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Registration now open for wide range of Björklunden summer seminars

Summer seminar participants gather on the deck of the lodge at Bjorklunden during the summer of 2019.
Bjorklunden will host 37 seminars from mid-June to mid-October.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Björklunden, Lawrence University’s pristine northern campus in Door County, is once again beckoning visitors for summer seminars that feed a desire for lifelong learning.

Registration is open for 37 Bjorklunden summer seminars, presented by Lawrence faculty, alumni, and other experts. It’s a chance to learn while enjoying the peace and beauty of the 425-foot campus along the Lake Michigan shoreline, just south of Baileys Harbor.

Topics range from wildlife photography and the study of the stars to exploration of America’s racist past and the anatomy of a murder trial. The seminars begin in mid-June and carry through much of October.

“The seminar program embodies one of the most unique aspects of a liberal arts education — a commitment to lifelong learning,” said Alex Baldschun, an assistant director at Bjorklunden.

Visitors to the seminars, he said, come from all walks of life.

Some commute to the seminars. Others are Björklunden residents for the week, housed in the estate’s 37,000-square-foot lodge. Participants are able to explore the grounds and engage with the beautiful scenery in Door County.

Most seminars, which include meals prepared by Björklunden’s resident chef, begin Sunday evening and end Friday afternoon. Classes meet weekday mornings and some evenings, with remaining time available to enjoy Björklunden’s mile-long shoreline and wooded walking trails or to explore area cultural and recreational opportunities.

Megan Pickett, associate professor of physics, is among the Lawrence faculty leading seminars this year. She’s presenting an astronomy-focused seminar, The Stars: Mansions Built by Nature’s Hand, July 26-31. It’s something she’s wanted to do for years, calling the surroundings “singularly contemplative, especially for astronomy.”

To be able to do it in a relaxed atmosphere with a cross-section of deeply curious people, all the better.

“There’s something very freeing about being in a learning environment where there are no grades, just the love of learning,” Pickett said.

Complete seminar information, including registration, dates, course descriptions, and information on instructors, can be found at www.lawrence.edu/dept/bjork/ or by calling 920-839-2216. Questions can also be directed via email to mark.d.breseman@lawrence.edu.

The 2020 summer seminar lineup

Terry Moran leads a session during the 2019 summer seminars at Bjorklunden.
Terry Moran ’82 will be back to lead another summer seminar. The ABC News correspondent will present “The 2020 Verdict” Aug. 2-7.

June 14-19

Listen to the Birds / Don Quintenz

Wildlife Photography: Turning Passion into Productivity / John Van Den Brandt

June 21-26

Two Irishmen, Two Novels, Two Portraits / Robert Spoo ’79

July 5-11

Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camp / Bob DeRosa

July 12-17

Give My Regards to Broadway – The American Musical / Dale Duesing ’67

The Great Patriotic War: World War II Through Soviet Eyes / Victoria Kononova

July 17-19

Family Weekend/Grandparent-Grandchild Weekend / David Stokes

July 19-24

African America in Slavery and Freedom: How our Racial Past Informs our Present / Susan Pappas ’69

African America in Slavery and Freedom: How our Racial Past Informs our Present / Joe Patterson ’69

African America in Slavery and Freedom: How our Racial Past Informs our Present / Jerald Podair

Poignant, Prosaic, and Possibly Pointless: The Stories of Anton Chekhov / Peter Thomas

Richard M. Nixon: The Triumph and Tragedy of an American Politician / Tim Crain

July 26-31

Stitches in Time: The Genius of Medieval Embroideries and Tapestries / Jane Tibbetts Schulenburg ’65

The Stars: Mansions Built by Nature’s Hand / Megan Pickett

Water Cycle: A Journey Around the Science and Policy of Earth’s Most Precious Resource / Peter Levi ’01 and Titus Seilheimer ’00

Aug. 2-7

The 2020 Verdict / Terry Moran ’82

The American Civil War in Historical Perspective / James Cornelius ’81

Aug. 9-14

Is Belief in God Rational? / Terry Goode

The Fall of Rome: From Caesar to King and From Jupiter to Jesus in 500 Years / Nikolas Hoel ’99

Aug. 16-22

Creative Photography / Philip Krejcarek

Family Ties – The Case of King David / Bill Urbrock

Watercolor: The Expressive Medium / Helen Klebesadel

Aug. 30-Sept. 4

Flirting with Disaster: Turning Personal Obsession into Memoir / David McGlynn

The Original Book Club: Literary Legacies of Medieval Women / Catherine Keene and Danielle Joyner

What Happens Next?: The Importance of the Strong Storyline in Classic Hollywood Films / Jack Rhodes

Sept. 13-18

Which Way to the White House? Presidential Campaign Parades from 1896 to 2020 / Charlie Schudson and Steve Bruemmer

Wildflowers, Birds, and Mushrooms / Don Quintenz

Wildflowers, Birds, and Mushrooms / Charlotte Lukes

Writing Poetry in Forms / Marilyn L. Taylor

Sept. 27-Oct. 2

A Brief History of Creatures that Rule the Earth (Hint: They’re not humans) / David Hines ’76

Anatomy of a Murder Trial / Steve Licata ’75

Hollywood Votes: Images from the World of Politics in Films of the Classic Era / Jack Rhodes

Oct. 4-9

SPQR: The Senate and the Roman People / Daniel Taylor ’63

The 2020 Elections: What Next for American Foreign Policy? / Christopher Murray ’75

Watercolor: A Fresh Start / Helen Klebesadel

Oct. 11-16

The Weimar Republic: Grandeur and Disaster / Jon Greenwald

Oct. 18-23

World Religions in the Contemporary World / Brian Smith

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Trumpet soloist Tine Thing Helseth to play Memorial Chapel as part of Artist Series

Tine Thing Helseth

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Tine Thing Helseth, an acclaimed trumpet player from Norway, goes where most trumpet players don’t. She tours as a soloist.

