything happens for a reason.” When I’m feeling sassy: “A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

 

Last Call to Submit Events to the Family Weekend Schedule!

Family Weekend 2019 will take place Friday, October 4-Sunday, October 6. We will be accepting submissions for events you would like to have included on the schedule through Monday, September 2.

Please submit your events here.

Questions pertaining to Family Weekend can be directed to Sandrine Sutphin at ssutphin@umw.edu.

Joe Mollo Returns from Year Overseas

This summer, a familiar face is back on campus. After almost a year abroad, Joe Mollo has returned to UMW in his role as director of the office of student activities and engagement.

Mollo, who joined UMW in 2007, was in the United Arab Emirates with the Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 8, known as MSRON-8 .

“We were providing port security for U.S. flagships coming into port there,” he said.

After more than two months of training in the U.S., Mollo left for UAE on October 31, 2011.

Mollo said although he enjoyed the experience overseas, he is glad to be back at UMW.

“It is just a different feeling altogether,” he said. “You live your life over there looking over your shoulder.”

For the upcoming academic year, Mollo said the student activities office will focus primarily on the construction of the new campus center. He also noted the quickly approaching launch of Org Sync, a database program for student organization management.