It’s All About Getting the Details Right for Big Bash

Howard W. Hewitt – Academia has a committee for just about, well, everything. So two years ago I suggested ‘why not a committee on wine?’

Bon Appetit General Manager Mary Jo Arthur agreed. The occasion was selecting palatable wines for Big Bash, the College’s annual reunion weekend. We met, we chose wines, and had a great time. And, we were rewarded a few weeks later when many alums noticed extra effort went into the wine selection.
We repeated the grueling process Monday afternoon in Trippet Hall for Big Bash 2010. Chef Jordan Hall, Catering Manager Kecia Tatman, Arthur, Director of Alumni Affairs Tom Runge, and the resident newspaper/blog wine writer settled in for an hour and a half to sample more than a half dozen each of red and white wines.
The distributor brought a nice selection. The challenge is actually twofold. First, we have to find wines we think will be palatable to the broadest possible audience. Second, we’re not buying high end wines to serve 500-600 people so the challenge is to find the best wine at the best price.
Several of the others insisted they were not big wine drinkers nor experts, but sticking to the advice that it just matters what tastes good, we reached almost unanimous agreement.
We picked an Australian Shiraz for dinner Saturday night and a nice medium-bodied Chardonnay. For Friday dinner, we selected a typical Sauvignon Blanc and something really different for the red. We picked an Argentinian Bonarda. The grape was widely grown in Argentina before the explosive growth of Malbec wines. Bonarda is similar with a little more smoke and earthiness to the flavor. But it’s a smooth, full-flavored wine.
So why the wine geekiness ? Couldn’t we just set out some Merlot and Chardonnay? Sure, Arthur could order the troops to serve up the least expensive and easiest buy swill. But she takes her job seriously when it comes to pleasing student and alumni palates.
So the reconvening of the (try not to snicker here) Wabash College Wine Committee has done it’s part to make a great event even greater.

Midnight Munch Tradition Remains Wabash Favorite

Howard W. Hewitt – It’s hard to say any Wabash tradition stands out above all others. But it’s also hard to match the fun, camaraderie, and high spirits of Midnight Munch.

What can be more fun than bacon at 11:30 on a Tuesday night?

For a number of years Wabash faculty and staff serve a full breakfast, cooked up by Bon Appetit, to students in the midst of finals week.

See photo album here. See video below of President Patrick White and Alumni Director Tom Runge talking about the fun of Midnight Munch.

Nearly 380 students made their way through the long lines by midnight Tuesday. The laugher, good humor, and fun minimized anyone’s wait for the bacon, eggs, pancakes, and juice.

It’s a way for faculty and staff to show they care about each Wabash man and to help them through a tough final week of classes before summer recess. Frankly, it’s usually very difficult to tell just who is having more fun – the students or the servers!


Dinner With Cook, Students Stir Italian Memories

Howard W. Hewitt – I’ve posted blogs from students traveling abroad for the past four years. During the immersion trips I’m always taken by students’ writing about the experience.

One aspect I never quite understood was Wabash men talking about making new friends and the camaraderie. Most of us – students, faculty, and staff – know most of the names and faces on campus. But it has always been surprising that students frequently mention the new friendships.
I saw that first hand in late December and early January when I traveled with Bill Cook and 16 students to Italy. Some of the guys on the trip barely knew each other, even though most of the group had been taking the same course all fall. By the end of the trip, each had made new friends. We teased each other, laughed together, and enjoyed each other’s company on long and often tough days.
There is some change in dynamic when traveling to a foreign country, living together, eating together, and spending the day learning together with friends you barely knew before the trip.
It may be one of the hidden benefits of Immersion Learning that helps bond all Wabash guys not as Independents, Betas, or Fijis – but as Wabash Men.
In that light, it was great fun Thursday night to join Cook and about 10 of those students I traveled with to Florence for dinner. Bill hosted the guys and two of the “old folk” – his words, not mine – in Rogge Lounge. The old folk turned out to be Dr. Keith Baird and the blog guy!
Bill fixed simple pasta with a very basic tomato sauce and a marvelous pork roast with an olive oil and herb rub. Bill then gave a little history lesson noting the pork dish recipe dated back to the Medici era in Florence.
The gathering was nothing more than getting together with friends who shared a common experience. It lasted only an hour but the group jelled as before. Doc Baird even led us in a “three cheers” for the cook or The Cook – whichever way you’d have it!
Plans call for Bill to lead an alumni group on a similar trip this summer. Registration is still open. I have traveled to Europe three times. This was my first trip accompanying Wabash students. I can only say the opportunity to go to these great sites, see the great art, and experience Italy with Bill Cook is an experience you can’t put a price on. You could not buy a tour guide with a fraction of this man’s scholarship and knowledge. It’s unlike any experience I’ve ever enjoyed.
We maintained two blogs while on our 10-day trip. The students wrote about the daily experience here – Florence & Italian Renaissance and I maintained a blog about the travels and lighter side of the trip –Cartolina da Italia.

