Campus Updates

Campus Update - January 14, 2014
The latest in what's happening on campus.

Tue, 14 Jan 2014 13:58:00 EST

TO: The Muhlenberg Community
FROM: Randy Helm
DATE: January 14, 2014
RE: Campus Update

After a quiet and verrrry cold winter break, Muhlenberg’s campus is buzzing again.  The vision of a peaceful, snow-blanketed campus is deceiving, however.  There’s been a lot going on!

1.  Mourning Ed Baldrige.  Muhlenberg people of all generations are mourning the loss of Dr. Ed Baldrige – professor emeritus of history and a beloved, indeed legendary, member of our campus family. Ed’s obituary and funeral arrangements can be found at: .  Members of the Muhlenberg family can also leave reminiscences and words of condolence for Ed’s family on Muhlenberg’s website:

2.  MuleMentum – knocking it out of the park.  My last update heralded the fast-approaching MuleMentum Day of Giving, which sought 910 donors in a single day (about 8 times the highest number of gifts to the College in any single day in its history).  We ended with 1,430 donors and $212,616.98 raised.  One alumna said:  “you figured out how to make giving fun.

3.  Next up:  THAW.  “THAW” is not only a plea for relief from the polar vortex, but also stands for the “Toast Heard Around the World”.  January 16 is the day, toasting Muhlenberg is the play.  More than 350 members of the Muhlenberg family at 31 locations around the world are scheduled to raise their glasses to Muhlenberg at 7:00 p.m. local time.  You can join in too.  For more information, check out: .

 4.  Food for the Hungry and Homeless.  Continuing a ten-year tradition that I am especially proud of, Muhlenberg’s faculty and staff brought contributions of food for the Sixth Street Shelter to our annual Holiday Party on December 16.  Approximately 600 pounds of food were collected and donated to Allentown’s neediest neighbors.  Over 300 foster kids and family members participated in the College’s annual Pinebrook Christmas party and toy drive.

5.  Liberal Arts Confidential.  For those who missed my annual holiday webcast, you can find it at: .  And, by the way, in the “alternate ending” I do NOT shoot Calypso.  She shoots me.

6.  Youth and Media.  Lora Taub, RJ Professor, Director of the RJ Fellows Program, and Chair of Media and Communication, announces the relaunching of the Youth Media Reporter, an online open-access, peer-reviewed professional journal for scholars, practitioners and others who develop, organize, teach, study and support youth media practices and programs.  The current issue includes a book review by Muhlenberg senior Hallie Boviard.  You can explore it at: .

7.  Out and About.  Students didn’t spend the entire vacation catching up on their sleep.  One group accompanied Chaplain Callista Isabelle and Campus Safety’s Tom Dougherty to New Orleans to restore Katrina-damaged homes with the St. Bernard Project.  Twenty-six students participated in a Taglit-Birthright trip to Israel, led by Jaimie Krass of our Hillel staff and Associate Professor Mark Stein (history).  The urge to travel is not limited to vacations, however.  Dean for Global Education Donna Kish-Goodling reports that 47% of the sophomore class applied for study-abroad programs next year.  With 88% of these applications approved, it looks like more than 220 members of the junior class will be globe-trotting next year.

8.  Diversity Planning.  In early December I updated the Muhlenberg community on the work of the Diversity Strategic Planning Committee (DSPC).  This month – and next – we are reaching out to the broader campus community for feedback on our revised draft of the diversity statement, the mission statement, and a set of proposed goals.  You can find out about our work at: .

9.  Hate and Bias Response Policy.  We are also unveiling a new “Hate and Bias Response Policy” later this month.  Developed by Robin Riley-Casey, Karen Green, Beth Halpern, Callista Isabelle, Lee Kolbe, Jane Schubert, Anne Speck and College counsel, the policy will be reviewed by the DSPC and the College Committee on Campus Life before being published and  implemented during the spring semester.

10.  Great Greeks.  Phi Sigma Sigma won first place in its national sorority’s Women of Influence Project” competition.  You can see their presentation at: .  On average, Muhlenberg fraternity and sorority members had term GPA's higher than those of independent students (non-affiliated sophomores, juniors, and seniors) for the seventh straight semester.  More than 80% of members are above a 3.00 cumulative GPA.  Chapter members raised an average of almost $50 per member for charitable causes, as well as contributing over 10 hours of community service per member.

11.  Students in Hot Water.  Yes, Muhlenberg EnAct and the denizens of the Treehouse (our sustainability living-learning community) are getting at least some of their hot water from solar heat.  How much?  You can find out on any given day by checking the online energy dashboard at: .

12.  Going Gold.  The judges in the CASE District II Accolades Awards program selected Muhlenberg’s fundraising materials to receive the top (Gold) Award.  Highlights from the judges’ comments included: “Great package design and delivery system.  Vibrant color, good use of visuals that connect the donor to the campus.  Very stylish – nice use of imagery and innovative die-cuttings.  Excellent presentation and very professional. Well thought out with an optimistic feel.  Wonderful show piece for fundraising for Muhlenberg.”  CASE District II will honor the College’s publications at its annual conference in Baltimore from Feb. 9-11, 2014.

13.  Lax but Not Lax.  Seniors Jason Monroe and Casey Gill, co-captains of the Muhlenberg lacrosse team, are also members of the student-led Muhlenberg Investment Society that manages a portfolio valued at approximately $250,000.  The fund has shown an 11% annualized gain since 2008.  “We do manage real money, and that’s kind of cool,” says Casey.

14.  MC: Ready to Launch.  A record-breaking 123 seniors participated in last weekend’s “Reality MC” program – a crash course preparing seniors for the “real world” of apartment leases, insurance, taxes, job networking, and cooking.  Kudos to Jenna Azar, our Senior Year Experience guru, who led the effort, and to the nearly 60 alumni and friends who participated in the networking event and as resource experts.

15.  Another “MC.”  Master Choreographers – one of the premier dance performances of the year – is coming up in February, showcasing the talents of Muhlenberg faculty and students.  Find out more (and get your tickets) at:

16.  And Yet Another “MC.”  This time we’re talking about Muhlenberg “clusters,” the paired courses that are designed to help students make interdisciplinary connections.  Fourteen faculty and 104 students are pioneering this new component of Muhlenberg’s new general education curriculum, in course clusters such as “Creativity, Business and Public Health,” “Latin American Dance and Culture,” and “Power, Communities, and Social Change.”

17.  Architectural Digest, ‘Berg-style. Our new buildings keep winning public recognition – and now our old ones do, too.  See a complimentary write-up of the new East Hall addition and renovation at: .  Meanwhile, Bruner/Cott, designers of Wood Commons, won “Outstanding Design” recognition from American School and University magazine.

18.  Missing 2013 Already?  If you’re feeling nostalgic, check out the College’s year-in-review slide show at:,6464,en.html .

Happy New Year to all.  Stay warm, friends.