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Aliison Estremera – Assistant Student Life & Arts Editor

Do you have a secret? Would you share it with the entire campus? With the Drew U Have a Secret project, you can get whatever it is off of your chest, with complete anonymity, of course.  Sponsored by DV8, Drewids have sent numerous secrets to the program over the few years since its establishment, but why?  

The brainchild of former DV8 intern and William Paterson University alum Caitlin Freaney, the Drew U Have a Secret campus initiative made its debut in 2012. Freaney drew influence from the Post Secret online phenomenon. Started by Frank Warren in 2005, Post Secret is an art project that allows people to submit their secrets anonymously on postcards that then get uploaded onto the project’s website every Sunday. With a range of tragic to heartwarming to hilarious and everywhere in between, no subject is off limits or too taboo for the project.

So far, Drewids have given a welcoming response to the initiative. Though it asks them to reflect on both the good and the bad in their lives, and at times asks to bring uncomfortable experiences and situations to light, its message is an invaluable one. “The goal is to create an open and safe forum on campus for students to express secrets, regrets, fears, desires, talents, hidden acts of kindness, or confessions.The program serves as a gateway to opening the conversation about many of the hopes, dreams, fears, problems and stresses that students are experiencing but might not feel comfortable talking about,” said Audra Tonero, Assistant Director of Outreach and Education and Advisor to the DV8 program.

But what exactly are Drewids sending to the project? Are there rules and regulations as to what someone can put on their postcard? “We have had secrets ranging from ‘I was a victim of dating violence,’ to ‘I like Chinese food better when it’s cold.’ The message behind this campaign is that we all carry secrets with us, no matter how heavy or not they may be,” said Siobhain Ward (’16), peer advisor for DV8. Other past secret submissions include, “I’m deathly afraid of thunderstorms,” “I battle depression everyday,” and “My mom doesn’t know I’m gay.”

Once collected, DV8 then displays the secrets for the entire campus to see. “When we bring the program to campus, we generally display the secrets in the Commons,” said Ward.

DV8 hopes that exhibiting these openly will give Drewids a new perspective on those around them, as well as themselves. The people you interact with on a daily basis may have a struggle, a past, a triumph, or even just a quirk hiding beneath the surface. Drew U Have a Secret wants to share these stories with the campus to show that no one is alone in what they’re holding on to,” added Ward.
If you want to have your secrets added to the Drew U Have a Secret project, there will be a table in the Commons that will take all submissions during the next event, which is scheduled tentatively for next spring.

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Caitlin Phillips – Staff Writer

It’s not exactly a surprise party, but the Birthday Grams on campus are their own kind of celebration. On A Different Note, Drew’s all-female a cappella group, is singing out birthday grams around campus as their new fundraiser.

“We try to go on tour every year during winter break and we needed new, fresh ideas that weren’t already on campus. So we thought ‘Why don’t we do birthday grams because that’s not on campus yet!’” said Jamaica Jasper (’17), the Business Manager of the group and the one behind the idea. OADN’s Music Director Janine Pasquale (’16) noted, “We already do ‘Happy Birthdays’ for all of our family and friends in rehearsal so we might as well do it for other people.”

The first scheduled Birthday Gram came from Arya Dammons, mother of Jake Dammons (’16). She said, “It was great. The surprise on his face was priceless. It was a lot of fun.”  

“I was really surprised. I was like ‘What?’ and then ‘Woah!’” said Dammons. When asked if he knew what was going to happen, he said no, and that he was completely surprised. He added, “It was really, really great actually.”

After the birthday song, the group sang a rendition of “Royals” by Lorde, which Jake said he enjoyed. In response to the Birthday Gram, he said, “I think it was very effective. If someone else was thinking of doing this I’d definitely recommend it because that was great.”