She’ll take the stage of Lawrence Memorial Chapel on Friday, Feb. 28, the second concert in Lawrence University’s 2019-20 Artist Series. The concert is set for 8 p.m.

Helseth has been buzzed about for a decade. But she really jumped onto the international map with a 2013 performance with the BBC Scottish Symphony.

Challenging the boundaries of expected repertoire for a trumpet soloist, Helseth has explored a variety of genres, from classical Bach pieces to arrangements of songs by the Beach Boys.

“She makes such a beautiful sound on the trumpet, and phrases so expressively that you really don’t care what she’s playing, it’s captivating,” John Daniel, associate professor of trumpet at Lawrence, said when the Artist Series was announced. “I would be happy to listen to her practicing scales or long tones.”

Helseth teaches trumpet at the Norwegian Academy of Music and is a regular TV and radio presenter in her community. She also continues to tour extensively as a solo artist, chamber musician and orchestra collaborator, having worked with some of the most significant orchestras across Europe.

In a 2018 interview with Limelight, in the midst of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Helseth talked about the joy she finds in playing as a soloist.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of my string colleagues, especially violinists, and in some aspects they envy me a little bit, that I play the trumpet, because I can do more different stuff. We don’t have all the traditional big concertos, so I’m a bit more free to do commissions. …  It’s just a very different type of career.”

Tickets for the Lawrence performance are $25-30 for adults, $20-25 for seniors, and free for students.

Future performances in the 2019-20 Artist Series include: Anderson & Roe Piano Duo, 8 p.m. April 3; and Melody Moore (soprano), 8 p.m. April 18. For more on Lawrence’s Artist Series, see here.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

“Prom Night in Mississippi” to get screening, discussion at Warch Cinema

Prom Night in Mississippi was released in 2008, a partnership between director Paul Saltzman and actor Morgan Freeman. It tells the story of a small Mississippi high school holding an integrated prom for the first time. (Photo courtesy of Moving Beyond Prejudice)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Paul Saltzman, the director of Prom Night in Mississippi, a 2008 documentary about racism and race relations in a small town in Mississippi, will visit Lawrence University next week for a showing and discussion of the film.

The documentary, created in partnership with Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, in the Warch Campus Center Cinema, followed by a discussion with Saltzman.

Prom Night in Mississippi was made more than 40 years after Saltzman had participated in voter registration work with the SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) during the summer of 1965, witnessing the segregation of the south up close and personal. He said he returned to Mississippi in 2007 to see how — or if — race relations had progressed.

That led to a meeting with Freeman, who had returned to live near his childhood home in Charleston, Mississippi, population 2,000. Morgan would tell Saltzman a seemingly improbable story. The high school in Charleston, in 2007, still held two proms — one for white students, one for black students.

More: Black Excellence Ball, Cultural Expressions highlight People of Color Empowerment Week

A decade earlier, Freeman had offered to pay all costs if the school would unite the two proms, open to all students. The school turned him down.

When they met, Saltzman asked Freeman if he’d be interested in revisiting that offer for the 2008 prom. Saltzman would come along with his camera to document the process from start to finish.

Freeman said yes, leading to the making of Prom Night in Mississippi.

The documentary weaves together student-made videos, interviews, and intimate moments with students, school officials, parents, and Freeman.

“I live here,” Freeman tells a group of seniors at the school. “I think it is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of, that in this time … you children are being brought up this way. It hurts me deeply.”

Most students at the school seem to approve of the integrated prom, but a group of white parents move ahead to plan their own whites-only prom. They refuse to be interviewed for Saltzman’s film.

The integrated prom is held that spring, and it is well received, marking what Saltzman called a turning point for the town.

“Many of the senior students, black and white, impressed me with their openness and awareness,” Saltzman said at the time. “Their courage to attend their first mixed prom and to share their feelings about race gives me hope that we are indeed heading in the right direction.”

Using this film as a catalyst, Saltzman and fellow producer Patricia Aquino later created Moving Beyond Prejudice, a nonprofit that works with young people and their communities to shine a light on prejudice and promote inclusion.

The Feb. 25 showing in the Warch Cinema is free of charge. A discussion will follow. The program is in conjunction with Black History Month and is co-sponsored by Lawrence’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Diversity and Intercultural Center.

Bonus: While on campus next week, Saltzman also will speak about another passion — the Beatles. He’s published two books on the band, The Beatles in Rishikesh and The Beatles in India. His talk at 11:10 a.m. Feb. 24 in Harper Hall is titled, The Beatles in India and How I Met the Beatles.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Black Excellence Ball, Cultural Expressions add to February celebrations, discussions

Singing, dancing, and much more will again be part of the annual Cultural Expressions celebration, set for Feb. 29 in Warch Campus Center.

Story by Awa Badiane ’21

Lawrence University’s Black Student Union (BSU) will host events each of the next two weekends that honor Black History Month and celebrate people of color on campus and beyond.

The second annual Black Excellence Ball will be held Saturday, Feb. 22. It is a formal dance used as a way to showcase the beauty and elegance that is racially diverse people. It is open to all racially diverse people and allies.

This year’s Excellence Ball is themed All That Jazz and will be held from 8 to 11 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center.

