Feb. 17, 2005 • Volume 13 Number 11
Peace Corps connection
Boston College boasts high rankings in athletics and academics, but there's yet another area in which the University continues to excel: grooming Peace Corps volunteers.
According to the organization's statistics, BC is ninth among medium-sized colleges and universities (5,001-15,000 undergraduates) in numbers of alumni who served in the Peace Corps during 2004, with 43. The University of Virginia (84 alumni), Georgetown University (67) and George Washington (61) are the top three in the medium-sized category; the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with 129 alumni volunteers, ranks first among large universities (more than 15,000 undergrads).
Since the Peace Corps' inception in 1961, some 600 BC graduates have signed on for the 27-month volunteer service commitment, working in fields such as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, environment and agriculture. -SS
Joining the electronic newsstand
Two Boston College organizations have enhanced their communication with the University community by launching regular e-mail newsletters.
The Boston College Arts Council this month unveiled "BC Arts Update," which will highlight new arts events, programs notes and changes to the University Arts Calendar. Distributed monthly, the "Arts Update" is sent to individuals who have requested the service, with messages customized to meet subscribers' needs. Recipients may select from six regular e-mail updates, including "Art Exhibitions," "Film," "Literary/Lecture," "Music," "Theater/Dance," or one email that includes information on all of the arts events in these categories.
Those wishing to sign up for the service should visit www.bc.edu/artssubscribe.
Some 700 Boston College department heads, managers and supervisors, meanwhile, are now receiving "The Well Practiced Manager," published by the Employee Development Office to complement its regular offerings of workshops, seminars and other events that focus on professional development.
The newsletter debuted in November and was rolled out to mid-level and senior management last month. It is e-mailed as a Portable Document File attachment, a format that allows a publication's text and graphics to be viewed on, or printed out by, most any computer.
"The newsletter is part of an effort to support department heads, managers and supervisors in their critical roles across campus," said Director of Employee Development Bernard O'Kane. "It is often this group that interprets the vision and direction of senior management and guides employees towards the concrete achievement of departmental goals."
O'Kane said the response to the newsletter's management-related hints and suggestions has been overwhelmingly positive: "It has proved to be an useful, efficient and cost effective means of communication." -SS
Twice the help
The American Red Cross of Boston College chapter reported a high turnout for their Feb. 7-9 campus blood drive, with more than 100 donors showing up each day and nearly 200 units collected through the first two days.
"Blood supplies in the New England region were down by 900 units at the beginning of the month, so we were glad to see the BC community pitch in," said the drive's co-coordinator, Connell School of Nursing sophomore Kristen Leclaire.
The drive also collected five boxes worth of notebooks, pens, pencils, compasses and other important supplies donated to the ARCBC's School Chest Program. The supplies will be sent along with BC students on their spring service trips to schools in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
"In the past, we have had what's called 'Penny Wars,' where students put their spare change in containers - the class who raised the most money won - and all of this money went to buying supplies to be sent with BC students on service/immersion trips," said Maria Schweitzer '05, an organizer for the program. "Sending the supplies with BC students cuts down on shipping costs, so we are able to send more necessities. The BC community has been very generous in the past, and this current drive has shown much of the same."
Donations for the program are still being accepted, said Schweitzer, who can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or ext.5-0870.
"The Call to Serve"
The controversy over faith, politics and public service will be the focus of the Jesuit Institute's inaugural Canisius Lecture on March 3.
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, leader of US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, will give the lecture, titled "The Call to Serve in a Divided Society," which takes place at 6 p.m. in Devlin 008.
The task force led by Cardinal McCarrick began its work last summer following a series of discussions between the Vatican and US bishops on the issue of Catholics in public life. Among the questions examined by the task force are: What is the responsibility of a Catholic elected official in a society that permits abortions and neglects religious perspectives on war and poverty? What roles should priests and bishops play in public life? Should a Catholic legislator who defies Church teaching through public policy be denied Communion?
Cardinal McCarrick is the chancellor of the Catholic University of America and president of the Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He has served on a number of committees for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and is currently chairman of its Domestic Policy Committee.
Jesuit Institute Director Prof. T. Frank Kennedy, SJ, (Music) said the Canisius Lecture series - named for the 16th-century Jesuit educator, writer and theologian Peter Canisius - will help the institute's mission of fostering Jesuit, Catholic character of Boston College through research, academic exchange and collective inquiry about the issues that emerge at the intersection of faith and culture.
"While each year will have a different focus," he said, "we want the Canisius Lecture to address an important Catholic, Jesuit issue in contemporary culture." -SG
Past and present
Recent news of North Korea - from rumors that the Kim Jong-Il regime is unraveling to last week's announcement asserting its nuclear capability - has provided a compelling backdrop for a local exhibition on the Korean War co-organized by Prof. Ramsay Liem (Psychology).
"Still Presents Past: Korean Americans and the 'Forgotten War,'" on display at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center through March 19, features video, photography, performance art, interactive installations and other works built around oral histories of Korean-American survivors of the war and their families.
"The Korean War is a 'forgotten war' for many people, not only Americans but Koreans," said Liem, whose parents immigrated from Korea to the United States during the 1930s in the face of increasing Japanese colonialism. "It is a topic Korean families have rarely discussed, so there are generations who have grown up with little or no idea of the war's impact. Consequently, we know virtually nothing about the Korean-American memories of this period or the personal and community legacies of the war.
"We wanted to create a public space, using the strength of text, film and art to help Korean-Americans and other people add to their understanding of the war - a war that has never truly ended, since there has never been a treaty."
The West's continuing dilemma over North Korea underscores the social and political ambiguities left by the war, Liem says. "North Korea is a total enigma, but not by accident. Their survival mode is to be as impenetrable as possible, because they believe themselves to be under assault, whether from malignant neglect by the rest of the world, or from US policies."
Liem recalls a conference he attended a few years ago, shortly after revelations of severe food shortages in North Korea surfaced, at which commentators predicted the country's collapse was a matter of months, if not weeks. "But they acknowledged that they really didn't have the facts to back up their assertions," said Liem.
"The short answer to a complicated situation is, outsiders rarely get North Korea right. When you hear big news about North Korea, you just can't leap to a conclusion one way or the other; you have to wait a little more, and look a little harder." -SS •