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100 Great Things About Keene State College
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Welcoming the Other:
The Difficult Work of Hospitality
Handshake photo

A profound approach to a sticky problem. In December 2007, a local religious group whose beliefs include anti-Semitism and opposition to homosexuality rented space on campus for a benefit concert.

Though many on campus found these views repugnant, the College does allow local organizations to rent function space. And, for the College to deny the religious group the right to express its views would be in itself a form of prejudice. What to do?

Two days before the concert, Dr. Henry Knight, director of the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies, organized a teach-in called "Welcoming the Other: The Difficult Work of Hospitality," a forum for community members to air their views and to explore what is at stake in welcoming the "other" into our midst.

The rules: There are eight seats at a table in the center of the audience. Anyone can take one of these seats to say his or her piece, and once a participant has had a chance to speak, someone else can tap him or her out and take a place at the table. Dialogue needs to stay civil and respectful.

About 200 people showed up to participate in a moving, intelligent, and humane event – a fine instance of the campus community's willingness to respond ethically and fairly, even when it disagrees, and let every voice be heard.

Golden Circle Society
Golden Circle Society medals photo

When you reach your 50th reunion, you will become a member of the Golden Circle Society. It's a wonderful way for alumni to stay in touch. This year marked the 100th Golden Circle summer luncheon, the first of which was held in 1997.

Thank you, Norma Walker '51 and all those who keep the spirit alive. Class of 1960, start your engines!

It's the heart of a true liberal arts education. Each of us helps define that sense of community, and we personalize the KSC experience for every student, faculty member, or staff colleague.”
– Ed MacKay,
May 14, 2009
Alternative Spring Break
Alternative Spring Break photo by Brett Maganzini '05

Instead of heading to some exotic locale for fun and sun, Alternative Spring Break gives students the chance to do a week of community service in a variety of locations around the country.

The program, which began at Keene State in 1994, attracts about 80 students each year. Students are involved in every facet of the trip – researching sites, submitting a proposal, attending workshops, and helping raise funds. Six trips are selected, each with a 12-member group and two team leaders.

"We hope for different projects that touch students' academic majors," said Mary McEntee, coordinator of student services at KSC. "The students tell us on their evaluations that's it's the best thing they've ever done."

Habitat for Humanity Trips

Habitat for Humanity trip photo In 2002, Keene State students and staff began making annual trips to Central America and the Caribbean on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, with the singular purpose of helping to build decent shelter for people living in poverty. A team of 18 students and staff work with local families to erect cinder block houses. Over the past five years, Keene State's Habitat team has built 11 homes in Rabinal, Guatemala. The next Habitat trip is planned for Honduras in January 2010.

Academic Excellence Conference
Academic Excellence Conference program cover

Each spring, the Academic Excellence Conference is a shining event in KSC's intellectual life. Working closely with faculty members, students present original scholarship in the form of papers, posters, workshops, panel discussions, and performances.

The all-day conference, usually the first Saturday in April, is free and open to the public, and many community members attend each year. Academic Excellence Conference photo by Ann Card

The Advising/Aspire Staff

Keene State staff all work hard on behalf of students, but Aspire staff give a leg up to specific groups of students who may need a little extra help.

Aspire is a federally funded TRiO program for first-generation college students, low-income students, and students with disabilities.

“I was a freshman and first-generation college student in the fall of 1996. I was invited to participate in Aspire's study-skills workshops during my first semester. It was invaluable. From note-taking and time management to organizational skills and general study tips, the program provided me with a lot of the important basics that I used throughout my college years and even today. Later, I joined the program as a peer tutor and then supplemental instructor.”
– Jennifer (Ritchings) Dutch '00
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