The following weekend, Cultural Expressions, an annual talent showcase, will be held Feb. 29, beginning at 7 p.m., also in Warch. It’ll be preceded by a dinner in the Diversity and Intercultural Center in Memorial Hall at 6 p.m. and an art gallery display in Warch at 6 p.m.

Cultural Expressions has become a February tradition at Lawrence, one of the highlights of winter term.

More: Prom Night in Mississippi to get screening, discussion in Warch Cinema

The Excellence Ball was added last year, joining with Cultural Expressions to provide bookends to a People of Color Empowerment Week on campus. Empowerment Week is organized by AIO in collaboration with Alianza, Beta Psi Nu, BSU, Diversity and Intercultural Center, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and SOUP.

Among the events happening during Empowerment Week: Kickoff dinner at 6 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Diversity and Intercultural Center; Mariposas Del Alma, a Los Angeles-based band representing the Latinx communities, performing at 8 p.m. Feb. 24 in Warch; a screening (and discussion) of the 2008 documentary, Prom Night in Mississippi, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 in Warch Cinema; a Brown Girl Recovery Workshop at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Diversity and Intercultural Center; Cooking for COTS from 4 to 8 p.m. Feb. 27 in Sabin House; and comedian Jasmine Ellis performing at 8 p.m. Feb. 28 in Warch. Also, the Cultural Expressions Art Gallery will be on display from noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 28 in Warch.

Cultural Expressions will serve as the finale for the big week. It annually features a bevy of Lawrence students performing everything from music and dance to spoken word and comedy. 

Admission for all of the student-organized events is free.

Awa Badiane is a student writer in the Communications office.

Familiar power struggles in play as Lawrence’s “Richard III” hits the stage

Chris Follina ’20, as Richard III, rehearses with Alec Welhouse ’23, as the Duke of Buckingham, during a dress rehearsal for “Richard III” in Cloak Theatre. The Lawrence Department of Theatre Arts production runs Feb. 20-22. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

Story by Alex Freeman ’23

History has a way of repeating itself.

As a Lawrence theater and English double major who is doing her Senior Experience in conjunction with the Department of Theatre Arts’ production of Richard III, Haley Stevens ’20 hopes audience members remember that famous adage as they watch the action unfold this week on the Cloak Theatre stage.

Written almost 400 years ago, it might not initially be obvious how the themes and content of Richard III could be relevant to a modern audience. But when looking at today’s political climate, some of Richard III’s key plot points—betrayal, power struggles and rumor campaigns, to name a few—may not seem so foreign, she said.

“I want the audience to feel like this is weirdly familiar, like unexpectedly familiar,” Director Timothy X. Troy said, echoing Stevens’ assessment. “It’s not necessarily a happy thought. It happens every day in rehearsal as we’re working our way through scenes. We’re like, man, that just happened last week. … But that’s true of all great literature. Each era finds its way into it. These were people who lived through a tumultuous time. And guess who we are?”

For the cast and crew of Shakespeare’s Richard III, the past five weeks of rehearsal are finally coming to fruition. Set to open on Thursday night, Richard III will be performed in Cloak Theatre at 8 p.m. Feb. 20–22, with an additional 3 p.m. matinee Feb. 22.

With an abridged script that has condensed the original four-hour play into 90 minutes of action, the production, subtitled “I am Myself, Alone,” tackles the challenge of analyzing the choices individuals make, both in a historical context and today.

Carly Beyer ’22, as Queen Elizabeth, rehearses with Ben Carlick ’20, as Dorset, during a dress rehearsal for “Richard III” in Cloak Theatre.

The production tells the story of Richard III, an English nobleman who will do virtually anything to ensure his rise to the throne following a 30-year civil war—no matter the cost. In order to condense the play to 90 minutes, an effort spearheaded by Olivia Gregorich ’17 and Troy, the team had to choose one primary thematic point of view to depict in depth. Settling on the concept of human agency and the factors that restrict it, this production explores the challenging idea of how individuals can make the best decisions for themselves when their options are inherently limited.

Although this concept can easily be understood by a modern audience, placing it in its proper historical context adds an additional level of depth to the production. This historical understanding was enhanced in 2012, when the body of the real Richard III was discovered and exhumed.

As part of the first generation of productions of Richard III since then, the production team has been able to rediscover the play and utilize information about Richard III that previously could not have been confirmed. Having this new knowledge allows the team to explore the production in a new light.

First, it is now confirmed that Richard III truly had a disability, which had previously only been rumored. Christopher Follina ’20, the actor who plays Richard and a theater and religious studies double major doing this production for his Senior Experience, also has a disability, which allows for a more influential and nuanced interpretation of Richard’s character, according to Troy.

Written only a few generations following the real events that occur in the play, original Elizabethan audiences would have been able to recognize the character of Richmond as their queen’s grandfather and would likely have had grandparents who fought in the civil war.

“It’s kind of the equivalent of watching a play around Vietnam or World War II,” Stevens said. “It’s something that happens even now when we’re generations removed from great conflict and then a play portrays it in order to bring back the understanding of what other people, your ancestors, could have gone through.”

Chris Follina plays Richard III in Lawrence’s production of “Richard III.”

Although this weekend’s audience will not have the same close connection to the characters and events of the play as the Elizabethan audience, Troy and Stevens both believe the universal themes and patterns depicted in Richard III can be transferred across time and found in every period of history—including this one. The specific players and timelines may change, but the fundamental story remains the same.

“When you do the show, you keep the story alive,” said Alec Welhouse ’23, the actor playing the Duke of Buckingham. “You don’t let the story die. If we weren’t doing this show, I don’t think anyone at Lawrence would be talking about King Richard or anyone like that. But since we’re doing it, it sparks that interest again. It gets people interested in Shakespearean times and makes you want to learn more about it.”