The members of On a Different Note include Jasper, Pasquale, Tour Manager Michal Kortsarts (’17), Brenna Canelli (’16), Jenna Posselt (’19), Mattie Kelly (’19), Alize Martinez (’18), Siobhan Quinlan (’19), Emma Osmundson (’16), Rachel Solomon (’16), Lucy Schofield (’16), Mikeala Simon (’19), Eliza Borgia (’17), Laura Brown (’17) and Olivia Rios (’19).
Birthday grams cost $3.00 and for an extra $1.00, the group will sing another song from their extensive list. They go anywhere on campus and sing for students, faculty, and staff. Questions should be emailed to oadnbusiness@gmail.com

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Alexa Zbieranowski (’17) and Minna Nizam (’17)

  1. Can you explain a little bit about what TMT is/does?

“That Medieval Thing is Drew’s medieval reenactment club. Each semester, That Medieval Thing hosts a major campus-wide event. In the fall, we host Revels, a dinner theater show where guests partake in an  authentic medieval feast in the S.W Bowne graduate building. Revels brings in alumni, students, family, and community members for an evening of staged sword fights, belly dancing, sing alongs and merriment. In the Spring we host Medfest, a medieval festival that spans the S.W. Bowne lawn. We have vendors, archery, a human chessboard, turkey legs, and much more!”


2.What are some of the most memorable events that you’ve held in the past?

“Last year we hosted a bus trip to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. It was a long ride, but it was worth the wait to see professional actors as inspiration for our own events! We have also held archery days on campus where we engage the Drew community and share our love of archery.”


3.What do you have planned for the future (what events are coming up)?

“This semester we will be hosting our dinner theater show Revels on Saturday, December 5th. We also have a medieval fashion show in the works for the end of October. There, students can join us to learn about medieval fashion as we show off some of our hand-sewn costumes. In the spring, we plan to organize a bus trip to Medieval Times, the dinner-theater experience that loosely inspires our own Revels.”


4.Why should more students join the club?

“Drewids should join That Medieval Thing because we truly have something for everyone! There are so many ways to get involved from costume design and sword fighting, to singing and playwriting. There is a lot of room for professional development within the club. There are opportunities to gain experience in event coordination and leadership. Not to mention, it’s an eye-catcher on a resumé!”


5.When and where can Drewids find you?

“Most weeknights we are located in the Great Hall in the S.W. Bowne building. We hold general meetings on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m, but we also hold other committee meetings during the week and on Saturday afternoons. If Drewids would like to get involved, we can be reached at thatmedievalthing@gmail.com to join our email list.”


  1. Do you know any history about the club? If so, what?

“Urban legend dictates that TMT was begun by members of the Drew fencing team in 1987 after they had traveled to a Renaissance faire and saw a human chessboard. The founders were so impressed that they came back to campus and decided to establish a club where they host their own festival. Since then, many traditions have developed, including our own human chessboard. This year is a big anniversary, since we will be hosting our 30th Medfest!”

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Catherine King – Staff Writer

Drewids have returned to the Forest for the new semester sniffing for food. Although this allows students to continue their studies and to catch up with friends, it is also a break from mom’s home cooking. While students have agreed that campus food has gotten better, some cannot pass up the opportunity of free food. Fifty Drewids shared whether or not they have ever gone to an event on campus just for the food.


Out of the fifty students who responded, thirty said that they have gone to at least one event primarily for the free food. Some Drewids immediately said yes or no. Others, on the other hand, tried to justify whether or not they just went for the food.


When questioned why students go to events for the food, Andrea Ruotolo (’17) said, “I think food is a very big factor for the students. I think anything free is, but food in particular.” Ian Anderson (’18) confirmed this. He said, “Food has a strong impression on people. They get hungry through the day and want something to eat.”

Reena Bassil (’16) shared a past experience when she had done this and said, “I know two years ago, for the Spanish open House, my friend and I went for the empanadas. We had no intention of joining.”

When asked what type of foods attracts students the most, Drewids almost unanimously said pizza. Some answers were more unique. “S’mores and nachos or other easy novelty food. It’s just nice to have,” said Alcides Costa (’19). Others, such as Hector Maldonado (’19), preferred to go big or go home and said, “International food because domestic students want to try them.”  Still others, like Ben Harrison (’17), just enjoyed the fact that there was free food. He noted, “Hummus and beans, but food is all created equal.”