Bowen Takes Initiative On Greenhouse Video

Howard W. Hewitt – There are many great staff people at Wabash College who are great to work with and go out of their way to do good things for the school.

It’s a little extra special when some take initative beyond that and do even more. Adam Bowen joined Wabash as our Media Services Specialist about one year ago. Adam has been one of those "above and beyond" kind of guys since his arrival.

Just a couple weeks ago he said he wanted to show me something. He was working on a video showing off the greenhouse in Hays Hall. He just thought we needed one because there was no representation on the website and he’d seen similar videos on other college sites.

That is why Wabash College can be such a great place to work.

Here is Adam’s introduction to the vid, and you can watch it at the bottom of this post. It’s also permanently anchored on the Biology page.

Adam Bowen – The Wabash College greenhouse, which is located in Hays Hall, is a not-so-hidden treasure on the Wabash campus. The greenhouse stands out, especially in the cold and dark winter months, as a source of inspiration for students and a reminder that spring is never too far away. 

Many Wabash students appreciate the greenhouse, but there is not a student on campus that appreciates the beauty and serenity of the greenhouse more than sophomore and greenhouse caretaker Kristijonas Paltanavicius. Please join Kristijonas as he discusses his position and his admiration for the greenhouse.

Stipes Attends AIPAC, Learns US-Israeli Relations

Our students are always involved in study abroad, immersion learning, and other smaller and individual experiences which help them uniquely shape their Wabash education. We’ve recently had small groups of students in Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, attending conventions.

Student body president Cody Stipes was invited to attend the 2010 American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in D.C. Here is his summary of the experience.

Cody Stipes ’11 –  I was in Washington, D.C. Mar. 20-21 for the 2010 AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Policy Conference. I was one of 213 Student Government Presidents from across the country in attendance at the conference on a full scholarship through the generosity of AIPAC.
It was an amazing trip where I was able to learn so much about the relationship between America and Israel. I always knew the relationship between the two countries was important; I just never realized how important! The four-day conference involved multiple breakout sessions from learning more about the foreign policy of America and Israel to how one can improve the political activism happening in their community.  
I also had the privilege of hearing distinguished men and women like Senator Evan Bayh, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Senator Charles Schumer of New York, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, former Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The biggest highlight of the conference was the Gala Banquet on Monday night. Over half of the members of the House of Representatives and the United States Senate were in attendance dinner where Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke. I literally stood about 30 yards away from the Prime Minister as he addressed nearly 8,000 people who were at the banquet. The atmosphere was absolutely amazing and something I will never forget!
One of the major advantages to attending the conference was the ability to make connections with the other 212 Student Government Presidents from across the country. I was able to meet so many great men and women from schools in all 50 states. On Saturday night, they set up a dinner just for the SGA (Student Government Association) Presidents and a dessert session to allow us to mingle. During the time, many of us were introducing ourselves and then trying to figure out which state the student was from.  
But the cool thing for me was that I had 5 or 6 students respond by saying, “Oh, you go to Wabash. You guys have that big endowment!” or “You guys have that national study that shows why our school stinks and your school rocks, right?” I tried to play down the part about how the survey was about how their school stunk and how ours rocked, but inside I was nodding my head in agreement. It was really interesting how students from all over the country knew about Wabash. It just reemphasized how notable our institution is across the country. 
I was really excited for the trip because I had never visited D.C. before. I promised myself that I would definitely not let the opportunity slip away. I traveled all over the city, visiting the Capital, WWII Memorial, Korea War Memorial, Lincoln Monument, Washington Monument, FDR Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and, of course, the White House. I feel in love with the White House! I literally visited the White House every day I was there. I’m pretty sure by the fourth day Secret Service was wondering what I was doing.
It was also really interesting to be in D.C. during the Health Care debate and the passage of the legislation. On Sunday, I decided to visit the Capital to see what was taking them so long, but I was met by thousands of people protesting … the immigration bill, not Health Care. Trust me, plenty of people were protesting for and against Health Care, but not the majority of people around the Capital. 
After visiting there for a while, I decided to take a short taxi ride to the Lincoln Monument. Once I got out of the taxi, I was admiring the beauty of the monument when I heard a helicopter overhead. I looked up and was shocked to see Marine One flying over the Potomac River. It was one of those moments when you stop and go, “Did that just happen?” Hundreds of people turned to take pictures, but the helicopter was so fast that very few were able to get off pictures before it was gone. The city was beautiful, especially at night, and I definitely will have to go back soon to see all of the other sights I missed. 
I cannot thank the men and women of AIPAC enough for the opportunity to attend this conference, learn so much about the American Israel relationship, and have the opportunity to learn and share so many interesting aspects about the multiple Student Governments across the country. I was honored to represent Wabash at this conference and enjoyed my time very much. Washington is definitely a city everyone needs to visit! 