Alex Freeman ’23 is a student writer in the Communications office.

Teaching at LU, performing on world stages: Gomez is living her best musical life

Holly Beemer '22 listens as music professor Estelí Gomez, seated to her right, gives feedback during a studio voice class in the Music-Drama Center.
Estelí Gomez gives feedback and instruction to Holly Beemer ’22 during a studio voice class in the Music-Drama Center. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Estelí Gomez is having herself a February.

In addition to working with her voice students on the second floor of the Music-Drama Center, the Lawrence Conservatory’s newest music professor is in the midst of a whirlwind schedule that has her, among other things, sharing a New York stage this week with the iconic Renée Fleming and then visiting New Zealand and Australia with an opera featuring her Grammy-winning chamber music ensemble Roomful of Teeth.

Preceding all that was a concert last week with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and newVoices choir at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center — her first public performance as a resident of Appleton — a brief stopover in New York to perform at the Lincoln Center on the American Songbook series, and an overnight to St. Louis for a recital with the Kingsbury Ensemble.

In between flights and performances, her teaching continues — from hotel rooms and rehearsal spaces she connects with her students remotely via Zoom for voice lessons, all the while showing them in real time what life as a working musician can look like.

“I’m living it,” Gomez said of the Conservatory’s mission to prepare students to live their best musical lives.

It’s a blistering schedule, but Gomez, an in-demand soprano, makes no excuses. This is what she signed up for when she accepted an offer last year to join the Conservatory faculty, her first full-time teaching gig after a decade living on the road.

“What I desired was that both sorts of existences — the academic and the performer — would feed one another,” she said.

A native of Watsonville, California, with a bachelor of arts from Yale and a master of music from McGill, Gomez spent 10 years in constant motion, touring with Roomful of Teeth and performing and recording with the likes of the Seattle Symphony and Silkroad Ensemble, among others. She won a Grammy Award with Roomful of Teeth in 2014 — the ensemble’s 2013 debut album also earned composer Caroline Shaw a Pulitzer Prize — and is featured on the Silkroad Ensemble album that scored a Grammy win in 2016.

See more on the Lawrence Conservatory of Music here.

Estelí Gomez smiles as she talks with students in a studio class.
Estelí Gomez reacts as she works with students at the start of a studio class earlier in February. Gomez joined the Lawrence faculty in fall. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Chasing a dream

Gomez and her seven Roomful colleagues have served a number of teaching residencies and master classes at universities across the country, including two at Lawrence. The Lawrence experiences were so satisfying for Gomez that she listened intently when Dean of the Conservatory Brian Pertl in late 2018 first mentioned a coming opening on the Conservatory faculty.

“That was the beginning of this dream,” Gomez said. “What would it look like if I actually lived somewhere? I’d been living out of my suitcase for about a decade. I had a storage unit in Montréal, my parents live in California, my partner lives in Austin, Texas, and I have a crash pad in New York City.”

She was drawn to the idea of teaching in a Conservatory setting, especially one she held in such high regard.

“I had already been bitten by the bug of spending more time in an academic environment, for the resources, for the people who were interested in diving deep in creative ways,” Gomez said.

But she also wanted to continue to perform on stages around the world. At Lawrence, that’s a path that has already been paved many times over. Her performing would be embraced as an opportunity, not a problem. Pertl called her “a perfect fit for Lawrence, an exquisite musician with the heart of a liberal arts scholar.”

The Conservatory’s mantra to provide holistic music education for the 21st century, recognizing many paths to living a musical life, was all Gomez needed to hear. 

“It was the fact that my interests lined up so well with this place,” she said. “That’s what sealed the deal for me.”

Gomez knew she had huge shoes to fill as she was joining the voice faculty following the retirements of the talented and much-respected Kenneth Bozeman and Joanne Bozeman, whose influences on Lawrence University had been long and impactful. She’s tried to pick up where they left off.

“I’m so lucky they were my predecessors,” Gomez said. “They have such wonderful systems set up.”

She said she’s soaking in the talent, expertise, and teaching wisdom of her Conservatory colleagues. At the Fox Cities PAC performance last week, she was joined on stage by two of those colleagues, Steven Paul Spears, a tenor and voice professor, and Phillip Swan, the co-director of choral studies who serves as artistic director and conductor of newVoices, a semi-professional community choir.

Several of Estelí Gomez's students pose with her for a photo at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.
Several of Estelí Gomez’s students met up with her at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center for her recent performance with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and newVoices choir. (Photo submitted)

A new sense of place

The reality of her new gig —and the lifestyle change it signified — began to sink in for Gomez shortly after she arrived in Appleton last summer. She had a kitchen all to herself. And a consistent place to sleep. It had been a long time since she could say that.

It took some time to adjust, she said. Fall term was challenging, learning new systems and meeting new people. It wasn’t until winter term that she began to settle into the rhythms of life on campus.

“There was a point where I slept better on airplanes than I did in my new place,” Gomez said. “I had to remind myself, this is what is normal. But, slowly, the normal is shifting. I’m still getting to tour, but now I have more of an essence of grounding here, which has been a blessing.”

Most satisfying, she said, is that it’s giving her a chance to spread her wings as an educator.

“Now I have this long arc of getting to work with students on a weekly basis and really connect with them as people,” she said. “It feels so much deeper. I so appreciate the chance to get to know them in a longer-form way than being a visiting master class artist.”

Several of Gomez’s students showed up at the Fox Cities PAC last week to show support for her performance with the Fox Valley Symphony and newVoices. That’s part of the relationship-building between faculty and students that is so pronounced at Lawrence, where class sizes are small and one-on-one sessions with faculty are the norm.