Food is not the only reason students will show up to an event, though. For others the time and the purpose of the event also play deciding factors. Ixhon Allen (’18) commented, “It draws my interest but the time is also important. If it’s a good time with food, I’ll go.” 

While it is natural for college students to want free food, Drewids should be respectful of the event taking place. Clubs do acknowledge that there will be students who attend only with the incentive of food and might use food as an incentive to come. However, clubs do have a purpose for the event. Bassil said, “Be respectful. They don’t just put the food there for you to eat it. It’s fine, but don’t talk loud.”

With this in mind, students should continue to explore the campus for food-filled events. A Drewid might just discover a new passion.

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Chris Ceravolo – Staff Writer

In an effort to educate Drewids about international opportunities offered in the Forest, Stacy Fischer, the Director of The Center for Global Education (CGE), answered some questions. Students who have been abroad also provided visual and verbal accounts of their travels.


Why study abroad?

“The greatest gift of the study-abroad experience is discovering something about yourself that you did not know before,” said Fischer.  

During her time as a Drew student, Fischer spent a semester in London.  It was her first time navigating a big city.  Getting to class no longer meant rolling out of bed and strolling to BC in pajamas—it meant figuring out the tube.  Buying and cooking food or even finding shoes became things to coordinate as she adjusted to this new place. She said, “If I could do that, I thought, I could do almost anything—maintain an apartment, hold down a job.”

In London, Fischer pursued a research project on women’s publishing, leveraging the presence of local feminist bookshops. She noted, “I started to think about novels from a different perspective, as political texts.”  Study-abroad reaches the heart of a liberal arts education as the laboratory component to your time in the classroom—it is the practical application of theory and history. She said, “You’re living it.”

Independence and cultural awareness are things employers seek.  In fact, only about 7 percent of students in the US study abroad, so it’s bound to add a competitive edge to your resume.


Who studies abroad?

On average, 35 percent of each graduating class has gone abroad—though Fischer would like to see that number one day rise to 75 percent.  And one third of our faculty has led study abroad programs.

Fischer emphasizes that you do not need to feel restricted by your major—French students are not the only ones going to Paris.  The London program especially offers courses in a wide range of disciplines including English, History, Art History and Political Science

“Study abroad appeals to the student who is a little afraid,” said Fischer.  Students are encouraged to go outside their comfort zone.  Fischer notices that almost all students have undergone some physical change when they return—whether it’s a beard, short hair, or Doc Martins.  “It is a transformative experience,” she said.  Some students even end up moving to their study-abroad location after graduation.


When to study abroad?

“Anytime is a good time to go,” said Fischer.  But plan ahead.  The CGE offers advisement to help students navigate the variety of programs and integrate study-abroad into their experience at Drew.

Science students may not feel like there is room for study abroad in their tight sequence of courses.  However, the robotics program in South Korea is held during the summer so as not to conflict with core classes in the Fall and Spring.

Some programs are held repeatedly.  Others are created (or revived) for a particular historical moment, like the shortTREC to Havana this winter partially inspired by Cuba’s newly restored diplomatic relations with the United States.


Where to study abroad?

There are 52 programs currently listed on the Center for Global Education (CGE) website—20 led by Drew Faculty and 32 approved with other institutions.  Go check it out! http://www.drew.edu/globaled/


How to study abroad?

Listed on the CGE website are both need-based and merit-based scholarships.  Some students have even partially crowdsourced their abroad tuition using sites like Indiegogo or FundMyTravel.


Caroline Cromwell – London (’16)


“Studying abroad in London was the best experience of my life. The city itself is so amazing, with many places to explore, museums to visit, plays to see and food to eat. Whether we were getting pies and mash at Borough Market, shopping on Oxford Street, ice skating at Somerset House, going to the London Zoo or just an afternoon at a small café.


My theatre class there was entirely dedicated to seeing a show once a week and then discussing it in class, exposing me to everything from West End Musicals, to the National Theatre, to Shakespeare at The Globe, to avant-garde plays in small theatres throughout the city.


I was able to go all over England, from beautiful Bath, to Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon, to the lovely seaside town of Brighton, even to Warner Brother’s Studio, just outside of London, where I got to fulfill my lifelong dream of going to Hogwarts, as most of the Harry Potter sets have been preserved there in truly magical condition.