Did You Know? 4.0 – The Revolution Continues

Howard Hewitt – We’ve written and said a lot this school year about social networking and social media. We’ve added Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and other steps to jump into the communications revolution.

Back in early September I wrote about Wabash’s efforts in social media and included a video we’ve played for a lot of people. You can see that original post and video  here.

If you go to YouTube you can find a number of these videos about the communications revolution. There are videos tailored to a number of different audiences. There are videos making fun of the videos.

But there is no question the message is powerful. I found an updated version Friday and thought I’d share it for those interested in communications. Check it out:


Padgett ’84 Provides ‘Special’ Day for Student Journalists

Howard W. Hewitt (Bachelor Advisor)- “What’s special about this place,” asked Director of Public Affairs Jim Amidon, standing in the Bachelor office Thursday with a handful of students.

“That’s what special,” replied senior Patrick McAlister nodding toward Tim Padgett ’84 who was talking journalism with freshmen and sophomores in the adjoining room.
Padgett spent Thursday with Wabash student journalists catching up, sharing advice, heaping praise, and making suggestions. Padgett is Miami and Caribbean Bureau Chief for Time Magazine.
The veteran journalist met with approximately 30 Bachelor staffers over lunch. He talked about the changing face of journalism and his work for Time. He praised the group and its leaders for the Bachelor’s emergence in recent years as one of Indiana’s best college newspapers.
Later Thursday afternoon he met with a group of Bachelor staffers, primarily freshmen and sophomores, and critiqued recent papers, offered suggestions, and urged the students to embrace the value of the experience regardless of their future plans.
Throughout the day he emphasized how his liberal arts education plays out in his daily work and in the important pieces he writes for the national news publication.
But perhaps it was a more private gathering with student publication advisors Jim Amidon, Steve Charles, and me along with Gary James, Patrick McAlister and Chuck Summers that was even more “special.”
Dinner conversation was filled with laughter, stories and the liberal arts. The three senior leaders who have been such a big part of the Bachelor’s recent success reveled in the give-and-take conversation with the veteran journalist and Latin American expert.
The conversation ranged from politics, to Catholicism, texting, wine, national media, cigars, Wabash faculty, and late into the night on many other topics.
Padgett didn’t get to see what impressed me the most. I left early to return Gary James to campus and we ran into a sophomore who had attended both sessions. He was full of ideas and stories he wanted to write after listening to Padgett’s talks. Gary and he shared ideas and texted another student who wasn’t even at the dinner with suggestions.
Most of the students seemed truly energized by Padgett’s suggestions, praise, and enthusiasm.
That is what makes this place special!

Did DePauw Really Have Any Shot at Winning?

Howard W. Hewitt – Every now and then photographers will be shooting an event – say a Monon Bell game – and find something with a photographer’s eye others might miss.

The shot above taken Saturday morning in Greencastle, captured beautifully by junior Bachelor photo editor Alex Moseman, makes  you wonder if Wabash might had even a little more going for them during Saturday’s game?

Without suggestion of any divine intervention, what a cool photo on Bell Game day!

Bring Social Media to Wabash Alums

Howard W. Hewitt – The communications revolution gives everyone a chance to create community and share in ways a cell phone or even e-mail has never allowed.

This morning (Nov. 7) Brent Harris and I are leading a session on Facebook, Twitter, and blogging for Wabash alumni leaders. We have 16 Wabash men in the room and another 7 following along through a virtual classroom online.

We’re showing some of the things you can do with today’s media and electronics. The photo at right shows Bryan Hutchens ’13 working with Jon  Pactor.

The first 45 minutes of today’s program focuses on Facebook. Here is a short video I recorded as we started on a $150 flip video recorder.

Taking Fall Photos Never Gets Old

Howard W. Hewitt – One of the great things working on a college campus is how the place re-invents itself every year. Seniors graduate and 18-year-old freshmen arrive on campus.

But there is a routine to many of the events. Tuesday night is Moot Court. I’ve covered Moot Court for the College website every year since I arrived. It is a really great event. I’ll cover it again tomorrow night. But some of the others do become a bit more routine.

Something that never gets old is the fall and winter practice of taking seasonal photos. Most of us in Public Affairs enjoy photography as much as any part of our jobs. The leaves are going to be gone before long so I left the office after lunch with camera in hand and shot a photo album and a half of fall photos! Enjoy!

Photo Album No. 1 and No. 2.

By the way, the photo here is the view from outside my office window. Not a bad place to work for lots of reasons – not the least of which is the view this week!

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