“They’re the building blocks for their singing life here,” Gomez said of those faculty-to-student relationships.

They also are where her performance life and her academic life can intersect to provide teachable moments for her students, who are exploring what their own musical paths might be. Her performances, Gomez said, help inform her teaching. And her teaching helps inform her performances, whether here in Appleton or on the other side of the world.

“I think it’s good for them to have somebody who is in it,” Gomez said of her students. “And it’s also good for my performing that I’m engaged with how to articulate what I believe is really good singing, really healthy singing, really efficient singing. I have to articulate that every day to my students over and over again and in a million different sorts of languages.”

Esteli Gomez listens intently as Mae Capaldi sings during a studio class.
Estelí Gomez, assistant professor of music, works with Mae Capaldi ’23 during a recent studio class. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Sharing the stage with Renée Fleming

That brings us to this busy stretch. It’s the three performances with the New York Philharmonic Feb. 20-22 in Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall that’s garnering the most attention.

Gomez is one of three soloists in the world premiere of a piece written by 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner Ellen Reid. It was commissioned by the Philharmonic as part of Project 19, which is marking the centennial of the 19th Amendment by commissioning works by 19 women composers.

“It should be a really eclectic, innovative program,” Gomez said.

Fleming is featured in the second half of the concert, singing music of Björk.

Gomez has sung with the New York Philharmonic before, but this will be her first time performing on the same stage as Fleming, one of the country’s most renowned sopranos. They have plenty of connections, though. Gomez’s frequent duet partner has sung duet recitals with Fleming. And Gomez has sung with Susan Graham, Fleming’s frequent duet partner.

“And apparently she’s a Roomful fan, so I’m excited to meet her,” Gomez said.

From there, Gomez will be back in Appleton for three days to teach, and then reconnect with her Roomful of Teeth collaborators for the trip to New Zealand and Australia for the Peter Sellars-directed opera Kopernikus.

Interestingly, Gomez was performing in Kopernikus in Europe when she had her first interview — via Skype — for the Lawrence position.

“I think it was something like 11 p.m. for me; it was maybe 4 p.m. here,” she said. “We had just finished opening night in Toulouse, France. I joined for the champagne toast, ordered dinner at the cafe upstairs, then went down to the basement of the theater and said, ‘OK, let’s answer some interview questions.’ So, all this now feels really interconnected.”

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Beating the winter blues: 7 tips to help students conquer the season

Students walk from Main Hall as snow falls on Main Hall Green.

Story by Madison Price ’23

With winter term comes a mix of a changes to campus.  Days get shorter, the weather gets colder, and schedules fill up.  And, honestly, that can leave us feeling a little more stressed, down, or exhausted than usual.   

There are many resources on campus that can help students get through any rough patches they may be experiencing. From taking care of mental health to finding ways to have fun during a snowy Wisconsin winter, Lawrence has the resources available to help all of us feel our best. 

1. Try the Sanvello app 

Did you know all Lawrence students now have access to a mobile app designed to relieve the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression?  Thanks to the Kaitlin Mahr Library Fund, Sanvello is completely free to all Lawrence students! Simply download the app on your smartphone and create an account using your Lawrence email to receive access to 100% of Sanvello’s content. 

While Sanvello does not replace mental health services, it can help to further the overall well-being of students in addition to the other services Lawrence provides.  Sanvello offers daily mood tracking, guided journeys, coping tools, weekly check-ins, meditation, and community support. Even better, students can choose whether they would like to share their Sanvello information with a Lawrence counselor to enhance their counseling sessions. 

2. Get yourself a mind spa 

Sometimes in a frenzy of exams, essays, and extracurriculars, we forget to take a step back and set aside time to give our brains the break that they deserve.  We have four spots on campus dedicated to doing just that. Choose from one of four mind spas on campus to recover, refocus, and rejuvenate your mind. At mind spas, students are given a quiet space where they can relax in a full-body massage chair and receive coaching on meditation. 

Scheduling an appointment at the mind spa couldn’t be easier. Simply call 920-832-6574 or email WellnessServices@Lawrence.edu to visit the main mindspa on the second floor of the Wellness Center. This mind spa is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Three other mini mind spas are available at the Conservatory, Sage, and Hiett. 

3. Seek sunlight (sort of) in a SAD lamp 

While the snow can make campus look especially wonderful, with winter also comes much shorter, darker days.  This can make students feel more down than usual, sometimes even causing Seasonal Affective Disorder. That’s why Lawrence has SAD lamps – actual lamps meant to mimic sunlight located in select buildings on campus. 

How can a SAD lamp help? Sunlight spurs the production of serotonin (the hormone responsible for feeling calm, happy, and focused) while darkness signals the release of melatonin (the hormone responsible for feeling sleepy.) Due to this, it’s no surprise that when students receive less sunlight in the winter, they often feel more lethargic and tired than usual. With a SAD lamp, students can receive artificial lighting that tricks their brains into thinking it is still light outside. This way, your brain will produce more serotonin during the day, and hold off on producing melatonin until you are ready to go to bed. SAD lamps can be found in the library on the fourth floor and in the Wellness Center Mind Spa. 

If you think you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder, it is important that you see a counselor in addition to using a Happy Lamp. See how to make an appointment below.

4. Reach out for counseling

College life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes when we are at a low point, it helps to talk to another person confidentially. At Lawrence, counselors are available for free to help you with academic stress, roommate issues, mental health, relationships, drug/alcohol use, or anything else that may be bringing you down. 