One of my favorite days was when my friends and I went to Howth, a little seaside town just outside of Dublin. There was a little lighthouse there, on which people had written their names and where they were from and we added ours, so we could leave a little mark from our travels.”


David Aguilar – China and Brazil (’16)


“I traveled to China in the summer of 2014 with Prof. Bai Di. We toured Beijing for a week and then took classes in Chinese Language in the Northern city of Harbin for three weeks. My Chinese greatly improved while I was there. I hope to go back to Harbin Normal University and get a Master’s in Chinese there when I graduate.


This year I traveled again and had the luxury of going to Salvador, Brazil. We did Anthropological data gathering and practiced our Ethnographic research method gathering skills. Professor Dawson was great and having a small group of four gave us so much freedom. I explored the city by myself and speaking Spanish helped out a lot with the Portuguese.


I had lots of memories and friends there: Alisson our receptionist who gave us the Wifi password, our friend Emerson, DJ Sankofa who let us go for free at this nightclub, Claudio and Wilmington, two street artisans I befriended, Vanda, a kind lady who sells ice cream and told me to be patient with my life and not rush to grow up. It was great. I hope to go back there in the future. Also Praia Forte was awesome. We ate on the beach with a view of the Atlantic. Caipirinhas are the Bomb!!


Alexa Zbieranowski – Paris (’17)


“My four week trip to France with the Language and Culture in Paris program was one of the most enriching experiences of my life. As a double major in French and Art History, the trip provided both a glimpse into one of the centers of the art world and the opportunity to develop my language skills.


I stayed with a host family that was welcoming and supportive of my interests. My host mother had a career in Museology and she gave me an inside look into the museum culture of Paris as someone who had worked on projects for the Louvre and the Hôtel des Invalides where Napoleon is entombed.


As part of the credit for Drew, students took language courses each morning at the Alliance Française, which offered us an opportunity to have intensive language coaching with students from all around the world.  


When my friends and I had free time to enjoy the city, we explored the street culture, monuments and art museums. From picnicking on the Seine to exploring the winding avenues of Montmartre, I made memories that developed a lasting love for Paris. My only regret is that I cannot go back soon enough!”


Nathan Williams – Germany


“I spent this past June in Germany. I received the Mellon Grant to do a project in the town of Lorsch, a small city in the state of Hessen. It’s home to centuries old restaurants, some great bookstores and cafes, but most importantly for my purpose a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in this tiny city is a Carolingian Abbey that was once one of the most important cultural sites in Europe. The abbey is home to the Königshalle (first picture, checkered exterior), a building that is completely unique to Lorsch. This abbey was built as a part of Karl der Grosse’s (Charlemagne) effort to push Christianity further east into Europe.


My research was devoted to speaking to the local people and attempting to decipher the complex relationship between the townspeople and their abbey (yes, they call it theirs). Honestly, I could have spent from June to now on this project. The abbey was founded in the 9th century, and interpreting the local people’s interactions with this monumental piece of history could keep someone busy for years. One day I want to go back there armed with what I know no. For the present I am looking forward to sharing what I have discovered and hope people here at Drew find it all as interesting as I do.”


Lydia Howard – Barcelona (’15, fall)


“I had an amazing time in Barcelona. I felt like I was able to completely immerse myself in the culture and language for the month. Every day was filled with trips to different museums and diverse activities. My favorite activity was learning to dance flamenco. I also had the pleasure of staying with an inviting host family who were more than willing to share their culture and help me understand the language.”


Grace Cerra – Italy


“I was a part of the Cilento program, which is brand new, and I was abroad with nine other students. Our program mostly focused on studying the culture and food of the region, as well as focusing on the region’s sustainability of resources, its history and cultivating a project that was completed by early August.


In Amalfi, we got to tour a paper factory and had about half a day or so to just explore the city on our own. So, my roommate and I went out eat really good pizza and ice cream and explore all of the different shops. The best find though was finding a store in both cities that had nothing but scarves. That was when I told my roommate that we absolutely had to return.”

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