Try Something New

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Maggie von Massenhausen, a freshman here at Santa Clara, spontaneously tried out for the women’s lacrosse team without ever playing before. She knew almost nothing about the sport but decided to give it a chance. Maggie went to three weeks of training before tryouts with little hopes of making the team.

She was drawn to the sport because her brother played for the men’s lacrosse team for all four years at Santa Clara. Maggie was offered a spot on the women’s soccer team here as well, but turned it down because of the rigorous practice schedule. Even though she had turned down that offer, she still wanted to feel connected to a team which is why she decided to try out for lacrosse, a club sport here at Santa Clara.

“I was scared I couldn’t do it,” she said. “All of the pressure would be riding on me as the only goalie, which is a position I knew nothing about.”

It was finally the day when the team roster would be announced. Maggie anxiously awaited the email that would decide her fate. When she finally opened it, her jaw dropped. Not only had she made the team, but she was also the starting and only goalie.

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“When I first opened the email, I was shocked.” She said. “Actually, I was more than shocked. I was really scared, I thought that they had made a mistake.”

Maggie stuck with the sport and practiced her position as goalie. Slowly but surely she began to pick up more and the team became so good that it went to nationals in Virginia Beach in late May.

While they were there, Maggie, the girl who knew nothing about lacrosse, was named an All American and rookie of the year.

After nationals, the lacrosse team was offered the chance to become a D1 sport at Santa Clara but chose to move to D3 instead.

“We all like the way it is now” she said. “While we still practice most days, there is still plenty of time for fun and schoolwork. This is why we all chose to play club lacrosse in the first place. Being a D3 sport will allow us to still have free time to ourselves, which is why we decided not to move up.”

 

–Nicole Sonia McDougal

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International Love

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Katelynn Custus is an airport security genius. In a world full of clogged TSA lines she is a master of breezing through security with no problems, all while looking effortlessly stylish. This skill takes years to cultivate. Fortunately Custus has been traveling for as long as she can remember.

“I love airports,” said Custus. “They make me happy.”

This is a fitting attitude for the incoming president of Santa Clara University’s International Club, who is also preparing to go abroad in fall. Custus, a sophomore Political Science and French double major, is driven by her love of travel and meeting new people. She is an example of how SCU students strive to be global citizens and create lasting friendships with people from around the world.

Custus is inspired by the unexpected international connections she has made. It began in sixth grade when she introduced herself out of the blue to another young girl in Windsor castle. That girl, serendipitously also named Kaitlyn, who is Australian continues to be one of Custus’ close friends today.

The summer before her senior year of high school she spent three weeks in France and bonded closely with her host family. Later that year their daughter came to stay with Custus’ family.

Custus in Tours, France
Custus in Tours, France

“When our families met each other my mom and my French mom started crying,” said Custus. “They said it was like they knew each other because they had taken care of each others daughters.”

Despite the language barrier between the two women, they share a deep bond, and the families continue to be close today. Custus is touched by the love and generosity shown to her by her French family, noting that it contradicts negative stereotypes some people hold.

“Anyone who says the French are rude have never stayed with a French family,” said Custus. “They treated me like their own daughter.”

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Custus and International Club Members at a Giants game

This history of international relationships that have shaped Custus’ life continues to drive her forward. Today, she is organizing the Santa Clara University International Club and preparing to run it from afar while abroad.

Kimi Rosadini, a club member who has worked in closely with Custus is inspired by her determination and organization.

“Kate has a great capacity for believing in the things she is doing, whether it’s a specific mission or just a goal,” said Rosadini.  “It makes other people want to think that way too.”

The unofficial theme song of the International Club is “International Love”, and this sentiment perfectly describes Custus’ attitude towards building an international community at Santa Clara. She is thankful for her international experiences and how they shaped her outlook on life. Today, she wants to give back to that community.

“I love meeting new people so much, I’ve had amazing experiences because of them,” said Custus. “With my French family, I learned not to say no and to roll with it: try all the different combinations of wine and cheese you can!”