Whether counseling is something you have done before or not, there is no reason to be worried. The Wellness Center staff will be there to guide you through the process of making an appointment, and the counselors will do everything they can to make you feel comfortable. 

To make an appointment, simply stop by the front desk on the second floor of the Wellness Center and complete some initial paperwork. After that, someone will help you schedule your first appointment.  Counseling appointments are available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

If you would like to speak to a counselor right away and cannot wait for an appointment, stop by the Counseling Center during walk-in hours, Monday through Friday, with check in between 1 and 2:30 p.m. 

If you need to talk to someone outside of walk-in hours, do not hesitate to call the 24-hour Lawrence Counseling Line at 920-419-8167.   

For more information on Lawrence’s Counseling Services, visit the website here

Wellness and counseling services can be found in the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center.

5. Stay active  

Sometimes in the midst of a snowy winter, it’s easy to forget about the wide array of physical activities you can find indoors on campus. The Wellness Center houses a weight room, exercise room, gymnasium, racquetball courts, an Olympic-size swimming pool, and a gymnasium with an elevated track. Just ask the front desk to rent any sports equipment. 

If you want to get more fit but aren’t sure where to start, consider joining one of Lawrence’s organized athletic activities. This term, Lawrence has four intramural leagues: basketball, volleyball, badminton, and soccer. You can find the times that they meet here.  If none of the intramurals appeal to you, keep an eye out for yoga and TRX on the Lawrence calendar.

Exercise has many more benefits than just keeping you physically fit.  It can help you get better sleep, enhance your brain function by increasing the blood flow to your brain, improve your mood by increasing the production of endorphins, and it can even improve your energy levels. Even as little as 20 minutes a day can make a difference. 

S.O.U.P. provides all sorts of fun. This gingerbread house-making event was part of Winter Carnival. (Photo by Nora Murphy ’22)

6. Schedule fun with friends 

Although it may not seem like it, setting aside time for fun is just as important as setting aside time for schoolwork. Without mixing a few fun activities into your weekly schedule, it’s easy to burn out before the end of the term. There are opportunities every single day to take a breather from school and enjoy life on campus. Check the event calendar online or Lawrence’s Monday Instagram story for a full list of fun events coming up soon.

Every Friday and Saturday, Lawrence screens a new movie in the Warch Campus Center Cinema. To see what’s playing, check the event calendar online or stop by Warch and check out the movie posters outside of the cinema. 

In addition, SOUP hosts a variety of larger campus events throughout the year. Whether it be comedians, silent discos, or the Winter Carnival, SOUP never fails to bring amazing events right to campus. One event SOUP is cooking up for spring is the LU Zoo Days. Get excited for live music, grill-outs, and even a dunk tank. 

7. Pop the bubble 

While Lawrence is a great place to call home, everyone needs a break from campus from time to time to explore all the great things Appleton has to offer. Lawrence is located in the heart of downtown, so there is lots to do within a short walk. 

College Avenue has something for everyone’s taste buds. From coffee shops, to candy stores, to family-run restaurants, to bubble tea, and more, it’s hard to get around to trying everything during your time here.  Grab a few friends and eat something other than Toppers for once. 

Appleton is also home to some great museums. Ever wonder what that castle-like building next to the Conservatory is? That’s the History Museum at the Castle, where you can learn about the life of Harry Houdini and the history of Appleton. It’s not every day that you go into a castle to learn about a magician. Not far from this is the Trout Museum of Art. Located just a short walk from campus, visit today to be inspired by the incredible work of Appleton’s artists. Getting off campus every so often can give us a break from our daily routine and leave us feeling more refreshed when we return to campus. 

Winter can leave us feeling a little more down than usual, and that’s OK.  Many people on campus are experiencing similar feelings and there are lots of resources and people ready to help us get back on our feet.  Remember to take care of yourself, and next time you are feeling down, give a few things on this list a try. 

Madison Price ’23 is a social media fellow in the Communications office.

Lawrence hits No. 3 on Princeton Review’s ranking of Best Impact Schools in nation

Students work with chemistry professor Stefan Gebbert in class.
Rigorous classroom work combined with mentorship on the student journey helps prepare students for an impactful life after Lawrence.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

When it comes to colleges and universities preparing students for an impactful life, few do it better than Lawrence University.

Lawrence is the No. 3 impact school in the country in a new ranking released by The Princeton Review. The 2020 Best Impact School ranking, one spot up from where Lawrence landed a year ago, focuses on both the student experience on campus and how alumni perceive their careers. It suggests Lawrence’s liberal arts vision is alive and well, that students are being prepared for a life well lived.

The ranking comes as part of The Princeton Review’s annual Best Value Colleges project, a listing of 200 schools that are considered to have exceptional return on investment. Lawrence again made the list. The 200 schools are not ranked in order; the editors highlight those that made the cut amid 656 colleges and universities that were evaluated on more than 40 data points covering academics, affordability, and career preparation.

Within those 200, The Princeton Review breaks down rankings in seven categories, one of them being the 25 Best Impact Schools in the country.

Climbing to No. 3 — only Wesleyan and Southwestern universities finished ahead of Lawrence — is particularly satisfying because of what it says about a Lawrence education and how that then transfers to the job market and career exploration. It measures on-campus experiences such as student engagement, service, government, and sustainability and then surveys alumni to rate how meaningful they believe their work life is.

“I see it and hear it when I meet with our alumni around the world,” said Ken Anselment, vice president for enrollment and communication. “They point back to their time at Lawrence as unlocking something for them, discovering an interest or talent they didn’t know they had until they started working with professors here who helped guide them in that discovery. That’s one of the benefits of attending a college like Lawrence where our faculty are so deeply invested in helping our students become even better versions of themselves, and it’s a transformation that lasts a lifetime.”

