A Good Year for College-Community Collaboration
In reflecting on the past year, and in the spirit of New London's theme this year appreciation Colby-Sawyer College is thankful for its connections with local individuals, organizations and businesses whose shared efforts benefit our respective communities. Our collaborations are far too numerous to mention, but a few examples illustrate their variety and import.
As 2009 began, the college community and New London residents were still dealing with the effects of the ice storm that struck New Hampshire on Dec. 12, 2008. In the aftermath, local residents and college employees and students worked together to ensure that those who lost power could find food and shelter initially at the Kearsarge Regional Elementary School and then at the college's Ware Campus Center.
Colby-Sawyer appreciates the many New London schools, businesses and organizations who hosted a total of 54 student internships last year. These opportunities allow our students to put their knowledge to work and gain invaluable experience and skills in their field, while also assisting employers in delivering services and meeting their goals.
The Nursing Department in particular appreciates the strong support for its student nurses from its ongoing partnerships with New London Hospital and the Lake Sunapee Region Visiting Nurses' Association and its new partners, the Kearsarge Regional Elementary and Middle Schools. For their senior Community Capstone projects, these future nurses addressed health issues such as medication safety in the community, non-pharmacological pain control, binge-drinking among young people, and the eating habits of elementary school students.
The college also works closely with the New London Police and Fire Departments, town employees who are dedicated to ensuring the safety and well-being of college community members and local residents alike. In recent years, Colby-Sawyer students have volunteered to serve in the fire department, forging more collaborative relationships between the college and town.
The Dan and Kathleen Hogan Sports Center is an active place where the town and college communities come together for exercise, athletic events, camps and other programs. The New London Recreation Department collaborates with the Hogan Center to offer recreational programs and after-school climbing classes for local children.
Our students have the opportunity to work with young children at the climbing wall, and parents interact with our students in a positive and active setting, says Hogan Center Director Lisa Lacombe. The town's Recreation Department Director Chad Denning also worked with the Colby-Sawyer Players club in creating an entertaining Halloween activity for the community while raising funds for the club.
The Athletic Department gets a big boost from the interest and enthusiasm of community members who cheer on Chargers Intercollegiate Athletic Teams each year. We welcome and appreciate their support at sporting events every year, says Athletic Director Debi Field McGrath. The student athletes are extremely appreciative of the Chargers Club, the band of dedicated community members who support the college's athletic programs. Their enthusiasm is contagious and makes a significant difference to the student-athletes on campus, McGrath adds.
Last year, New London Historical Society's Lloyd Littlefield worked with Art History Assistant Professor Brian Clancy and his class by giving tours of the society's facilities. The New London Rotary Club sponsored College Archivist Kelli Bogan's trip to England through the Group Study Exchange Program for young professionals.
Hannaford's donates gift cards and supplies, twice a year, our end-of-semester cocoa and cookies service for the students studying in the college library. Each year, the Friends of the Library contributes a selection of new books to the college's Susan Colgate Cleveland Library/Learning Center, whose services are also available to New London residents.
The Fine and Performing Arts Department revels in the community's support and participation in its art exhibitions and music, dance and theatre events throughout the year. FPA Chair Loretta Barnett extends her thanks to the members of the Sunapee-Kearsarge Intercommunity Theatre (SKIT), the college's theatre company in residence in 2009-2010, and to Tracy Library and the New London Gardening Club, whose lovely gardens inspire students in the college's Landscape as Art classes.
The department is also grateful to area businesses that welcome our students and college personnel into their places of business and never fail to help us find the myriad materials that we need and use every day in our work, Professor Barnett says.
Despite difficult economic times, Colby-Sawyer continues to invest in its educational mission and future. The college added a new academic program in Health Studies and hired eight new members as well as launched or continued new programs to encourage diversity and multicultural perspectives on campus.
These programs include the Progressive Scholars for promising urban students, and Global Beginnings a study abroad program for first-year students in addition to growth in recruitment of international students. Colby-Sawyer also hired New London resident Jennifer White to coordinate its campus-wide Green ROUTES initiative, which is committed to moving the college toward environmental sustainability and climate neutrality.
In 2008-2009, the Colby-Sawyer community also welcomed its first Fulbright Scholar in Residence, Isaac Nyamongo, associate professor and director of the Institute of Anthropology, Gender and African Studies at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, who engaged the community in discussions of public health issues in Africa. In spring 2009, Art Professor Jon Keenan was the third faculty member in college history to receive the prestigious Fulbright award. Keenan, an internationally known ceramic artist and educator who resides in Elkins, N.H., traveled to Kyoto Seika University in Japan, last summer as a visiting artist, scholar, teacher and representative of the United States.
October 2009 was a memorable month in college history. In the same week, the college celebrated the groundbreaking of a new Windy Hill School and awarded two new endowed professorships. The Windy Hill School serves approximately 85 toddler-to-kindergarten-age children and additional after-school and summer programs. The new building will unite the school's programs under one roof and provide better facilities and equipment as well as more convenient access for local families. New London resident Susan Reeves, chair of the Nursing Department, was appointed as the Gladys A. Burrows Distinguished Professor of Nursing, while Jon Keenan was appointed as the Joyce J. Kolligian Distinguished Professor of Fine and Performing Arts.
Colby-Sawyer College continues to be enriched by the depth and breadth of its community connections and is proud to contribute to the exceptional quality of life in our shared hometown of New London, N.H.
This piece first appeared in the New London Annual Report, published in March 2010.