—Athena Oldfather

Do As The Romans Do

One of Santa Clara’s main attractions is its study abroad program. Students get to take their pick of countries all around the world including South Africa, Germany, and of course the motherland of all of our favorite carbs, Italy. Juniors get to experience what it is like to be part of another culture, but we never take a second to see how people from other countries experience Santa Clara culture.

“I wanted to come to America because it provided me more opportunities economically as well as it gave me a clean slate,” said Francesca Caruso, an international student from Rome.

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            Though she has only been here for three short quarters, Francesca is already assimilating to the Santa Clara culture as if she was born here. But she did face some culture shock. “The people in Italy are just different, as you could imagine. The people in Italy are more spoiled by their parents and they care more about how they look on the outside. Here people care more about what they person is like, rather than how they look,” said Caruso.

She points out that with our clubs such as Into the Wild and the Santa Clara Community Action Program (or SCCAP) people at Santa Clara would rather spend their time and money on a camping trip in Big Sur or on a sailing trip under the Golden Gate Bridge. In Italy, they are expected to have the top designer bags, and they are expected to wake up an hour and a half before school in order to put together the perfect outfit for the day.

Caruso sees her time at Santa Clara as a gift. She is going all in and trying to get the “American Experience.” Whether it is getting up and doing karaoke in front of a large crowd or going swimming in the Benson fountain at night, Caruso is no longer “doing as the Romans do.” One of the biggest parts of getting her that “American experience” is, as expected, learning the language. Caruso studied in Australia prior to coming to America in order to learn the language. With the help of her friends, Caruso was able to pick up the different lingo and the different sayings faster than she imagined. “Studying in Australia gave me all of the rules that I needed to know, but coming to Santa Clara and having real conversations has taught me the language more than any course,” said Caruso. With the help of her friends, Caruso was able to pick up the different lingo and the different sayings faster than she imagined.Image

Starting college is a frightening experience for everyone, especially for those like Caruso who move across the world to do so. “Italy will always be my home, but I will wouldn’t trade my time in America for anything in the world,” said Caruso. Though she is from a very different culture than she is in now, Caruso sees having two very different homes as a chance to find who she really is, while as the same time getting to start a new adventure.

 

By Laura LaBombarda

Seven Months in London

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Tower Bridge, London, England

Addie Beck wasn’t thrilled about getting up at dawn and standing the freezing rain, but she figured this was the sort of event she came to London to experience. And it paid off. After a 12 hour wait outside the Royal Opera House, she got to meet Mark Gatiss, Stephen Fry, and Bradley Cooper, while coming mere inches from Christian Bale and Leo DiCaprio.

Beck is one of the rare Santa Clara students who spends more than one semester abroad. The junior English major got a lot out of her extended stay in Europe, but it also makes returning to the United States a bigger adjustment.

 London is the largest city in the United Kingdom in distance, with a bustling and diverse population. With a city that is known for its rich history, great museums, countless shows, red double-decker buses, Big Ben, and Indian curry, London is the ideal city for any study abroad student.

Why London? Beck was really interested in literature, art, and music, all of which London is known for, she said. With the quarter system at Santa Clara University, it is difficult for students to study abroad for longer than one quarter. She says, “I wanted to be there for longer than a quarter so it would really feel like I was living there,” and that is just what she did.

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Addie at Stonehenge

Halfway through her fall session in London, she received her acceptance for another quarter in her newly beloved city. She mentions, “By the second quarter, I knew my way around the city, and it was a very different experience from the first quarter.”

For the 2013-2014 school year, Santa Clara University sent 43 students for Summer 2013, 312 students for Fall 2013, 92 students for Winter 2014 (16 on spring semester programs and 76 on winter quarter programs), and 1 student for Spring 2014. Overall, only three students were accepted to study abroad for longer than one quarter.

She recounts on her academic experiences, too. The fall quarter provided many more academic courses to choose from, compared to the winter. In addition to her History of Music in 20th Century Britain, History of Modern Design, and Shakespeare & Elizabethan Literature, she held two international internships during her time.