A Lawrence student packages supplies during a volunteer shift at Feeding America.
Volunteer opportunities for Lawrence students, including here at Feeding America, help fuel the student experience.

Lawrence has doubled down on efforts to mentor students outside of the classroom throughout the college journey, taking a holistic approach in everything from wellness and spirituality to leadership and career preparation. With an 8-to-1 faculty to student ratio and a liberal arts mantra that prepares students for lifelong learning, Lawrence puts its students in positions to launch into careers and service work that are filled with meaning, said Christopher Card, Lawrence’s vice president for student life.

“There are enough colleges on the market where one can just go to it and do the basic academic requirements and move in and move out and go on to their next chapter,” Card said. “I don’t think that’s why students come to Lawrence. I think they come here because they expect a particular relationship to emerge — certainly with solid academics and rigor. They want to be challenged. They want to know they are getting a first-rate education but also a first-rate experience outside of the classroom in terms of their own personal growth and development.”

The Princeton Review data includes survey answers from alumni who speak to whether their jobs have “high meaning.” Lawrence’s high ranking reflects that alumni overwhelmingly say yes and that their career accomplishments have been fueled by their Lawrence education.

Lawrence has ramped up its efforts to better connect those alumni with today’s students. The 2019 launch of the endowed Riaz Waraich Dean of the Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement (CLC) position has accelerated efforts to re-energize career exploration and preparation. The newly debuted Viking Connect program is at the front end of those efforts, tapping alumni to serve as mentors for students interested in the same field.

“Our alums are coming back full force to offer their services,” Card said. “I think that speaks to their own experiences and wanting to give back to support our students here.”

This is the 13th year The Princeton Review has put together its list of the 200 Best Value Colleges. It factors in academics, cost, financial aid, graduation rates, student debt, alumni salaries, and alumni job satisfaction.

Lawrence continues to score well in the areas of cost and financial aid as its Full Speed to Full Need initiative continues to produce results. More than $82 million has been raised for scholarships that help cover the gap between a student’s ability to pay — based on family income — and other available financial aid.

While student debt nationally has risen significantly in recent years, the Full Speed to Full Need initiative, part of the $220 million Be the Light! campaign, has helped reverse that trend for Lawrence students. The average student debt for new Lawrence graduates has dropped to $29,504, its lowest mark in 10 years and below the national average of $32,731.

“This is one of those rankings that I’m really happy to share with prospective students and families, because it gets at one of those essential questions so many are trying to answer — even if they haven’t articulated it yet — which is, ‘How might our investment in this college set up our student to live a great life?’” Anselment said. 

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Big chill: 8 fun winter activities that beckon, on and off campus

Olivia Sibbet '23 tosses a snowball as she plays in the snow on the Lawrence campus.
Olivia Sibbet ’22 enjoys an early snowfall on the Lawrence campus. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Alex Freeman ’23

It’s that time of year again.

Whether you’re the type to wear shorts until it drops below zero or the one who bars the windows and gets cozy under a blanket with some hot tea, one thing is certain: Lawrence makes it easy to make the most of winter.

As we move deeper into February, here are a few activities to help you take advantage of all that Lawrence has to offer in terms of winter fun.

1: Skate on Ormsby Lake

Ormsby Lake is officially frozen and open to Lawrence students. This is a classic student favorite that always comes with the changing of the seasons, so it’s time to practice some broomball, bust out the figure skates or just take a spin around the pond with a few friends.

With easy access right across from the entrance to Ormsby Hall, skating on the rink is the perfect way to brighten up a lazy Sunday or blow off some steam right after class. And don’t worry if you left your skates at home (or never had any to begin with) — you can pick up some skates on the cheap at Play It Again Sports in Appleton.

2: Shop at the Community Public Market

For the people who miss seeing booths lined up down sunny College Avenue for the Downtown Appleton Farm Market at the beginning of Fall Term, the Community Public Market might be the perfect stand-in.

Until the Downtown Appleton Farm Market returns in June, Appleton residents have the opportunity to experience the Community Public Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 8, March 12 and April 18. Shoppers will be able to have the bustling Farm Market experience while cozily tucked away from the cold in the Fox Cities Exhibition Center, just an 8-minute walk from Lawrence’s campus.

Whether you’re looking for fresh snacks to take back to your dorm room, a ready-to-go meal to fulfill your non-Commons food craving or an environment where you can appreciate live music and art, the Community Public Market is a winter destination.

3: Play in the snow on Main Hall Green

Shae Erlandson makes a snow angel on Main Hall Green.
Shae Erlandson ’23 joins friends in making snow angels on Main Hall Green. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

When the snow starts coming down, the grassy area in front of Main Hall turns into a winter wonderland, full of opportunities for classic (and snowy) fun. From making tranquil snow sculptures and snow angels on the lawn to competing in snowball fights with teams and forts, Main Hall Green becomes Main Hall White as students bundle up and brave the chill.

Requiring no preparation or planning (other than dressing warm), playing in the snow outside of Main Hall is the perfect way to pass the time when you find yourself just sitting in your residence hall, trying to find something to do. The only requirement: remember to wear your gloves!

4: Order some hot chocolate at Lou’s Brew

As much as we all love Kaplan’s Café, it can be nice to venture just off campus to break from routine, and Lou’s Brew is the perfect place to do that.

With a prime location only one block away from Brokaw Hall, Lou’s Brew is close enough to campus that even students born near the equator can manage the brisk walk — plus, it’s easy to warm up with a toasty hot chocolate or latte as soon as you get inside (for tea-drinkers like me, their London Fog is an all-time fave). Lou’s Brew offers 10 percent off cash orders for Lawrence students if they present their student ID before paying.