In the fall, she interned for Ultra DJ Management and made many valuable connections in an industry she is potentially interested in for the future. In the winter, she interned at 15billion, a non-profit education business partnership, which provided her with another great experience.

Even after seven long months, it did not seem like long enough for her. She remembers experiencing more culture shock coming home from London than going there. This experience has forever changed her.

“I have gotten to go to more concerts and plays than I ever could have imagined. I could walk from my flat to the V&A Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall, or Hyde Park in a matter of minutes. There is so much going on constantly in London, it is truly impossible to be bored.”

As a genuine smile appeared across her face, she took a deep breath in and said, “I do not have any regrets, which was my initial goal when I first left for London. There were a lot of things I did not have time to do, but I am already making a list of what I still want to see and do when I go back some day… very, very soon, hopefully.”

–Kathryn Luna

Audacious Athletes Rise to Physical Challenge

Triathlons combine swimming, biking and running for the ultimate test of strength and endurance.

Triathlons combine swimming, biking and running for the ultimate test of strength and endurance. (cnn.com)

If the word “triathlete” conjures up images of bulky, fitness-obsessed, hyper-dedicated athletes, then a certain group of Santa Clara students may surprise you. In this competition, some students are trying a sport for their first time. Others have never been committed to exercising more than once or twice a week. However, this didn’t stop students from all levels of fitness from participating in a full-distance triathlon this spring.
The Iron Bronco brings on-campus exercise to a new level, challenging teams of up to three students to complete a full triathlon over the course of two short weeks.
For some students, the prospect of running 26.2 miles, biking 112 miles, and swimming 2.4 miles seems daunting. But for others, the task is an exciting contest to push themselves physically.
Junior Jackson Palmer successfully completed his first Iron Bronco on May 5th.
“I had been meaning to incorporate more cardio into my workout routine,” said Palmer. “I had already been doing interval training on the stationary bike, so Iron Bronco provided a great incentive to keep up with my biking and add some other kinds of regular cardio as well.”
The ultra-distance triathlon has been a tradition on campus since 2001. Every spring quarter, dozens of Broncos sign up and get moving to accomplish what takes almost two miles of running, eight miles of biking and almost a quarter mile of swimming every single day to complete in time.

Jackson Palmer spent his fall quarter abroad in London before returning and being inspired to kick his workout regimen up a notch.
Jackson Palmer spent his fall quarter abroad in London before returning and being inspired to kick his workout regimen up a notch.

“The hardest thing is doing multiple kinds of cardio on one day, because typically I just do biking or running after a workout,” said Palmer. “The other hard part is doing the cardio in addition to classes, work, homework, and my normal lifting routine. It’s just more than I’m used to, but it’s not terrible and I feel great at the end of the day,” he said.
For students like Palmer, the real challenge didn’t lie in dragging themselves to the gym every day. Rather, trying something new such as swimming made for an entirely new exercise regimen that could be difficult to get used to. According to Palmer, increasing the amount of exercise he did meant also altering the amount of food he ate, and making other lifestyle switches to accommodate the new routine.
Just under 200 Santa Clara students hit the finish line this spring, all of whom received tank tops and t-shirts to commemorate their success. But the real reward for many was simply feeling accomplished and increasing their fitness levels.

-Summer Meza

A Bump in the Road

Grace and I before a high school football game
Grace and I before her diagnosis.

Imagine living your entire life without having to think twice about what you ate. Now, imagine living this way, and then being diagnosed with type two diabetes. Suddenly, your life’s focus is on what you do and what you do not eat.

            “There were days when all I wanted was to get in my car, drive to Krispy Kreme, and buy a box of donuts,” said Grace Gordon. “I just wanted to be like all the other normal teenagers, but I couldn’t.”

            Grace is a tall, athletic teenager who has spent her senior year like all the rest, applying for colleges, working, and maintaining her social life. There is one difference though; Grace was diagnosed with diabetes three days before her 16th birthday. Needless to say, she’s been adjusting ever since.