For students willing to walk a bit further from campus. College Avenue is lined with plenty of other coffee shops that will satisfy that hot-drink craving, including Brewed Awakenings, Copper Rock and ACOCA Coffee.

5: Visit the Bubolz Nature Preserve

If you want to revel in the beauty of winter, there’s nowhere better than Wisconsin. Within the Fox Cities, the must-see destination for experiencing a stunning winter is the Bubolz Nature Preserve.

Roughly a 15-minute drive from campus, the preserve features hiking, walking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails that are open from dawn to dusk throughout the winter. If you want to make a day of it, the Bubolz Nature Preserve also hosts special events, like their candlelight ski/snowshoe and their beginners’ ski clinics (which are an absolute necessity for those of us from the flatlands of the southern Midwest).

Regardless of skill level, the Bubolz Nature Preserve will have some kind of winter activity for you.

6: Roast s’mores in the dorm fireplaces

Although not every residence hall has its own fireplace, most of them do, and you can stop by the CA desk to schedule a time when you can get some friends together and hone your marshmallow-roasting skills. (Golden brown all around is 100% the perfect roast, no matter what anyone else says.)

It’s easy to ignore the wind outside when you’re basking in the heat of the flames.

In order to set up a s’more-making session in a dorm fireplace, you just need to reach out to your Community Advisor or Residence Hall Director so a CA can get trained to build a safe fire. Once that’s done, all you need to do is gather some blankets, find a few sticks and stock up on supplies from the Corner Store.

7: Sled down Memorial Hill

Tucked right behind the Viking Room in Memorial Hall, the hill leading down to the SLUG is a go-to destination for sledding. As the perfect way to de-stress after a long week, sledding down Memorial Hill is another staple of Winter Term, much like skating on Ormsby Lake.

Just request a sled from a CA or RHD, put on some snow boots and get ready to go fast. Winter is here, and Lawrence students are ready to enjoy the winter wonderland.

8: Go to some of the many Lawrence events happening every day

With a student body as involved and accomplished as Lawrence’s, there are a multitude of diverse events happening every day on campus. From musical performances to lectures from faculty and staff, from Wellness Center Yoga classes to exhibitions at the Wriston Center, there is never a shortage of events to attend.

The Lawrence events page is constantly being updated with more upcoming events, so Lawrence students can be sure that they will find something that resonates with them. No matter the weather, there is always something to do within a short walking distance of the residence halls. It might just take the chill out of winter.

Alex Freeman ’23 is a student writer in the Communications office.

Student commissions music for senior recital in honor of Pakistani grandmother

Rehanna Rexroat '20 plays the violin during a recent rehearsal session in Shattuck Hall.
Rehanna Rexroat ’20 practices in Lawrence’s Shattuck Hall in preparation for her senior recital on Feb. 8. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Isabella Mariani ’21

The senior violin recital for Rehanna Rexroat ’20, set for Saturday in Harper Hall, will be more than just the summit of her academic career at Lawrence — one that boasts majors in violin performance, instrumental music education, and choral/general music education. It also will bring attendees into a space of remembrance and celebration of culture.

With funding from a grant to assist Lawrence students in their Senior Experience, Rexroat was able to commission Aakash Mittal, a renowned Indian American saxophonist and composer, to compose a piece for her recital in honor of her Pakistani grandmother.

The piece, aptly titled Origins, is a duet for violin and harp for Rexroat and Leila Ramagopal Pertl, an instructor in music education in the Conservatory of Music.

For months, the two had been searching for a piece that properly payed homage to Rexroat’s culture by blending Indian and Western classical music. With no luck, they called on the assistance of Brian Pertl, dean of the Conservatory. He reached out to Mittal, who he counts as a friend, to see if he had a piece he’d recommend. He did not. So, Mittal wrote one.

 “It’s really about honoring ancestors in a general, global sense,” Rexroat said of Origins.

The rest of the pieces in Rexroat’s recital deal similarly with these themes of culture and memory. Their composers, some of whom are ethnomusicologists, celebrate their own cultures or the cultures of other groups in the music. She dedicated one in honor of her grandmother on her mother’s side; another to her childhood best friend who recently died.

“I really liked that theme,” Rexroat said of the music selections. “But I took it a step further because I wanted my culture to be part of that.”

Rexroat was in contact with Mittal throughout the process of composing Origins. He was inspired by stories she sent him that her grandmother had told her. He adopted themes from those stories into the piece.

Learn about Lawrence’s Chandler Senior Experience here.

“I wanted my culture to be part of that,” Rehanna Rexroat said of commissioning a piece of music for her senior recital. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Rexroat’s grandmother was a devout Muslim, so the piece is set to scales used in devotional Sufi music, but one of the movements takes its name from a psalm to commemorate Rexroat’s own Christian beliefs.

Though the recital is very personal to her, Rexroat hopes the music — Origins in particular — also will encourage listeners to get in touch with their own cultural stories.

“The way Leila and I will be presenting it, we’re going to invite others to think about their ancestors,” she said.

Rexroat, a native of Mount Vernon, Iowa, who started playing the violin at age 4, noted that Saturday’s recital is almost exactly 18 years since she first picked up the instrument. But this educational apex, she said, is only the starting point of a longer musical journey.

“I think violin is always going to be a passion of mine,” she said. “It’s been in my life for as long as I can remember. Wherever I go I will try to find someone I can continue to study with.”

Rexroat’s recital will be at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, in Harper Hall. It is open to the public.

Isabella Mariani ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.