            “It’s hard when I’m talking to my parents about my plans next year and I can see in their faces that they are totally freaked out to let me go,” Grace said. “Like once I leave, I’m not going to be able to prick my finger or maintain my blood sugar, like I’m totally going to go off the grid, but it’s my life we’re talking about, I’m not going to mess around with that.”

            Grace was one of those girls that could eat an entire pint of ice cream or five slices of pizza and burn it off immediately. Her thin physique revealed no signs of any extra sugar or carbohydrates. However, diabetes runs in her family, and the genetic disease was passed down to her. She is constantly monitoring her blood glucose levels and exercises almost every day. She is adjusting to her new lifestyle, but it has not been an easy journey.

            “I lost a lot of weight at first, which was weird because I was pretty skinny to begin with,” she says. “It is one of those things where there is no point in dwelling on it because I know it won’t change, but I definitely resent the disease sometimes,” she says. “I just want to be normal.”

            She is deciding between two colleges relatively near to home, and is looking forward to her future. Although her diabetes have been a major bump in the road, she has come to terms with her diagnosis and has decided to have the most positive attitude she can. To say the least, she is a fighter and will continue to fight and stay healthy. She is an inspiration to us all.

            “I try not to let it consume me. I have a lot going for me, and I have been fortunate enough to have great family and friends. Things could always be worse, and there isn’t enough time in life to dwell on all the bad stuff, so I’m doing what I can.”

– Tisha Ferraro

From Geography Bee Contestant to Well-Traveled Student

Morales with group of students from UPenn and Ghanaian chief

Morales with group of students from UPenn and Ghanaian chief

Kyle Morales has spent enough time in Africa to refine his approach to working on the continent: “You have to get used to things not going to plan,” he said. “It’s the African way”. While Morales may not always know what to expect when he’s there, he knows that his life will revolve around his efforts to be a part of Africa and play a role in its future.

During his junior year in high school, prior to embarking on a service/exploration trip to South Africa during the World Cup, he set up an organization called Jerseys for Africa to collect soccer jerseys from soccer clubs around the area to bring to children in South Africa. As Morales stated, “soccer fervor on the continent was at an all time high, and as an avid soccer supporter and player, starting Jerseys for Africa was the perfect way to align my passion for football with development”. He described his trip to South Africa as “a journey of dichotomies” and remarks on his experience as being great exposure for him at a relatively young age.

Morales in South Africa

Morales in South Africa

Now a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, Morales explicates his interest in foreign affairs daily through his involvement in non-profit organizations such as Power Up Gambia that works to better the living conditions in Africa. He began working with Power Up Gambia last year and he was inspired by the measures they take to provide solar energy to hospitals in Gambia.

Realizing the number of small things that people in Africa do not have access to, Morales set up a partnership, through Power Up Gambia, with a clothing company called Serengetee that supports the economies of other countries by using their fabrics in the clothing and donating money back to the communities.

Starting with trips to Mexico to visit family, Morales was exposed to the different ways of living around the world. In fourth grade, he participated in the Geography Bee at Del Paso Manor Elementary School in Sacramento, CA. His dedication while preparing for the Bee was a clear sign that his interest in the world was more than a mere phase.

Morales stated that through this fascination with traveling and geography, he “saw Latin America and Africa as the two regions of the world with the most potential for awesome development that could truly make sustainable impacts”. With this in mind, he focused his extracurricular activities around that premise.

His early exposure to life in Africa greatly sparked his interest and led him to eventually be a part of a program through Penn called International Development Summer Institute and travel to Ghana. Through this program, he met the man in the middle of the picture at the top who serves part time as the chief of the village and the other part as a doctor in NYC.

This man told Morales that he had to prove himself by drinking a 40 faster than him. The stakes were set high as the chief said that if Morales didn’t finish before him, he was going to charge him by the hour for each minute longer. As Morales said, “he makes 500 an hour while working as a doctor, so I didn’t want to do that”. Luckily, his college training did him well and he didn’t find himself in debt to a Ghanaian chief.

While in this town, Morales was part of an internship with the goal to have him learn about the education system in a rural community. He recounted that when the teachers found out he was coming, they didn’t show up to work and he was forced to teach the classes by alone.

But, when the teachers came back to check on the kids, he had to helplessly witness them punish the children for not doing their homework. While Morales is able to look back on the trip as a learning experience, he admits that the program was faulty and it was very difficult to preserve throughout his stay.

When he was younger, his father thought he would do something with traveling, possibly being a photographer for National Geographic. Now, Morales hopes to move to Africa after graduation and pictures himself working in ecological development policy later on in life. As his affinity for Africa grows, one can be certain that he will do all that he can to bring about change for the beautiful, yet struggling continent.

-Alyssa Morales

Biking for the Future: A Sustainable Dream

Colleen Henn, Santa Clara sophomore majoring in Environmental Studies
Colleen Henn, Santa Clara sophomore majoring in Environmental Studies.

           Here at Santa Clara, we like to think we have a reputation for sustainability. All around campus you find separate waste, recycle, and compost bins. The eco-tray program provides reusable to-go trays for students for a mere five dining points. Santa Clara’s homepage even touts “SCU Named on the Top Green Colleges List”  a list compiled by the Princeton review and the United States Green Building Council.

           But for sophomore Colleen Henn, that is just a start. She believes there is a lot of improvement to be had when it comes to sustainability both on and off campus. Henn’s mission is to reduce the use of cars by Santa Clara students by starting bike share program. Installing a program like this is a lot harder than it sounds, especially when there are plenty of other causes vying for University support. Henn is currently in her second year as a part of “SLURP” – the Sustainable Living Undergraduate Research Project. “You target a behavior on campus and you try to change it,” she says. For Henn, that behavior is the use of cars rather than more environmentally friendly forms of transportation.

            Over the past two years, she has been researching current bike share programs to see what would best fit Santa Clara’s needs as a campus. Ideally, the school would fund and operate the program. “There have been ones in the past that have been student-run, but they have all flopped once those students graduate,” Henn says. She envisions a program that is run through Malley or transportation services. There would be several docks around campus where bikes would be locked up, and students could sign up for the program, pay, and reserve a bike – all online. In theory, it would be like Zipcar, but for bikes.

Similar bike share program to what Henn envisions at SCU.
Similar bike share program to what Henn envisions at SCU.

            Working as an undergraduate student to introduce a program like this is no easy task. Ask any student at Santa Clara, and they will say that the workload for any typical undergraduate student is nothing to be taken lightly. Henn cites her biggest challenge as not having a partner working on the project with her. “If I could work on this everyday, I would. But taking college level biology and calculus classes doesn’t really allow that.” Balancing her passion for this project and her desire to do well academically has proven tough, but not impossible for Henn, over the course of her sophomore year. Her main goal is to get some real momentum behind the project before she leaves to study abroad in the Galapagos Islands next fall.

          Why make such a push for a project that has yet to really take root on campus yet? “I just really like bikes!” she laughs, “I just thought of it one way and it just made so much sense to me. It’s flat, we’re in Silicon Valley – an innovation center- I don’t understand why we don’t already have one [a program]! It’s good for environmental health, human health, and it makes sense financially as well.” Not only are bikes much cheaper than cars, they do not require expensive gas to run – just your legs and a little bit of willpower.

Solar panels on the roof of several buildings here at SCU - an example of the commitment to sustainability.
Solar panels on the roof of several buildings on campus – an example of the commitment to sustainability at Santa Clara. 

          Bikes may also provide benefits that one would not expect, “my best friend from home over last summer had an internship in Boston and she didn’t want to bring her car, so she biked around the entire city. That really inspired me. She can literally draw out the entire city – and that is a huge city.” That kind of awareness would be good for Santa Clara students, to help them understand the area and appreciate all that Santa Clara is.

          Henn also found inspiration from another friend who didn’t get into a car for two months. It may not be the most conventional way of getting around, but it creates a culture of sustainability and habits that are mutually beneficial to us as students, the community, and the greater environment.

          “In 2100, scientists predict that the world is going to be one scary place if we don’t change our environmental footprint. Choosing to ride a bike is a small change that makes a huge difference.”

–Alli Kleppe